OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – The Oakland biking community is asking city leaders to do more after a 4-year-old girl was killed in an accident near Lake Merritt.
Maia Correia was riding in a child’s seat on the back of her father’s bike on Lakeshore Avenue on Aug. 5 when a driver opened a car door in front of them, causing them to crash. Maia fell, hit her head, and died a few days later.
The girl’s parents are completely torn apart, Maia’s aunt told KRON4.
A growing memorial sits near Lake Merritt and Hanover Avenue near where the accident happened. The little girl and her father were riding in the bike lane, wearing helmets, and trying to stay out of the way of cars when a parked car opened its door and hit the bike.
George Spies with Traffic Violence Rapid Response said someone called 9-1-1 and paramedics came to the scene.
“They checked her out, she seemed okay. They sent her home with directions to keep an eye out,” Spies said.
Maia went home, and a few hours later, she started vomiting and fell unconscious. When she was rushed to the hospital they found a blood clot between her brain and skull.
Maia’s aunt, Sheila McCracken, said the girl was eventually removed from life support. “We wanted to leave the hospital but we wanted to leave the hospital with Maia. So leaving without her was heartbreaking,” McCracken said.
The aunt said it’s hard to imagine life without Maya.
“I just feel like my heart’s been ripped out,“ McCracken said. “My sister is trying her best to be there for her two other kids. She’s insanely strong. She gets out of bed every single day to be there for them.”
Both organizers with Traffic Violence Rapid Response and Bike East Bay believe Maia’s death could have been prevented. They want city leaders to make the streets safer for pedestrians and bikers. Spies says slower speed limits and protected bike lanes could make a difference.
“A protected bike lane, typically when you see one you have the sidewalk and the curb, you have a bike lane, then there’s a concrete separator of some sort, it’s typically a couple feet wide, then there’s the parking lane,” he said.
Maia’s family says they are working with lawyers and may take legal action against the paramedic or Kaiser.