Viewpoint - November 17, 2010

Letter: Striping may not improve bike safety at I-280

Will a bike lane or restriping improve safety on Alpine Road? I doubt it.

In the past few years, I've seen modifications to the interchanges at Page Mill Road and Interstate 280, and Woodside Road and 280, but really see little if any change in the hazards presented to cyclists at those locations.

Some restriping was done on Woodside Road after the 2005 death of Menlo Park teacher Michelle Mazzei, but westbound bicyclists still must negotiate through traffic, which is turning right onto 280 north, often with a blinding sun in their eyes.

On Page Mill Road, westbound bicyclists must cross two lanes of high-speed traffic in order to access the bike lane, which runs between car lanes going under Interstate 280. This can be unnerving and very dangerous.

I bicycled past the accident that took the life of Lauren Ward on Nov. 4. The truck that killed her was still there and was positioned straight in its lane. It was exactly where you'd expect it to be in approaching the southbound ramp to Interstate 280. I don't know exactly where Lauren Ward was when she was struck, but safety dictates that she should have been well to the left of the truck.

No amount of striping or addition of bike lanes is going to change the dangers presented in crossing over lanes at busy interchanges.

As cyclists, it is our responsibility to negotiate these traffic situations in a manner that put us at least risk. This means paying extra attention to where auto traffic is and adjusting to it accordingly. There are times to take charge and take your right-of-way when you are sure you are being seen by drivers, and there are times to slow down and wait for traffic to clear around you before you proceed.

Don Fabiano, Watkins Avenue, Atherton


Posted by elle, a resident of Woodside School
on Nov 17, 2010 at 12:49 pm

I wonder if the cyclists involved in these accidents are wearing ear buds and listening to their Ipods? That would limit their awareness of their surroundings. I could see them getting themselves in dangerous situations.

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