OAKLAND _ A crash like the one that took the lives of two Bay Area cyclists near Cupertino Sunday is a tragedy that should serve as a warning to both urban bicycle riders and motorists to respect the center stripe on a street, road or highway, the head of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition said this morning.

"This falls into on of those extraordinary, random events," said Robert Raburn, executive director of the coalition, which is based in Oakland and has members from a wide area.

"It's horrible to take away somebody in their youth, but one thing people can take away from this is the sanctity of the double yellow line. People on bikes are depending on others to abide by that line."

The accident at 10:30 a.m. Sunday on Stevens Canyon Road in Cupertino took the lives of Matt Peterson, 30, of San Francisco, and Kristy Gough, 31, of Oakland.

One thing bicycle riders, those who commute by bike or just like to tool around the neighborhood, can do is learn safety skills, Raburn said.

Thanks to Measure B, the bond issue passed by Alameda County voter, the coalition is offering a series of "street smart" classes free in coming months in Oakland and around Alameda County. Each class is taught by League of American Bicyclists-certified instructors.

The first is a family clinic on March 22 in Berkley. Another family clinic is also being scheduled in Hayward.

There are also a series of four-hour evening classes, scheduled around Alameda county, followed by two road safety classes.

For the schedule and to sign up, go to the East Bay Bicycle Coalition Web site: http://www.ebbc.org/?q=safety.

Horrific accidents like the one in Cupertino are the exception, Raburn said. "What we face day to day, is more a matter of skill and training, like how get through intersections and other areas of conflict with vehicles," he said.

Raburn said the accident to him also points up the need for a "motor vehicle-free Sunday." "The idea is spreading like wildfire in Latin America," he said. "In Bogata (Columbia) some 80 miles of roads are closed to cars. The city is transformed into a floating bikeway.

"It makes sense to do something like that here, perhaps on one Sunday a month. Maybe on North Gate Road up on Mount Diablo or another similar place," he said.

Contact Staff Writer William Brand at bbrand@bayareanewsgroup.com.