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Bike East Bay Responds to Recent Fatalities

Author: Bike East Bay

Date: August 4, 2021

Serious traffic injuries and fatalities have dramatically increased in the East Bay during the pandemic. In just the past month, three people biking have been struck and killed by cars in Hayward, San Ramon, and Fremont. See below for ways to take action in your city to call for immediate safety improvements. However, more leadership is needed at a regional level to address street safety overall. Our cities and counties need to immediately invest in dedicated biking and walking infrastructure, and more outreach to ensure people have the resources they need to get around town safely and sustainably. Your Bike East Bay membership supports advocacy for safer streets for biking and walking. Please consider joining Bike East Bay as a member or renewing your membership today.

Three people were killed bicycling within a month this Summer, all on streets that should be much safer for bicycling. On June 16, Richard Heard Jr. was killed bicycling on Tennyson Road in Hayward near Tampa Avenue. On July 4, a teenage boy in Fremont was struck by a car while bicycling on Hansen Avenue and later died. On July 17 Greg Knapp was struck by a car on Dougherty Road in San Ramon, and died a few days later, never regaining consciousness. We do not always report bicycling fatalities, but three in one month is not only tragic and heartbreaking, filling so many families with grief and unimaginable loss, it is also alarming.

In Hayward, attention is now on Patrick Avenue, a few blocks from where Richard Heard was killed. With substantial pushback from residents to new parking-protected bike lanes on Patrick, city staff want to fix this street before turning their attention to other safety issues. We will be meeting with staff soon to discuss our proposal for a 2-way protected bikeway on the east side of Patrick. Join us tonight for a local member discussion of this and other Hayward safety campaigns.

In Fremont, city staff have quickly agreed to evaluate traffic calming on Hansen Avenue, as well as reducing the speed limit if state bill AB 43 passes. Latest on AB 43 from Calbike.org. Yet even in “Vision Zero” Fremont, there is push back against safer streets. On September 14, City Council will revisit next steps for Paseo Padre Road near Mission San Jose. Back in July Council opposed making this street safer because of concerns about traffic backups. We talk safety, they talk congestion. More details coming soon. Join Bike Fremont list.

In San Ramon, with support from at least one Councilmember, we are asking city staff to quickly build protected bike lanes on Dougherty Road north of Monarch Road, where Greg Knapp was killed and the narrow bike lanes sit 9 feet away from the curb and immediately next to 50mph traffic. This is an easy solution in advance of San Ramon’s 2022 repaving program, which can evaluate more substantial ways to traffic calm this surface level freeway with lots of cut-thru traffic. We will be talking safety, we hope they don’t talk congestion.

In other parts of the East Bay, the consistent reality is that residents and decision makers continue to prioritize parking capacity and congestion over the safest solutions for everyone. However, we continue to roll up our sleeves everyday with local traffic engineers and planners, and their elected officials, to shift the conversation from congestion to safety. What you can do: Thank your local city when they implement a safety improvement and continue to engage on upcoming projects and programs. Your support of Bike East Bay and our local groups is essential as well.

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