Carlsbad Father Eric Ringdahl Killed Cycling on El Camino Real

Ringdahl was riding northbound in the bike lane alongside another cyclist when he was hit by a vehicle driving in the same direction.

Updated Monday 1:15 p.m.

A Carlsbad father was killed Sunday morning after being hit by a car on El Camino Real near the La Costa Resort and Spa while riding his bicycle, according to the Carlsbad Police Department.

The San Diego Medical Examiner's Office has identified the victim as Eric Ringdahl who was a married 45 year-old male who lived with his wife and children in Carlsbad.

Two cyclists were riding northbound in the bike lane around 7:40 a.m. Sunday north of La Costa Avenue when a vehicle traveling in the same direction hit Ringdahl, according to police. Several witnesses called 911 and the Carlsbad Fire Department responded.

Ringdahl suffered a head injury and was unconscious when the fire department arrived.  First responders began treatment but the cyclist was declared dead at the scene.

The Carlsbad Police Department’s Traffic Division is investigating the collision.

16YearsNow April 23, 2013 at 08:23 PM
Sorry billdsd, no matter how you try to spin it, DUI and falling asleep at the wheel are NOT even remotely similar.
billdsd April 23, 2013 at 08:29 PM
How do you figure that? Both are driving while impaired beyond the ability to safely control a vehicle. How are the different, exactly? Are you really trying to say that it's OK to break the law and drive dangerously and endanger everyone around you on the road? Really?
16YearsNow April 23, 2013 at 09:28 PM
I said nothing of the sort, nor am I implying such. You are the one implying that this person must have known that they were too tired to drive already when they got into their vehicle. You are also assuming that this would be considered impaired in legal terms. Is there a "tiredalyzer" that can be used to verify this before one starts to drive? You're are lucky that no one considers "assuming too much" is an impairment. As I said earlier, and this I DO mean, bicycles and automobiles do not mix.
Bruce Ireland April 23, 2013 at 09:56 PM
I too am a Carlsbad resident, cyclist and father of two. I drove by the scene at about 8:00am and all I can say is that my heart dropped. Flashing lights, crying bystanders, a smashed in car and a sheet over some poor sole. I did not know Eric, but I can honesly say my heart hurts for his wife and kids. We all share the same road, and at times, it can be dangerous. All I can say is be careful out there. Pay attention to your surrounding, put down the phone, the coffee cup, the eye makeup and just drive, please. Let this be just another painful lesson to us all.
billdsd April 23, 2013 at 10:22 PM
I have been too tired to drive. I didn't drive. You are trying to rationalize driving while impaired. You are irrational.
16YearsNow April 23, 2013 at 11:08 PM
There you go ASSUMING again... on both counts. Also, you may have been too tired to drive, but you know NOTHING about the condition of the person when they got into their car. How do you determine what constitutes "too tired to drive" and how do you know that this person fit that definition? You don't. I will repeat myself again... Bikes and automobiles do not mix.
JimmyD April 24, 2013 at 03:40 AM
I've taken up cycling recently. I really enjoy the intense exercise and the way I feel after my workouts. But I have to say, the first thing that stood out to me as I began to ride with a local group was how many times motorists intentionally took a swipe at me with their vehicle. 3 times on my first 7 rides. Even now I still don't get it why someone, in one instance, would cross over two lanes to just miss me with their truck and then return back over to their original lane. In all instances, I had in no way impaired their progress. Know this. Bike lanes are a nice convenience when they are available, but a person on a bike has every right to a lane as any automobile. Cyclists do not have to "get out of the way" because a car is approaching. We do so because it's prudent and courteous to avoid slowing everybody's day down. If we can't get out of the way or we are off to the side and you can't proceed safely, then you must wait until you can do so. By law the lane belongs as much to me as the auto driver. Think of the bike rider as another automobile on the road. Rear ending the cyclist puts the driver at fault and subject to applicable traffic laws. The death of the rider increases the severity of the charges. Peace to the surviving family.
JimmyD April 24, 2013 at 03:46 AM
16YearsNow, are you suggesting that there be no more bike riding? As you say, "there is far too much traffic" so are you implying that we need to remove all bikes from the road?
Tom Costello April 24, 2013 at 04:00 AM
Eric was the conscious of integrity in work ethic, family and friends. The energy of a child, with unlimited ambition and dreams. A loss for those who knew him, and those that did not.
Erin Newton April 24, 2013 at 05:57 AM
I'm a nurse. My husband was T-boned in a car accident on Feb. 3rd on El Camino Real - 7 am. BUT he was in a car with 10 air bags that saved his life (he was on his way to give blood). He can't walk yet, but we work everyday at his getting better. Was driving him home from the gym Sunday morning and he wanted to get donuts (he's lost 25 lbs. he didn't have to lose) and we drove past this accident. Shook us to the core. 11 weeks to the day after he was hit. A nurse getting off the night shift hit the biker. Gonna tell you a nurse LIVES to heal not to take life away. That nurse's life will never be OK. Nor will the biker, his kids, his wife. EVERYONE LOSES. Have you worked the night shift? It's a different world. Hard to survive. Yet all of us have a better world because police and nurses and surgeons and taxi drivers work those UGLY hours. People in cars make mistakes. People on bikes do too. People are imperfect. In the blink of an eye your life can change or be taken away. Honest truth? Our roads are dangerous. Too many distractions. Too many PEOPLE (bikes, cars, OR pedestrians) not paying attention to all that is around them. People in cars have a better chance than people on motorcycles or bikes. FACT - just saying. What I've learned? Let's not judge (and the person hit my husband had minimal insurance and the legal hassles are enormous, but I celebrate that he is alive. Pretty sure the other guy didn't PLAN this). Let's be aware. Let's be safer.
billdsd April 24, 2013 at 06:14 AM
I agree that as drivers, a lot of people need to be more aware and safer. However, you've also shown that people get hurt in cars too. Even with a car and air bags to protect him, he can't walk over a month and a half later. He's been hurt very seriously but if everyone on the road at the time had done what they were supposed to do, he would be fine. We need better driver's education. We need stricter enforcement of laws. People are driving way too fast and with too little care. Too many take safety for granted. That needs to end. Bumpers, side impact door beam, roll bars and air bags can only do so much. It's much much better to not have a collision in the first place.
David Huntsman April 24, 2013 at 06:48 AM
Not an accident, 16Yearsnow, a mistake. Driving tired would be a mistake.
JimmyD April 24, 2013 at 07:14 AM
Add Network Engineers to the list of those working "Ugly" hours for the benefit of all of us. As I head off to yet another all nighter for me, I am fully aware of the dangers. My earlier post was mostly to express my confusion with the number of people I have seen playing a dangerous game of chicken with 3,000+ lb. cars and me on my bike. When I ask the more experienced riders in my group what this "behavior" is all about, the best they can speculate is that they are "jealous that we are doing what they know they should be doing"?? Huh??? Even more confusing if you ask me. All I know is that if my recent experiences are any indicator, I'll get run over on purpose. I just wish people would get over what's making them so angry, I'm just riding a bike...
billdsd April 24, 2013 at 07:21 AM
I also worked 12am-8am in college. In my current job, I usually don't have to work all night but sometimes special circumstances require it. I had to do it just a few months ago. @JimmyD: I am always amazed about how people can get so angry over just moving in to the next lane to pass. I run a rear camera these days and I have had multiple drivers move from the left lane into the right lane just so they could tail gate me and honk at me. It's insane. I had a guy do this one day and he passed in a right turn only lane and went straight through the intersection. Apparently he thought I was supposed to be in the right turn only lane even though that would be illegal given that I was travelling straight through. I had another guy go nuts behind me on a downhill when I was doing 35mph in a 40mph zone. He finally moved over and took off like a shot. He had to be doing 55mph or more and then he went through a red light, entering the intersection a good 5 seconds after it turned red. Anti-cyclists are irrational.
Monique Ramsey April 24, 2013 at 08:09 AM
I am so shocked and saddened by this news. I knew Eric professionally and he was the sweetest, truest, and "coolest cat" to be able to work with. He always made me smile and I am fortunate to have known him. My sincere condolences to his family. I cannot even imagine the pain they must be feeling. Definitely re-thinking letting my daughter bike to school next year.
JLB April 24, 2013 at 09:00 AM
Riding bikes on the road is dangerous to both cyclists and motorists, whether there is a bike lane or not (even a separated bike path with a fence between is not safe...just google Nick Venuto who was a cyclist killed on the 56 bike path a little over a year ago). Poor road conditions, riding side by side, poor visibility, distracted or speeding motorists, cyclists riding two lane roads with no bike lanes so they block traffic or force you to cross double yellow to go around them... None of these are good or safe for cyclists. Take up mountain biking if you want the thrill and exercise! My prayers to the family who will miss him everyday.
Desiree Hamilton April 24, 2013 at 01:28 PM
People don't know what to say to someone who is grieving, so they say things that do not realize are painful, heartless, and hurtful. Weep with those to weep and if we don't know what to say, we should probably not say anything at all. Somehow, we manage to make the situation about ourselves and our feelings instead of the other persons who are mourning... "So also, the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do... And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!" James 3:5b, 10
billdsd April 24, 2013 at 03:08 PM
Nick Venuto wasn't on the road. Riding side by side is actually safer, because it makes bicyclists move visually noticeable. It isn't dangerous for drivers who have the slightest clue how to drive. Multiple sources are saying that this driver fell asleep at the wheel. He could have killed anyone. He could have killed a pedestrian or another motorist or someone in a building. The fact that his victim was a cyclist is not really relevant.
Rob N April 25, 2013 at 12:09 AM
This is why if you ride "Against" traffic you would see the car coming at you and have a much better chance of getting out of the way.
billdsd April 25, 2013 at 02:46 AM
Not even close. Based upon multiple reports, this driver fell asleep at the wheel. They tend to lose control rather quickly. You won't have time to compensate. Remember that the closing speed is the car speed plus your speed. For example, if the car is going 35mph, and you're going 15mph, that's a closing speed of 50mph. You won't have time. Wrong way riders are over-represented in statistics. They usually get hit at intersections and driveways because drivers never look for traffic travelling at speed on that side of the road because it's not supposed to be there. You make yourself effectively invisible to most cross traffic. You might as well ask motorists to run you over. Not one bicycle safety teaching organization recommends riding against traffic. It's one of the most dangerous things that I commonly see bicyclists doing. Riding against traffic is also a violation of CVC 21650 and CVC 21650.1. Even if you're on the shoulder, it's still a violation of CVC 21650.1. Always ride with traffic. Before you go giving anymore bicycle safety advice, you really should take a class from the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition or read a good safety book like Effective Cycling, Cyclecraft or Bicycling Street Smarts.
JLB April 25, 2013 at 03:54 AM
I respectfully disagree that riding side by side is safer as in many cases it puts the cyclists even closer to the motorists and often out of the bike lane if there is one. Having encountered many cyclists riding in packs three and four across, I can tell you its not safe for them or the motorists that are forced to go around them. I did not say Nick was on the road, as my point was he was a cyclist riding on a separated bike lane with a fence between him and traffic and that didn't make him safe. He was a good friend and this accident brought up memories of Nick's accident and how his family is still grieving a couple of years later. The fact that in a car vs bike collision it will always be bad for the cyclist is relevant.
billdsd April 25, 2013 at 05:05 AM
Actually, drivers who pass close to bicyclists are the ones who are endangering the bicyclists. They are also violating CVC 21750 and willfully endangering other road users. I don't see a lot of side by side riding in bike lanes anyway. Usually when I see it, it is in traffic lanes. It's perfectly safe to move over to pass bicyclists if you know how to drive. You make sure it's clear. You signal. You move over. What could be safer? What's unsafe is trying to pass bicyclists in the same lane, because most lanes are not wide enough for that to be safe.
Yuki April 26, 2013 at 09:44 PM
The BIG PICTURE IS... He was a someone's husband, father, son, brother. The cyclist is dead!! Stop wasting verbal energy of sholulda, coulda, woulda and get a similar organization like MADD recognized; have you read the statistics of cyclist VS motoriss??? Make something good out of an horrible situation!!!!!
Holger Meins April 30, 2013 at 04:39 PM
16Years: You assert that "bikes and autos don't mix," so what is your solution? Outlaw bicycles? Outlaw cars? Why can't drivers coexist with vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians? You seem to support the outdated and brutal 20th Century paradigm that you will be killed if you are in the street and not encased in a 3,000 pound metal cage.
bkinsd May 10, 2013 at 07:46 PM
It seems to me that however difficult it might be, that we should move bike paths away from the roads or separate the paths from the roads with some physical object such as a divider. On that note, who's bright idea was it to have cars zipping past each other at high speeds with nothing but a painted line between them?
billdsd May 10, 2013 at 08:04 PM
That way sleepy drivers can just kill other motorists and pedestrians. Great idea.
cathy May 12, 2013 at 02:33 PM
It's not a murder. He probably swerved out a bit too much and got hit.
JimmyD May 12, 2013 at 02:46 PM
Cathy, The male nurse fell asleep at the wheel and crossed over into the bike land and ran him over. The impaired driver is responsible for what happened. If you swerved over into my lane and I hit you with my car from behind, I would traditionally be held at fault and certainly should not be a death sentence for you because you drifted over. At any rate that's not what happened. Wednesday the 15th is a commemortive ride for all those killed and or maimed while riding bikes in the state. It's called the "Ride of Silence". Biking groups are doing it throughout the state. Everybody stop texting and reading your posts and such and watch the road. Bike riding is not a crime!
billdsd May 12, 2013 at 03:32 PM
@cathy: You haven't been paying attention. As has been confirmed in other articles since this one and in the comments of this one, this was a clear case of a driver losing control due to impairment. I never cease to be amazed at how some people will assume that it is ALWAYS the fault of the bicyclist and never the fault of the motorist. Nevermind the fact that motorists kill 34,000 people a year in this country and over 33,000 of those are not bicyclists. Nevermind that over 28,000 motorists per year die in this country. Nevermind that over 2 MILLION motorists are seriously injured every year in this country. You really think that a motorist doing something wrong is unlikely? Really?
Al Ein May 13, 2013 at 01:30 PM
16years old- You need to quit driving until you learn the laws of the road. Bicyclists have every right to ride on the streets. In my book they have more right, because they are not polluting the world with their travels and projecting a 6 ton murder weapon around with them all the time ready to accidently kill someone.


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