As the Bay Area celebrated Bike to Work Day last Thursday, Berkeley was inaugurating a new “protected” bike lane near the scene of a harrowing February collision involving a cyclist and an allegedly DUI motorist.
Bike East Bay had pushed hard for the lane, which separates cyclists from motorized traffic and does not allow cars and trucks. The advocacy group stepped up its calls after Berkeley scientist and new mother Megan Schwarzman was nearly killed while cycling along Fulton.
Schwarzman’s husband, Mike Wilson, addressed the Berkeley City Council in March and asked for speedy action. (He and his wife are avid cyclists and were members of Bike East Bay at the time of the crash.)
“You can imagine the strain on our family as Meg struggled to live through the first 12 hours, with a bleeding liver, 20 fractured ribs, a smashed pelvis, two partially collapsed lungs, and complex facial fractures,” he told the council. “Let’s learn from what happened here and implement the long-overdue improvements in bicycle and pedestrian safety that are already embodied in Berkeley’s bicycle plan and downtown plan. Meg and I will thank you, as will the thousands of cyclists and pedestrians who rely on your decisions to keep them and their families safe.”
Wilson also noted that the driver who ran over his wife was alleged to have been impaired, which “contributed to the severity of the collision.” But he said that better traffic planning would be critical in making a difference in the long run as far as safety for cyclists and drivers.