Jose Del Toro, 71, of Turlock was identified Thursday as the bicyclist who died after being struck by a car on East Harding Road the night before, the Stanislaus County Coroner's Office reported.
The crash happened about 8:30 p.m. on Harding east of Lander Avenue. Del Toro was eastbound, and wearing dark clothing and no helmet, the California Highway Patrol reported. Additionally, his bike had no rear reflector.
Turlock resident Jesse Pernsteiner was eastbound in a 2005 Mercedes, "straddling the broken yellow lines that divide the eastbound and westbound lanes," the CHP said. Approaching the bike from the rear, the driver failed to see it, the report said.
The force of the impact threw the cyclist onto the windshield. He was transported to Doctors Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Pernsteiner was not hurt, the CHP said. Drugs and alcohol were not factors in the crash.
The death occurred just at the start of Bicycle Safety Month.
According to a 2017 report from the National Safety Council, 488,123 people were treated in emergency rooms in 2015 after being injured riding bicycles. The only sport resulting in more injuries overall was basketball, at 493,011. Football was third, at 399,873.
About 1,100 deaths resulted from cyclists colliding with motor vehicles in 2015. With about 80 million bike riders sharing the road with millions of motorized vehicles, the importance of safety precautions in traffic cannot be overstated, according to a news release Wednesday from the Modesto Police Department.
"Cyclists who wear a helmet reduce their risk of head injury by an estimated 60 percent, and brain injury by 58 percent," the release says. "That statistic makes sense when you consider the first body part to fly forward in a collision is usually the head, and with nothing but skin and bone to protect the brain, the results can be fatal."
There were 147 bicyclist deaths in 2016 in California, accounting for over 4 percent of all traffic fatalities, much higher than the national average of over 2 percent, the Police Department reported.
Information from the police for cyclists and motorists sharing the roads:
- Be courteous; California law now mandates at least three feet of clearance when passing a bike riders.
- Look for cyclists before opening a car door or pulling out from a parking space.
- Yield to cyclists at intersections and as directed by signs and signals.
- Be especially watchful for riders when making turns, either left or right.
- It is unlawful to drive in a bike lane except for 200 feet prior to make a right or left turn.
- Wear properly fitted bicycle helmets every time you ride. If under 18 years of age, it’s the law.
- A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash.
- Riders are considered vehicle operators; they are required to obey the same rules of the road as other vehicle operators, including obeying traffic signs, signals, and lane markings.
- When cycling in the street, cyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic.
- Bicyclists should increase their visibility to drivers by wearing fluorescent or brightly colored clothing during the day, and at dawn and dusk.
- To be noticed when riding at night, the law requires a front light and a red reflector to the rear. For additional safety, use a flashing rear light, and use retro-reflective tape or markings on equipment or clothing.