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Hit-and-run collision injuries bicyclist

Original post made on Jul 11, 2017

A bicyclist was left with moderate injuries in a hit-and-run collision Friday on a narrow arterial in Old Palo Alto, police said Tuesday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, July 11, 2017, 1:44 PM

Comments (65)

Posted by Shocked, But Not Surprised
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 11, 2017 at 2:40 pm

I am only surprised that this didn't happpen years sooner.

The police ticket people who ride on the Alma sidewalk, yet it is far too dangerous to ride in either direction near the curb or shoulder.

I finally adopted the attitude that I would rather be in front of twelve than under six, so I ride on the sidewalk regardless of which direction I am traveling.

If I see a pedestrian, I dismount and WALK my bike past the pedestrian. It is much less rude that way!


Posted by Midlander
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 11, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Midlander is a registered user.

My sympathies to the unfortunate cyclist.

Now, it is of course the motorist's responsibility to stay well clear of any cyclist. But that is definitely not a good section of road to choose to cycle on. It's narrow and fast and drivers may feel hemmed in on their left side and thus not leave as much space as they should on their right.

The Bryant bike boulevard is only a short way away and is MUCH safer.


Posted by Fairmeadow Dad
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 11, 2017 at 3:01 pm

I drive up and down Alma to work every day and I am always stunned by cyclists who choose to ride their bikes on that painfully narrow and heavily trafficked artery.

Given there is a bike boulevard merely 3 blocks away that is designed for safe bicycle passage, I regularly see cyclists choosing to ride along Alma...man, that is a treacherous decision they make. I understand that vehicles need to yield to cyclists, but the reality is that Alma is far too narrow for the size of today's vehicles and the speed of regular traffic is very fast.

What's even worse is watching cyclists choosing to ride southbound down Alma where they're painted in against the separation from Caltrain...there is absolutely no opportunity for a cyclist to save oneself on the southbound lane.

I wonder if Palo Alto should seriously consider making it illegal for cyclists and put up signage that essentially BEGS for cyclists to use the bike lanes...which, of course, are being expanded and invested in again.


Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 11, 2017 at 3:36 pm

The fact that the article and the police report state that he was "lawfully" riding on Alma shows that both the police and the Weekly thinks riding on Alma is crazy even if it is lawful.

I doubt very much that it would have been reported as such if he had been riding on a different street where it would so obviously have been lawful.


Posted by Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 11, 2017 at 4:19 pm

Knowing our City Council, instead of adding NO BICYCLES signs on Alma, they will remove a car lane and turn it into a fancy green bicycle lane.
Then, they'll spend $2 million of our money on bike sharing stations at either end of Alma.
Then, they'll scratch their heads wondering why no one uses them, and why we have more congestion, pollution, and accidents. Alas!
Next item in the agenda... let's force all downtown restaurants to implement "zero waste" policies, and fine them heavily if they disobey. But I digress...


Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 11, 2017 at 4:31 pm

I cannot believe all of the above comments are attacking the victim and defending the alleged felon in this crime! Where is your sense of decency? The victim was seriously injured by the criminal. The police said the victim was behaving lawfully specifically because they new in advance that internet trolls loving attacking the victim in crimes like this. If you have a hard time behaving lawfully on this street, then you have no business being there to begin with.


Posted by bike commuter
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 11, 2017 at 4:33 pm

... or people will start using bicycles regularly, as in many European countries. I agree riding on Alma is nerve wrecking even for a relatively faster cyclist like myself. (most drivers feel it is a good idea to go 55 in a 35 zone) But it is lawful. Sorry. Speedy recovery, cyclist.


Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 11, 2017 at 4:40 pm

I've been biking for years an avoid Alma like the plague. Anyone riding south on Alma between Lytton and San Antonio has a death wish.


Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 11, 2017 at 6:09 pm

Just because it is legal to ride a bike on Alma, it doesn't necessarily mean it is wise to do so.

Two things come to mind.

A tomato may be a fruit, but it isn't wise to put one into a fruit salad.

As Mr. Bumble would agree there are times when "the law is an ass" Web Link


Posted by Fairmeadow Dad
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 11, 2017 at 6:41 pm

@Resident of Downtown North, I'm not sure how you think we're all Internet trolls attacking a victim on this one.

Comments have not blamed him at all - simply everyone is mentioning that they firmly believe that Alma is a very unsafe road for bikes.

My thoughts are with the victim, but hopefully this is a wake up call to Palo Alto to honestly assess Alma's limits.


Posted by Juan
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 11, 2017 at 7:13 pm

This accident could have been entirely prevented if the plan to move the train tracks underground were implemented. Move San Antonio, California Ave, Palo Alto stations underground (similar to BART stations in San Francisco) and build a bike path on top, where the current tracks reside. No more bikers on Alma! No more accidents! Everyone wins.


Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 11, 2017 at 7:58 pm

Best wishes to the cyclist's speedy recovery.
1. City needs to post signs on Alma advertising to bike riders that a safe crosstown bike arterial is only a couple of blocks away. Not sure all bikers have this knowledge. When college grads get hired at tech firms, when new school year starts, new tech workers in town, there are many more Alma bikers (new to Palo Alto and unaware of Bryant Ave bike path?)
2. If city intends for bikers and cars to use Alma then city needs to install flashing lighted signs stating : Extreme Danger! warning! Bikes and cars share narrow lane ahead! Danger! Warning!"
3. As a regular and speed limit abiding Alma driver, I regularly can not SEE Alma cyclists because they are in the shadow of large bushes-- shadows cast by the sun going down in the west, at rush hour. The shade obscures the bicyclist, or else the car in front of me suddenly switched to the left lane and I'm terrified because I suddenly see why-/ a bike rider right in front of my car with no time to stop and no space to change lanes.
Other times, I'm driving into the morning sun and suddenly a bicyclist pops out of the overhanging shade of bushes. It's incredibly dangerous regardless of the time of day. I sincerely hope that the government response to this tragedy won't be weak shameful, defensive and irresponsible comments limited to "lawful riding" which doesn't help anyone. I greatly hope our governmental officials kerp their heads out of the sand, think outside the lazy complacent self-protective passive "group think box" and make intelligent and responsible changes to protect both cyclists and drivers. Palo Alto has an excellent police
Department and elected officials. I'm sure they can work together to prevent further disasters.


Posted by Eric
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 11, 2017 at 8:06 pm

First, glad to hear the cyclist should be ok, hoping for a speedy full recovery. Second, to the hit and run driver, karma, or the law will catch up with you eventually.

Having said that, and like others in this forum, I am perpetually astonished at the number of people who cycle anywhere on Alma in Palo Alto. Risking your life, literally, to make the point that legally you have the right to be riding on that very busy road with fast traffic and no shoulder. Walk across a street w/o looking in a crosswalk (because cars are always supposed to stop), get run over and die. Well, technically you were right and lawful and the driver was at fault for not stopping, but you are dead, but you made your point!

Bryant, three very short streets away, is a real bike route that is sooo much safer than Alma. Though, after the city gets done adding traffic circles and removing cross traffic stop signs at most of the intersections, it may be degraded to a dangerous obstacle course. But that's ok, because someone in city hall will be able to add to their resume that they added traffic furniture to a street somewhere, and now they are 'experts'.


Posted by bike commuter
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 11, 2017 at 9:20 pm

I confess I am one of the bicyclists who occasionally use Alma south (lawfully). Why did I do it? Because there is no direct alternative route between Meadow/Charleston to San Antonio. I tried bumpy sidewalk and got dirty look by dog walkers, I tried the maze of Greenmeadow area, which I still do today, but it is really slow and add 50% more distance for nothing. So sometimes I will just put on my tail light and have a all-out sprint. It has never been a comfortable ride. If there is a direct link road I'd use it. But Bryant ended on Meadow, unfortunately.


Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 11, 2017 at 9:45 pm

I will add that as a frequent Alma driver, I always choose the left hand lane when driving SB because shadows can make bikes invisible if they happen to be there. Although visibility is better for NB, I still opt to drive on the left hand lanes unless I am turning right when I get into the right hand lane before my turn.

It may be lawful to ride on Alma, but laws can be changed at the State and Federal level as happens all the time. It is about time that some of the laws regarding bikes on all non highway streets be altered. It would be safer for all.


Posted by bike commuter
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 11, 2017 at 10:18 pm

@Resident
I am surprised you always choose left lane on SB Alma since it always get blocked by left turn waiters. It is not unusual to be blocked by 4 to 5 left turn waiters on this short strip. Based on the same logic, they block traffic flow, you sometimes run into them suddenly... It is dangerous... Left turn should be forbidden on Alma. But no one seems to be bothered by this, because they are cars.

In contrast, cyclists are relatively rare. I usually see one cyclist (not counting myself riding) every 20 times driving down Alma. And you know what -- residents are annoyed. How funny.


Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 11, 2017 at 10:49 pm

Bike commuter, I don't get your point. There is a left turn lane where I travel most of the time. Some call it a suicide lane but it is good to travel in the left hand lane when there is a suicide lane. If a car wants to turn left and I have to wait for them to turn, at least they are big enough to be seen easily.

I agree, that between Churchill and Oregon, it would be useful to ban left turns, but I can't see that happening either.


Posted by bike commuter
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 11, 2017 at 11:08 pm

My point is:both left turners and cyclists block the traffic, while only cyclists get criticized here.

For two years I was looking forward to the prospect of the underground caltrain, which would effectively double the Alma capacity. Then short-term mentality kicked-in and nothing changed.


Posted by Legally
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 11, 2017 at 11:56 pm

Does anyone know (or can anyone provide) the actual law for riding "legally"? I thought the law was that cyclists can ride as long as they can keep up with the speed/flow of traffic, is this correct?

Because if so, I have yet to see a cyclist who can keep up, CONSISTENTLY, with the speed of traffic on Alma.

There is a reason cyclists are not allowed on highways. The same reason should apply on Alma, it is an "expressway" supposedly to move traffic more quickly. Cyclists aren't appropriate on this road.


Posted by Back to the Future
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 11, 2017 at 11:57 pm

An underground railroad? You've got to be kidding. (1) How long would that take to complete? (2) How much would it cost? (3) How far would it actually run? (4) Would it be able to accommodate the early AM freight trains?

Just so a few bicyclists can pedal their two-wheelers on top of it? In lieu of going underground, why not go elevated instead? Much better view for the passengers and the cyclists could bike underneath it. While it might be an eyesore, an L would accommodate all parties concerned. The only structural concern is that it would have to be strong enough to support the weight of freight trains as a collapse could prove catastrophic for anyone living nearby and would lower property values in those areas.


Posted by bike commuter
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 12, 2017 at 1:31 am

@Legally
I try googling the minimum speed limit but I can't find anything that can support your argument. If it is true (bikes must keep up), bikes would be outlawed on all roadways. This is not going to happen. The fact that cars are always speeding does not help either. (who's the law breaker here?) The only bike-related LAW that I can find is the 3-feet law, which no one seems to obey anyway.


Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 12, 2017 at 6:40 am

There are many reasons why a bicyclist might be on Alma. We heard some above. It might also be that the person was unaware of the conditions and the existence of alternatives. I know of people who have made very bad route choices by using Google maps on the phone and forgetting to put it into bike mode. I know of a Stanford foreign student who bought a bike at Walmart and was told by her non-bicyclist department secretary to get home by taking El Camino to Oregon and under the underpass.

We should not be disparaging the victim. We should be focusing on the person who committed felony hit and run.


Posted by whocares
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 12, 2017 at 7:57 am

Legally-"I thought the law was that cyclists can ride as long as they can keep up with the speed/flow of traffic, is this correct?"

Absolutely not.

Bicycles are not required to ride at car speeds.
CA Motor Vehicle Code states:
21202-a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:...

They wouldn't specify how to ride at speeds slower than traffic if it were illegal to do so.
And for those interested, situation (3) in that section leaves A LOT of leeway as to when you don't have to be all the way to the right.


Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2017 at 8:01 am

A bicyclist on Alma will slow down traffic and although the car behind it may see the bike, those following behind are unlikely to understand why there is a slow down. It would be an eventual case of road rage looming.

Cars need to move efficiently around town and a bike slows Alma and can easily use the alternative bike route whereas a car cannot quite so easily. A bike can be invisible in poor light and that makes it dangerous in itself.

As an aside, my spouse saw a bike on highway 101 2 days ago. It appeared that the bike had got there by mistake and instead of turning back decided to continue on the hard shoulder.


Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2017 at 10:45 am

@Future,

The elevated versus underground argument was resolved years ago. Many cities used to have elevated rail but they were all torn down because they caused blight. Some cities like Chicago still have elevated rail, but it has become a joke. In the Blues Brothers movie Elwood's apartment is next to the El Web Link




Posted by Phil Farrell
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 12, 2017 at 11:54 am

"Legally" writes:
"There is a reason cyclists are not allowed on highways. The same reason should apply on Alma, it is an "expressway" supposedly to move traffic more quickly. Cyclists aren't appropriate on this road."

As a 34 year resident of Palo Alto who commutes to work every day by bicycle and runs other errands on bike around town, I agree that cycling is not appropriate on Alma St because it is just too dangerous to the cyclist. This tragic accident confirms that. Even riding on our residential streets requires defensive riding because so many car drivers fail to notice cyclists or yield when the cyclist has the right of way.

But I must point out that "Legally" is incorrect when he/she states that Alma is an expressway. It is NOT an expressway. It is a residential collector street. The city makes a big point of putting up signs trying to get motorists to slow down on Alma, especially those coming up from Central Expressway in the south. Just because you are in a hurry doesn't mean you get to reclassify the streets to your liking!


Posted by Steve
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 12, 2017 at 11:57 am

I hope the bicyclist recovers quickly.

Never mind all the second guessing about wiseness of riding on Alma.

But the only right thing to do when you are driving and you see a cyclist on any narrow street like Alma, is to slow down, follow at pace, and only pass when it is safe to do so. Just as you would for any slower vehicle or even a car. You don't try to squeeze and pass!


Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 12, 2017 at 11:57 am

Shocked - I totally agree. I'm surprised by how few cyclists currently refuse to be on sidewalks and walk their bikes as needed. It's not as fast but it's certainly safer. How terrible that thus cyclist is now grappling with injuries while the guilty party got away.

I also frequently see cyclists riding on roads where it seems stunningly obvious how dangerous they are - Alma, El Camino, Palm Drive, the tunnels under Alma, Woodland, Lytton. Many don't wear helmets, they fiddle with their phones and they illegally wear ear buds.


Posted by Brian
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 12, 2017 at 12:21 pm

I ride Alma between Charleston and San Antonio everyday. Would people driving a car from Point A to Point B choose to traverse a neighborhood with people pulling out of their driveways without looking over a straight shot? Neither do I. I have the right to use the whole lane but I choose not to. It takes a few seconds to wait for a safe lane change to pass me but often people squeeze by because those few seconds must not be lost. Why not paint sharrows on the road so people know cyclist have the RIGHT TO BE THERE.

Making things auto centric by "outlawing bikes" on certain roads only enforces an autocentric culture which is coming to a close in the bay area. Might as well adapt.

We you are approaching me, Pretend I am your child, husband or friend. Would you be more courteous?


Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 12, 2017 at 12:22 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@bike commuter

Have you tried crossing Alma and the train tracks to access the bike/ped bridge at the end of Wilkie Way? That's my favorite bike route from Barron Park to San Antonio shopping Center.


Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 12, 2017 at 12:24 pm

I also hope for a speedy and full recovery of the cyclist, but have to add something about cycling in general, on narrow and busy streets, which Alma, in that section, certainly is. When I'm in the lane next to a bike lane I give cyclists a wide berth because of their vulnerability and their sometimes crazy maneuvers. But, that leads me into veering a little bit left into the next lane to avoid killing a cyclist. That maneuver can in turn cause me to sideswipe another car, or vice versa. That's not good either. Just a little car body damage that can be fixed in an auto body repair shop. The cyclist will be oblivious to all this and just keep peddling on. But others will have been inconvenienced by it. The car drivers, the police filing the report, and eventually the car owners having to deal with insurance companies and getting estimates from auto body repair shops, and the out of pocket money for some drivers. If we're going to do it right, let's have bike only streets, boulevards, etc., away from car traffic, and not try to mix them together in the heavily trafficked areas of town. Residential neighborhoods seem to handle bike lanes very well most of the time. The only time I get nervous is when schools let out and there are so many biking kids going home, racing with one another, 'look ma, no hands', and other risky moves.

And why do we want to compare ourselves to European countries and towns where bikes have been the predominant means of transportation for many decades, try a century. They did it because they lived close to where they worked and shopped and couldn't afford cars. Pretty simple. Our proponents are promoting it to save energy, stop pollution, prevent climate warming, etc. Totally different reasons for it, but I think our local biking buffs don't see the differences, and I think many of our city leaders and CC members don't either.


Posted by My cup of tea
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 12, 2017 at 12:45 pm

Come on come on, why bicyclists are allowed on Alma I don't know. There is barely enough room for cars and of course those driving are not wanting to drive 15 mph behind a cyclist when the speed limit is 35. I don't condone the drivers, BUT I do wonder at the lack of self preservation of the cyclist. I was on Alma on a weeknight at 5. 35. There was a cyclist taking up a whole lane as they have to, peddling less than 10 mph . The traffic was backed up behind him and he had earphones in and was oblivious to all. Waiting at the light I saw him doozling up, quick look left right and straight through the red light. Everyone ahead of me beeped him as they went past him later and he gave them the finger. I did not beep but was still blessed with his rudeness. Bikes are not safe on Alma, and the bike path is so safe and one block over. When I ride I never use Alma and I've lived to be 71 so far . So if you want to be as old as me bicyclists avoid Alma and if not pray I am driving behind you as I am patient


Posted by bike commuter
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 12, 2017 at 1:00 pm

@Jerry Underdal
I use the bridge route when my destination is Safeway. Unfortunately, my destination is usually somewhere like Santa Clara or San Jose so I need to merge back to Central.

@Brian
Well said.


Posted by vmshadle
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 12, 2017 at 1:04 pm

In response to bike commuter above, the Bryant Bike Boulevard actually extends south of Meadow through "the circles" neighborhood and joins up with Charleston. As a Bryant Boulevard-er for the last three or so years, however, attempting to cross East Meadow safely without a light is hardly easy. I stopped trying after a few weeks and now detour to Waverley. The traffic light there allows me to get home before I've aged ten years.

Note to Hmmm in EPA:Some parts of El Camino are actually wide enough to be safe. It doesn't make for a pleasant route and I seldom choose it, but it's doable. We cyclists know when a road is wide enough to accommodate both us and motor vehicles, because we travel relatively slowly and see a lot more. I'd advise not judging our discretion unless you have actually done the two-wheeled trip yourself.

As a regular bicycle commuter and car owner, it is my experience that Alma is not designed for both motor vehicles and bicycles. I think we can all agree without trolling anyone and excusing anything that we need to consider an ordinance that will bar bicyclists from Alma and direct them to Bryant because the speed of traffic and the lack of a bicycle lane make bicycling on Alma highly inadvisable.


Posted by Paul W
a resident of Los Altos
on Jul 12, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Since motorists would rather endanger lives rather than suffer an inconvenience and Alma is not a highway, one whole lane each direction should be converted into a protected bicycle lane. This will encourage more motorists to make the environmentally friendly switch to bikes, increasing health while removing cars and pollution. Cars are not sustainable or healthy for anybody.


Posted by bike commuter
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 12, 2017 at 1:27 pm

@Gale Johnson

I failed to see why we can't be like a European city. We have wonderful weather, reasonably sized town (typical Danes bike 2-3 miles a day, good enough to traverse Palo Alto), and not-too-sparse business districts. All of these are perfect for a cycling city. I chose cycling for my day-to-day life not for saving energies, not for global warming (well, I voted for our current president). I chose cycling because it is a simpler way of life. And, surprisingly, for most trips less than 7-10 miles, biking is actually faster than driving. Saves gym money too.


Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 12, 2017 at 1:34 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

In the State of Colorado, There are many " Share the Road " yellow traffic signs to raise awareness of the 3 foot distance limit when driving a vehicle of any type. However, ON NARROW MOUNTAIN ROADS, these signs are not there!
Alma connects with Central Expressway; Alma narrows to a dangerous width from Central Expressway. This is why we have bike paths; everyone has to compromise in the real world. That means no cyclists should be using Alma Street to commute: THAT IS WHY BIKE PATHS WERE CREATED!Yeah, go and demand your rights but BEING RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR BEHAVIOR AND CONSEQUENCES is what life is all about. You may not like adding extra time and distance to your commute but IT IS SAFER AND IS THE RESPONSIBLE THING TO DO!
As for burying Caltrain intersections WE PAID A BART TAX OVER 40 YEARS AGO TO RESOLVE THIS PROBLEM! Get RID OF CALTRAIN AND HOLD BART TO IT'S PROMISE TO BUILD OUT BART TO THE LOOP IT WAS DESIGNED FOR! As to the earlier arguments: Has anyone heard of EMINENT DOMAIN to build the BART ROW infrastructure? Make the HSR end at San Jose and make the final link using BART.


Posted by kohlson
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 12, 2017 at 2:03 pm

Regarding bicyclists on Alma, growing up my mother used to warn us: You can be dead right. I think the test here is pretty simple. Would you tell you 14-year-old son or daughter to use Alma as part of a bike route? It's my belief that this is very unsafe, both to bicyclists and to car traffic. Much safer to use residential side streets.


Posted by Why someone might bike Alma.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2017 at 2:39 pm

I bike a lot. When I travel north-south, I usually ride Bryant or Park, BUT sometimes I have to ride ride Alma--when I am visiting a destination ON Alma. I have a friend who lives in a low-cost apartment on Alma. She has to bike Alma often because that's how she gets to her home. There are many homes on Alma. I have visited a business on Alma. I have used the train stations that I sometimes access via Alma (depending on the starting point of my trip). There are many reasons a bicyclist might might choose to ride Alma for some portion of their trip.

Also, as a previous writer pointed out, sometimes cyclists who are unfamiliar with the area may not know about our awesome alternate routes. Be helpful. Politely point them out. they might appreciate the heads up.

Finally, let's please not make the victim the enemy. The CRIMINAL in this instance is the driver who hit a person who was legally riding a bike and then left him injured in the street.

I thank PAPD for going after the driver. I hope they throw the book at him. I hope the bicyclist has a quick and complete recovery. He is in my thoughts and prayers.


Posted by @kohlson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 12, 2017 at 2:59 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by Rose
a resident of Mayfield
on Jul 12, 2017 at 4:13 pm

Could the Weekly give us an update of the health of the woman biker who was struck by a car going the wrong way on Homer? This happened some months ago. She was hospitalized. It would be good to know how she is doing now. A note in the Weekly would be good.


Posted by Resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 12, 2017 at 4:47 pm

Actually its the city's responsibility to put NO BICYCLES signs on Alma and redirect them to Bryant or all those other lovely bike routes they've been building.

But their all-out feverish obsession with trying to get more people to bike will eventually result in more bike injuries/fatalities.


Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 12, 2017 at 4:57 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

@bike commuter - "for most trips less than 7-10 miles, biking is actually faster than driving"

What? Seriously, no. I love bikes, I love riding around Palo Alto, but biking rarely faster than driving, even in the worst traffic.

E.g., right now it is 15 minutes to get to Google from Palo Alto in a car at rush hour (9 minutes without traffic). 25 min by bike, and it is only 4 miles.


Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2017 at 6:47 pm

Commuter said: "I failed to see why we can't be like a European city"
Brian said: "... the autocentric culture which is coming to a close in the bay area"

It is statements like this that make people question bicyclists grasp on reality.

To think the bay area is, or could, evolve into a European city is just child-like magical thinking. Urbanization is turning the Peninsula, Palo Alto, and the joining cities of Redwood City and Mountain View into Los Angeles. Despite the expenditure of millions of dollars to build bike infrastructure, Palo Alto is LESS bike-able than it was 40 years ago because the bike infrastructure has not made up for the loss of the ability to safely bicycle on roads which have been congested by urbanization.

The roads carry ~99% of the passenger miles traveled on the Peninsula everyday. By Caltrains's own estimates the billion dollar electrification project will only increase Caltrain's capacity from 1% to 1.2% of the passenger miles traveled on the Peninsula every day.

Palo Alto becoming a European city was a wonderful dream in the 1960's but the possibility of that dream becoming a reality is long lost.


Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Jul 12, 2017 at 8:23 pm

The punisher,

What BART tax did you pay? Santa Clara County did not join the Original BART. You have been paying a small tax recently that only goes toward bringing BART from Fremont to San Jose. Palo Alto's problems are not going to be solved by BART and all rational people know that.


Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 12, 2017 at 10:50 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

@Chris - Santa Clara County was part of OG BART, but pulled out when they decided it would only go as far south as Palo Alto. There have been at least 4 small taxes to pay for BART extension in SCC in the last ~20 years. 1996, 2000, 2010 $10 vehicle registration surcharge, Measure B last year.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 13, 2017 at 12:46 am

Riding a bicycle on Alma is bad for everyone. I've never understood anyone making the
decision to bike along Alma. I agree this was the driver's fault legally, but as a bike rider
there are just decisions you have to make and it is pure bad judgement to ride on Alma,
and like lots of places that are dangerous, do it long enough increasing your exposure and
you are likely to get hurt.

There either needs to be a way to do it safely build into Alma, or it needs to be prohibited.\


Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 13, 2017 at 12:50 am

Ironically, I was hiking the Steven's Creek Trail over in Mountain View today, out for a walk. There are so many bikes out there now that they are the danger. Not to make light of this incident at all, but people have to slow down and think about what they are doing more than just trying to go as fast as possible. In a 6 mile total hike I was nudged by bicyclists coming from behind me in the same direction 3 times. If someone trips or happens to turn or step the wrong way on those trails someone is going to get very hurt - BY A BICYCLIST.


Posted by Back to the topic
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 13, 2017 at 6:11 am

When you're driving a car and you hit a person riding a bike you must stop. Does everyone understand this rule? Seems they don't as I keep hearing about this behavior.


Posted by Jocelyn Dong
editor of the Palo Alto Weekly
on Jul 19, 2017 at 3:53 pm

Jocelyn Dong is a registered user.

Hi Rose. Thank you for your concern about the woman injured in the March 17 hit-and-run in downtown Palo Alto. The Palo Alto police report only that she was released from the hospital within a few weeks of the incident.

Out of respect for her privacy, that is all the information police will release and that is all we'll seek. She is welcome to post here if she chooses to share with the public.


Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 19, 2017 at 8:08 pm

"When you're driving a car and you hit a person riding a bike you must stop. Does everyone understand this rule?"

I believe (almost) everyone understands their obligation to stop. First, however, they must realize they hit somebody. This driver may have had their attention focused on their texting, their Facebook updates, their GPS, or the myriad other distractions available to drivers today. They may have thought the impact shock was a routine pothole strike.

Laws against texting and other modes of voluntary distracted driving exist. They should be diligently enforced.


Posted by @curmudgeon
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 19, 2017 at 10:29 pm

You failed to mention their posting on PAOnline :)

That said there needs to be a complete ban of cycling on Alma. It is too dangerous.


Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 21, 2017 at 3:27 pm

"...there needs to be a complete ban of cycling on Alma. It is too dangerous."

Right. And don't leave the enforcement to texting drivers.


Posted by So
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2017 at 4:03 pm

"That said there needs to be a complete ban of cycling on Alma. It is too dangerous."

How would you suggest that be accomplished? I believe the state has jurisdiction, not the city.
As I recall there is a state law that allows bikes on any road that is not a freeway.
Palo Alto has no legal standing to ban bikes from roadways.


Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2017 at 12:03 am

According the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center in 2015 818 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Traffic Safety Facts) and 71% of these fatalities happened in urban areas.

Many cities throughout California have seen a surge in bicycle fatalities in the last few years. As Palo Alto becomes increasingly urban and dangerous for cyclists, at what point does it become irresponsible for the City to continue to encourage residents to bicycle so commercial interests can continue to expand without contributing to the city's transportation capacity.


Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 22, 2017 at 12:57 pm

I wonder if a self-driving car would/could have sensed the contact, classified it properly, and stopped to render assistance as legally required. Its occupants would almost certainly be absorbed in other activities.


Posted by So
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2017 at 4:16 pm

Ahem.

More people live in Urban Areas, so more people die in Urban Areas. More people died falling down stairs than on bicycles, will you be urging the city to stop allowing multilevel housing? 818 deaths nationwide out of 300+ million means one's odds of being involved in a fatal bike accident is pretty low.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 22, 2017 at 4:24 pm

> one's odds of being involved in a fatal bike accident is pretty low.

Not a very serious statistic ... unless you are riding your bike on Alma or any other high-traffic, low-visibility and difficult to maneuver for a bicycle area. There are several of them. Alma is one, and another one that I know of was where Mathilda crosses 237 in Sunnyvale. Lockheed workers used to ride their bikes through there and there were several fatalities there. There are others, and for safety they either need to get re-configured or restricted.

Another factor is how closely drivers follow the rules. For every X number of stop-sign and stop-light runnings there will be Y numbers of bicycles present and the two will intersect more the higher those two numbers are.


Posted by So
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2017 at 4:29 pm

CrescentParkAnon,

There is no way to stop riders on Alma, so stop beating that dead horse and yes 818 is low.


Posted by Simple
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 22, 2017 at 10:45 pm

Wouldn't it be interesting if plain, common sense prevailed. Cycling is and should be encouraged in every way possible. Cycling should not be encouraged, nor allowed, on streets where it is unsafe or where the cyclist cannot keep up with speed of auto traffic.

Simple.


Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 22, 2017 at 11:34 pm

^ @Simple, that would mean you couldn't bicycle out of your own driveway.


Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2017 at 12:38 am

According the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center "bicycle fatalities represent less than two percent of all traffic fatalities, and yet bicycle trips account for only one percent of all trips in the United States".

This mean that for every trip you take on a bike you are twice as likely to get killed compared to other road-going alternatives (cars, trucks, buses, and motorcycles).

If you further consider that the average bike trip is only about 2 miles and the average automobile trip is about 10 miles, that means you are 10x more likely to get killed for every mile you bicycle compared to the road-going alternative.

Again, as Palo Alto becomes increasingly urban and dangerous for cyclists, at what point does it become irresponsible for the City to continue to encourage residents to bicycle so commercial interests will have additional road capacity available to bring non-resident labor and consumers into the Palo Alto?


Posted by mitigation
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 23, 2017 at 4:27 pm

Google please help us out and map out when and where these bike accidents happen. I think both riders and drivers will decide what they want to do if they know the facts. There are alternate routes and safer ones for cyclists and drivers.

Alma is dangerous because the road constricts and slows down at some points.


Posted by So
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2017 at 6:37 pm

Ahem,

You cherry pick

"As mentioned, bicyclists seem to be over-represented in the crash data, but, there is no reliable source of exposure data as we don't know how many miles bicyclists travel each year, and we don't know how long it takes them to cover those miles (and thus how long they are exposed to motor vehicle traffic)."

I dont know why you are being intentionally misleading about your "facts", but with only a handful of deaths, bicycle riding is not inherently dangerous, and given the largest cause of death is heart related, less car driving and more bike riding or walking probably saves lives, but that statistic is hard to come up with. Like I said your chances of dying from falling down stairs is much greater than dying in a bicycle accident. However if you are not comfortable riding a bike, please don't. My personal belief is accidents typically happen when 2 people are not paying attention to what else is on the road besides them.


Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 24, 2017 at 9:18 pm

"consider that the average bike trip is only about 2 miles and the average automobile trip is about 10 miles, that means you are 10x more likely to get killed for every mile you bicycle compared to the road-going alternative."

Here's another one for you stats nuts. If statistics show that most biking accidents occur within,say, five miles of one's residence, then one can very safely let one's guard down when biking ten or more miles from home, right? Yes, no, why?


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