Monday, October 30, 2006

Chevron blocks bike path, cyclists die

Aerial image of Chevron refinery in Point Richmond, CaliforniaMy friend Anna Sojourner posted the following message to the SFBIKE listserve on October 27, 2006. I think it is a particularly heartfelt and passionate posting, which I share with you here:

Hi SFBikers,

Once again, Chevron protects their profits and people die.

I grew up in Richmond (not Point Richmond, Richmond). Danny Weinstein was a family friend who died with his head caved in after being hit riding legally on I-580, leaving behind two young children. Dan Dolan was with him and is still in intensive care with a crushed spine. Last I heard, he was under sedation and responding but unable to move his legs. The third cyclist watched his two friends get hit and I can only imagine how troubled he is today.

There is no bike path connecting Richmond to the open space at Point Molate, and cyclists are required to ride on the freeway. Despite long efforts, Chevron has insisted that it cannot sign over land to complete the Bay Trail and provide safe bike and pedestrian access to Point Molate.

Chevron says that public access for pedestrians and cyclists is a security risk (sound familiar?) but a parking lot even closer to their docks where truckers regularly pull up and take naps is OK. The State Lands commission (gubernatorial appointees) dropped the ball and didn't push Chevron to open up access when they had the chance a few years ago.

In short, Chevron is asking people in Richmond--literally, some of the most destitute of all Bay Area residents--and cyclists of all stripes to risk their lives to access open space, and Danny died because of this.

It's an environmental issue, a race issue, an equality issue, a quality of life issue and a cycling issue, and now you can do something about it in the easiest, most lazy sort of way. Please read the letter below for the full story. Follow this link to send an email to the relevant politicians. And read the Contra Costa Times story.

Thanks,

Anna

San Francisco Bay Trail
Wikipedia entry on Bay Trail
San Francisco Bay Trail Cycling Guide (Cycline)
Image: Web capture. Aerial photo of Chevron refinery at Point Richmond, California.

1 comment:

Web said...

Paul,

I read the story when it came out. It's a real tragedy that was completely avoidable. What's worse, people will continue to die here until the trail is fixed AND IT'S DO-ABLE!. All Chevron has to do is be an upstanding public citizen.

The craziest part is that it's in Chevron's best interest. People are mad as hell about the strange way that gas prices went through the roof this summer and have quietly come down so quickly. It really makes one wonder whether there is manipulation occuring...

Anyhow, we all need to speak up on this so the trail can be fixed ASAP.

Respectfully,
Larry Lagarde
RideTHISbike.com
Urging bicycling for recreation, commuting, health and a better future.