Driver May Have Targeted Cyclists, Killing One, California Police Say


The authorities in Southern California are searching for a driver who they said may have intentionally struck three bicyclists in Huntington Beach in three separate incidents over the weekend.

One of the bicyclists was killed and the two others were injured, the Huntington Beach Police Department said.

The police said on Monday that they had responded to three hit-and-run reports in about 45 minutes on Sunday night. The collisions had happened within a mile of each other.

The first call came in around 10:30 p.m. local time, and the bicyclist said a vehicle had “intentionally sideswiped” him, then fled the scene, the police said. The bicyclist had minor injuries and was treated at the scene.

About 15 minutes later, the officers were still investigating the hit and run when they received calls about another bicyclist, who was lying in the street. That bicyclist was treated by paramedics but died from his injuries, the police said.

The bicyclist who died was not named by the police.

Police officers were investigating both incidents when a man called and said he had been riding his bicycle in a crosswalk around 10 p.m. when he was hit by a vehicle that then drove away. The bicyclist had minor injuries.

“At this time, it is believed the incidents are possibly related,” the police department said in a news release on Monday.

The police said that based on witness descriptions, the suspect’s vehicle may have been a black Toyota four-door sedan “with significant passenger-side bumper damage.” They did not provide information on a possible motive, or a description of the driver.

From 2018 through 2022, 76 bicyclists were killed in Orange County, which includes Huntington Beach, according to a University of California, Berkeley, database. The only county in California to have more deaths in that period was Los Angeles County, where 176 bicyclists died.

The United States is a global anomaly in roadway deaths. An estimated 42,795 people, including bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists, died on American roads in 2022, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That was a slight drop from 2021, when 42,939 fatalities were reported.

Roadway fatalities have been falling in comparably developed countries in recent years after safety measures were introduced that targeted pedestrians and bicyclists, researchers say. Those safety measures have included lowering speed limits, building more protected bike lanes and requiring vehicle design safety measures that better protect people outside of a vehicle.

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