$2.4 million settlement reached in wrongful death suit over fatal bike accident on Menlo Park’s Sand Hill Road
Seven months after agreeing to a $2.4 million settlement in his wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Menlo Park, the husband of a woman killed while riding her bicycle on Sand Hill Road is speaking out to prevent a similar accident from happening to another cyclist.
Deborah Johnson, 54, was riding her bike with a friend on Sand Hill Road on a Sunday afternoon in July 2007 when she fell and struck her head. She was taken to Stanford University Medical Center, and pronounced dead two days later.
Her husband, John Gerrity, told The Daily News this week that Johnson’s friend saw her fall from her bike after hitting an object in the bike lane — the flat black octagonal rubber base of a “candlestick” delineator that had become separated from its plastic orange pole.
The lane divider should never have been there in the first place, he said.
Gerrity said the Menlo Park Public Works Department had finished its repaving of Sand Hill Road on Friday, July 20, two days before the accident. It put up the dividers to mark the bike lane of the heavily trafficked road and removed them shortly after the accident, Gerrity said.
According to the federal Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, used by road managers nationwide, “posts or raised pavement markers should not be used to separate bicycle lanes from adjacent travel lanes.” The same notation is made in the state’s adaptation of the manual.
According to Section 9C.04 of the federal manual, using raised devices “creates a collision potential for bicyclists.”