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Cyclist Succumbs to Crash Injuries

Antonio Cortez, 40, was hospitalized for two weeks after peddling into an opened car door at 11th and Oak streets in Santa Monica.

A Los Angeles man has died from injuries sustained in a bicycle accident earlier this month in Santa Monica.

Antonio Cortez, 40, died June 22, two weeks after he crashed into an open car door on 11th Street, near Oak Street in the Sunset Park neighborhood, the Santa Monica Police Department confirmed Saturday.

The impact sent him flying over the car door, and he landed head first onto the pavement. When he hit the ground, he wasn’t breathing, according to Sgt. Richard Lewis.

The police will not file criminal charges against the car's driver, who had the door open for several seconds to unload groceries before Cortez hit it, Lewis said.

Alcohol played a major role, he said, noting that Cortez was not wearing a helmet and had a blood alcohol content level above the legal limit of .08 when tested at the hospital.

"It appears to be an accident," Lewis said after the crash.

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David Huntsman July 01, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Why would one unload groceries from the driver's door?
Dan Charney July 01, 2012 at 09:30 PM
I always look to be sure no cyclists are coming -even from afar- if so - I would never leave the door open- many cars do that to cyclists on purpose-- not saying he did but I do find it odd
Carolyn July 02, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Even with a blood alcohol level above .08, I don't think a cyclist would ride into a car door that was already open. At the speed that he must have been going, it sounds more likely that he was surprised when the door opened in front of him. However, the article doesn't specifically say which door it was. Was it the driver side back door? If it was the driver's door, the story sounds contrived. Weren't there any witnesses?
Glenn E Grab July 02, 2012 at 05:45 PM
so, the cyclist was drunk and you blame the person who opened a car door?...
Glenn E Grab July 02, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Don, youve got a persecution complex, relax, the world's not out to get you!!!
Gary Kavanagh July 02, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Opening and Closing Doors CVC 22517. No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of such traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open upon the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.
Gary Kavanagh July 02, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Nothing you have babbled about has anything to do with this case. There was no stop sign, the bicyclist was on designated bike route. He was violating the prohibition of bicycling while under the influence, but it is unclear given the details how much that was a factor. But it seems the driver was likely violating CVC 22517: CVC 22517. No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of such traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open upon the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.
Kellie Landis July 02, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Fact is that lane is now very tight and dangerous even without bikes involved. I have to pull out of the alley right there and now even if I'm turning right I have to be sure both lanes are clear to do it. Too many drivers don't care about opening their doors on the street side, they don't look, they leave it open and have a total disregard for traffic. Opening a door into traffic is no different then pulling out into it, you have to make sure it's clear and safe to do so, it's not rocket science.
Ron July 03, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Gary "I hate cars" Kavanagh is at it again. It would appear from the press accounts that the person opened the car door when it was safe. Along comes a drunk bicyclist and hits the open door and dies as a result of the injuries suffered in the accident. Those are the facts and "car hater" can quote all the vehicle code he wants but it the event is what it is. Kavanagh's goofy reasoning (if you can call it reasoning) is getting boring.
Ron July 03, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Gary "cars are evil" Kavanagh is at it again. It would appear from the press accounts that the person opened the car door when it was safe to unload groceries. Along comes a drunk bicyclist, who hits the open door and dies as a result of the injuries suffered in the accident. Those are the facts and "cars are evil" can quote all the vehicle code he wants but it the event is what it is. Kavanagh may also want to take note that the car's driver/owner was not charged for any CVC violations.
Gary Kavanagh July 03, 2012 at 05:55 PM
The press likes to make these things sound closed book shut from initial quotes, but the police investigation is ongoing, and the press wasn't there to witness what happened. I know that the investigation is ongoing because I followed up with the SMPD about this case, because I was not content with the limited reporting available in the press. The driver in these instances gets to set the story, because they are the ones who live to tell it. Sadly Antonio Cortez will never get to tell his side of events. And even if a driver is not cited for a CVC violation, that doesn't not mean a violation did not occur, but sometimes sufficient proof is hard to come by. Drivers routinely kill people without every being cited for the slightest of criminal charges.
Michael K August 11, 2012 at 03:39 PM
That the cyclist was not wearing a helmet contributes his own negligence to whatever the cause of the accident.
David Huntsman August 11, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Michael, that doesn't make sense. Are people supposed to wear body armor to protect themselves from motorists?
Michael K March 09, 2013 at 03:37 PM
David, seriously, the answer is yes. People are "supposed" to protect their heads with helmets. If you are a cyclist -- and I reckon you are not -- you would appreciate the virtues of protecting your skull and the brain it contains. Don't you wear shoes to protect your feet? But here's an even more germane question: What measures will pedestrians have to take to protect themselves from silent electric bicycles using the sidewalks as bike paths (because the cyclist is too afraid of motorists to use the street)?
Michael K March 09, 2013 at 07:07 PM
Last year, I was cycling southbound on Abbot Kinney, had just crossed Venice Blvd., when a mountain-of-a-man stepped out from between two trucks. I never saw him, but I flew over the handlebars and landed in the middle of the street, my head close to the double yellow line dividing traffic directions. I heard the back of my head thump the street very hard and loud. My first thought was to try to crawl out of the street -- I couldn't stand -- so as to avoid being run over. Eventually I was helped up and helped to walk to the curb where I sat. My helmet was split open, but my head was not. The behemoth who stepped out in front of me was unhurt but rattled. I rode home, wobbly at first, but satisfied my helmet had done its job. ("Face down" wouldn't have been good.) Point of my story? Cycling is dangerous in an uncaring environment. The stupid driver's actions resulted in a cyclist's death. David Huntsman point is well taken: On a dangerous and busy street, why not unload the groceries from the curbside rather than the streetside?
David Huntsman March 10, 2013 at 09:56 PM
Oh good lord.
Glenn E Grab March 11, 2013 at 02:25 PM
you flew over the handlebars?.....sounds like you turned front wheel and locked up the front brake....if it had been me, I would have run into the big guy...... he was at fault, right?....and used him for a cushion....

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