Cyclist's widow files lawsuit against Oakland

July 31, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The family of a cyclist killed in a tragic accident last year is now suing the city of Oakland. They claim the city was warned about the dangerous road conditions and did nothing to fix it. The accident happened last September at Grizzly Peak Boulevard and Claremont Avenue.

Many cyclists have to dodge big holes in the asphalt on Grizzly Peak Boulevard. Now the widow of a cyclist is suing Oakland claiming it violated a government code by failing to fix a dangerous road.

A rut in the road, less than two inches wide, ended the life of 53-year-old Alan Lee. He was a father of two and an avid cyclist from Alameda.

"He was totally into safety," said Nancy Lee, the widow. "He got the best equipment. He trained. He would pick people's brains. He went riding. He knew all the proper bike etiquette," said Nancy Lee.

Last September, Alan was rounding this curve on Grizzly Peak Boulevard, with a cycling group, when his tire got caught in a crack. He lost control and flew off his bike into an oncoming car. A friend notified his wife.

"And he goes, 'I'm so sorry.' I said, 'What do you mean? Where is he?' And he says, 'Al's dead,'" said Nancy.

"I had predicted it. I said somebody is going to get hurt on this road," said Tom Buoye, a cycling activist.

Buoye says he's been asking the city of Oakland to fix the heavily traveled scenic road since 2009.

"And then when the accident happened, finally something happened. They fixed this part of the road. But they didn't fix the rest of it," said Buoye.

That's why Buoye took it upon himself to mark the hazards along Grizzly Peak Boulevard.

"And depending on how severe it is, I put these chevrons in front of it," said Buoye.

The Oakland city attorney would not comment on the lawsuit filed by Lee's widow. But last week, the city says it finished filling nearly 3,000 potholes and laying 72,000 square feet of asphalt. Little was done along Grizzly Peak Boulevard.

Part of Oakland's 2007 master plan states that, "Oakland will be a city where bicycling is fully integrated into daily life, providing transportation and recreation that are both safe and convenient."

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