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Published October 4th, 2017
Another Moraga Road accident prompts further discussion of bicycle, pedestrian safety
This busy intersection on Moraga Road was the scene of an accident between a car and cyclist on Sept. 27. The bicyclist on Moraga Road had a green light at the same time the light for the left turn lane onto St. Mary's Road was green. Photo Pippa Fisher

For the second time in just over two months another person has been hit on Moraga Road.
The most recent incident happened on Wednesday, Sept. 27 and involved a cyclist and a Mercedes at the intersection of Moraga Road and St. Mary's Road. This follows the July 24 pedestrian fatality on the same road at the Moraga Boulevard traffic lights.
Lamorinda Weekly publishers Andy and Wendy Scheck drove past the scene shortly after the accident had taken place. They said that the front windshield of the Mercedes was shattered and looked as if it had borne the brunt of the impact from the cyclist hitting the windshield. The victim was no longer at the scene.
According to Lafayette Chief of Police Eric Christensen, the car was headed south toward Moraga and turning left onto St. Mary's Road, and the bike was headed north, from Moraga into Lafayette. The bicyclist suffered some significant injuries including some broken bones and some significant bleeding. He was transported by ambulance and as of last Wednesday night was going into surgery, Christensen said. The driver was cooperative and no drugs or alcohol were involved.
"The driver of the car was trying to beat the light and entered when the light was yellow, possibly trying to beat the bike through the intersection," Christensen said. "The bike helmet saved the biker's life without a doubt."
At issue appears to be cars turning left from Moraga Road onto St. Mary's Road on a green light against oncoming traffic as they are permitted to do, even when they don't have the green arrow.
Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Committee Member Brad Crane said, "It was only a matter of time until someone got hurt. The signalization at that intersection allows for cars to turn left onto St. Mary's Road while pedestrians have their signal to cross, putting the most vulnerable traveler directly in harm's way. Because this is a high traffic area for students walking/biking to Lafayette Elementary and Stanley Middle School, this design flaw puts many students in danger everyday."
Crane says that the solution to the St. Mary's Road and Moraga Road situation is simple. "When pedestrians have the right of way to cross, cars should not be allowed to make that left turn. It really is that simple. But that means making drivers wait at the light a bit longer. But in a car-first approach, wait time is to be reduced at the expense of safety."
Residents are certainly vocal on this subject on social media reflecting the concern in the city with many suggesting that speeding or distracted drivers are to blame.
This accident comes a week before Walk/Bike to School Day at Lafayette Elementary School on Oct. 4.
"We should be encouraging our residents, including students, to bike or walk to their destination. Not only does it reduce car congestion and air pollution, it's part of an overall healthy lifestyle," Crane said. "There's a growing body of evidence linking academic performance to exercise.
"The unfortunate truth is that when cars and pedestrians/cyclists conflict with each other, the pedestrian or cyclist always loses."

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