Skip to Content
Streetsblog California home
Streetsblog California home
Log In

Note: GJEL Accident Attorneys regularly sponsors coverage on Streetsblog San Francisco and Streetsblog California. Unless noted in the story, GJEL Accident Attorneys is not consulted for the content or editorial direction of the sponsored content.

Richard Heard Jr., 55, was killed by a combination of a reckless motorist and an unsafe street design on W. Tennyson Road in Hayward last Wednesday. The Oakland resident was apparently riding his bike from his job at a FedEx facility to the South Hayward BART station when he was fatally struck by a hit-and-run motorist.

From the Hayward police report:

On Wednesday, June 16, 2021, at about 9:13 PM, officers responded to the report of an injury collision involving a vehicle and a bicyclist near the intersection of W. Tennyson Rd and Dickens Ave.

Upon arrival, it was revealed the driver involved in the collision fled the scene. The bicyclist was located at the scene, suffering from injuries consistent with being struck by a vehicle. Emergency medical personnel responded to the scene and transported the victim to Eden Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

Surely, the driver is primarily to blame for Heard's death. But so are officials with the the city of Hayward, who put parking above human life a few years ago, resulting in a deadly street design that facilitated this tragedy.

From East Bay advocate Steven Dunbar's twitter:

https://twitter.com/dunbarforbart/status/1408998816108351492

Put simply, during the last repaving, the city opted not to build a protected lane and instead painted a stripe, with tragic and entirely predictable results.

Heard is not the first person to be killed on Hayward's unsafe streets. As Dunbar told Streetsblog, there was 26-year-old Jose Enciso Hernandez, killed on Tennyson in 2016. Then earlier this year, Valerie Martinez, 58, was killed while walking on Huntwood near its intersection with Tennyson.

Both were also a result of decisions to maintain wide streets with parking. In the case of Martinez, "The city made deliberate decision not to make the southern half of Huntwood as safe as possible," said Bike East Bay advocate Dave Campbell. "They didn’t need two lanes in both directions, traffic doesn’t warrant it, but the city got push back from some local businesses and kept it four lanes."

Martinez was killed in a crosswalk because the car in one lane stopped, but the car in the next lane didn't. In other words, had the city adhered to the safer proposed design, Martinez would not have been killed.

"I think everyone needs to be held accountable," said Campbell.

Meanwhile, as mentioned in the Twitter exchange, a similar battle over maintaining motor vehicle lanes versus protected bike lanes is playing out nearby on a Patrick Avenue repaving project. And once again, push back from merchants and others could result in more unsafe designs getting set in concrete and leading directly to future injuries and deaths. In Streetsblog's view, it is possible--in fact, it should be a clear moral imperative--to build safe streets, even in car-oriented suburbs. The Dutch and other European nations have already shown how to make safer streets; nearby Fremont has emulated Dutch best practices with its project on Walnut Street.

Streetsblog has reached out to Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday, the city of Hayward's communications head, and the Hayward police for updates and comment and will update this post accordingly.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog California

Metro and Caltrans Expect to Complete Torrance 405 Freeway Widening Project Next Month

Metro and Caltrans are adding nearly two miles of new auxiliary freeway lanes, a new on-ramp, and widening adjacent streets including Crenshaw Boulevard and 182nd Street

July 22, 2024

Philadelphia Demands More Than ‘Flex-Post’ Protected Bike Lanes After Motorist Kills Cyclist

Pediatric oncologist Barbara Friedes was struck while biking on a "protected" path. Advocates argue that flex posts should be replaced with something far better.

July 22, 2024

Monday’s Headlines

Caltrain's electric trains to start limited weekend service soon; San Diego gets "tap-to-pay"; SF drivers demand "respect"; More

July 22, 2024

Advocates Share What It Takes to Fight Highway Expansions in Court 

What does it take to sue your state DOT? Time, money, the right partners, and a little creativity, a recent survey of activists found.

July 19, 2024

Friday Video: Paris Does it Again

Come for the bike-friendly streets, but stay for adopt-a-tree program and all the car-free school roadways.

July 19, 2024
See all posts