UPDATE: Bicyclist Killed in Crash With Metro Bus

An investigation into the cause of the crash was ongoing.

UPDATE at 12:45 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15: Coroner rules death as accidental.

According to the preliminary investigation, the woman lost control of her bicycle after some trucks passed her, and her handlebar hit a parked vehicle, said Sgt. Philip Brooks of the Malibu/Lost Hills Station. She then veered into the bus, and was dragged beneath it and crushed, he said.

The driver was not arrested, Brooks said, but the investigation was continuing.

UPDATE at 9:45 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13: Metro responds to collision.

MTA spokesman Luis Inzunza told City News Service that he didn't know if there were any passengers on board the bus when the accident occurred.

"I don't know whether the driver was a man or a woman or what the driver's previous safety record was," Inzunza said. "But we are doing our own investigation as well. And I know it's standard policy to give the driver a drug and alcohol test after any accident."

Inzunza said that as of 8:30 p.m., he did not yet have the results of that drug and alcohol test.

UPDATE at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13: Southbound Pacific Coast Highway is now fully open.

A woman riding a bicycle died Saturday afternoon after colliding with a Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.

The accident took place about 1:50 p.m. at 25019 Pacific Coast Highway, near Puerco Canyon Road, according to the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. The Los Angeles County Fire Department pronounced the bicyclist dead after arriving at the scene. 

"It is too early to verify who was at fault," Lt. Josh Thai of the Los Angeles County sheriff's Malibu/Lost Hills Station said. "Right now we are trying to piece things together and gather witnesses."

Thai said the Metro bus was on duty at the time of the accident. He described the dead bike rider as a 36-year-old female of Latino descent. Her family has yet to be notified. Thai said he was unsure if the woman was wearing a helmet.

Southbound Pacific Coast Highway between Puerco Canyon Road and John Tyler Drive has been closed temporarily.

City News Service contributed to this report.

Lindsey Bell October 15, 2012 at 04:48 PM
My post was intended to extend my sympathy, and also to show my support and willingness to do whatever I can to help the community figure out a way to make things safer for the roadway's most vulnerable (cyclists). It was very difficult driving by what, at first, looked like a construction tangle, only too-late discovering that it was the scene of where someone had lost their life. I suppose I wanted people to know that another soul was indelibly touched by this tragedy, so there might be a recognizance of enough of us to ban together to effect positive change. If I've added to anyone's grief, I HEARTFULLY apologize. Blessings on Maricela and her loved ones ~
dee October 15, 2012 at 05:11 PM
2 arguments here: 1. The LAW states that you can ride your bike here 2. Common sense says that it's dangerous and life threatening hmmm I guess if the LAW says you can jump off a bridge, maybe we should follow the law... besides... that makes it legal. End of the day, someone's life is gone. Best wishes to the family and friends...
Stuart McClay Smith October 15, 2012 at 07:37 PM
I was an avid road cyclist in Texas before moving to Malibu. I took one look at PCH and said "no way!". The problem, as I see it, is the combination of 60mph speeds, parallel parking along the beach, and bicycles. One of those factors needs to go. I know the roadside parking issue is also a beach access issue and the Coastal Commission seems much more focused on access than on safety. I've never actually seen that written, but it seems to be the case. Are we willing to accept an ENFORCED 35 mph speed limit? Probably not. So, the bikes have to go. Tens of thousands of bikers live in LA and they have very few choices of suitable roads. Road bikers need many miles of relatively level asphalt and a minimum number of cross streets. Although PCH is dangerous I'm not sure where else to send them. Me, I bought a mountain bike and really enjoy the various fire roads and trails throughout the Santa Monica mountains.
John October 15, 2012 at 07:44 PM
There is no bike lane on PCH in that area and she has the right to the full use of the lane. It sounds like the bus driver overtook her when it was not safe, obviously. No matter where the blame lies, it really stinks that she lost her life. So sad and my heart goes out to her loved ones.
saddened October 15, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Years ago I joined Team n Training. I remember I wouldn't do the rides on PCH because I was petrified of the road. There isn't enough space on the road for anything other than the cars, but that is just my opionion. I just felt it was so dangerous. Laws, no laws, it's not very safe. What an awful tragedy. My prayers are with her family.
Saddened October 15, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Saddened at the loss of a teammate, mentor to some and a friend to all. May her death not be in vain. Every time we ride on PCH, we are putting our lives at risk. After the news, I was stunned, shocked and questioning why this had to happen to such a beautiful spirit. I hope that we as cyclist as TNT family can find ways to not let this unfortunate accident be in vain. I also hope we can find other ways to get in our hills and distance rides instead of PCH.
Diane TK October 16, 2012 at 02:48 AM
My family and I drove by the accident on Saturday and were so very saddened. I live in Michigan and felt extremely vulnerable driving around LA. I continually observed almost all drivers going way over the speed limit, tail-gaiting, passing with little room between cars, texting and driving,,,,,,,,,,,,all so dangerous. I certainly don't know the circumstances of this accident and I am not blaming anyone. I pray that drivers will be more respectful and hopefully reduce injuries and death. California is so beautiful, slow down and enjoy.
R. White October 16, 2012 at 05:56 AM
Actually, Dee, it is ILLEGAL to JUMP OFF BRIDGES. That's why BASE jumpers are always running from the law once they land, and suicide jumpers are always arrested if they survive. Also, there are many activities and places that are "dangerous" and "life threatening", like; driving on the 405 Fwy, traveling in a third world country, eating sushi at an "all you can eat sushi" bar, etc. By your logic, we should all just close the curtains and stay home. Yes, it's sad that this young womans' life was cut short. My heart goes out to her family and friends. Obviously, she took life by the tail and was getting the most out of it. Salute to living a life without fear.
Mark W October 17, 2012 at 01:38 AM
We drove by likely one minute after it happened and the image will haunt me forever. Thoughts and prayers to everyone who knew her. And I agree, something must be done about PCH immediately.
dee October 17, 2012 at 03:55 PM
R. White, You are right. Biking on a Highway is a very dangerous activity. Exactly what Norma Flores was trying to say. "Your Putting your life at risk." Please pay attention to the "if" for my example. Of course you would think that legalizing the activity of jumping off a bridge would never happen but then again, they made it legal to ride on a highway. And no, by my logic, you make a decision/assessment on your risk vs reward. Sushi is low risk, and very rewarding for many. Biking on a state highway, very high risk and rewards vary for everyone. FYI, you are missing the f in "I you are ever charged with a vehicular crime, your comment here will be used to demonstrate your lack of clarity regarding the CA vehicle code." I wish this didn't happen but it did. One of my close friends knew here and trained with her and she was a great and very positive person.
Barrie Livingstone October 18, 2012 at 08:02 PM
I pass by and see mourners crying with heaving sobs and it makes me also sad. Norma Flores the 1st comment is correct. Unfortunately bike lanes, helmets nor slower speeds will ever bring this poor woman or any other cyclist that has lost there lives on pch, Malibu canyon or any other of our busy roads. It is my opinion that is clearly not safe nor should it be allowed for the state or city to allow cyclists on these dangerous roads. Cyclists need to understand that there are so many variables such as this one that can happen in a split second and it can easily be all over. Heavy traffic consisting of trucks, buses and cars all traveling at 45-50 miles an hour do not mix. Even if no one was speeding and everyone drove the speed limit. These bikes are literally inches from fast moving heavy machines. Its a recipe for disaster and should NOT be allowed. No bike lane can ever make an imaginary barrier between a bicycle and bus. lets urge the state to protect its citizens
Noel October 18, 2012 at 08:29 PM
People die on PCH in cars, as pedestrians, on motorcycles, in trucks, and on bikes. A few years ago a man was swept out to sea while fishing. All of these deaths are tragic. Being a skilful vehicle operator, a cyclist making good decisions about the road and their experience level, and sharing the road all the while engaging in a living dialogue about how to best accomodate all the different users on PCH can be done free of hysterical responses. Training and cycling on PCH is a daily act for many of us. It can be made safer.. but at the same time, we are all not dying out there. Accidents happen. RIsk esposure is a complex thing and this is an opportunity to make the highway better and safer. Removing the cyclists is not the answer. We are a part of the community.
Ann Tomkins October 19, 2012 at 12:10 AM
I agree that bikes should not be inches from fast moving heavy machines. That is illegal. However, it is the drivers that are violating the law. Motorists need to leave 3 feet distance between their vehicle and a cyclist. If they don't have room to pass safely, they need to wait until they can. Drivers who do not leave sufficient room should be ticketed and prosecuted when they cause an accident. Because PCH is the only road along some stretches of the beach, there is no way that it will ever be illegal for cyclists to ride on the road. The State couldn't legally restrict access to motorists only, even if you could convince the legislature that it was a good idea. Cyclists are even allowed on those sections of the freeway where there is no alternative route. The courts would't allow the State to eliminate access to more than 20 miles of the California coastline, even if they believed you wanted to do it to protect cyclists.
Kelly Higgins October 21, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Oh man Noel, hell on the know! You cannot ride PCH safely, You need to get your rich friends to elevate a nice road way for your pushy bike friends, you guys blow every stop sign and stop light, you ride 3 wide when ever you feel like it You must keep a minimum speed on your bike or get a ticket, you make us drivers suffer when ever we run over you, You act like children !!! The adults say no more !! get off PCH !! Life is hard enough sorry man! Too many people suffer when one of you die....
Marshall Thompson October 21, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Crippling motor traffic is not the answer either, Noel. We all need to share the road but cycling is nearly 100 % recreational. There are infinitesimally small numbers of people that actually commute or conduct business or go shopping on a bicycle on PCH. Cycle traffic cannot in any possibility even approach 1 % of total vehicular traffic. The enormous majority are internal combustion-powered commuters, families, commercial deliveries, government, postal, long distance travelers, buses, construction rigs and the like. I actually think that since my wife Susan Tellem began this cyclist-motorist dialogue during her tenure on Malibu Public Safety Commission that things have improved. There will always be the occasional regrettable accident but I have observed that more drivers are giving cyclists better room and that cyclists have improved their stopping at red lights and stop signs. Yet I reject the "tyranny of the minority" point of view that we have to remake the entire coastline at enormous cost for the convenience of a tiny few that chose to ride along a highway that has been called "slaughter alley" since my Dad drove it in the 1950's. The dialog has improved traffic safety awareness on the part of both drivers and cyclists and I hope our mutual behaviors and respect continue to build.
Bob Perkins DDS October 21, 2012 at 04:23 AM
It was tremendously sad today at her funeral. Her brother gave the most beautiful eulogy you could ever want to hear...not a dry eye. Mari was clearly an extraordinary human being! The place was packed and it was heartbreaking watching as her mother and sister waved goodbye to the hearst as it drove away slowly. It was a great privilege to be there and a day I will not soon forget. I got to talk to the mother, sister, brother, and boyfriend, among others, and I told them all how Malibu has been shaken by this tragedy. It was a tremendously sad, yet beautiful day. The brother said, (I am trying to remember exactly), "losing Mari is like finding out that the moon is no longer in the sky, or that there is no more color in the world" and much more stuff I can't recall. He said that when he heard the Billy Joel song, "She's Got a Way about Her", he immediately called Mari up and told her that it reminded him of her (his sister) "She's got a way about her I don't know what it is But I know that I can't live without her She's got a way of pleasin' I don't know why it is But there doesn't have to be a reason anywhere She's got a smile that heals me I don't know what it is But I have to laugh when she reveals me She's got a way of talkin' I don't know why it is But it lifts me up when we are walkin' anywhere She comes to me when I'm feelin' down Inspires me without a sound She touches me and I get turned around She's got a way of showin'"
Bob Perkins DDS October 21, 2012 at 04:36 AM
Marshall- Here is how I see it. I drove on PCH today and there were just as many cyclists as ever, undaunted. I think the only thing I can say is that you can't expect people to not ride on PCH, yes, try and make it safer for all, but cyclists will do what cyclists do...you can't tell a bird not to fly or a fish not to swim. They know their safety is not promised; it is a slight risk they are willing to take in order to live life the way they see fit. God help us if we are always running away from risk. Mari was quoted on the back of the memorial program as saying something to this effect: (If you are not scared from time to time in your life then you are not living it to the fullest) "Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all." - Helen Keller Ten cuidado pero vive su vida al maximo!
Hans Laetz October 21, 2012 at 02:04 PM
"Crippling motor traffic" ??? You don't mean asking motorists to share the road? Your wife spoke eloquently for years about the need for slower speeds on PCH, Marshall. The current lane widths, median and other roadway features are vestiages of the 1945 state freeway plan, which widened PCH to the freeway standards of the time. PCH was quite literally laid out for a 55 mph design speed east of the pier, and 65 mph west of the pier. Since then, the only changes were the 1964 left turn lane installations and a few traffic lights. We still have the 1945 freeway! Crippling to road? No. We need a 21st century road, designed to encourage 45 mph packs, not the 65 mph Mad Max races that we see. We need narrower lanes in the straightaways, wide lanes in the curves. We need bikes out of traffic. We need safe places to walk and cross. That seems reasonable, not crippling, don't you think?
Shelley Marks Kramer October 21, 2012 at 07:18 PM
I am sorry for the death of anyone on PCH, especially the bike riders.But pch WITH 3500-5000 POUND cars, truck and buses is no place to ride a bike, especially when there are no bike lanes. Cars and buses cannot simply move over to avoid hitting them, they take their own lives at hand if they were to hit another car in the lane next to them. Bikers cannot compete with these monster vehicles, and they take their lives into their own hands. There are plenty of places to ride bikes safely, but not on PCH. I think these bike riders have a death wish, or like to live life dangerously. I just do not understand how we are to understand bikes and cars are allowed to oocupy the same space going 50 miles an hour. Bikes simply cannot compete with cars. the bike riders assume that 3500 pound vehicles can simply move over to avoid hittiing them when they cross the line on their "bike paths". I have been dangerously close to many of these bike riders who ride on PCH with cars and trucks, no bike lane in many parts of PCH in Santa Monica, when there is a safe bike lane right on the beach that is for that purpose, right next to them????
Hans Laetz October 21, 2012 at 07:52 PM
"Cars and buses cannot simply move over to avoid hitting them." Really? They can't get off the gas for a second, merge slightly, and go around? Really? Well, that says a lot. It just amazes me thatmany Malibu residents look at this as if it's in a vacuum. As if, PCH is somehow magically special -- different than any other street or highway in California. As if, it's a problem that exists here and only here. The fact of the matter is that PCH is part of a statewide coastal trail. And -- are you ready for this -- PCH has a death rate and an accident rate THAT IS BELOW STATE AVERAGES FOR HIGHWAYS WITH THESE TRAFFIC LOADS. That's the conclusion of the LA County sheriff in the recent PCH traffic study. Of course, we all have perception bias. We drive on PCH. We see crashes on PCH. Therefore, more crashes happen on PCH than anywhere else. PCH is the biggest baddest traffic problem in the world. Except ... it isn't. It's a fixable challenge. And mark my words. Either Malibu fixes this, or someone else will come in and fix it for us. If you think Malibu can convince the rest of California that Malibu should be the only city in the entire state to shirk its responsibility to its own residents who ride bikes, you have another thing coming. Our city council is moving in the right direction. But studies and oral promises are not enough. It's time for paint.
Noel October 21, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Kelly, I can only speak for myself and the folks I ride with. I obey traffic laws. I was a licensed Cat 2 (which is a nice way of saying I have more than just the basic skills), I have a doctorate. I'm not wealthy. I only ride with folks of a similar level of experience and values (because my life depends on it). I have not been killed on PCH. Mari's accident is an anomoly. Cyclists are the least of the dangers on PCH... but at the same time... one has to see that we're all not in peril there. What is clear from these comments is that there's room for education for both drivers and cyclists... because clearly there are good and bad of both. Whatever desires or feelings on has about cyclists on PCH, the reality is that the law won't change and cyclist will continue to make themselves home there. GIven this fact, its best to try and make the road serve all its legal users. I'm sorry so many of you are put off by seeing cyclists blow lights. I'm also saddened to see that you assume the majority behave this way. I could easily make the same assumptions about drivers and texting or speeding (or running lights). The conversation we're not getting to here does involve bus drivers. Most of the folks I talk to that train daily on PCH and ride seriously... feel that the bus drivers often drive with the intent to endanger or intimidate cyclists. There's simply more room here for education. And again, we're all heartbroken over this tragedy. We ride for Mari.
Noel October 21, 2012 at 08:06 PM
I'm wondering how you all manage to avoid the trash trucks on Thursdays? Or the buses on the PCH, or the constant contruction and service trucks (again, I've lived in Malibu or nearbye since 1978)? I've yet to feel stress seeing a cyclist in the road when I'm in my car. Its a non issue. On the rare occassion I encounter folks in the lane, I simply notice them up ahead, scan the environment, and slow and or move over. The only way I can imagine a car struggling with this is if they try and drive as if cyclists arent there and force themselves in spaces they shouldn't be and then react in a panic. Simple defensive driving solves all of this. It reads kind of intellectual lazines and a lack of understanding about how to drive safely when coming upon slower moving traffic. It's just not that hard.
hellwood October 22, 2012 at 01:11 AM
Noel, you are a real hot shot behind the wheel are ya? ...have you checked your brake fluid lately? can you read the wear pattern of your tires? have you ever even opened the hood of your car?? ...and Im sure you have raced your car at the track to test its limits too, right? how far can you wheelie your bicycle? Do you underestimate the real dangers on the highway as much as you overestimate your skills as a driver?
JINGO October 23, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Cyclists are extremely arrogant when on PCH. Whether any of the posters are is irrelevant. I have been riding this "highway" for 36 years and there is absolutely NO WAY that bikes should be allowed there. As a driver your natural response is not to pull left into potential oncoming traffic. The bicyclists ride two or three abreast, and even if they don't they are going at speeds that is not safe for them, not unlike cars going above 60 on this road. I saw the body, and all it did was confirm fears i have had travelling this ancient road for over 30 years. IT IS WRONG FOR ALL INVOLVED.
Seth Davidson October 25, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Noel, unskilled cyclists put their lives at risk on PCH. That's because PCH is filled with people like Hellwood, gasbags who think that they are skilled drivers when in fact they, like 99% of all other Americans behind the wheel of a car, are "vehicle pointers." No skilled driver should have any trouble spotting a cyclist, easily changing lanes, then returning to the right lane. However, people like Hellwood think that driving should be an experience where nothing ever happens to impede their straight line of travel. So while most cyclists are sorely lacking in the bike handling department, their counterparts (Hellwood et al.) are equally inept drivers. The solution is obvious. Do what they do in Hermosa, and what they're getting ready to do on PCH in OC after the spate of cyclist fatalities there: Install sharrow markings that a) encourage cyclists to take the lane, where they belong, and b) teach doofuses like Hellwood that they need to expect cyclists in their lane of travel and develop the skills to see, safely pass, and resume. All of the babble about "cars will kill you little bikers," "bikers are arrogant," "it's daaaaaangerous," have zero to do with the discussion and add no constructive solution of any kind. Car pointers: Bikers have the right to be in "your" lane. And guess what? It's not "your" lane.
hellwood October 25, 2012 at 04:10 AM
cool...Seth has officially joined us. Hey Seth! Come on over and Ill take you for a drive. Then you can write something accurate instead of acting like you know me. the boo hoo hellwood this and that makes you sound like a little baby. Your reading comprehension skills are minimal at best. You write an entire article that basically says 90% of PCH's problem is moronic drivers which is something Ive been saying for years. You should have quoted me instead of making up lies. I dont care one way or another if you ride on PCH. Why dont you go insult someone who actually thinks biking should be banned all together on PCH?
R. White October 25, 2012 at 04:26 AM
Hellwood, JINGO; Pump your brakes. No. Really. Pump your brakes before you run someone down and send them home in a pine box. Imagine how you will feel for the rest of your life knowing that your callous attitude toward road users other than yourself ended someones life. Seriously. Take just a moment and imagine trying to go to sleep at night knowing that your attitude and actions killed someone. Imagine the anguish the victim's family is suffering. Do you really want to be the cause of so much damage and harm? What if someone in your family decided to go for a bike ride on PCH and didn't come home? Causing this kind of damage will irreparably change your life, emotionally and financially. If you don't take responsibility for your actions, the courts will do it for you. Justice can be a very hard pill to swallow. If you disregard the safety of others, as is your legal duty the moment you turn out of your driveway, you'd better have some deep pockets to defend yourself. Even that might not be enough. Think about what your life will be like if you cause someone's death. Sit for a moment and think about that. I'm sure you can do better than you have presented yourself in this forum. The next time you see a cyclist on PCH, imagine they are your Brother, or Sister, or Mother or Father. Would you run them down?
Jody Kern October 27, 2012 at 03:50 AM
Hellwood, Marshall, I applaud your efforts in striving to get though to some cyclists here but as the saying goes, "You can't reason with a turnip." PCH is one of the most beautiful places to do anything, I can see how cyclists really dig all the scenery and the ocean, totally get it. I have been trying to sympathize and keep an open mind. So yeah, I hear ya. You have every right to ride on PCH, by law. Just like a stuntman has every right to be a stuntman. A surfer has every right to paddle out at Mavericks. Etc, etc. Just because you can, doesn't mean it's a good idea, and no citation of laws, routes, or rights will protect you from multiple, ever-present factors that are beyond your control. That being said, I don't apologize for getting frustrated toward misbehaving cyclists on PCH. Living out here, most of us work 30 to 40 miles from home. Malibu is still pretty much an outpost. We have to travel a lot to get things done and it can be really frustrating when people are joyriding 2 and 3 abreast around parked cars. I'll give you enough room, but you bet I will continue to yell and curse at you when it's called for. As for the more cool and reasonable riders, you have my respect, I wish you the best but still think you are risking it big to ride PCH. Why not go to much safer designated cycling paths elsewhere? PCH will never be reasonably safe for cyclists. Not because of me, or Hellwood, or any conscious local. To many wildcards out there.
Ann Tomkins October 27, 2012 at 04:14 AM
Perhaps when you are ticketed for road rage you will realize that yelling and cursing at cyclists is never "called for".
Jody Kern October 27, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Actually, you're right, no need to curse :>)


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