Cyclist killed after collision with truck on Bancroft and Fulton

Kelly Fang/Senior Staff

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A cyclist died shortly after colliding with a dump truck Friday afternoon near the intersection of Bancroft Way and Fulton Street.

The victim has been identified by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Coroner’s Bureau as Shlomo Bentin, 65, who was a guest lecturer at UC Berkeley. Bentin was pronounced dead at Highland Hospital in Oakland after he was transported by ambulance to the hospital trauma center.

According to Berkeley Police Department Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, the vehicle and bicyclist were both traveling westbound on Bancroft Way at around 3:38 p.m. when an apparent collision between the two occurred. The victim was then transported to the local police center where he was pronounced dead by physicians.

“Whether the truck actually struck the cyclist or not is not clear from any witnesses,” Kusmiss said.

Kusmiss said the investigation team is currently reconstructing the accident in order to determine what role the dump truck played in the incident.

The driver of the dump truck as well as his supervisor remained at the scene and were questioned by police officers.

The cyclist sustained “life-threatening injuries” to his head, and possibly other parts of his body, and was unresponsive when emergency personnel reached the scene, Kusmiss said.

According to Kusmiss, people who witnessed the accident flagged down a passing ambulance. EMT personnel performed CPR on the man, who lay in the roadway near his bicycle. He had reportedly been wearing a helmet.

Kusmiss said a pedestrian who witnessed the accident prompted a motorcyclist to flag down the truck, which ended up traveling approximately one more block before returning to the scene.

“The motorcyclist followed the truck and told the driver to return, as he may have struck the cyclist,” Kusmiss said.

According to a statement released by the police department Friday night, the truck driver is not under arrest and has cooperated with police thus far.


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  • khue

    omg, does anyone know who the professor is? i hope is not someone i know

  • khue

    how could you not see the biker o.o? don’t dump truck usually have 2 peoples on it?, and are usually travels at a very slow speed? That poor teacher. wtf mang, someone just died, it doesn’t matter if they was at fraught or not, it is still a horrible thing to die.. these people…

  • William M Popper

    Dump Truck moving way too fast for safety…driver should be severely punished.

  • Pretend you’re important

    Awesome, when’s the pogrom and the lynching?

    The passive aggressiveness of the cycling community defines it. They rage impotently at the vehicles that comprise 98% of traffic on the “shared” roads, but they never go eye for an eye, and then nothing changes, and they act surprised. It’s like chicks who continually date meathead frat rats and then wonder why it works out badly. Maybe they like the abuse — what else could be keeping them from capping the douche in the BMW at the next intersection and setting an example for once?

  • Karryn Nagel

    I was one of the first witnesses on the scene..called 911, cleared the pedestrian and car traffic, spoke gently to Mr. Bentin, and made sure he wasn’t moved (I’m very bossy, and the other witnesseses let me take charge). I’ve been very shaken all weekend. Though I didn’t see the actual collision, I was there just a second or two after it happened. Does anyone know how I could send flowers to the family or memorial service? I don’t know how to get in touch with UcB on the matter, and I imagine they are being inundated already.
    Thank you
    Karryn Nagel

  • Raul Gjijalva

    How many of those Cops stubbed their toes and had an on-the-job injury?

  • Promontorium

    This is looks like a terrible accident. This truck is simply so loud, large, and high off the ground the driver could probably plow through a crosswalk full of people and neither see them nor hear anything. Maybe the cyclists didn’t move fast enough and he just mowed him down. Maybe the cyclists turned into his lane but the truck didn’t see him. Whatever the case, the real danger was the incongruity in size and speed. As a cyclist I’ll definitely have to keep my eye out for vehicles that might not know I’m there.

    • Promontorium, there are pro-active strategies you can use — ways to increase your visibility, position yourself to be spotted, and avoid both static and transient potential danger zones — that will increase your safety. Google “cyclist conspicuity” and “ebbc safety” for loads more info.

      • Promontorium

        This is definitely true. One of the dangers that might have been the cause of this accident is turning in front of the big truck, perhaps changing lanes. A cyclist might signal, look, and believe they have the right of way, but if it’s close, or the angle is wrong the truck might not see the rider at all. Similarly these trucks have big blind spots and if you’re riding abreast of them, they might not see you, a car might get a little swerve or a bump and be annoyed, but a cyclist, even swerving might end up dead.

    • Current student

      GMAFB. If the driver of the truck legitimately can not see pedestrians in front of him (which I highly doubt to be true, btw), then the truck is unsafe to operate on public streets and its use should be legally restricted to construction sites.

      • Promontorium

        I don’t really think it matters what you doubt. I’ve driven some big trucks before, the largest being a crane truck. When you have that vertical front end, and your visual horizon is 10 feet off the ground, you could not see a person standing directly in front of the vehicle. The trick is to see them before they get directly in front. A big rig is even worse. There is a lot of danger involved, which is why even cars have to be careful driving with them on the highway and give them deference. There are a lot of blind spots.

      • Guest

        How’d you pass your driving test? Sounds like you didn’t even bother reading that driver safety book the state puts out — they have 2 or 3 pages about this. Large trucks have a 10-20 foot blind spot in front. That’s why you should never change lanes in front of a truck.

  • I cycle daily in Berkeley, and once or twice a week a motorist apologizes to me for not having looked before pulling out, changing lanes, or some similar maneuver. If the truck driver didn’t see the cyclist, how certain are we that he was watching the road appropriately? We need witnesses.

    • I_h8_disqus

      That is a very large truck that probably couldn’t move out fast, and it probably was coming down from the stadium. If the truck was involved, it seems like the cyclist would have been squeezed between the truck and parked cars.

  • I cycle daily in Berkeley, and once or twice a week a motorist apologizes to me for not having looked before pulling out, changing lanes, or some similar maneuver. If the truck driver didn’t see the cyclist, how certain are we that he was watching the road appropriately? We need witnesses.

  • xxx

    Drive defensively, bike defensively.

  • I_h8_disqus

    As a cyclist, I avoid both Bancroft and Fulton. Both streets have too much traffic that is too busy doing anything but looking for cyclists. Ride defensively and don’t worry about the extra time taking a street like Channing will add to your commute.

    • Nunya Beeswax

      I couldn’t agree more. And motorists and cyclists alike should avoid Bancroft unless they have business on the street.

  • Dude

    Hey Sean, how many times do you have to repeat yourself?

  • SK

    I feel terrible for the victim; however, there are so many cyclists who do not obey the traffic rules every corner of Berkeley. A bicycle is technically a vehicle and it should obey all the traffic rules.

    • Armin Samii

      This was a famous professor. I am sure he was smart enough to follow all the rules.

      • A

        Actually, I’m sure his mentality was “I don’t have to follow all the rules because I’m a famous professor”

        • x

          RUDE. I worked very closely with him and fully disagree with this comment.

          • Guest

            Yeah man WTF? The real problem doesn’t lie with either the cyclists or the motorists, but with the fact that somehow we think that it’s a good idea to have them both use the same roads. Ever heard of a LEGITIMATE (i.e. divided from the road, not just some 2′ wide lane marked with a white line) bike lane?

          • guest

            Divided roads are actually far more dangerous — just like riding a bike on the sidewalk. Most accidents occur at intersections.

          • orit elgavi

            Agree completely. I too had the honor of working with him closely and he was always very conscientious about following the same rules as everyone else – you could say it was one of his trademarks. also a real mensch – i will miss him terribly.

        • Nico

          His country gets $1000/US citizen every year. Of course he’s gonna piss all over our laws.

          • g

            Nico – People like you bring shame to the US. If there defination for dirtbag that’s you.

          • Raul Gjijalva

            WANKER sucking Zionist Kock!

          • Marcohoe

            Nico – that’s a shameful piece of misinformation. Israel gets 3 billion dollars in aid each year, that’s about $10 for each US citizen. And unlike the aid given to your friends in say Egypt, all the money given to Israel is spent buying American products, and so supports American industries and flows back to American workers.

        • g

          A – that really rude. I hope you don’t suffer what the professor family is going through right now. Shame on you!

    • Nunya Beeswax

      You don’t know that he didn’t obey the rules, SK. It pisses me off when cyclists don’t obey traffic rules as well, but there’s no way you could know this about him.

      The bottom line is that somebody got killed in a traffic accident, and you see in it an opportunity to stroke your own animus against cyclists. That’s kind of screwed up, isn’t it?

  • I feel terrible for the victim; however, there are so many cyclists who do not obey the traffic rules every corner of Berkeley. A bicycle is technically a vehicle and it should obey all the traffic rules.