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Cyclist injured in collision on Alpine Road

Original post made on Jun 11, 2013

A 58-year-old Palo Alto bicyclist was thrown 8 to 10 feet in the air and was injured in a collision with a vehicle on Alpine Road near Interstate 280 on Sunday morning (June 9), according to the California Highway Patrol and the Woodside Fire Protection District.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, June 11, 2013, 1:27 PM

Comments (33)

Posted by resident, a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Jun 11, 2013 at 4:11 pm

"he inexplicably turned left" is the statement of the car driver or of the bicyclist? Statements like that should not be presented as fact without any attribution of the original source.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Why can't cyclists be banned for riding on narrow, dangerous roads? I remember when people - especially seniors - were too smart to do stuff like this on a regular basis. Ahhhh....those were the days!


Posted by Dave Boyce, Almanac staff writer
on Jun 11, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Dave Boyce is a registered user.

The statement about the cyclist turning left into the lane of traffic is attributed to the California Highway Patrol.

An investigation is underway, after which exactly what happened might be made more clear. Until that time, the CHP will not elaborate.


Posted by Spandexx, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 11, 2013 at 5:30 pm

A 58-year-old is a senior? What do you call his parents? Grandparents? Maybe the 20-somethings need to expand their vocabularies! Speaking of which, does the CHP really use words like "inexplicably?" Vehicles make left turns all the time!


Posted by 100% bicycle commuter, a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Please don't interpret the following as suggesting fault (if there is any) can yet be established, but it might be worth making a few observations about that part of the road. If I have the location right, the cyclist was about to pass the entrance to the parking lot for the Webb Ranch fruit/vegetable stand. Take a look at that area using Google Map. The large shoulder ends, and the automobile lane bends to the right, toward the side of the road, effectively choking the bicycle lane. Now, it's clear the bicycle lane/shoulder still exists (between the edge of the road and the dashed line), but it seems that an obvious thing to check is whether either the cyclist or the driver did not stay exactly within the confining lines at this choke point.

I'm glad both the cyclist and the driver seem to be ok. Stay safe, everyone!


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 11, 2013 at 6:51 pm

I would suggest we wait until the investigation is completed.

We went through similar speculation a couple of years ago - ironically at this same intersection. At that time, a lot of proposals were offered to limit bikes and cars to remedy the unknown problem.

Until the facts are known, let's resist blaming either party. We'll know soon enough.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Yes, 58 is a senior. Seniors don't generally bounce back from trauma as well or fast as younger people.


Posted by Ladera Cyclist, a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Jun 11, 2013 at 8:39 pm

To 100% bicycle commuter:

The report says *west* of 280. (Yes, "west" is really sort of "south" on the peninsula.) This fits with the CHP traffic incident page which said that it was near the entrance to I280 south. Note that Webb ranch also has an entrance around there (opposite the tree nursery).

This location is one where an eastbound cyclist would be in the right side of the lane as you approach and cross the southbound entrance to I280.

So it's on the PV side of 280 (the opposite side of 280 from the earlier incident).

I'm looking forward to seeing the official report, but the damage on the right side of the vehicle would jibe with this. I'd also be curious to know if the driver was getting onto 280 south or just going straight on Alpine...


Posted by 100% bicycle commuter, a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2013 at 9:22 pm

@Ladera Cyclist: Yes, I see that I was wrong. Thanks for the correction.


Posted by Senior Citizen, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm

As a 59 year old, slow-healing senior, I will answer Hmmm's question about why cyclists can't be banned from narrow dangerous roads. The answer is for the same reason imbeciles can't be banned from on-line forums.


Posted by gina, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres
on Jun 12, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Sad and tragic bikes and cars can't share the road on alpine. Not the first accident between webb ranch and 280 interchanges and certainly not the last. one caltrans needs to improve the bike path on left hand side of alpine going towards ladera. second they should take out the side walk next to 280 north and south. then may bike riders will learn to use the bike path in the first place. ride in the middle of the road only to get hit or killed. no skin off of my teeth if they make the wrong choice. its their doing.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2013 at 2:33 pm

They should be banned from the roads - if they want to live & not have to go through a long, slow healing resulting from their being hit by a car. You know, there are activities such as yoga, tai chi, swimming - all are kinder to the aging bones and muscles & not usually subject to encounters w/many pounds of steel. My parents do these things & have yet to get hit by a car. But hey, this imbecile isn't stupid enough to cycle in the hills these days - & that smart decision has nothing to do w/aging, but has to do wisdom.


Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 12, 2013 at 3:13 pm

We "seniors" were taught to dismount from our bikes and use marked crosswalks to walk bikes across intersections. It's not a bad rule & there are crosswalks marked at the Alpine Rd -280 access ramps. There's also a paved pedestrian-bike pathway on the east/south side of Alpine Rd which peds & non-racing cyclists could share.


Posted by Menlo Parker, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Jun 12, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Has anyone noticed the irony of yet another cycling accident on the part of Alpine that was supposed to get a lovely wide hike-and-bike trail at Stanford's expense? You can thank your craven county supervisors for sending those millions to Santa Clara County at the behest of the noisy Weekend Acres folks.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Downtowner - I was taught the same thing & I'm not a senior yet. Gosh, it's darn rare to see anyone dismount their bike & walk it through an intersection. I saw that recently on Stanford campus & it's so rare my husband commented on it.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 12, 2013 at 4:24 pm

One privilege that cyclists have and rarely use: they can have the rights and privileges of a vehicle or those of a pedestrian.

I walk my bike through crosswalks all the time. It's great because cars are obligated to stop. I get to the other side, get back on and I'm a vehicle again.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Joe - that's the way to do it. But I recall, many moons ago, my brother doing that at Willow/Middlefield & being hit by a Menlo cop. I don't recall any injury, but his bike was totalled, which makes me think it may have only been his bike that was hit. I'm glad he wasn't riding it at the time - it could've been bad.


Posted by dana, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 12, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Car accidents happen on the eastbound side of the road across from Webb Ranch several times a year but no one has suggested that we ban cars from this stretch.
ACCIDENTS occur everywhere all the time - for many reasons- between cars, cars and trucks, cars and bikes, etc. and there is absolutely nothing in this article that suggests bad road design nor recklessness on the part of either the cyclist or motorist. Lighten up and stop speculating (and expressing your dislike of sharing roads with bikes and cyclists)!


Posted by Willow Cyclist, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 12, 2013 at 8:55 pm

These days, I rarely leave my home without seeing negligence and stupidity on the part of both cyclists (usually speeding through intersections with headphones on) and drivers (cutting across bike lanes or pulling out of driveways without so much as a glance). There's little difference between the two, except in the outcome following a collision. I'll be curious to see which party was at fault following the investigation, since at this point both parties seem equally likely.


Posted by Donald, a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2013 at 9:43 pm

It is unlikely that a CHP investigation will reveal what really happened. The last time there was an incident of this type the CHP got the result all wrong and it took a lawsuit and a private investigation to get them to go back and do it over. At least in this case the cyclist will be able to tell his side of the story, which should help.


Posted by Ashamed, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 12, 2013 at 10:26 pm

The number of mean, ignorant comments on this story is truly sad.

1) Someone was seriously hurt here and starting with the story and continuing with many of the comments, people seem ready to assume the cyclist is at fault. For example: the story states that he was wearing a helmet. I don't see any comment on the seatbelt status of the car driver.

2) Cyclists have EVERY right to use the roadway. (Yes this includes every obligation too and that's an issue with too many) The number of noncyclists who think that they are entitled to the roadway with a car and that cyclists do not belong is very very scary.


Posted by David B, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Jun 13, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Oh, let's not re-hash the same old bicycle-vs-cars right-to-use-the-road again. The law is the law and the physics are the physics and we all need to ride and drive carefully.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Due to the stupidity, per capita, of behavior seen among local cyclists, how can you be surprised by the comments? Why didn't anyone ask if the driver wore a seatbelt? Because the driver wasn't injured, the cyclist was.

We don't know the victim - to us, he's another cyclist riding in a dangerous area instead of choosing a safer route. To me, it's nearly the same when someone is injured rock climbing, motorcycling or hiking alone - I wonder about their stupid choices.

The pro-cyclists go on & on about cyclists rights, but so what? They don't have rights that protect their stupid, dangerous *behavior*. I get the self-righteousness - after all - to drive you must be tested, licensed & insured (I almost wish the same were true for adult cyclists). But cars were here LONG before recreational cyclists hit the hills in droves, so the resentment toward the ongoing lawlessness shouldn't be a surprise. Many of these roads weren't designed to ride safely, but cyclists whine on & on about their rights when they're guilty of making frequent poor decisions.

My DH is a cyclist, so I'm not anti-cyclist, but given the organ donor behavior I frequently see among cyclists, I'm glad that he doesn't insist that his rights are more important than his well-being.


Posted by dana, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 13, 2013 at 1:02 pm

[Post removed. Please discuss the topic and don't attack other posters.]


Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 13, 2013 at 1:59 pm

@ dana & ashamed-

Nobody is casting shade on cyclists. I cycle, carefully, use the paved path alongside Alpine & walk through crosswalks. I stop at stop signs & signal my turns. I share with cars & cars share with me.

Since the cyclist was able to communicate, we infer that he wasn't unconscious & therefore less serious.y injured than he could have been. A witness said the driver wasn't speeding.

Why are you saying that drivers won't share roads? All I'm saying is that some cyclists take more responsibility for our own safety than others. Based on the comparative weights of our transportation devices, that seems the smart way to ride.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2013 at 2:12 pm

No, actually, I am participating in this forum because I'm often appalled at the asinine behavior I see from vulnerable cyclists. [portion removed.]

Trying to turn this thread into a pro-cyclist thread is a mistake. I resent the danger cyclists put me in w/their idiocy. I have seen alarming trends in behaviors from them that endanger them AND others, due to their sport. I don't endanger myself & others in public w/my hobbies. I have stopped to help injured cyclists several times, my husband cycles & I used to cycle a lot. When I drive near them, I am extra cautious because I don't trust most of them, some of the road conditions nor do I trust all other drivers. It's a relief to be near a good cyclist, one who is cautiously defensive, isn't arrogant & doesn't treat all drivers as enemies. But it also should be much more common & it isn't.

Maybe it's just that too many idiots w/bikes have moved to this area & that's what I'm noticing.


Posted by SteveC, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 13, 2013 at 2:22 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

Organ donors are in short supply. Do stupid things on a bike or with a car and you too can be one!!


Posted by Like, a resident of Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on Jun 13, 2013 at 9:37 pm

To Senior Citizen: Wish there was a LIKE button :-)


Posted by Whhheeeee, a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Pretty hard to push any buttons when your arm is in a cast, broken from your nice bike ride. Don't forget your helmet!


Posted by Nate McKitterick, a resident of Portola Valley: Woodside Highlands
on Jun 14, 2013 at 11:26 am

It's typically weak to post anonymously, even though the Almanac allows it. (Other words actually come to mind than "weak".) I think the Almanac should not allow it, given both the editing they end up doing, and the circle of aggression it seems to foment among some posters. But I'm just glad we have a local paper to report on these things, however they choose to run it.


Posted by Huh, a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Jun 15, 2013 at 8:02 am

Hmmmm...., Which way is the "safer route" to Ladera for a bike?


Posted by Donald, a resident of another community
on Jun 15, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Based on comments above, the safe way for a bike is to walk alongside it and push it. I agree that would be safer, and the same goes for car drivers. Imagine how safe our intersections would be if car drivers got out and pushed their cars through!


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Jun 15, 2013 at 10:54 pm

Donald - Serious improvements in some areas need to be made for cyclists. I'm not sure what the justification is for ignoring this, aside from funding. I spend more time on Arastradero & Page Mill & avoid much of PV & Woodside due to cyclists - who are often better behaved than the motorcyclists. But if politicians get wind of your suggestions above, they might try to run w/it (excuse the pun).


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