Bridges Named After Slain Local Bicyclist


New bridges over the Mad River will be named for slain bicyclist, John Mello. [Photo courtesy of Caltrans.]

 Information provided by Mathews, Kluck, Walsh & Wykle, LLP:

Bicyclist John Mello, a long time McKinleyville resident, lost his life on February 24, 2013, as the result of injuries suffered after being struck by a pickup truck on Highway 101 Southbound, between Big Lagoon and Patricks Point Drive. At the time of the collision, John was lawfully riding his bicycle along the shoulder of the highway when the driver of the pickup negligently allowed his vehicle to cross over the fog line and strike John at an estimated 60 mph. John died at the scene. John was an avid recreational bicyclist and a regular participant in the Tour of the Unkmown Coast 100 mile cycling event held annually in May.

Pursuant to John’s family’s request, and with widespread community support on both local and statewide levels, and following approval by the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, sponsorship by State Senator Noreen Evans and co-authored by State Assembly Member Wesley Chesbro, approval by the Transportation Committees in the State Assembly and Senate, and the approval of both Houses of the State Legislature, SCR 113 was officially Chaptered by the Secretary of State on August 13, 2014. As a result, each of the Mad River Bridges on State Highway Route 101, in the County of Humboldt, is now designated as the Bicyclist John Mello Memorial Bridge. Memorial signage is scheduled for installation this week.

On Saturday, April 11, 2015, at 10:00AM, there will be a formal dedication of the Bicyclist John Mello Memorial Bridge. The dedication will be held in front of the California Welcome Center, 1635 Heindon Rd. (near the Toni’s Restaurant parking lot just south of Giuntoli Lane) Arcata. The public is invited to attend and pay tribute to the memory of John Mello and to show support for continued efforts to educate motorists of the dangers of distracted driving. Supporters also hope to raise public awareness of the recently enacted Three Feet for Safety Act, which requires motorists passing bicyclists from behind to allow at least three feet clearance, and if that is not possible due to traffic or road conditions, requires the motorist to slow down and wait to pass only when it is safe to do so. There will be short presentations by the California Highway Patrol, CalTrans and others.

See also the Senate resolution.



  • There are people living in the inspection tunnels of that bridge!

  • Oddly… I think a cyclist may have just gone over the embankment at the 101 bridge over the Smith… or sent a car over it trying to miss one. All manner of emergency vehicles from every direction and saw someone on a stretcher going into an ambulance, but NO civilian vehicles around.

  • I don’t hear anything on the scanner or see anything on CHP dispatch.

    • Yes. I’m looking all over and am coming up empty too. There’s a steep drop from the right side of the northbound lane down into a quarry in the last few yards before the bridge. Driving south to CC at about 3pm there was an ambulance and some cop cars. Loading someone onto the ambulance as I drove past. Then two fire trucks and another cop and another ambulance were coming north as I was going south. Returning at about 4pm there was only a cop car there and a flashing light down in the quarry.

      I’m thinking cyclist because there were no smashed up cars by the road, but there might’ve been one or two over the side. There were a bunch of cyclists on the highway today, as well as this abundance of emergency responders, all lights and sirens and everyone repeatedly pulling over for them and trying to miss the cyclists. Big hullabaloo.

      But. We’ve got more emergency people and prison guards up here than regular residents and they might’ve been making a big deal out of a hitchhiker fainting, I guess.

      My imagination has been ignited by them sending a SWAT team after a couple of druggies who stole a car and then getting huffy about one of them shooting back. And an attempted carjacking and a maniac who ran somebody down on purpose in his car and just the general uptick in dangerous situations in beautiful downtown Smith River just in the last couple weeks.

      I notice the new Sheriff isn’t much for updating their FB page too.

  • What a joke naming a bridge after this guy John Mello. I’m a survivor of domestic abuse which I and my 10 yr old daughter at the time back in 1989. He was a tweeter on methamphetamines and called my daughter a bitch for waking in on him in the bathroom. I left him after that and now a bridge is named after him? Was a toxicology report done on him?

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