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UPDATE: Bicyclist Killed in Morning Crash on Laguna Canyon Road Identified

UPDATE: The Orange County Register has identified the man who died in the accident as James Mitchell Waller, a former Westminster police chief and city manager. Waller's friend, Kevin Beach, is in serious but stable condition, the paper reported.

ORIGINAL POST: A bicyclist was killed this morning while riding southbound towards the city on Laguna Canyon Road, according to Officer E. Barnard of the California Highway Patrol. 

The accident occurred at 8:48 a.m. in the long, open stretch of highway south of Interstate 405 and north of the 73 toll road.

The cyclist, a 53-year-old Mission Viejo man, and a 48-year-old man from Fullerton, were rammed by a white 2010 Toyota Corolla that was being driven by a 25-year-old Irvine woman. The Mission Viejo man died at the scene, while the Fullerton man was taken to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo for treatment of his injuries.

Officer Barnard says that the Corolla driver was traveling at approximately 60 miles per hour, and that for an as yet undetermined reason, she swerved, striking the cyclists.

The Toyota driver was questioned at the scene about her involvement in the incident, which Barnard says is still under investigation. DUI is not suspected at this time, Barnard says.

Traffic delays for several hours following the accident prompted an alert from the Laguna Beach Police Department. The road is now open in both directions.

David Huntsman June 28, 2013 at 07:30 PM
Rich, an important clarification: while Laguna Canyon Road is designated a Bike Route, there is no bike lane. The cyclists were struck on the shoulder of the road.
Rich Kane June 28, 2013 at 07:39 PM
Thanks David, will clarify. There are always so many bikers on LCR I sometimes forget that ....
Jacob Cherub June 29, 2013 at 11:36 AM
One good thing about LCR is that it's somewhat wild. Unfortunately, it can be too wild west. What is the way to have more signage warning car drivers about the presence of riders and to respect them? Deaths on the 133 should be more rare.
W. New June 29, 2013 at 01:55 PM
I've lived in Laguna Beach for over 35 years and have witnessed fatal accidents on Laguna Canyon Road. We all need to drive slower on LCR and never take our eyes of the road..... It's so very sad.
David Huntsman June 29, 2013 at 03:10 PM
Thanks Rich. It's important: calling shoulder a "bike lane" makes the non-cycling public think cyclists have it nice there when in reality, cyclists are practically in "steeplechase" mode on Laguna Canyon Road, jumping drain grates, uneven road seams, debris...
Frank Peters June 29, 2013 at 03:12 PM
Signs, a stripe of paint - neither will reduce the danger. Cyclists need separated bike paths along routes with high speed traffic. When considering our present bike infrastructure, the Dutch Cycling Embassy says it well, "We wouldn't consider that safe."
El Toro Resident June 30, 2013 at 12:50 AM
There isn't any part of Laguna Canyon Road that would be deemed "safe" to ride a bike. The area between the 405 and the toll road, drivers can drive up to about 60-65, there are no bikes lanes, when you reach the toll road and then El Toro roads, there is much confusion with out-of-area drivers, who can't seem to understand the speed limit drops dramatically. I believe it is 45 miles per hour until you get to Canyon Acres and then I think it drops again at some point because you are in the beach city. I don’t know what caused the driver to veer off and hit the men on their bikes, that is for the police to sort out. I would only hope other drivers would take in consideration that there are others on the road and the ones on motorcycles, bikes and on foot have little or no protection.
Larry M. Davidson July 01, 2013 at 01:10 PM
Put the cell phones away! In most places, cyclists generally ride where there is NOT a defined bike lane. The issue is not if there is a bike lane or not, it is driver awareness. Bikes have zero chance against a car, and everyone is in such a hurry to answer and send their text messages. The cyclist is dead, and the driver gets to live the rest of her life, knowing she killed someone. Sad does not begin to describe this!
RiverBoatQueen July 03, 2013 at 01:11 PM
This is an avoidable tragedy and the woman who struck and killed this man should do the honorable thing and explain WHY. I think cell phone records must be subpoenaed. She was distracted and driving blind. She must face the consequences of not being fully alert while driving on that twisting, turning narrow road that is a thing of natural beauty and awe. She wasn't pay due attention.
Laguna Streets July 20, 2013 at 02:53 PM
In fact this location is posted by "Bike Route" signs intermixed with "Emergency Parking" signs southbound between the 405 and the 73, and a single white painted stripe, the kind Caltrans uses to indicate a road shoulder but not a "bike-lane". The prevailing speeds IMO are too high for dual use of a Class II bike lane and a highway. Will the reporter update this announcement with the cause of driver distraction or will the facts be neglected?

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