Richmond police try to find driver that killed bicyclist

April 11, 2012 6:59:18 PM PDT
Richmond police are asking for help in finding a hit and run driver who ran down and killed a bicyclist early Wednesday morning.

Richmond police say the bicyclist killed is 28-year-old Juan Godinez Garcia, a native of Guatemala. The incident occurred at 1:30 a.m. while neighbors were sleeping, that's why police say it's going to be hard to find the driver.

Richmond police found the bicyclist at the intersection of 33rd Street and Barrett Avenue. Garcia was already dead and the driver had fled.

"This bicyclist was traveling across the intersection, so the person who was driving that hit him may not have even seen him, but it becomes a crime once they flee the scene," said Richmond Lt. Bisa French.

Nobody reported seeing the hit and run, but police say there are ways of finding the driver.

"There should be some paint transfer maybe on the vehicle, maybe some dents on the vehicle," said French.

"There is no contest between a 6,000 pound vehicle and 150 pound person on a bike," said Brian Drayton.

Drayton is a bicycle activist who owns Richmond Spokes. Wednesday he posted the incident on his Facebook page hoping one of his 2,000 followers may provide a lead.

A statewide traffic database operated by the California Highway Patrol lists Barrett Avenue as one of the most dangerous streets in Richmond. McDonald Avenue and Cutting Boulevard top that list.

"The cars go between 35 and 45 miles an hour down there and you are talking multiple lanes in either direction and with the right of way straight through residential neighborhoods," said Drayton.

Drayton and other bicyclists have pushed for safety improvements in Richmond. The city council recently passed the Richmond Bicycle Master Plan to create bike lanes. Still, Drayton would like to see traffic calming devices that would force drivers to slow down.

This Friday night about 500 bicyclists will gather at the El Cerrito BART Station and from there they'll travel up San Pablo Avenue from Albany to Richmond. The East Bay Bicycle Coalition says they want to do this because they want to push for safer and better conditions for bicyclists.

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