A bicyclist was killed after colliding with a bus on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.
The accident happened on Saturday at approximately 2:25 p.m. in the 25000 block of PCH near Puerco Canyon Rd. The bicyclist was identified as Marisela Echeverria, a 36-year-old Los Angeles resident. Echeverria, who was training for a triathlon competition, was eastbound on Pacific Coast Highway. The MTA bus, Line 534, was also eastbound on PCH. According to Sergeant Philip Brooks of the Malibu/Lost Hills Station, the MTA bus driver claims that the bicyclist, who was riding beside the bus, lost control, struck her handlebars on a parked car, then veered into the passing bus. She was dragged under the bus and run over by the rear wheels.
Echeverria, who was wearing a helmet, died of traumatic head injuries. She was declared dead at the scene of the accident.
The cause of the collision is still under investigation. Investigators will be reviewing the video footage captured by the bus's camera. Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department also impounded the parked car that the bicyclist's handlebars may have scraped. It is not known at this time whether there were any passengers on the bus. As part of standard policy, the bus driver was given a blood and alcohol test, the results of which have not been released. According to Det. Dave Heulsen, no witnesses saw the accident happen.
Passing-from-behind collisions are the #1 cause of adult bicyclist fatalities in California and the United States. The driver will often attempt to blame the bicyclist, claiming the bicyclist swerved into the passing vehicle. The reality is that passing-from-behind collisions are often the result of negligence by the vehicle driver, who got too close to the bicyclist. It is the motorist who is in a better position to avoid hitting a vulnerable bicycle rider. The motorist, who is approaching the bicyclist from behind, can see the bicyclist before the bicyclist can see the motorist. The motorist should give the bicyclist extra space in case the bicyclist needs to avoid a sudden hazard in the road, such as rough pavement, glass or debris.
In this case, the bicyclist was no match for the MTA bus. Hopefully witnesses and the video footage can shed light on whether the MTA bus driver bears any fault for the accident. Regardless of how the evidence plays out, it is likely that the MTA will deny responsibility and place full blame on the bicyclist.
If you or someone you care about has suffered injury or death as the result of a bicycle accident, an
accident on Pacific Coast Highway, or a
bus accident, speak with a
Santa Monica personal injury attorney at McGee, Lerer & Associates. A lawyer at our firm is available 24-7 for a free consultation. We have extensive experience representing bicycle accident victims.