The widow and children of deceased bicyclist, Allan Lee, filed suit today in the Alameda Superior Court against the city of Oakland. Allan Lee was killed tragically on September 24, 2011, when, while riding with a group of cyclists, the front wheel of his bicycle became stuck in a rut on Grizzly Peak Boulevard, propelling him over the handlebars and into the path of an oncoming car. The plaintiff and her two children are seeking compensatory damages for the wrongful death of her husband. The lawsuit contends that the city of Oakland violated Government Code Section 835, failing to fix a dangerous roadway.
Grizzly Peak Boulevard, in the area where this incident occurred, has a long history of citizen and bicyclist complaints regarding unrepaired roadway gaps, ruts and grooves. In addition, on several occasions prior to the subject accident complaints about potholes, holes, cracks and disrepair of the subject roadway had been made to the Oakland Public Works Department. Despite these complaints, the roadway was in serious disrepair at the time of the accident.
Grizzly Peak Century is an organization which conducts a 100-mile bicycle race every year on East Bay roads, including Grizzly Peak Boulevard. A volunteer member of Grizzly Peak Century, Tom Buoye, had been complaining to the Oakland Public Works Department since 2009 about the area of the roadway where Allan Lee’s accident happened, as well as other areas which posed hazards to bicyclists. As of March or April 2011, the section of road where the accident occurred was identified and spray-painted by Mr. Buoye, but it was only after the fatal accident that the roadway was repaired. The response he received was that the city of Oakland had established a five-year plan in 2007 which states:
Bicycle Master Plan
“Oakland will be a City where bicycling is fully integrated into daily life, providing transportation and recreation that are both safe and convenient.”
City of Oakland, Bicycle Master Plan (2007)
Yet, as of January 2010, Jennifer Stanley, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities Coordinator for the City of Oakland, in response to a complaint, acknowledged the dangerous condition of this roadway … “being a bicyclist myself” …
The roadway remained in horrible disrepair for years until after Mr. Lee was killed.
For more information on this breaking story see Oakland Tribune article, ABC News Story and our Personal Injury Blog.
View a Recent Video on NBC about dangerous road conditions in the Bay Area.