OpinionOpinion

Safe cycling in wake of Berkeley’s hit-and-run collision

We at the East Bay Bicycle Coalition are glad to see that swift action has been taken by the Berkeley and Oakland police departments to catch the suspect in last Wedsnesday’s hit-and-run collision on Tunnel Road in Berkeley. We are also relieved that these two cyclists got away with only abrasions and damage to their bikes. This unusual collision could have been much worse.

The video of this collision has gone viral on YouTube. With tens of thousands of viewers of this scary video out there we want to remind everyone that bicycling is safe, particularly with some basic traffic skills. While the video is very scary, remember that this is an extremely rare type of collision. We strongly everyone to take one of our free bicycle safety classes offered throughout Alameda County and learn how to ride in a predictable, visible and comfortable manner while sharing the road. For a full list of classes go to the safety pages of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition.

This type of collision is very unusual — the overtake from behind. However, there is legislation in progress at the State level to make it safer for bicyclist in this situation. This collision points for the need of the 3′ passing law currently in committee (SB 1464). Go to Cal Bike for more on this.

This collision also underscores the need for the recently passed anti-harassment law here in Berkeley where the collision happened.

If you are in a collision that does result in injury or damage to your bicycle we recommend that you contact an attorney right away to protect your rights. We have a list of bicycle-friendly attorneys.

There are bike lanes coming for this section of Tunnel Road as well as pedestrian improvements. While that may not have prevented this collision — these upcoming improvements will help to make this section of the road safer by providing dedicated space for riding and by raising awareness of the presence of bicyclists and pedestrians.

We encourage everyone to take our bicycle safety classes to learn the rules of the road for cyclists – as well as how to stay safe on the road. We have lots of classes coming up!

And no time is better to start bicycling for your everyday trips to work, school, errands and play then Bike to Work Day, coming up on Thursday, May 10th. Go to East Bay Bicycle Coalition for everything you need to know to have a great Bike to Work Day, or look out for the “Bike to Work Day Guide” in the May 2nd issue of the East Bay Express.

The East Bay Bicycle Coalition wishes you happy and safe riding on Bike to Work Day and every day.

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Renee Rivera is Executive Director of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition