Out with The Dog this evening, walking along a bike path not too far from the house, I was startled to see what looked like a memorial: lots of flowers next to the barrier that separates the path from the BART tracks just north of the mouth of the Berkeley tunnel. Funny how fast I started processing possibilities: Was someone waylaid here? Had someone gone over the barrier and gotten electrocuted or hit by a train?
In the dark, I could see there was a sign. Shining a light on it, I found it said someone died 10 days ago in a cycling accident at this spot, just off the dead end of Neilson Street, just south of Gilman. Looking more carefully, I could see that the message had been edited to add details about the incident, including the name of the man who died and the fact he suffered “a heart attack” after an incident in which he apparently tried to avoid hitting someone else on the path.
Looking for the name online, I see a couple of accounts with more details. Stefano (Steve) Maranzana, a 39-year-old UC Berkeley employee, suffered cardiac arrest after he swerved to avoid a skateboarder on the path and crashed into the BART fence. Yeah — 39, with a child on the way, if the news accounts are correct. On his way home from work, just a mile or two north of this site. (Here’s one story, from Charles Burress on the Albany Patch site, and an obituary in The Daily Californian.)
I have to say there’s something about the edits to the sign that seems to go just a little beyond providing an update — like someone suggesting that the original is ill informed (as opposed to less informed). Also, what’s the whited-out portion about? I’m probably reading too much into it.
In any case, from what I read about Steve Maranzana, he was a thoroughly good guy and probably would have appreciated the original sentiment. Take care, everyone.