Road Bicyclist Killed on Andersen Drive in San Rafael – Our Statement
Editor’s note: This is a developing story and new details may emerge in the coming days. We will update the post as needed.
On the morning of Saturday, December 2nd, Peter Grace, a bicyclist from Brisbane, CA was killed in a crash in San Rafael. While we do not know the complete details of the incident (a full crash report is still in development), we will share what we have heard that is consistent across accounts.
Grace was part of a group riding event organized by the San Francisco Randonneurs and had set out on a 200-kilometer ride. At roughly 11 miles in, he was crossing the SMART train tracks on Andersen Drive in San Rafael traveling west toward downtown. Exactly what happened at this point we do not know, but according to the initial statement from the San Rafael Police Department, he crashed on the tracks and was hit by a pickup truck towing a trailer that was attempting to pass at that moment.
We know from experience that accounts relying on only the testimony of the surviving party (in most cases the driver, rather than the bicyclist) should be treated with some skepticism. However, this narrative squares with that of other riders who were just behind Grace at the time of the crash.
Whatever the exact nature of the events, what happened is a profound tragedy and our hearts go out to Grace’s family and community. No one should have to experience what they are no doubt going through.
While it is often tempting to write off a crash as “just another accident,” here we urge caution. The principles of “Vision Zero” hold that, while mistakes on the road are inevitable, fatalities are not. As we do with many other systems (airlines and emergency rooms, for example) our roads should be designed to tolerate user errors. When those errors occur, systems with redundancies “fail-safe,” resulting in, at worst, injuries rather than death.
We are in communication with both the San Rafael Department of Public Works and SMART to determine whether anything else could have been done to make this crash less likely or less severe. We know of other close calls at this same location, and it is the duty of the stewards of our transportation system to make sure that no one else suffers a similar tragedy.