San Diego’s High Speed Roads Claims Another Life

Less than a month after David Ortiz was killed in an environment that fosters speeding, 63 year old Charles Raymond Gilbreth was killed after being struck by an apparently impatient driver in an SUV. The collision occurred on Montezuma Road by Collwood Boulevard yesterday shortly after 3:30 pm. One of our readers, Shane, just left the following comment (from the U-T coverage),

Just wanted to mention one of the comments on the poor guy who was hit and killed on Montezuma yesterday:

“The guy that hit him was behind a transit bus and got mad because the bus driver was ging [sic] a little too slow so he went around him in the bike lane my good friend was driving the bus and when the suv hit the man he knocked him in front of the bus and the bus ran him over. My friend is just devastated! He keeps having visions of the mans face poor guy!”

This was the same location where KPBS’ Morning Edition Anchor, Tom Fudge, was struck five years ago. Fudge survived, but lives with the daily physical pain as a constant reminder that the City of San Diego is a city that only encourages and supports high speed roads that discourage any mode of transportation but the automobile.

Despite its proximity to San Diego State University, the roads surrounding the university are all designed  to encourage speeding. College Avenue, not far from where Gilbreth was killed yesterday afternoon, is the site where 11% of all speeding tickets were handed out by the SDPD last year.

Yet, despite the knowledge that the environment is dangerous by its very design, the leaders at the City of San Diego has not undertaken any traffic calming measures to ensure the well being and safety of the city’s residents. If I were to personify City Hall, it strikes me as unbelievably callous that the leaders in the city are unmoved and unwilling to take action to address this deadly problem.

Alison Whitney expressed her feelings about yesterday’s death on her blog and I too join her in expressing my anger and disappointment at everyone in City Hall who has the ability to effect change, but has to date failed to do anything about it.

UPDATE: I’m quoting Ted Rogers here who writes, a comment on Bike San Diego says that the SUV driver became impatient following behind a bus, and used the bike lane to go around it; the writer says the SUV hit Gilbreth’s bike and threw him in front of the bus, which then ran over him. However, it’s important to note that the description of the rider being run over by a bus doesn’t fit with the ME’s report, or explain why his body was found off the side of the road instead of than within the traffic lanes as would be expected under such circumstances.

Hopefully the SDPD will release more information when their investigation is complete, and the press will follow-up so we can understand what actually happened and why.

UPDATE at 12:05 PM: One of Gilbreth’s co-workers just wrote in to state the following,
It is very sad that yesterday we lost another San Diego bicyclist and my friend, Chuck Gilbreth (see the 10news article below). I worked with Chuck Gilbreth at Hamilton Sundstrand Power Systems in Kearny Mesa for many years. He rode his bike almost every day from his home in the College Area to work and back.

It again points out the need to improve the road conditions for bicyclist, automobile driver’s awareness, and traffic law enforcement for the safety of San Diego bicyclists.