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Grand Tour Double Century-cyclist Hit!?

Old 07-02-09, 08:03 AM
  #26  
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I hope that everyone read the blog that I posted a link to. Please pass it on if you are so inclined....
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Old 07-02-09, 09:29 AM
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Hi Alice,

Yes, I saw the blog courtesy of ME's tweet. I didn't know that you wrote it. It's a tragedy that moves cyclists but non-cyclists just don't get it and I fear that they won't get it for a long time.
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Old 07-02-09, 09:48 AM
  #28  
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Wait...Cleave I'm not the author, I meant that I posted a link to it earlier in the thread...( I'll edit that post)

It's written by Stephen Box, activist and occasional poster here at BF.
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Old 07-02-09, 10:00 AM
  #29  
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All the speed limits and rule changes in the world aren't going to stop a drunk from driving dagnerously. More enforcement can, and will, if we're willing to lobby for that.
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Old 07-02-09, 11:09 AM
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As a memorial, here are some photos of the father and son doing something they really enjoyed...
(received as part of a communication from the California Triple Crown organization)

Rodrigo Chris Armas

Team Armas

Chris Armas

Rod Armas

Rod Chris Armas Soup
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Old 07-02-09, 11:20 AM
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Wow...those are sure hard to look at.


Thanks
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Old 07-02-09, 03:07 PM
  #32  
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When I think of all the bike rides I've done with my sons, and how this could have been me (or them), it's a very sobering thought.

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Old 07-03-09, 08:26 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR View Post
When I think of all the bike rides I've done with my sons, and how this could have been me (or them), it's a very sobering thought.

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+1
Monday night we had one of our local riders hit and killed in Bakersfield by a drunk driver at 7:30pm, still light outside. 2 Kern County riders killed in 2 days by drunk drivers. When will it stop!
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Old 08-06-09, 10:46 AM
  #34  
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There is a Memorial Fund...

Also a Ghost Bike in the works...
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Old 07-21-10, 10:04 AM
  #35  
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https://bikinginla.wordpress.com/2010...-of-rod-armas/
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Old 07-21-10, 10:37 AM
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I didn't see this thread last year, or I would have commented on it. I did the GT highland triple with a friend in 2009, and we were apparently about 5-10 minutes behind Rod Armas and his son.

We rolled up on the scene perhaps 5 minutes or so after it happened. No doubt, Robert Sanchez passed us moments before he struck them.

A black bike was in the bushes, front wheel gone and rear wheel with a slew of broken spokes. It was shattered. A white bike in the same sorry state was next to the cyclist getting CPR.

The son was laying down in the bushes, with a blanket to keep him warm. As many EMTs as there were working on the Dad, none were working on the son. When asked, all he was told was that they were working on his Dad.

At that late hour, PCH is a beautiful ride. There is virtually no traffic whatsoever, and you can see the summer constellations and hear the waves breaking on the shore. Beautiful, really.

To ride up on a scene full of flashing red lights and tragedy .... it was surreal.

A little east of the crash site, Rick noticed a full sized Dodge Ram pickup with damage to the front. We thought that might have been the vehicle that did all the damage. Apparently, it was. There were Sheriffs and CHP everywhere, apparently looking for the driver.

It was a terrible end to what was up until that time, a great day. I hope I never see anything like that again.

We were doing the Highland Triple to train for the HooDoo and the 508. So we had planned to get up early the next morning and do another 100 miles. We took a loop that sent us by the same place.

The crash site is about 1/2 mile East of Leo Carillo ... right by the Nicholas Canyon sign, and the asphalt where the accident occurred is heavily marked. “Helmet.” “Shoe.” “AOI-1,” “AOI-2.” “Head.” “Foot.” There were water bottles and broken pieces of rear flashers about.

We stood there, straddling our bikes. It was a beautiful sunny day, with all number of families enjoying a day at the beach. Sunny, warm, and beautiful. Car after car rushed by in the bright daylight. A postcard California day … what a contrast to the dark tragedy only 12 hours before.

A car parked behind us, and a man emerged with his little girl. He also looked about with a sense of loss. He came over to speak to us.

Turns out he was one of the law enforcement officers responding to the scene the night before. He had been heading westbound on PCH to the scene of the accident, when he saw a pickup truck going the other way that looked … “hinky.” But it wasn’t until he got to the scene that he realized the pickup truck was the same one that laid a family to waste. He took off in the other direction to catch him, but by the time he did, the truck was abandoned. Thus began the search.

Apparently, Sanchez had abandoned the truck, and ran. Somehow, he got all the way to Trancas or Pt. Dume (I am unclear as to which), and attempted to pass himself off as someone that had just been carjacked. He also claims to have fallen asleep, but apparently, alcohol was involved. The driver was apparently an emotional wreck.

One of the worst things about this crash were some of the public comments I read about the many news stories. Many seemed to imply that the father was somehow irresponsible for riding out there with his son at 1:30AM.

Of course, those statements evidence complete ignorance of the risks of riding a bicycle and are little more than the usual "blame the victim because he's different than me" mentality. PCH is infinitely safer at 1AM than it is at 1PM.

Anyway, I've been checking to see what happened in this case. I had heard that Mr. Sanchez' blood was not tested immediately, and wondering how anyone could be incompetent enough to allow that to happen. It would have been a travesty if he were to lay a family to waste, and walk away without punishment because of law enforcement's incompetence.

Thanks for the info! Was a ghost bike ever installed?
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Old 07-21-10, 06:07 PM
  #37  
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Well said biker. Here's info on the plea bargain. Notice that your post was so evocative that the blogger linked it from his blog.

https://bikinginla.wordpress.com/2010...-of-rod-armas/
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Old 07-22-10, 01:14 PM
  #38  
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Very, very sad story... but I want to folllow-up on what Heckboy says... especially since I know and care about you double and triple riders... (Rick, Dante you hear me!?!)

our society is changing especially here in so cal. We just have to acknowledge that there are many more and will be even more, people out there who have no business driving on our roads. DUI's are up and will continue to go up as the laws in this state just aren't tough enough to deal with these people. There is no way to lock them up in jail - our jails are already full of *******, robbers, murderers etc. There is no consequence to driving drunk, really none.

So my point... it is dangerous to ride at 1:30am... it just is. I don't blame the cyclist, how wrong would that be, but he was in harm's way being out there so late. If some of you need to ride at that time, have a sag following you and watching traffic. Please be safe, and don't let your families be sorry!

BTW I offer my self up as a sag... if you ever need someone please let me know (I'v done this for another friend of mine who does doubles). If I can keep someone safe that's enough for me.
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Old 07-22-10, 02:16 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Pamestique View Post
There is no consequence to driving drunk, really none.
For most people, the financial consequences of a DUI are pretty significant. That said, it is silly that we don't have graduated punishment levels. Punishment for .3 should be harsher than for .1.
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Old 07-22-10, 03:42 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Pamestique View Post
(Rick, Dante you hear me!?!)
Yes Pam, Thanks I hear you!

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Old 07-22-10, 03:43 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Pamestique View Post
Very, very sad story... but I want to folllow-up on what Heckboy says... especially since I know and care about you double and triple riders... (Rick, Dante you hear me!?!)

our society is changing especially here in so cal. We just have to acknowledge that there are many more and will be even more, people out there who have no business driving on our roads. DUI's are up and will continue to go up as the laws in this state just aren't tough enough to deal with these people. There is no way to lock them up in jail - our jails are already full of *******, robbers, murderers etc. There is no consequence to driving drunk, really none.

So my point... it is dangerous to ride at 1:30am... it just is. I don't blame the cyclist, how wrong would that be, but he was in harm's way being out there so late. If some of you need to ride at that time, have a sag following you and watching traffic. Please be safe, and don't let your families be sorry!

BTW I offer my self up as a sag... if you ever need someone please let me know (I'v done this for another friend of mine who does doubles). If I can keep someone safe that's enough for me.
The problem is not that there are no consequences. The problem is no one believes those consequences will happen to them.

You would think that a reasonable person making a decision on whether to engage in illegal activity would consider both (1) the probability of getting caught and (2) the cost (punishment) if they are caught. The curious reality is that they do not. Most do not believe they are going to be caught, so don't consider the punishment. Increased enforcement has been shown to deter criminal behavior, but not increased punishment. It makes no sense to me, but that is what the studies show.

And I disagree about your point about riding at 1:30 AM.

I ride on PCH regularly. Usually, I'm there in the early morning or the late afternoon ... going from one of the canyon roads in the Santa Monica Mountains to another. Parts of PCH are downright dangerous. Lot of parked cars. Little shoulder. No median. A lot of commercial activity on both sides of the street. People walking around in bathing suits ... perfect for distracting driver's attention. And of course, the usual cadre of people texting and what not while they are driving. Heck, two cyclists were run over and killed by someone driving a taco truck ... apparently because the driver didn't want to disturb someone cooking inside the truck while they were driving(!)

Last year, I was training for the 508, and our typical training ride was a 250 mile exercise that saw us on PCH at late hours. From that, I can tell you this ... at 1:30 AM, there is virtually NO traffic whatsoever on PCH. You can literally ride along for 10-15 minutes at a time and see no traffic heading in your direction. Automobiles that DO show up are easy to eye in your rear view mirror and take appropriate evasive action if necessary. That is not at all the case at say ... 1:30 PM, when the roads are full of motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.

So no ... I do not accept the premise that it is more dangerous to ride a bicycle at 1:30 AM than it is at 1:30 PM. The opposite rings truer to me.

At 1:30 AM, Rod Armas might as well been sitting in his automobile at County Line, an open window to the ocean, having a talk with his son about what it means to be a man. What if Robert Sanchez had rear ended them in that vehicle and killed them? Does that make a late night heart to heart talk with your son too dangerous of a thing to risk?

Or put it this way. Suppose Rod had finished the ride as planned and was westbound in his car, heading back home at 1:30 AM. If Robert Sanchez had swerved the other way, struck him and killed him, would you have the same thing to say? Of course not.

Rod was a victim of Robert Sanchez irresponsibility and his bad luck to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He had no hand, no fault, and no responsibility for what happened.

All that being said, your offer to sag is more than generous and much appreciated. You'd better be careful though. Since you're apparently hooked into the double century circuit, I suspect we either know each other or have mutual friends. I just might be hypocritical enough to take you up on your offer.
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Old 07-22-10, 03:55 PM
  #42  
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Listen I am just saying - times are changing; different people live in this area... people who are for one reason or another (just don't want to get to much into this discussion or this gets moved to P & R ) won't suffer the consequences of killing a cyclist. They just won't (and don't). People who don't have money don't pay fees and penalties. Most don't have licenses to lose to begin with. They don't serve jail time; too much overcrowding.

Don't be a statistic that's all I ask. I would hate for your family to be posting a blog about their loss...
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Old 07-22-10, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
All that being said, your offer to sag is more than generous and much appreciated. You'd better be careful though. Since you're apparently hooked into the double century circuit, I suspect we either know each other or have mutual friends. I just might be hypocritical enough to take you up on your offer.
Anytime... just let me know. Rick can vouce for me...
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Old 07-22-10, 04:09 PM
  #44  
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LOL ... thanks. I'm betting we've already met, actually.

And I understand your point too.

That whole scene is one that I've replayed in my mind over and over. Not only did we roll up on a terrible crash, helpless to do anything about it. Not only was the scene surreally awash in red flashing lights and EMTs ... there was also this:

That guy on the ground ... his son shivering in the bushes ... the EMTs trying to CPR him to life? Not 15 minutes before, I was wishing I was that guy. I spent the good part of the previous 12 hours thinking how cool it would be if instead it was my son and I who were out there riding together.
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Old 07-22-10, 04:14 PM
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No don't wish that... not ever. Don't leave your children without a father. I love the sport as well (I have never done doubles though - I much rather sag...) but not enough to allow some tragedy... terrible thing to see and experience. Talk it out with friends and family. You most likely will be suffering over it for some time.
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Old 07-23-10, 12:05 PM
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I guess I'm the mutual friend (or one of many?) since I know Victor from riding doubles and Pam from local (Irvine, Orange County) rides.

Re: SAG, As a matter of fact Jackie (my wife) and Mary (John Long's wife) are looking for a SAG driver for the Grand Tour Workers Ride . . . but I forget the date (pretty soon!).

Send me a bikeforums.net message if you're at all interested.

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Old 07-23-10, 01:14 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Pamestique View Post
So my point... it is dangerous to ride at 1:30am... it just is. I don't blame the cyclist, how wrong would that be, but he was in harm's way being out there so late. If some of you need to ride at that time, have a sag following you and watching traffic. Please be safe, and don't let your families be sorry
I don't agree.

There's less traffic at 1:30 am in LA than at 5pm. The most dangerous time to ride is at dusk, during rush hour in the winter according to the NHTSA.

And take it from someone who spent a lot of my life around drunks. They don't care what hour it is when they decide to get behind the wheel of a car.
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Old 07-23-10, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by grrlyrida View Post
I don't agree.

There's less traffic at 1:30 am in LA than at 5pm. The most dangerous time to ride is at dusk, during rush hour in the winter according to the NHTSA.

And take it from someone who spent a lot of my life around drunks. They don't care what hour it is when they decide to get behind the wheel of a car.
to each his/her own... I am not saying don't ride... I am just saying to be aware of the situation and surroundings. Statistics show most drunk driving incidents occur after midnight... but yes, now adays, they can happen any time of the day.

One reason why I find mountain biking (i.e. off city streets) more and more my cup of tea. I am trying to find a way to train for a century (Cool Breeze) by doing just offroad and bike trails but its hard to do!
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Old 07-23-10, 04:26 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Pamestique View Post
to each his/her own... I am not saying don't ride... I am just saying to be aware of the situation and surroundings. Statistics show most drunk driving incidents occur after midnight... but yes, now adays, they can happen any time of the day.

One reason why I find mountain biking (i.e. off city streets) more and more my cup of tea. I am trying to find a way to train for a century (Cool Breeze) by doing just offroad and bike trails but its hard to do!
I understand how you feel. I think at one time many cyclist think, "I just want to ride on paths away from traffic." That's why one of my favorite rides in up in Mt. Hollywood in Griffith Park. But I'm not only a recreational cyclist, I'm also a utility cyclist and plan to be a commuting cyclist. So I have to ride on the LA streets.

Good luck on the Cool Breeze.
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