Cyclist killed in accident involving a dump truck

The accident happened on Friday afternoon on Bancroft Way, west of Fulton Street. Photo: Google Maps

A cyclist died today after colliding with a dump truck on Bancroft Way west of Fulton Street.

At about 3:38 p.m., Berkeley Police received calls reporting a collision involving a bicyclist and a dump truck. The bicyclist, a man in his 60s, was lying in the roadway on Bancroft Way west of Fulton Street, according to BPD. The dump truck driver was not aware of a collision, but returned to the scene after being alerted by a passing motorcyclist.

Berkeley Fire Department paramedics tended to the bicyclist and transported him to a local trauma center where he was pronounced dead by physicians. Members of the BPD Fatal Accident Investigation Team responded to the scene to head the ongoing investigation. The details of the incident have not been firmly established, but the driver of the truck has been cooperative throughout the initial investigation and is not under arrest.

According to media reports the cyclist was wearing a bicycle helmet, which was shattered. All traffic was routed left on Oxford from Bancroft, according to a Berkeleyside reader who was in the area.

BPD is not yet sharing the name of the bicyclist until family members can be properly notified. BPD is asking for the community’s help with this investigation. If anyone witnessed the collision, please call the BPD Non Emergency Dispatch line at (510) 981-5900.

Separately, police said a woman drove her car into a parked car and then plowed into a UC Berkeley building on Oxford Street at around 4:30 pm this afternoon. The woman may have had a medical problem that caused her to lose control of the car. She was taken to a hospital for treatment. An investigation is ongoing.

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  • Ripple947

    Tragic. I drove by there around 8:30 last night. 5 hours after the incident, the block was still blocked off and there were lots of cops milling around. What’s up with that?

  • Ioannes Caelius
  • Guest

    I have to add that the pavement quality going down Bancroft is in absolutely atrocious condition.  The reason this could have a bearing on this accident is that cyclists often must deviate from an ideal line in order to avoid htting a huge crater, pothole or logitudinal fissure thereby forcing them to swerve more into the line of traffic.

    We, the residents of Berkeley, are happy to pay our city employees fair and decent wages with very generous benefits, but we also expect our tax dollars to put first and foremost not into the private bank accounts of city employees, but into maintaining the basic infrastructure of our town such as :






  • Biker 94703

    One imagines, given the fatality, the data collection is a tad more thorough than with a fender-bender.

  • Guest

     One hopes that what you characterize as police officers ‘milling around’ was law enforcement professionals collecting evidence that will be used to determine whether criminal charges are to be filed and, if so, what charges.  This may seem casual to others, but the person who will be charged or not probably wants them to take their time and be extra careful in what they do.  This also applies to the DA who will handle any case that may arise.

  • Heather_W_62

    This is a good point that many non-cyclists wouldn’t have considered. It does make you wonder how it happened and the truck driver wasn’t aware of it.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the condition of the street did have something to do with it. 

  • I was in the area at 4:50 — emailed Berkeleyside about the traffic being re-routed. We drive that route several times a week, leaving Cal, and it is busy with cars, bikes and pedestrians. I cannot imagine how no one saw what happened. I hope a witness will come forward to help give the family some answers.

  • Aram Jahn

    The cyclist was renowned Israeli psychologist Shlomo Bentin, 65 yrs old. 

    As a fellow Berkeley cyclist who didn’t know the Prof, I find this very disturbing and sad. Sorry for his family and his students and friends. I wonder what happened with the truck driver? If anyone saw it, please talk to the BPD.

  • samothrellim

    What will it take to have safe bike lanes in Berkeley?

  • Guest

    Agreed.  Bancroft, as a one way street, could go on a diet down to one wider lane, plus a generous bike lane and leave the limited curb side parking in place on one or the other side.  It has a ton of students (and others) bike riding on it at all hours.  And, as I noted above, it also desparetly needs to be completely resurfaced in order to be fully functional for cyclists.

    As I commented on another cycling related BS story, the bike lanes are much more extensive and better thought out in urban parts of Oakland, Alameda, San Leandro and Hayward (to name only a few).

  • Paul Kealoha Blake

    Hmmmm really? you want all of that addressed?  I think our City Council has tried instead to spend time, money and energy criminalizing homeless youth who can then be scapegoated for bad roads, closed pools and neglected educational facilities.  

  • DrunkEngineer

    Berkeley had two opportunities to address safety issues on Bancroft: 1. BRT, and 2. the Southside Plan. BRT was rejected by Council, and the Southside Plan had almost all the bike/ped elements eliminated.

  • Vladislav_Davidzon

    The people who caused the death this man have names, and it’s time to name them.  Mayor Tom Bates, I am speaking about you as well as the other cronies on the City Council.  The fact is that Berkeley is one of the most dangerous places in the East Bay to be a cyclist or a pedestrian is not an accident, but rather the product of your morally bankrupt decisions, year after year.  This man’s death was directly caused by your decisions to prioritize your cronies over people’s lives.   

  • Anonymous

     Not that I disagree with your assessment of Bates and the political dysfunction that is Berkeley but, ultimately, Bates and people like him are just con men and hustlers that are elected in free and fair elections.  Things are as sad as they are in Berkeley because we made them that way.

  • BerkeleyResident

    Berkeley is statistically one of the safest cities in the country to be a cyclist.  There are no statistics that I know of on pedestrian-involved accidents, but the numbers for that are remarkably low as well. 

  • Vladislav_Davidzon

    Not according to data, it certainly is not.

  • Thompson

    The problem with the study that post cites to is that it conflates “similarly sized city” with “similarly sized biking population.”  I would be interested to see what the “per bicycle-mile” accident rates are across cities.  While it could be that Berkeley is, in fact, statistically more dangerous than other cities, I wonder if there are simply more bicycles on our roads than in other cities (a not outlandish proposition).

  • Vladislav_Davidzon

    Does that data really actually matter?  We can all agree that our streets suck, the bike infrastructure is nowhere near adequate, and we can do a lot better. 

  • Thompson

    BerkeleyResident said that Berkeley is one of the safest cities to be a cyclist.  You said it wasn’t and proffered data to back up your point.  I merely suggested that the “size of the city” is not an ideal criterion for comparing cycling incidents.

    I think it does matter.  Budgeting is a matter of priorities — it would be useful to see how our city compares to others on a per-mile-rode for cycling.  Then we could debate whether infrastructure expenditures should focus on general road work (e.g., repaving roads but not changing traffic shaping, lane arrangement, etc.) or if we should focus on bicycle lane improvements.

    In short, I think it’s a bit silly to offer data, then criticize me by asking if my data really matters.

  • Vladislav_Davidzon

    Point well taken.  Interestingly I’d offer that complete streets shouldn’t really be something we need to “debate”, as it’s a question of both saving lives, creating a more liveable city, and saving money — all at once.

  • Thompson

    Fair enough — and I agree, I think that for the most part infrastructure improvements would benefit both drivers and cyclists alike.  My concern is just to avoid the cascading consequences that so often result from Berkeley’s tinkering with roads.  The experiment with traffic calming has only made the ‘arterial’ roads more unbearable.  It’s benefited those on the calmed streets, but hurt those on the arterial streets.

    I think the same could apply here — there’s no doubt that a lot of work needs to be done just to bring the roadways up to a first-world standard.  But we should ask whether lane diets might have unintended consequences.  Frankly, I don’t know at all — it’s entirely probable that it would be a net win for everyone.  But I just think it’s worth having a discussion about just how bad (or not) Berkeley’s roads are for cyclists.  We have such a bike friendly city that our per-capita rates are destined to be higher than other cities’.  Indeed, it could result in a strange chart — our per-capita rates could increase despite an improvement in safety, if the number of bicyclists on the road increases at a faster rate than safety improvements can reduce accident rates.

  • Vladislav_Davidzon

    I largely agree, and I also would suggest that it’s worth asking the question whether quality of life and commerce could both dramatically be increased if we made it much more difficult to drive a car in many parts of this city. 

    It’s a radical question to ask, but it certainly wouldn’t be without precedent considering that many cities in Europe have already chosen to prioritize pedestrian and bicycle traffic by huge margins.  

  • Guest

    There is no way you could just reduce Bancroft from 2 lanes to 1 without causing massive traffic backups.

  • Jacob Lynn

    Posted this on the other article before I realized this one existed…

    I think it would be a better world if car drivers were responsible (legally and socially) for the unjury and death they cause. We don’t allow citizens to e.g. shoot guns in a public setting. Admittedly the analogy is imperfect — obviously the automobile provides real benefits to society — but the level of danger they pose to people on foot is not entirely dissimilar.

  • Jacob Lynn

    This is never as true as people think it is.

    Anyway, what might be a better solution than just replacing one of the lanes with a bike lane would be to turn Bancroft into a two-way street, shrinking both lanes, and adding sharrows. All of the one-ways in the area (I’m thinking of Bancroft, Durant, and Dwight) feel like highways, encouraging speeds that are far too fast for what is a pedestrian-centric neighborhood. And this way, you’d still have your second westbound lane, it would just be on Durant — and hopefully moving slower.

  • Rabobank

    Please someone with a camera (video or still) document the pavement quality on the block or area (if known) where this accident occurred and post them images here if possible.  I know for a fact that significant sections of upper Bancroft are in horrendous condition.  I think that it’s an “out” road for some of the zillion dump and construction trucks racing to get the football stadium ready for “kickoff” (now, there’s a social priority!).  I suspect that the god awful pavement quality on Bancroft is, in part, due to the increased construction activity up at Memorial stadium. 

    But I don’t actually drive or ride much on Bancroft west of Fulton (above Shattuck).  I know that that on that block one lane is often blocked by FedEx or other delivery trucks and it can be a pain to go around them either in a car or a safety hazard on a bike.

    But longterm, the problem goes back to pocketing most of the infrastructure money for salaries and benefit payments.  ask yourself, honestly, if you were a city bureaucrat, with limited total tax revenue at your disposal to divide up, and you had to pick between giving yourself a HEFTY raise, more days off, better health insurance and/or to retire earlier with more generous benefits OR pave some street somewhere in Berkeley (most city employees don’t even live here…) which would you choose, pray tell???

  • francis

    The pavement here is so bad between Telegraph and Shattuck that you can see the old trolley tracks in a few places.

  • samothrellim

    Mayor Bates is traveling in Europe, but has expressed concern for bicycle safety and would like to meet with interested citizens to discuss what can be done to improve bicycle safety. We need to study what other cities have done (particularly in Europe) to make bicycle riding safe, and see what we can adapt to Berkeley’s streets.  People with expertise in this area are encouraged to offer their assistance.  I am not a spokesperson for the Mayor, but survived ten years riding a bicycle in New York City before there were bike lanes and would like to ride safely in Berkeley.  If you can contribute and would like to help, let me know and, hopefully, we can form an ad hoc committee to meet with the Mayor and council members.

  • No need to be ad hoc, when BFBC and EBBC exist.

  • Rabobank

    Repaving busted up streets and adding more bike lanes to them where feasible/possible does not require a new citizen committee.  This is just more posturing on the part of Bates and his cronies.

    But since he is essentially unopposed for reelection, I don’t see what difference it makes to him in any case.  He’s just keeping the seat warm until his wife is term limited out and needs another paycheck/benefits & retirement bonus/package to add to the ones they already receive from the state taxpayers.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    Does the city bear liability in cases like this? I would argue that it has a duty to maintain the roads to a reasonable standard. This is already the case with sidewalks: if someone trips in front of your house because of a crack in the sidewalk, you are liable.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    How I wish this weren’t true. Sigh…

  • Rabobank

    Another case in point from this evening’s news about where limited tax funds are being expropriated:

    As millions of Californians enjoyed the state’s campgrounds and beaches, state audit reports show a high-ranking deputy director named Manuel Thomas Lopez was secretly carrying out an unauthorized vacation buyout program for certain park employees between May and July of last year. Due to budget cuts, such perks haven’t been allowed since 2007. 56 people took advantage, with Lopez getting one of the largest checks at more than $20,000. In all, the state doled out nearly $300,000 at a time when state parks have $1 billion worth of maintenance to do, like fix restrooms, and 70 parks faced closure at one point.
    A whistleblower came forward. “Some employee did the right thing and came forward to say is this OK to do? And, we said ‘no,'” recalled Roy Stearns with the California Parks Department although he added that it wasn’t until after the checks were cut. ABC7 News’ copy of the audits accuses Lopez of telling employees not to discuss anything in an email or memo, and that a post-it note, in some cases, would suffice. Then, payroll codes were falsified with the hours being keyed in as overtime.


    Retired Parks Deputy Director Ted Jackson is livid because some parks don’t need much to stay open. “There were a number of parks that only needed $100,000, $50,000, $200,000. That would have got them through so that they wouldn’t be on the closure list,” he said.
    The Parks Department points out funds from a different budget year would not have saved the parks on the closure list this year. Still, park visitors can certainly see what the money could have spent it on. “There’s less maintenance on the lawn. The bathrooms are falling apart. The tables, in fact, the ones we’re sitting at, kind of dilapidated,” park visitor Kerri Monis said. “They’re dirty. There’s not really any lifeguards here. Lots of trash,” Douglas Barton told ABC7 News.

  • Vladislav_Davidzon

    Oh really.  He wants to “study” what should be done?  He wants to “discuss”?  He wants “assistance”?  

    The city needs to file bankruptcy.  Get rid of the union contracts that were directly responsible for the death of this man.  It’s not rocket science, and no – we don’t need more studies, discussions or ‘assistance’.  We need real leadership, not talking. 

  • Prinzrob

    The state of the pavement on Bancroft is indeed hazardous, but I would go even further with additional safety improvements. Foremost I would encourage the city to turn it back into a two way street, which would have the effect of increasing mobility while slowing traffic closer to legal speeds. Also, the uphill direction should include a protected bike lane, the dangerous right turn slip lane onto Oxford should be removed, and the uncontrolled crosswalks across Bancroft should be upgraded with additional safety features.

  • Prinzrob

    I totally agree on the one-way to two-way conversion, and would suggest a protected bike lane in the uphill direction and sharrows on the downhill. This is a very similar plan to what is currently being considered for the other side of campus on Hearst Ave.

    One way streets are bad for business and bad for safety, and have no place in an urban area.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    Lopez was demoted and then after two months, decided to resign before he could be further disciplined.

    This should have been referred to the Atty. Gen. for prosecution as an embezzlement case.

    Also, none of the employees who got the payouts are being held accountable. The report I read explained this by saying that the employees are entitled to their accrued vacation – they just got it early.

    But now they will start accruing more vacation and get a second payout. That is wrong.

  • The Sharkey

    I don’t understand why vacation buyouts have ever been allowed in any field.

    Vacation days are as much about getting employees off the job so they can de-stress as they are about being a perk of a job. They should be granted on a use-it-or-lose-it basis that encourages employees to actually take their vacation days off instead of hoarding them for a big payout.

  • BerkeleyResident

    Cheers to both of you for not succumbing to the online bickering that appears so common on this site.  Commendable.  Thanks.

  • BerkeleyResident

    Because the city saves money in a buyout by paying a partial lump sum instead of having to pay another employee time and a half to cover the vacationing employee’s work. 

  • Toni

                Tom Bates was not in Europe on Monday. Yesterday he participated in the Bay Trail groundbreaking ceremony at the marina and chaired the City Council meeting. He announced that he won’t be present at next week’s meeting.
                Mr. Davidzon makes a leap of logic in stating that “union contracts” are directly responsible for the death of a cyclist. I sure hope he’s not involved in rocket science. Tom Bates has many failings, but he and other city officials did not cause this accident.
                We don’t know yet know the cause of this accident. Most likely one moving person didn’t see the other. The perspective from the driver’s seat of a truck is high above the eye level of a cyclist, and the bike is moving faster. That’s why most trucks should be prohibited from residential streets, and drivers of City trucks need to be extra careful.
                According to a study by the City auditor, Berkeley is far behind in the repair of our streets. Her report contains a link to one last year on “failing” streets. Failing means that spot repair of potholes is insufficient; the entire pavement must be removed and the street repaved.
                Heavy vehicles cause more wear and tear on pavement, set off car alarms, and threaten pedestrians and cyclists as well as children playing in the street on foot, bikes, and skateboards. They should be restricted to the arterials. For the past year, I’ve been trying to get a 3 ton truck prohibition cordon around our Rosa Parks residential neighborhood, where some streets have been repaved including the bike routes on Ninth and Channing. If your residential neighborhood lacks a cordon, please join my efforts by contacting your councilmember. A bunch of signs is an inexpensive way to save the pavement and hopefully prevent accidents.
                Copenhagen has the most extensive bike routes in Europe. In elevation and arrangement, they are placed between the roadways and the pedestrian sidewalks and in busy intersections have their own lights. I have cycled all around Copenhagen, always feeling safe –even in the city center. Everybody bikes: men, women, children, families, commuters, and the active elderly. Everybody knows and follows the rules including lights at night. Almost every night that I’m out in Berkeley, I see bikes without lights, even on major streets like San Pablo.

  • Toni
  • Ruth

    Tragic accident, the cyclist maybe was on the blind spot
    that driver of the truck failed to notice him, too many factors to consider
    that accumulates to such disaster. Some big truck drivers are known to bully
    cyclist and motorbikes though. The old man was wearing a helmet, but, the
    helmet was not enough to save him.