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SUV Driver Loses Control, Kills Cyclist on Sidewalk in Los Gatos

Streetsblog San Francisco: SUV Driver Loses Control, Kills Cyclist on Sidewalk in Los Gatos

by Michael Rhodes on February 1, 2010

Joshua West, a 28-year-old Los Gatos resident, was struck and killed while riding his bicycle this morning by a driver who lost control of his SUV.

West was riding on the southern sidewalk along Lark Avenue at Garden Hill Drive in Los Gatos when the driver of a Chevrolet Blazer traveling eastbound on Lark veered from the right-turn lane onto the sidewalk, where he struck West, according to Los Gatos-Monte Sereno police Sgt. Kerry Harris.

"The bicyclist was actually riding on the sidewalk and was hit by the front of the SUV," said Harris. "The SUV then hit a traffic safety barrier, then continued across the intersection, where it ran into a traffic signal, then flipped over on its side."

Harris said the driver had apparently been driving at a speed "inconsistent with the flow of the intersection" before losing control in the right-turn lane.
When police arrived, West was on the ground near the SUV, which evidently threw or carried him through the intersection with it, said Harris. Bystanders performed CPR on West on the spot and were later assisted by officers, but he remained non-responsive. He was eventually pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

Colin Heyne of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition said he always advises people to stay aware, but he’s not sure that would have helped in this case, judging from the initial details. "It sounds like in this incident there’s very little he could have done," Heyne said of West. "There wasn’t really enough time for him to get out of the way."

The crash occurred at the intersection of Lark Avenue - a wide, multi-lane boulevard with heavy traffic volumes; Garden Hill Drive - a quieter street; and the entrance to Southbound State Route 17. A bikeways map published by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority identifies Lark Avenue as a road requiring "moderate caution." It serves as an important link for cyclists heading to the Los Gatos Creek Trail, which has an entrance a short distance from the crash.

According to Harris, the driver sustained some injuries and was taken by ambulance to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, where an investigating officer was continuing to interview him this afternoon. A decision is expected shortly on whether he will be charged in connection with the crash.

7 CommentsLast comment by Christian Estes