photo by John Schreiber. photo by John Schreiber.

Sheriff’s traffic investigators Monday worked to figure out who may have been to blame when a pedestrian was killed and a woman injured when they were hit by a vehicle on a high-speed section of Pacific Coast Highway in western Malibu.

The pedestrian, a man in his 20s, died on the pavement, and the young woman with him was badly hurt in the incident at about 5:25 p.m. Saturday next to El Matador State Beach.

No names have been released.

Sheriff’s officials said there were no immediate arrests or citations.

The crash was at one of several small beaches owned by the state and sandwiched between multi-million dollar estates west of Trancas. There, PCH opens up to 55 mile per hour speed limits with long straightaways — normally without much cross traffic.

But on hot inland days, PCH traffic jams with slow vehicles making parallel parking maneuvers, and people walking in traffic lanes or crossing them to reach the string of beaches.

Social media and internet guides to the “secret” beaches have prompted increased crowds this year, deputies said, on a stretch of highway with narrow shoulders, no walkways and fast traffic.

On Saturday, the woman was airlifted to a hospital and the man was pronounced dead at the scene, a deputy said. They were described as being in their 20s.

All lanes of PCH were closed at El Matador State Beach Saturday evening.

Eight hours earlier, a crash at Decker Canyon Road blocked traffic on PCH, the sheriff’s department said.

Caltrans controls Highway 1 in Malibu, and officials there have said the 55 mile per hour speed limit is the lowest it can go, due to a state law aimed at preventing radar speed traps.

The law requires speed limits to be set near the “85th percentile” speed — the maximum speed travelled by all but the 15 percent of the fastest drivers. That speed is capped at 55 mph except on freeways or rural roads.

–City News Service

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