SAN FRANCISCO - A cyclist injured by an unsecured fence on the Golden Gate Bridge is accusing construction crews of cutting corners and creating safety hazards.
Michelle Mahoney, an active cyclist from Oakland was riding on the west side of the bridge on August 6, when she said a loose construction fence became untethered and blew into her path, causing her to crash.
"Out of nowhere this gate came, and it was like two clutching arms that came into me and catapulted me to this side so that my lower back hit the guardrail," she said. "It was so frightening."
She said the fence cut her arms and that she seriously injured her back and right thigh. Her bicycle was also badly damaged.
A representative with the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District told KTVU it received a report of a safety hazard on the west sidewalk minutes before Mahoney collided with the construction fencing and fell.
"Officers checked in with Ms. Mahoney, took a report, and escorted her to the East parking lot," said bridge spokesperson Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz.
But Mahoney said she wasn’t the only victim.
"I’m sitting there befuddled and right behind me another rider goes down," she said. "He’s on the ground. I’m injured. The Golden Gate Bridge authority or whoever comes out and kind of shuttles me into their car because my bike was un-rideable."
The section of fence that struck Mahoney is maintained by a contractor that’s building a suicide deterrent system, according to the district.
"Upon learning of the loose fencing and the incident with Ms. Mahoney, we immediately called in off-duty ironworkers to temporarily secure and repair the loose fence until the contractor could make more permanent repairs," Cosulich-Schwartz said.
For the first time since the accident, Mahoney cycled on one of her other bicycles across the Golden Gate Bridge Tuesday. She found gaps and holes in fencing, zip ties holding pieces together, and several sharp edges and other potential trip hazards.
"Today they have this janky zip tie situation," she said. "Unacceptable for a golden treasure like the Golden Gate Bridge with thousands of tourists crossing every single day."
Mahoney said the fence and bridge sidewalk condition has made her fear it could happen again to someone else. She said she wants to sue over negligence.
The district said it is following up with her after learning about the extent of her injuries and said safety is its top priority.
Bridge officials said contractors will replace fencing on the west side of the bridge and increase monitoring to make sure it's in good repair. Some of the work has already been completed.