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Bicycles at risk

Original post made by William Bryan, Los Altos Hills, on Jun 14, 2006

Bill D'Agostino's cyclists article in the May 5 edition of the Palo Alto Weekly misses some very key points about cyclists on Page Mill and Woodside roads.

Bicyclists should not be riding on these roads, period. These roads are extremely narrow and have many sharp blind curves. To compound the issue, motorcyclists use these roads as raceways up to and down from Skyline. Just drop by Alice's Restaurant on Skyline to see them.

I have lived with Page Mill Road as my backyard for 30 years. I rode my bicycle on Page Mill once and deemed it too dangerous and will never do it again (the part near 280 to Alexis, which is not as dangerous as the parts further up toward Skyline).

Most of the bicyclists ride in a manner that is extremely dangerous to themselves and to motorists. There are plenty of bicycle-friendly streets in Palo Alto, such as Bryant, where bicyclists should ride.

When did bicyclists lose their sense of well-being, place themselves in danger and blame others? If bicyclists want an uphill challenge, they should ride one of the advanced bicycles at the gym.

Comments (6)

Posted by Gary Goldman
a resident of Los Altos
on Jun 14, 2006 at 12:17 pm

Whether the roads are narrow or twisty has no bearing on whether bicyclists should ride on them. These are public roads.

Motorcyclists do not generally use Page Mill Road as a "raceway" to Skyline. That is nonsense. And the number of motorcycles congregating by Alice's has no bearing on this discussion. Motorcyclists and bicyclists are entitled to use the road.

Most bicyclists do not ride in a manner that is dangerous to everyone. This is a shameful myth. When climbing the hills, the vast majority of cyclists move as far to the right as possible to allow cars to pass.

As for descending, cyclists are keenly aware of how vulnerable they are and ride in the manner that is safest for them. Of course there are those who misbehave, but to characterize the majority like this is just the author's road-rage transferred to paper.

Bicyclists in this area are blessed with the opportunity to ride in our beautiful hills. If Mr. Bryan thinks we should ride "an advanced bicycle at the gym" instead, he is out of step with the majority of area residents who enjoy the outdoor lifestyle.

Posted by Mike Sowers
a resident of another community
on Jun 15, 2006 at 10:28 am

William Bryan trots out old, tired ideas about where bicyclists should and shouldn't ride. Because Mr. Bryan rode on Page Mill Road once and deemed it too dangerous, no one should be allowed to ride it. He also states that bicyclists should only use a "bicycle-friendly street" like Bryant in Palo Alto.

Mr. Bryan completely misses the point of biking for those of us who ride long distances. The challenge is to be able to climb a hill like Page Mill, Woodside Road or Kings Mountain. Some even go all the way to Highway 1. It keeps us fit, reduces stress levels, gives us an endurance level that few other sports offer and creates a great friendships within the biking community.

A street like Bryant offers no challenges other than avoiding the occasional loose dog. It is, however, a great way to get across town.

There are also bikers who use their bikes to get to and from work. Studies have proven that those who do are much better prepared, mentally and physically, to perform their duties.

As for riding an "advanced bicycle" in a gym, that's an extremely poor substitute for being able to ride 30, 50 or 100 miles in one day, see lots of sights, ride with like-minded souls and get out of some air-conditioned building and into the great outdoors.

Posted by Jim Nelson
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jun 17, 2006 at 8:16 am

I live on Skyline. I strongly agree - Sand Hill road up to Alice's (Skyline) and down to the coast on HWY 84 is absolutely no-mans land for bicylists. I am amazed daily at the lack of concern for life and property displayed by both bikes and cars. Last weekend a clueless bicyclist turned his bike into oncoming traffic without looking (at Alices) and the car had to lock its brakes to avoid hitting the bike-man in tights. The solution is to stay off HWY 84! There are myriad of OTHER great roads to bike on - I bike! Have you tried Tunitas Creek Road? How about Kings Mtn Rd? Jeez - STAY OFF 84! WAKE UP! There's 2 fatalities EVERY WEEKEND on these main roads.

Posted by Lance
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 21, 2006 at 6:21 pm

These are public roads. Autos, motorcycles, bikes should all be aware of each other and most important- follow the rules of the road!

Posted by Brett
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 29, 2006 at 11:15 am

"These roads are extremely narrow and have many sharp blind curves."

Well, if these roads are narrow, wouldn't a bicycle be the better tool for navigating such roads than a wider car, truck or SUV?

I'm was born and raised in Palo Alto and have been riding these roads for 20+ years. I'm embarrassed that residents in the area are so anti-bike. Possibly Beverly Hills would be a nice place for you in the mecca of car culture.

Posted by Krueger
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 24, 2007 at 2:01 pm

"Bicyclists should not be riding on these roads, period."

This is total nonsense. These roads are public roads open to bicycles, motorcycles, cars, SUVs, trucks, and any other street-legal vehicle.

And each has an equal responsibility to obey the laws. Just because there are some [insert vehicle here] operators are rude and reckless does not mean that all [same vehicle] are the same.

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