By Jorge Casuso
October 30, 2023 -- A 69-year-old bicyclist struck by a car Friday morning died of her injuries, marking Santa Monica's first bicycle fatality this year, according to reports.
Officers responding to 911 calls at around 8:42 a.m. "found a downed 69 year old female with significant bleeding and head trauma,"
A preliminary investigation found that the collision "was a broadside involving a vehicle vs. a bicycle," said Lt. Erika Aklufi, the Police Department spokesperson.
"The vehicle was traveling southbound on 19th Street, the bicycle appears to have been traveling westbound on Idaho," Aklufi said.
"This intersection is controlled by stop signs for traffic on Idaho, but not on 19th," she said, adding that the driver of the vehicle cooperated with investigators.
The bicyclist was taken off life support Saturday morning, according to an update posted by a friend on X.
A comment on BikinginLA Saturday said the victim "had just returned from a bike tour through Ireland" and was "a serious bike rider, cautious and dedicated."
The fatal accident comes nearly one year after a cyclist was struck and killed shortly after 3 a.m. Thanksgiving morning on the 500 block of PCH. The bicyclist -- who suffered severe injuries -- was pronounced dead on the scene, police said.
The latest national transportation data show that fatal traffic accidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians increased during the first nine months of last year.
While the fatality rate for people dying in cars was down, deaths rose 2 percent for pedestrians, 5 percent for motorcyclists and 8 percent for cyclists, the data show.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that every year nearly 1,000 bicyclists die and more than 130,000 are injured in crashes that occur on U.S. roads.
The highest bicycle death rate is among adults ages 55 to 69, while those between the ages of 10 and 24 have the highest rates of bicycle-related injuries treated in emergency departments.
About one-third of crashes that result in a bicyclist’s death involve alcohol for the motor vehicle driver and/or bicyclist, according to the CDC.
Most bicyclist deaths occur in urban areas, with approximately 64 percent taking place on sections of roads away from intersections (where higher speeds might occur) and 27 percent occur at intersections.
"The costs of bicycle injuries and deaths from crashes typically exceed $23 billion in the United States each year," according to the CDC's website.
"These costs include spending on health care and lost work productivity, as well as estimated costs for lost quality of life and lives lost."
Anyone with information on Friday's incident should contact SMPD Investigator Evan Raleigh at 310-458-8954 or at evan. firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the Watch Commander (24 hours) at 310-458-8426.