Community members in south Berkeley have launched a petition-drive in the wake of the death of a 68-year-old Berkeley bicyclist killed Monday around 8:30 a.m. after a car struck him near the corner of Fairview and Adeline Streets.
Hewitt Nelson was taken to Alameda County Hospital in Oakland where he was pronounced dead shortly after he arrived, said Berkeley police Cpt. Bobby Miller.
Though the driver was not cited, Miller said that when any accident involves a motor vehicle, a law is violated.
A witness to the accident, artistic director of the Black Repertory Theatre Sean Vaughn-Scott, said the community of south Berkeley has been advocating for years for something to be done about the “dangerous intersection.”
“For how long, for as long as I can remember,” Vaughn-Scott said. “We’ve had meetings, and we were listened to but nothing was done. We were basically told that someone would have to die before we could get a stop light on that corner.”
Miller offered advice for cyclists’ safety.
For one, make sure when crossing the street that motorists yield the right-of-way.
“It’s a defensive riding mechanism,” he said. “Make eye-to-eye contact. Bicyclists have the same rights, but they have to be certain that cars recognize their right-of-way.”
Vaugh-Scott said he is not pointing fingers, but that somewhere, someone dropped the ball as it relates to the real concerns of members of his community. “And what’s important is who’s going to be the one to do something about it — in addition to getting the stop light,” he added.
In the last month-and-a-half there have been four accidents on that corner, Vaugh-Scott said.
Shortly after the accident, he and other community members — including merchants and residents — decided independently to host a community meeting to address the issue and to get signatures for a petition that would force the city’s hand in providing the intersection with a stop light.
The meeting is scheduled 7 Monday night at the Black Reperatory Theater, 3201 Adeline St.