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Old 11-25-08, 03:24 AM   #1
metzenberg
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Hit-and-run tragedy - Martinez, California

A Martinez, California, bicyclist has been killed by a hit-and-run driver, Monday evening November 24th between 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm. At this hour, twilight and dusk is currently descending in northern California:

San Francisco Chronicle
Martinez bicyclist killed in hit and run

Contra Costa Times
Cyclist killed in Port Costa hit-and-run

49-year-old Mark Pendleton was hit head-on by a driver who left the scene. He was found later by an off-duty fireman. He is believed to have been an experienced cyclist, riding a well-equipped road bike (except for a light or reflectors). At this time, it's unclear what Mark's condition was immediately after he was hit, whether he could have been saved by prompt medical attention.

The motorist fled the scene leaving debris from front end damage to his dark colored vehicle, including a broken light or turn signal. Let's hope he is caught!

McEwen Road is a two-lane, rural road with narrow shoulders near to a built-up urban area. Comments so far acknowledge that although the cyclist didn't have a light, the lack of a light did not made the driver blameless. The driver clearly crossed over the center line. McEwen Road has several sharp, blind corners, but it's not clear exactly where on the road this happened. Perhaps a local can report for us here. I'll be watching for information at the San Francisco Bike Coalition.

Martinez is an older city of about 40K that is situtated on an auto commuter route between the Diablo Valley cities and the Sacramento Valley cities, because it has a major bridge over the Carquinez Strait, an inland extension of San Francisco Bay. Martinez is only a few miles north of the Pleasant Hill and Concord stations of BART. Bicyclists from San Francisco or Oakland can reach the area in less than an hour via BART. Since the opening of BART more than 30 year ago, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, and Concord have become suburban bedroom communities with small downtowns and considerable local employment. Martinez itself still maintains the feel of an older city in the center, with an old downtown area of shopping and cafes, including some landmark buildings. It has little poverty, but is not particularly an affluent city.

Hills above the Carquinez Strait are hugely popular for cyclists, and the parkland contains hiking trails. The cyclist could have been riding one of any number of beautiful scenic loop rides in the area between Martinez and Crockett. There is very little development near McEwen Road. I have explored the area myself several times on BART-to-BART rides, but I cannot remember McEwen Road very well. The Road is sometimes used for scheduled time trials.

If there is a memorial ride this weekend for the cyclist (which are common in the Bay Area, and always well attended) I will make sure it is posted here. I am in the Bay Area right now, but unfortunately, I may have to miss such a memorial due to Thanksgiving obligations.

Howard

Last edited by metzenberg; 11-25-08 at 04:10 AM.
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Old 11-25-08, 01:56 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by metzenberg View Post
Hills above the Carquinez Strait are hugely popular for cyclists, and the parkland contains hiking trails. The cyclist could have been riding one of any number of beautiful scenic loop rides in the area between Martinez and Crockett. There is very little development near McEwen Road. I have explored the area myself several times on BART-to-BART rides, but I cannot remember McEwen Road very well. The Road is sometimes used for scheduled time trials.

Howard

McEwen leaving Martinez Southbound is a very steep climb, it is a feature in the Grizzly Peak Century, the Grizzly Peak Cyclists put little signs on the edge of the road in "Burma Shave" fashion taunting the cyclists going up the road. The descent is fast but I don't recall it being exceptionally technical (the Martinez side would be very technical - any corners on a 15% grade are technical).

It's not clear whether he was hit on the climb or descent.
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Old 11-25-08, 02:02 PM   #3
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It would seem likely that he was hit on the descent. 1/2 mile North of Highway 4 is well past the summit. If anyone wants to see the probable stretch of road where the crash occurred, the magic of google maps allows us to do so.

http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Mc...50664799985495
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Old 11-25-08, 03:54 PM   #4
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Belonged to Wells Fargo racing team

More information is available today. Mark Alan Pendleton grew up in San Pablo (which is quite nearby). He had lived in the area all his life. He is survived by his wife and three sons. He was a member of the Wells Fargo racing team. He was returning home from a training ride at the time he was hit:

San Francisco Chronicle
Bicyclist killed by hit-run driver near Port Costa

San Jose Mercury News
Cyclist killed in Port Costa hit-and-run

KTVU
Unknown Vehicle Fatally Collides With Bicyclist In Contra Costa

Pendleton was apparently still alive when he was spotted by an off-duty fire captain. The fire captain summoned medical assistance, but Pendleton died at the scene before he could be transported to a hospital.

Last edited by metzenberg; 11-25-08 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 11-26-08, 07:03 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by metzenberg View Post
He is believed to have been an experienced cyclist, riding a well-equipped road bike (except for a light or reflectors).
Huh?

How does one get hit head on unless one is traveling against traffic?
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Old 11-26-08, 08:03 AM   #6
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Huh?

How does one get hit head on unless one is traveling against traffic?
When the driver crosses the center line.
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Old 11-26-08, 08:18 AM   #7
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Oops, sorry - missed that.
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Old 11-27-08, 12:38 PM   #8
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If he was descending that grade, he most likely would have moved out into the center of the lane for safe riding. This driver needs to be found and locked up.
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Old 11-27-08, 05:53 PM   #9
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There are some memorial events planned for this weekend. On Saturday, the EBBC is having a remembrance of Mark at the Martinez Amtrak station followed by a ride up McEwen, past the accident site on the descent, and continuing back via Franklin Canyon. See:
http://www.ebbc.org/?q=node/2643
for details.

On Sunday, his club is holding a memorial ride starting in Danville:
"Hi Friends of Mark,

By now most everyone has heard the tragic news of Mark's passing.
This tragedy has had a profound effect on our club, we have lost a
great friend and loyal teammate. This Sunday, the team ride will be
a celebration of Mark's life and the strong bonds we shared with
him. The ride will start at Peet's (at 9:00am) in Danville (usual
meeting point) and head through Sunol to Calaveras and back (50 mile
loop).

Please respect the fact that this ride is about Mark, the pace will
be EASY so that we can all ride together and share memories and
stories. Jennie Phillips has been kind enough to bring black ribbons
for the ride. The ride will start at 9:00am, instead of the normal
8:00am start, we will roll at 9:10 am. The group will be large, so
please obey all traffic laws. We will ride two-abreast only where
bike lanes, road shoulders and terrain allow, but will otherwise ride
single-file. Please signal all significant road hazards to your
fellow cyclists well ahead of time, and please allow those familiar
with the route to ride at the front. We will also do our best to have
members of our club positioned at the back of the ride to ensure that
no one is left behind.

Please be aware that although we are making efforts to alert police
departments of our plans Sunday morning, this is not an official,
licensed event, and all riders who participate will be doing so at
their own risk.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Mark and his family. Mark was a
kind and generous person and will be missed more than words can
describe."
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