Mountain View police: 13-year-old fell off his bike before fatal collision | April 8, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - April 8, 2022

Mountain View police: 13-year-old fell off his bike before fatal collision

Truck driver couldn't see Andre Retana in the intersection, police say

by Zoe Morgan

Graham Middle School student Andre Retana, 13, had fallen off his bicycle in front of a construction truck, whose driver could not see the child prior to the fatal March 17 crash in Mountain View, according to findings of an investigation released by the city's Police Department.

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Email Staff Writer Zoe Morgan at [email protected]


Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 2, 2022 at 3:25 pm

William Hitchens is a registered user.

We live in Waverly Park neighborhood MV, which lies along Grant Road. This tragic accident happened at El Camino and Grant about 1/2 mile N of our house. South Grant Rd from the Los Altos border to Cuesta is relatively wide and has bicycle lanes. It's relatively safe for bikers in MV, and things get dicey in Los Altos where it narrows to 2 lanes of country road with no bike lanes. On north Grant Rd from Cuesta to El Camino, traffic is quite heavy and the road is more narrow, with no room for bicycle lanes.

I'm an experienced bike rider who commuted frequently for many years along Foothill Expressway to work in Stanford Industrial Park. In my opinion, Grant Rd N of Cuesta is far too dangerous for bike riders at ANY time, and El Camino Real is equally dangerous near the El Camino / Grant intersection. Since there is no practical way to widen either N Grant Rd or El Camino, it is my opinion that anyone who dares to ride a bike near Grant and El Camino is in grave danger. At this time, the only practical way to prevent more deaths would be to find a way to discourage (or ban) bike riders anywhere near the Grant / El Camino intersection --- particularly at "choke point" Hwy 85 overpass on El Camino. The traffic at the El Camino/85 on and off ramps is particularly dangerous for bikers and even for pedestrians using the sidewalks. The cars are fast, aggressive and can come "out of nowhere".

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 3, 2022 at 12:23 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

Thank you MVPD for this update. The assumption is that in an accident like this the (truck) driver is always to blame.

The truth is that young people on bicycles are still very young and inexperienced when it comes to dealing with complicated intersections where there is a great deal of traffic.

There is nothing wrong with someone dismounting their bike and walking on the sidewalk to cross like other pedestrians. I think that is something sadly lacking in bike education classes, particularly for young people who have not reached driving age. There are many places where getting off the bike and acting like a pedestrian makes much more sense. It is not a bad thing to do for the sake of being safe and it is not a bad thing to tell our children to do. I wish adults would lead the way in this and do the same thing rather than insist their rights. It is better to be safe than anything else when bike riding and right don't always have to be top of the list. It is not the Tour de France out there, but busy city roads and everyone should be prepared to take the extra time to be safe, even pedestrians and bike riders.

Posted by Minimizing Entrophy
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 4, 2022 at 11:43 am

Minimizing Entrophy is a registered user.

@William Hitchens - I agree with you William that section of road and dangerous but disagree with your suggestion of banning cyclists. Using your criteria of fast and aggressive drivers in a narrow lane setting could apply to any number of roads in the area.

The one thing with riding on El Camino that cyclists have going for them is cars are looking out for other cars and cyclists when they are pulling into the road (assuming they can see the cyclist). The opposite may be true when they are turning right into driveways when they think you are riding at a much slower pace then you are. This is dangerous anywhere. In my 40 years of commuting I have found that riding through neighborhoods can be equally dicey with people backing out of their driveways drinking coffee and not paying attention.

Banning areas just is not the right Idea. Making people more aware of how dangerous some actions can be for a few seconds of time is probably more helpful. There is a video on line from some Indonesian country where they had a training session for bus drivers where they experience what it feels like when a bus passed a bike with three feet of clearance. The drivers where astonished in general.

The question is how do we get society to slow down and take responsibility for their actions and how it impacts other. Where infrastructure isn't the easy solution, I would suggest education.


Posted by CC
a resident of University South
on Apr 4, 2022 at 2:30 pm

CC is a registered user.

It’s a tragic event for everyone involved:

The family
The friends
The truck driver
Emergency responders

My heart goes out to all!!!

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 4, 2022 at 7:53 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

A cautionary tale all around.
And: don’t jump to conclusions before the facts come out.
Now, going forward: awareness and better practices and choices for youth safety, and consideration of improvements from the city and county.

Posted by relentlesscactus
a resident of another community
on Apr 5, 2022 at 8:41 pm

relentlesscactus is a registered user.

"the only practical way to prevent more deaths would be to find a way to discourage (or ban) bike riders anywhere near the Grant / El Camino intersection"

Banning bicycles from public roads is not legal. There also is usually no practical alternative in getting from 'here' to 'there'. This would just end in bicycles using the intersection anyway, and therefore more dangerous as the 'solution' would be ignored and a real solution not implemented.

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