Investigation into Bicyclist’s Death Continues

16-Year-Old Driver, Abel Maldonado’s Son, Was Hauling Horse Trailer in Pickup Truck

Originally published 5:00 p.m., August 19, 2014
Updated 11:00 a.m., August 20, 2014
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Matthew O’Neill was killed just before sunset along a narrow but well-traveled two-lane road east of Santa Maria surrounded by strawberry fields and low hills. It was 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 9, and he was riding his recumbent bicycle in a long distance trip from San Jose to Solvang, then back up to San Luis Obispo.

As he headed west along a straightaway of Foxen Canyon Road, O’Neill — 33 years old and a UCSB doctoral student studying special education — was clipped by a Chevy 3500 pickup truck hauling a horse trailer and also traveling westbound. He died at the scene. According to witnesses, O’Neill was on the far right edge of the road, and he and his bike were adorned with reflectors and lights. They said he was “lit up like a Christmas tree.”

Matthew O'Neill was a long-distance cycling enthusiast and a tireless supporter of those with special needs
Click to enlarge photo

Matthew O’Neill was a long-distance cycling enthusiast and a tireless supporter of those with special needs

The truck was driven by the 16-year-old son of former Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado, a Santa Maria resident who also served as mayor of the city. Maldonado’s 18-year-old son, Nicolas, was the only passenger. The California Highway Patrol said the incident is under investigation and will remain so “for quite some time,” but the agency doesn’t believe drugs or alcohol played a role. CHP spokesperson Craig Carrier said all factors are being looked at, including speed and distracted driving. He said the name of the 16-year-old — neither brother was hurt in the collision — won’t be released, because he’s a juvenile. The Maldonado family has not responded to requests for comment.

Over the last week, as friends and colleagues remember O’Neill for his quiet but tireless support of people with disabilities, questions have been lobbed about the legality around the teen’s driving that evening. Carrier said he’s fielded a number of such concerns and pointed to a section of California Vehicle Code that regulates young drivers who’ve had their license for less than a year: “Persons under the age of 18,” it reads “must be accompanied and supervised by a licensed parent, guardian, or other licensed driver 25 years of age or older” when they “transport passengers under 20 years of age at any time” or “drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.”

Carrier noted that the law allows for a number of exceptions to the restrictions, including for medical necessities, school-authorized activities, or work-related duties. “A signed note must be kept in your possession for any of these exceptions explaining the necessity and the date when the driving necessity will end,” the Vehicle Code states. Carrier said the CHP has still not determined if the driver met the requirements to opt out of the rule. He also said officers allow for some leeway when they catch under-18 violators committing minor infractions, like driving a few minutes after 11 p.m.

Two years ago, Nicolas Maldonado was involved in a fatal accident along the same stretch of road when the Cadillac Escalade his mother was driving was struck by a man high on meth who failed to yield at a cross street. The male driver was killed, and authorities ruled he was at fault for the violent collision. At the time, Abel Maldonado was running for congress.

Last Wednesday, UCSB’s Gevirtz School released a statement about their friend and colleague. “As a person Matt is remembered as witty, intelligent and kind,” said Senior Associate Dean Betsy Brenner. “He was into extreme long distance bicycling events, having traveled from Paris to Normandy in one event, and more recently down the coast of California. I will miss Matt, as will many others here.”

Others told The Independent that while O’Neill had attended law school, he chose to study special education because he wanted to improve the way teachers and administrators interact with the families of people with special needs. Originally from Chula Vista, O’Neill was living in Carpinteria with his girlfriend, who he planned to marry. He also owned a retired guide dog and often gave presentations at Guide Dogs for the Blind conferences.

The Gevirtz School said it will host a memorial event in honor of O’Neill this fall. Details will be announced at a later date. A Facebook page titled “Remember Matthew: Change Lanes to Pass a Cyclist” has been created here.

This article has been amended since its original posting.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Let's see: Ernesto Botello drove his car into legally riding 12-year old Jake Boysel, who died; Katelin Edwards did the same to Eric Okerblom; Marcos Almaguer did the same to Kendra Payne. All in Santa Barbara County. None of the car drivers suffered a significant penalty for their actions.

Seems like we have an epidemic of car drivers killing cyclists in Santa Barbara County. Seems like law enforcement and the district attorney aren't doing anything to maintain a legal deterrent on careless, lethal driving by car drivers.

Now a new case of a cyclist death related to car operation.

Naively, it looks like the 16-year old in this case was transporting an 18-year old passenger, and there was nobody 25 years or older in the car. Can that ever be legal?

Good that this article points out that the cyclists were “lit up like a Christmas tree” and riding at the far right of the road. The sun was to the rear of the car, I think, so the sun was not in the drivers' eyes.

We should withhold judgement on this specific case until the reports are complete. But the killing of cyclists by car drivers is way, way, out of hand in Santa Barbara County.

sevendolphins (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2014 at 5:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Add to the list of cyclists killed by careless car drivers: Martin Luna in Old Town in August, 2007, and Antonio Guerca in Old Town in September, 2001.

But I forgot: Marcos Almaguer plead guilty to `trespass with a motor vehicle' and spent 45 days in jail, and got 3 years probation, and had to pay $11,600 to the Kendra Payne Memorial Fund. Clearly not a sufficient deterrent.

sevendolphins (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2014 at 5:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It seems as if this kid should NEVER have been pulling a trailer considering his lack of experience.
On the other hand, no amount of demanding that we share the road will make it inherently safe to ride bikes on winding rural roads.

nomoresanity (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2014 at 6:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm reminded of Frank Hotchkiss' recent letter crying we don't need safer bike lanes.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2014 at 7:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

But this wasn't a windy road...

benthead (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2014 at 9:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

RIP to the bicyclist, but neither he or the other bicyclists considered how dangerous it was to ride bikes on that very narrow road, a road heavily used by large agricultural trucks and equipment.

AutoCoalition (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2014 at 9:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I just re-read the very first comment by sevendolphins and got a good laugh. He said " The sun was to the rear of the car, I think, so the sun was not in the drivers' eyes". According to the Indy article the collision happened ay 7:30 P.M. The cyclist was traveling westbound when he was clipped by the truck. The article never claimed the truck crossed the centerline and hit the westbound cyclist, so the truck must have also been traveling westbound, right into a low sun.

But another point: the deceased was traveling with a group of cyclists, but he was the only one hit. This indicates that possibly the deceased moved into the truck's path, or the trailer fishtailed into the deceased.

AutoCoalition (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2014 at 10:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@Sevendolphins, I happen to have the CA Driver handbook and it states "Necessity of family member including yourself, when adequate transportation facilities are unavailable and you need personal transportation or to transport a family member. You must carry a signed statement by a parent/legal guardian verifying the reason you must drive and the probable date the necessity will end" So possibly he was legally transporting his brother.

m2457 (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2014 at 10:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

At a minimum the CHP need to check the driver's cell phone in case that was a factor. Maybe this was done. But if not, obtain a search warrant and get it done in order to complete a thorough investigation. Texting or talking on the phone at the time of the collision would be reason enough for criminal charges.

rukidding (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 4:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

None of us were there, therefore, none of us know who--if anyone--was at fault.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 5:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

So auto coalition by your logic as a cyclist riding on any road that could be construed as dangerous I am basically "asking for it" and get what I deserve when hit by a car?

Funny that your anti bike friends also argue that there is no need to add bike lanes or make cycling safer.

Interesting that you also choose to hide behind an anonymous profile suggesting you realize how out of touch and vile your though processes are to others.

Maybe you should take a page from the NRA playbook and hold a pro car rally every time another cyclist is run down on our streets because clearly from your viewpoint it's always the cyclists fault.

Maybe I should just stay home today because it might be dangerous out there. .....or.....maybe you should just stay home and turn off your computer, your not helping anything.

billd (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 7:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

So billd fights perceived ignorance with even more ignorance? In spite of what the "bikes are more important than cars" nuts telling us, no matter what measures are taken it will always be more dangerous to ride a bike on many roads simply because cars are bigger, faster, and denser. You make a risk benefit analysis before you do nearly everything in life. I do not like riding my bike on a small number of downtown streets because of a combination of lack of lane width and traffic flow, so I avoid these streets under normal circumstances.

nomoresanity (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 7:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

First the article does not state the type of Chevy pickup ( short bed, long bed, 1/2, 3/4, 1 ton, standard 4 wheels or dually) nor the size of the trailer (one, two, three, four, six or 8 horse, bumper or gooseneck pull) makes a big difference as to tow-ability of the load and the skill set needed by the operator to maneuver the load as well as the class of driver license needed to operate the rig.

Many questions, but one thing is very evident, a 16 year-old should not be operating a trailered rig on public roads, just not enough behind the wheel experience.

Very sad for all involved.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 8:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Ken - I didn't know that Hotchkiss was a council member in Santa Maria too. The discussion often centers around getting people out of their cars and having them commute on bicycles instead. The fact is that most bicyclists (as this unfortunate victim was) are recreational bikers, not commuters. Most people would just prefer not to commute by bicycle for a variety of reasons.

Botany (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 8:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Autocoalition said ``RIP to the bicyclist, but neither he or the other bicyclists considered how dangerous it was to ride bikes on that very narrow road, a road heavily used by large agricultural trucks and equipment.'

And how do you know what `he or the other bicyclists considered'? Did you read the safety requirements for the ride?

The fact is you jumped to an unwarranted conclusion. Cyclists are intensely aware of the fact that most Santa Barbara County auto drivers are terrible drivers who ignore safety regulations and kill cyclists as a consequence.

Autocoalition said: ``I just re-read the very first comment by sevendolphins and got a good laugh. He said " The sun was to the rear of the car, I think, so the sun was not in the drivers' eyes". According to the Indy article the collision happened ay 7:30 P.M. The cyclist was traveling westbound when he was clipped by the truck.''

Yes, I was wrong. What set me in the wrong direction was the Indy report that the ride was a `250-mile San Jose-to-Solvang trip.'. When riding from San Jose to Solvang, one would not ride westbound on Foxen Canyon.

In reality they were riding a loop from SLO to Gaviota and back. The Indy got that wrong. They were on the return to SLO. Maybe the setting sun did influence the accident.

As to the possibility that the Maldonado sons were carrying a note, it will be interesting to find out whether they were, and whether the note is notarized with a time and date in the notary's log to prove it was not forged after the event.

The simple fact, however, is that the past killings of Antonio Guerca, Martin Luna, Jake Boysel, Kendra Payne, and Eric Okerblom prove that car drivers are immensely careless when they drive in Santa Barbara County.

Our law enforcement hierarchy doesn't care that cyclists are dying regularly due to the carelessness of auto drivers.

sevendolphins (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 8:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually, I have observed bicyclists breaking the law far more often than drivers do. Unfortunately, the consequences for the bikers are more severe no matter who is at fault.

Botany (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 8:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

And I have observed cars breaking the law far, far more often than bicyclists do. Almost every car I ever see doesn't come to a full stop, for example, at stop signs. Almost every car I see exceeds the speed limit on the 101. I see texting and phoning while driving a car much more frequently than I see cyclists at all. I see cars change lanes without signaling and turn without signaling more than I see cyclists at all.

Auto drivers are enormously careless and unlawful. They kill cyclists as a consequence of their poor driving. It is not he cyclists' fault.

And once every few months a driver gets on the 101 going the wrong direction entirely, often with catastrophic results for themselves and others.

Auto drivers are a menace and a danger to Santa Barbara County. Much more severe punishment is warranted for their crimes as a deterrent.

sevendolphins (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 8:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I have driven Foxen Canyon Road several times in the section of the roadway where the collision occurred. The traffic lanes are very narrow. Even in an automobile I perceive the danger. I would never consider riding a bike on that road, nor would any person who took the time to consider the narrowness of the road and the size of the trucks operating on the road.

AutoCoalition (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 8:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I have both driven and ridden my bike on the section of Foxen Canyon Road (just east of Dominion) on numerous occasions. The traffic lanes are not unusually narrow, and the road is straight for 1 mile.

The principal danger is from careless auto drivers who are texting, talking on their phone, smoking cigarettes, applying makeup, eating a hamburger, adjusting the radio, etc, or are who are drunk, when they should be focusing on the road and doing their driving safely and soberly.

Any person who takes the time to consider the overwhelming carelessness of many auto drivers knows that they are the killers on our roads, and they kill with impunity and the support of other killers in cars.

sevendolphins (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 9:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Any person can go to the google satellite view of Foxen Canyon Road where the collision took place. In the satellite view trucks and cars can be clearly seen. The road is barely wide enough to contain the width of a tractor-trailer truck 8 feet wide. The bicycle advocates/supporters commenting here refuse to accept the idea that bicycling on narrow roads that have truck traffic is dangerous and should be avoided. Any reasonable person could come to a conclusion that the bike advocate/supporters commenting here have a "kamikaze" kind of mentality where they seem willing to die for their cause.

AutoCoalition (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 9:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Why was the 16 year old driving and the 18 year old in the passenger seat? If the 16 year old needed practice pulling the trailer, the Maldonado family owns acres of private property with miles of roads on it where the kid could have practiced without putting anyone in danger. I agree with the bike advocates on this string. I commuted to work for a long time on my bike and scrupulously followed all the rules of the road and still I had several very close calls nearly being hit by auto drivers doing stupid, reckless, and selfish maneuvers. Bicyclists are typically very cautious out of self-preservation while auto drivers can often be careless because being encased in steel gives them a false sense of invulnerability. I'm sure the kid feels awful. Most young people learning to drive experience some minor mishap in the process. How terrible that this kid's mishap cost someone his life.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 9:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This is the second vehicular death caused by a member of the Maldonado Family. What's up with that?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 10:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Any reasonable person here can see that "AutoCoalition" is merely trying to white wash the event and blame the victim. "Autocoalition"? Ha! I'll stick with regular commentators who are familiar with the area than some anonymous one issue newbie.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 10:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

In the first accident the Maldanado family were the victims. What's up with your biased reporting blaming them for both?

JarvisJarvis (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 10:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Not one word from AutoCoalition ignoring the enormous frequency with which auto drivers text, talk on their phone, drive drunk, smoke cigarettes, eat hamburgers. Bicyclists are not kamikazes, auto drivers are careless and sloppy killers.

Just remember Antonio Guerca, Martin Luna, Jake Boysel, Kendra Payne, and Eric Okerblom all killed by careless auto drivers, with not a peep of acceptance of responsibility by AutoCoalition for trying to get car drivers to behave legally and safely.

The satellite images of Foxen Canyon road east of Dominion show a beautiful straight road with ample shoulders. That is exactly the experience I've had when I bike it and drive it. It is not a crowded road, and remember, it is the responsibility of ***CAR DRIVERS*** who *decide* to pass (there is no *requirement* that they pass) anything in front of them to do so safely, whether that is another car, truck, horse, bicycle, or pedestrian.

Since the traffic is so light, it is completely simple (and there is ample space) to lightly drift to the left when passing a cyclist on Foxen Canyon. It is also what the law requires. But compliance with the law is not a concern of AutoCoalition: they want car drivers to be able to violate the law with impunity. I guess they think complying with the law is for others, but not for them.

Amazing how groups like AutoCoalition take no responsibility for safe driving and blame legally conforming cyclists. Indicates a bit of entitlement on their part: in their world there is no responsibility for their actions; responsibility is a duty exclusively for *others*.

Remember, Matthew O'Neill was following a strict safety protocol required by the Randonneuring group he was riding with. Of course the investigation might find he was doing something wrong. But there is a pretty strong case that he was doing everything right.

sevendolphins (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 10:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Autocoalition is obviously part of a PR campaign. Notice they've never commented even on other related stories but this one they're falling over themselves to blame the bicyclist. Some real amateur hour marketing/PR peops around here.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 10:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@Jarvis, I stand corrected. Mrs. Maldonado was indeed hit by a man running a stop.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 10:33 a.m. (Suggest removal)

In reference to 12 year-old Jake Boysel (RIP): Calle Real is a very busy road and their is no way in hell a child has any business riding a bike there. When does common sense begin to enter into a parent's decision to allow a child to ride a bike on a busy street?

AutoCoalition (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 10:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The child wasn't playing in the road, he was riding to school like many other kids his age do. You're getting desperate Autocoalition, maybe time to put on the brakes.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 10:41 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Jake Boysel was legally riding in the bike lane. Ernesto Botello was driving way beyond the speed limit and swerved into the bike lane and killed Jake Boysel. The incident is 100% Ernesto Botello's fault.

We all pay for the roads and we all have the right to use them, subject to our laws. When drivers kill cyclists who are obeying the laws, the fault in every way is on the part of the auto drivers, not the cyclists.

Advising cyclists to stay off the roads they pay for and are legally using is simply intimidation.

AutoCoalition, you always blame the victim, and take no responsibility for the frequent law breaking activity of car drivers. They are a protected class of people allowed to kill in your opinion.

sevendolphins (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 10:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

lol, a 12 year old is in middle school, I was riding bikes wherever I damn well pleased by the time I was 8 or 9... don't give me any of this "the parents shouldn't let their 12 year old ride their bike in a certain place" nonsense.

Parents shouldn't be required to babysit their kids all the time, kids should be able to go out on their own and experience life without constant parental or educational restraint.

The Constitution guarantees everybody the right to travel, not just people with cars. Cars need to watch out for bikes and as sevendolphins said, it is a cars responsibility to safely pass a biker.

That said, this was an inexperienced kid driving a truck, I don't think he needs to get thrown under the bus, so to speak. He should receive a couple of traffic citations and his parents should possibly be responsible for some restitution for the victim since the truck was their property and they let such an inexperienced driver who also happens to be their son operate it while driving into the sun.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 10:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Botany: "Ken - I didn't know that Hotchkiss was a council member in Santa Maria too."

Botany, you're 100% correct, Frank H isn't, but Ken's hatred of Hotchkiss goes beyond the bounds of conventional.
I am sure, if it is something offensive, no matter where in the world it occurs, somehow, some way, Ken will find a way yo link it to Frank Hiotchkiss. Talk about taking hatred to the nth degree!
I'm shocked Ken hasn't somehow managed to link Hotchkiss to the soon-to-erupt volcano in Iceland of the recent beheading of a western journalist by isis.
But give it time, the links will be made, as ludicrous as it may be, the links will be made.

blahblahmoreblah (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 10:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Sevendolphins - Are you serious? 3 out of every 4 bicyclists on the road blow right through stop signs. Most only stop when traffic forces them too. You're just not making any sense.

Botany (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 10:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Ken: "This is the second vehicular death caused by a member of the Maldonado Family. What's up with that?"

What's up with that? I will tell you: You're whacked! the 1st incident recently involving a Maldonado where somebody died was NOT caused by a Maldonado. His wife's car was hit by another car, the driver of the other car died and the accident was declared NOT HER FAULT!
Man, you and your hatred of people based on political affiliations! let it go dude, you're starting to sound loony.
I'm doing you a favor here Ken, listen to these wise words: Don't let the hatred of certain people get in the way of the facts.

blahblahmoreblah (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yeah, Ken was all over defending Raymond Morua after he mowed down Mallory Dies while driving drunk. If Morua's employer were changed from Lois Capps to Frank Hotchkiss, so would Ken's tune.

Botany (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 11:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I'd say it's 2 of 4 cyclists blow right through, & Nick W admitted he does so in a recent column. Still, allowing a 16 yr old to drive a big ol truck AND pull a horse-trailer seems too much and if it isn't illegal it ought to be. It doesn't matter who's child the 16 year old is, can't drive an 18 yr old and should not have been asked or tasked with hauling a horse-trailer (how big: for 2 horses, for 6 horses??). There has to be some sort of legal penalty; a good guy riding safely was killed. At minimum, it's vehicular manslaughter.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 11:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Botany - Are you serious? 9 out of every 10 auto drivers blow right through top signs, exceed the speed limit, don't signal before changing lanes or turning, eat/smoke/apply makeup while driving, text while driving, phone while driving, change a CD while driving, adjust the radio while driving, drive angry...

sevendolphins (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 11:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Here's an interesting opposing parallel of sorts:
If a motorist (barring motorcyclists) commits an infraction of the traffic law, which can include taking a bicyclist out, the price is paid in dollars and points on their license, granted it doesn't involve drunk driving.
If a bicyclist commits an infraction of the traffic laws the price is paid with either severe injury or death.
I commute to work on my bike everyday, Monday through Friday, from Old Town Goleta to either my office in the west end of Goleta or uptown Santa Barbara, the joys of being a business owner.
I can tell you that there IS plenty of room on the road for cars and bicycles to share and usually it works out great.
I can also say at times I have committed my share of bonehead moves on my custom built commuter bike such as running stops and I've seen cars do their fair share of moronic moves such as crowd the biking lane.
Bottom line to it is this: It is a precarious mix that can go wrong in an instant, usually when BOTH parties make a move in the wrong direction.
Another thing some of you keyboard jockeys need to know is NO 2 ACCIDENTS ARE ALIKE. They all have varying circumstances, they're all unique in nature and lead up to the incident.
Don't know what to make of this incident just yet, seems like a lot of mistakes were put in place to make it happen, but remember: It was an accident. It wasn't as if the driver of the truck had it out for this guy and said "I'm going to ram him!"
Ken, I know, it is a Maldonado and somehow, some way you'll make it out to be like the kid intentionally did it simply out of your hatred, but the facts will come from the law enforcement report, not your hate filled bias.

blahblahmoreblah (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 11:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Don't forget having sex while driving. Sevendolphins, you're starting to amuse me now!

Botany (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 11:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Botany: "Don't forget having sex while driving."

Please, leave my personal life choices out of this.

blahblahmoreblah (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 11:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Blowing through stop signs might cover sex.

sevendolphins (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 11:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I know there's a pun in there somewhere.

Botany (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 11:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I did NOT have sex with that stop sign! now the woman, it's something I don't want to talk about.

blahblahmoreblah (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 12:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

First of all I don't recall Ken defending Morua at all, I do recall him defending Capps and her liability.

Botany, I think what sevendolphins was saying was that since he sees many, many more cars out on the road than bikes he actually sees more automobile infractions than bike infractions - although bike infractions may occur more frequently as a percentage they also generally don't affect anybody else except the safety of the biker - that doesn't mean that bikes can't cause unsafe situations, and I think they should be ticketed when they do cause unsafe situations for others, just not to the extent that cars do since the damages are generally significantly less. You could probably cut the amount of the fine by 5x or 10x for similar biking infractions and only enforce them when they create unsafe situations for others.

The fact is accidents happen, we all do our best to avoid them and unless somebody is operating extremely negligently, everybody operates somewhat negligently at times and we should balance the line between holding people responsible and avoiding unnecessarily destroying two people's lives instead of just one.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 12:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Bicyclist infractions certainly effect the safety of pedestrians as well as themselves, so I wouldn't cut the fines for traffic infractions for bicyclists whatsoever. The same rules should apply to all users of our streets.

Botany (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 12:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Same rules? That is rich. Katelin Edwards, whose careless driving led to the death of Eric Okerblom, got the same sentence that the UCSB professor who stole a sign with a giant bloody fetus on it at UCSB got.

Careless drivers can kill with impunity in Santa Barbara County. The District Attorney and our Law Enforcements don't prosecute careless drivers who kill cyclists. The one form of killing that is for all intents and purposes sanctioned by the law enforcement hierarchy is killing cyclists with a car.

sevendolphins (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 1:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

But Botany that just doesn't make any logical sense. If a car hits somebody they can easily get crushed and die, whereas a bicyclist running into somebody would never cause those types of injuries in any case unless, possibly, they are traveling at an extremely high velocity - and most bicycle infractions have nothing to do with pedestrians. Bicycles can't cause nearly the damage a car can, there is no reason to give them a ticket that costs hundreds of dollars.

I'm not even that thrilled with the concept of how our legal system works, but as long as we do have flexibility in these matters there is a way to use logic to make judgements that make the laws more fair.

I don't think people should receive infractions for simply endangering themselves.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 1:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Seven dolphins stop screeching, you are not helping your cause

dadof3 (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 1:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's just a matter of principle that the same rules of the road apply to everyone that uses it. But yes, cars can cause more damage if operated irresponsibly. That's why we license drivers and require them to have insurance. Bicycle riders aren't required to be licensed or insured.

Botany (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 2:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The name of the 16 year old at the wheel isn't being released, but his 18 year old brother's name is, and his father's name sure is - not hard to deduce who the kid is. Is that some sort of joke, Indy?

z28racergirl (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 3:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Cyclists would probably be safer riding against traffic (on the other side of the street). I'd be dead now if I hadn't looked over my shoulder on Cliff Drive one time....

atomic_state (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 3:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Humans are flawed.

sbresident2 (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 3:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Could mechanical failure on the part of either vehicle been a factor?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 4:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Botany, you must have meant Princi"pal" because I'm not sure what principle would conclude that everybody who uses a road should have to follow the same rules - there can be rules for those who have machines that weigh in the tons and have the power of hundreds of horses vs. people who ride on something that weighs 20 or 30 pounds or so and has less than 1 horse power.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 4:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Bill if I were to take a wild guess, I would say the 16 year old passed the biker as if he were driving just the truck and even then mis-judged the width of the truck, almost clipped the bike with the truck and the trailer probably stuck out another 6 inches give or take in width and the trailer clipped the biker.

It sounds like glare from the sun may have played a role as well, and if there were cars coming in the other direction that needed to be avoided I could see how this would have been a difficult maneuver for a less experienced driver.

I personally would have slowed way down, I tend to be one of those people who goes all the way in the other lane to avoid bikers....however sometimes there are cars coming in the other direction and there's no way to time passing the biker and you have to get a little close to them - better to be doing this while going well under the speed limit as I'm sure you'd agree - I tend to drive a bit above the speed limit most of the time, but not when I'm passing bikers unless I can safely get over at least a half a lane.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 4:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

From reading this thread, I would say that 90% of statistics are made up.

Even if your observations reflect what is stated, those are opinions. Unless you set up and observe in a structured disciplined manner, you don't have any numbers to talk about.

So along with rank speculation, could you all stop using numbers to make your opinion sound more valid than the next?

Frankly I expect cyclists to run a stop sign. It's their risk, and their momentum. Am a bit tired of hearing people sitting on their butts using tons of metal and machine to get around bitching about people who are hauling their own weight. It's almost as bad as the 'haves' bitching about the 'havenots'.

This is a tragic mess for all. Yes there needs to be more consequences for being a driver who harms a cyclist. It's really easy to avoid them, even when they aren't following the law. And unlike them those in cars can use the power of their machines to do so.
But no set of penalties addresses those who aren't present to what they are doing, such as those who talk on the phone or text. Rarely do the laws achieve compliance when there is random or nearly absent enforcement.

visionmatters (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 5:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Jeez Blah and Botany, I only said the incident reminded me of Hotchkiss' puerile lil column- I didn't say he was responsible for Santa Maria!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 5:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

WAIT, hold up. I'm confused.

The article is so poorly written, it reads as if there were two boys in the truck???? One was 16 and one was 18? Is that right?

"The truck was driven by the 16-year-old son of former Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado, a Santa Maria resident who also served as mayor of the city. Maldonado’s 18-year-old son, Nicolas, was the only passenger. "

Come on. I hate to be a complete English hound, but the sentence above is horrible, and - correct me if i'm wrong - it reads as if a 16-year-old was a "Santa Maria resident who also served as mayor of the city." Doogie Houser of the political world? Uhhhhh..No.

To be honest, it sounds as if a 16-year-old wrote this article. Come on indie, I really count on you guys to avoid the easy mistakes. I love you, but I hate it when i have to reread something three times to make sense of it, due to poor news writing.

Otherwise, I love u guys. Too bad this time I can't write "Keep up the Great Work."

goldcoastlover (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2014 at 6:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Goldcoastlover: If you think THAT is bad, (brace for it) KEYT reported the driver as "a sixteen-year-old man", for at least the first two news reports on the subject.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
August 21, 2014 at 1:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Why does this have to be any more than a tragic accident? Because the driver happened to be high profile and young? We, as a society, have set an age that is appropriate to bring new drivers into the ranks, and he was of that age and presumably licensed. Even if he was breaking the very recent and minor law of carrying passengers without a 25 year old present, that is minor and no reason to assign blame. With the information I've been given I can't imagine blaming anyone for this sad event that the young man will carry with him the rest of his life.

3domfighter (anonymous profile)
August 21, 2014 at 10:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Dadof3, any screeching you perceive is in your mind alone.

sevendolphins (anonymous profile)
August 22, 2014 at 10:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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