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UC Berkeley Assistant Manager Dies in Bike Crash on BART Path

A UC Berkeley assistant manager died in a bicycle crash on the Ohlone Greenway Friday when he swerved to avoid a skateboarder, according witness and official accounts.

Stefano (Steve) Maranzana, 39, died Dec. 20, 2013 in a bicycle crash on the Ohlone Greenway (BART path) in Berkeley. Photo from his Facebook page
Stefano (Steve) Maranzana, 39, died Dec. 20, 2013 in a bicycle crash on the Ohlone Greenway (BART path) in Berkeley. Photo from his Facebook page
An assistant health and safety manager at UC Berkeley died late Friday in a bicycle crash when he swerved to avoid a skateboarder on the Ohlone Greenway, according to authorities and witnesses.

Steve Maranzana, 39, of El Cerrito, died from apparent cardiac arrest in the accident that occurred about 5:15 p.m. as he was going northbound on the Greenway (the BART path) between Hopkins and Gilman streets, according to information gathered from Berkeley police, the Alameda County Coroner's Bureau and witnesses.

"Talk about fluke, freak accidents," said Berkeley Police Lt. Dave Frankel.

Police received a call of a bicyclist who was in cardiac arrest after crashing when he tried avoid colliding with another Greenway user, Frankel said. The cyclist "over-corrected and crashed into a fence," he said.

That section of the Greenway runs next to the BART tracks as they come above ground north of the North Berkeley BART station.

Berkeley Fire Department paramedics administered CPR at the scene, but he did not recover and was pronounced dead at a local hospital, Frankel said. He was pronounced dead at 6:27 p.m., according to the Coroner's Bureau, which listed his name as Stefano Maranzana.

Witness Susan Moffat, who was bicycling on the Greenway, said she arrived at the scene about 5:15 p.m. just after it occurred. A skateboarder and another cyclist said the victim was passing another cyclist, saw the skateboarder and swerved to avoid hitting the skateboarder, according to Moffat.

She said he was wearing a helmet and that his bicycle ended up against the fence, which separates the path from the BART tracks.

"This is going to be a tremendous blow to our department and to the campus," said Cindy Durant, communications manager for the UC Berkeley Office of Environment, Health and Safety, where Maranzana worked as assistant manager for health and safety. "I don't think there's anybody who knows him who doesn't love him."

His responsibilities included health and safety training as well as serving as project manager for the campus "Breathe Campaign," under which smoking on campus will be prohibited as of Jan. 1. Banners for the campaign were put up on campus Friday.

Durant said Maranzana "has a child on the way," and described him as having "a lot of energy, always very upbeat, one of those 'We can do it' kind of people."

She also said he apparently suffered from a heart condition.

He rode his bike on the 2009 AIDS LifeCycle ride from San Franciso to Los Angeles, and in comment accompanied by his photo on the Polar USA website, he said he was diagnosed with heart problems shortly after the ride.

"Imagine my surprise when I was diagnosed with heart problems at the age of 36 shortly after completing the 2009 AIDS LifeCycle (SF to LA)," he said. "My doctor discovered the condition by accident, but the consequences are real. During my recovery, I need to stay below my 80% of max heart rate when I exercise."

His Facebook page says he studied environmental science at Cal, attended Mamaroneck High School and the American School of Paris, and is from Rivoli Torinese, Piemonte, Italy.

Moffat said the spot where the accident occurred was quite dark, falling between lighted areas reached by streetlights.

She said the darkness on the heavily used path poses a danger that she hopes officials will investigate.

"I think lighting should be better on the Ohlone Greenway," she said.

Published Dec. 21, 7:50 p.m.; updated Dec. 22, 12:11 p.m.
Alexander Sinclair Merenkov December 22, 2013 at 12:57 AM
Thats sad. =( Hope his family is doing ok.
Kristen Juliann December 22, 2013 at 01:49 PM
Steve was a wonderful person to work with, a great guy all around. What a sad time for his family. Wishing them strength and remember everyone, appreciate loved ones while you still have them.
Auren Hoffman December 22, 2013 at 06:53 PM
Steve was a very special person who came from a great and generous family. All of us that went to high school with him will remember the fun-loving guy that so much of our social activity was centered around. Steve -- you will be greatly missed by so many people.
Anne-Marie Pine December 23, 2013 at 10:59 PM
A group of colleagues held a small remembrance for Steve today out at the site of the accident where we added some photos of Steve with his friends, on and off the job. He was much loved by all he worked with at Cal; a consummate professional and admired manager. Steve has been a member of the Golden Bear family since 1992; first as a student and then after graduating, as a staff member in the Office of Environment, Health and Safety. He will forever be remembered for his love of healthy ecosystems and his strong desire to heal environmental damage caused by human ignorance and willful exploitation of our planet. Please feel free to add to his small memorial along the Greenway; his family and friends are among the community of frequent pathway users and wish to extend their thanks for the lovely flowers and notes placed there over the last several days.
Charles Burress December 24, 2013 at 01:02 AM
Thank you for letting us know about the remembrance and memorial display. I saw it this afternoon and posted an article about it: bit.ly/1jCW7NL.

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