The city of Alameda, California, is known for its flat topography, low traffic volume, a near city-wide 25 MPH speed limit, and bike-friendliness. Alameda is my home, and I feel quite safe riding around town with my 9-year-old son.
My sense of safety is shaken today.
The life of Brandon Sorensen, a well-liked student at Lincoln Middle School, came to a tragic end at the intersection of Santa Clara and Everett yesterday afternoon. Reporter Peter Hegarty’s full report can be read here.
I’ve gone through that intersection thousands of times on my bicycle in the past 20+ years. Riding through it will never be the same. My heart goes out to family and friends of the young man.
Every morning I watch my sons leave on their bikes and wish-remind them to travel safely to and from middle school. Relatively safe route compared to most but virtually every day I hear another story on how a car cut them off, drove in the painted bike lane or how they watched drivers accelerate through a red light. Cycling through the same intersection where Brandon was killed must be particularly painful as a father of children who also bike.
It is always very sad to read stories like this…especially when they hit close to home. There is not much detail in the news report, but the article does point out that the driver was not cited. Fatal crashes are usually chalked up as ‘accidents’ and drivers are rarely held accountable for ending someone’s life due to negligence (which could be as simple as taking their eyes off the road for 1 second). I don’t know the facts in this case, but hopefully they will come out.
Regardless of the circumstances in this case, my heart goes out to Brandon’s family. We need safer streets for all users…and drivers need to pay COMPLETE attention to the road when they are behind the wheel.
“Alameda is my home, and I feel quite safe riding around town with my 9-year-old son.” Your trust in Californian motorists is severely misplaced.
Paul, cycling is safe in Alameda, which is why tragedies like Brandon Sorenson’s are newsworthy instead of commonplace.