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Portola Valley: dealing with bike safety issues

Original post made on May 23, 2011

Portola Valley may emulate Woodside and establish a regular forum for bicycle-related issues. A formal discussion of the matter is likely at an upcoming Town Council meeting.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, May 23, 2011, 8:15 AM

Comments (36)

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Posted by Big Al
a resident of another community
on May 23, 2011 at 11:06 am

Could have fooled me, because I believe both alpine and portola roads have adequate bike lanes.....how could you get this wrong? Perhaps the article was written by somebody who spends too much time a car.


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Posted by Dave Boyce
Almanac staff writer
on May 23, 2011 at 11:21 am

Dave Boyce is a registered user.

Dear Big Al - What seem to be bike lanes on Alpine and Portola roads are in fact extra space to the right of the fog line -- a white line to help drivers find the edge of the road in low light conditions.

A true bike lane does exist on Alpine Road, but in the unincorporated communities of Ladera and Stanford Weekend Acres. The has a consistent and specified width, the white line marking its presence is wider than the typical lane marker, and there are words on the pavement saying that it is a bike lane. (This bike lane is quite old so some of that may be missing.)

One reason cyclists on Alpine and Portola roads in Portola Valley have a legal right to travel to the left of the white line, under certain circumstances, is because it is not a real bike lane.


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Posted by C
a resident of Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch
on May 23, 2011 at 12:28 pm

The major concern/headache I hear from non bikers is the big (50-100) groups that ride up the middle of Alpine/Portola/Aresterdero. They slow traffic tremendously and put everyone at risk when a car needs/chooses to pass. The car can head-on someone from the opposite direction or someone turning into the road or choose take out 20+ bikes. Not a good choice either way. The CA stop issue at Portola/Alpine only catches a few because other cyclists tend to warn those approaching up the road to limit the bikers caught. Do we have the space to mark a legal bike lane on Alpine/Portola and then ticket those who don't ride in it and choose to block the traffic? That would solve a lot of frustartion and really improve the safety. The onesy/twosys who don't stop at a sign when they turn right and stay to the right at a stop sign really don't add much of safety risk.


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Posted by Legally speaking
a resident of another community
on May 23, 2011 at 2:28 pm

A couple of things, C. First, most of the group rides that pass through take up the entire shoulder and the rightmost portion of the lane on Alpine and Portola, which is completely legal due to the absence of a real bike lane. Yes, sometimes they take up a little more space, but generally that's when some riders are overtaking other riders, which is a perfectly legal reason to leave the right-most portion of the road. Admittedly, these rides do sometimes take a little more space than they need, but it is often only a small percentage who are being jerks and riding where they shouldn't. Please don't judge all of them for the actions of a few - plenty of car drivers do things they shouldn't too but not all are bad.

Secondly, the statement "They slow traffic tremendously and put everyone at risk when a car needs/chooses to pass." is dead wrong. Cars do not "need" to pass, and if they "choose" to pass when it is illegal to do so, it is the driver of the car who is risking a head on accident or "choosing to take out 20+ bikes". I'm pretty sure that if someone attempted to pass illegally and then took out 20+ bikes, they'd be charged with reckless driving and vehicular manslaughter.

Thirdly, the biggest problem on Arastradero is not the cyclists (who have every right to ride there), it's the reckless drivers breaking the law. First, realize that for much of its length in the relevant frequently traveled section between Page Mill and Alpine, the lanes are "substandard width", meaning that a bicycle and a car cannot travel safely side by side in the lane. In substandard width lanes, bicycles are allowed full use of the lane, since it would be unsafe for a car to attempt to pass in lane and must therefore pass completely in the other lane. However, this becomes a problem on Arastradero because there is no passing for that entire section - there is a double yellow line, and CVC 21751 and 21752 apply (lack of visibility and clearance to pass). This means that it is illegal for cars to pass bikes AT ALL on Arastradero. Admittedly, this is rather unfortunate for the cars, since they seem to like to go 45mph (speed limit 35), and when stuck behind bicycles can only go 10-30mph (depending on the group and whether going up or down hill). However, I have seen a number of cars (two just this Saturday) attempting to pass a group of cyclists and nearly hitting another car head on. These near accidents are 100% the fault of the impatient driver attempting to pass illegally. Arastradero sees heavy bicycle traffic, both through and headed to the Park, so drivers should be aware of this by now and avoid using it if they wish to blast through at 45mph without either dying or killing someone. If you don't like it, then let's all petition to get Arastradero widened (and possibly with a nice bike lane). It would make it much safer for everyone.


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Posted by Portola Road bike lane
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on May 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I remember when Portola Road had real bike lanes all the way from Alpine Road to Sand Hill Road. "Bike Lane" was posted on street signs and painted on the street. Some time ago (maybe the late 1980s or early 1990s), Portola Valley became a rabidly anti-bicycle town. They tore down the bike lane signs and even scraped the paint off the pavement (really). Now days, they have hired the county sheriff to actively prosecute bicycle infractions (e.g. slowing and rolling through right turns), even though car driver speeding seems to go unpunished.


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Posted by Pearly Baker
a resident of another community
on May 23, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Increased citing of cyclists for running stop signs is a convenient and statistically demostrable way for the local government to say to their residents, "see? we're doing something about The Biker Problem!" without actually solving anything.

The central problem in Portola Valley, Woodside, and surrounding communities is that there are too many users (cyclists, motorists, pedestrians, and equestrians) competing for too little space on the roadways and nearby trails at peak times. Until that problem is addressed, no amount of piddly citations will help and will only make people more angry at each other....unnecessarily. The facilities need to be improved to accommodate reality.

Banning cyclists completely is unlikely to succeed (legally or politically) as has been proven across numerous communities in the U.S. If I were among the leadership of these communities, I would embrace rather than despise the fact that people love to ride their bikes there. Encourage better facilities (wider bike lanes, smarter intersections), support businesses who cater to cyclists, and ultimately reap revenue from the hundreds (thousands?) of cyclists who pass through on weekends. We're not going away anytime soon, no matter how many tickets you write.

I agree with the poster above who mentioned something about people needing to understand the rules of the road a bit better (both cyclists and motorists). It won't solve the central problem, but might make our interactions a bit more pleasant. For example, someone mentioned "needing" to pass...well, you don't *need* to. You want to, but you don't need to. You especially don't need to when doing so could endanger lives.

It is often the case that a cyclist or group of cyclists may be occupying the lane to avoid an obstacle (which is completely legal per the vehicle code) that you cannot see from your car (or perhaps large truck hauling a horse trailer at 45 MPH in a 35 MPH zone while shouting obscenities to cyclists). Slow down and be patient; in most cases you won't be delayed for more than about 30 seconds. Also: there is no need to lay on your horn when approaching a group of cyclists, or to even honk your horn at all. We can hear you back there, but sometimes it takes a little bit to relay the message through a large group.

By the same token, cyclists and in particular groups of cyclists need to remain mindful that they're sharing the road, and move (when safe to do so) to allow faster vehicles to pass. And not block the roads and parking lots at rest stops.


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Posted by C
a resident of Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch
on May 23, 2011 at 4:02 pm

It's great that folks point out that cars don't need to pass and no accident should ever occur. The facts are people do pass everyday and they pass because they are in a car in a 35 or 45 mph zone and get frustrated by bikers blocking the road 4-5 deep going 20mph tops. I am sure you are correct that the police could could follow these guys and ticket anyone who tries to pass in an unsafe manner. You cite the vehicle code so maybe you are the police. It also sounds like the town could update the bike lane to keep the riders in the lane and allow bikers to truly "share the road." It may seem great to the riders to meet with 100 others a pretend that they are riding in The Tour de France. The problem is they are riding though neighborhoods and roads shared by others (tax paying residents) who actually have to be somewhere (work). The question I had is what does the town need to do to update the bike lane to allow riders to safely stay in the bike lane and allow cars/bikes to truly share the road and not compete for space on the road.


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Posted by peter carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 23, 2011 at 4:06 pm

peter carpenter is a registered user.

CA Vehicle Code Section 21656.
On a two-lane highway where passing is unsafe because of traffic in the opposite direction or other conditions, a slow-moving vehicle, including a passenger vehicle, behind which five or more vehicles are formed in line, shall turn off the roadway at the nearest place designated as a turnout by signs erected by the authority having jurisdiction over the highway, or wherever sufficient area for a safe turnout exists, in order to permit the vehicles following it to proceed. As used in this section a slow-moving vehicle is one which is proceeding at a rate of speed less than the normal flow of traffic at the particular time and place.


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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of another community
on May 23, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Peter:

Thank you so much for posting that. The attitude of bikers that they can impede traffic and the responsibility for safety is 100% placed on drivers is a large part of the problem. Sharing the road courteously (and legally) means that slow moving traffic, whether a car, truck, motorcycle OR BICYCLE) needs to turn out at reasonable intervals to let traffic moving at or near the speed limit to pass.

Bicyclists running stop signs is also a big, big problem. This morning, on El Monte Rd. in Los Altos, I watched an oblivious biker blow through a stop sign and almost hit a pedestrian who had the legal right-of-way (in the cross walk.) Vision of the pedestrian was blocked because there was a motor vehicle stopped (i.e. following the law) at the stop sign. As long as bicyclists feel that the vehicle code does not apply to them, there will be unsafe conditions for everyone on our roads.

And I do not condone passing EVER when it is unsafe. That includes when a bicyclist "waves" a vehicle to pass when the bicyclists really has no clue whether or not it is safe to do so. I never take the bicyclists word for it - I wait to be sure it is safe to pass before doing so.

And get those damn bikes off of the edge of the road when stopping to take a drink, chat or wait for a buddy. Get as far off of the road as possible - didn't your mothers teach you anything about basic personal safety? Honestly - I'm surprised there are not more Darwin Awards given out around here.


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Posted by Legally speaking
a resident of another community
on May 23, 2011 at 4:37 pm

C - please have some respect, there's no need to make fun of cyclists like that. Cyclists ride for many different reasons, including any combination of as a primary means of transportation (to work, etc), for fun, for exercise, and for serious training (we have actually had real pros who have actually ridden in the Tour de France train in this area). As for knowing the vehicle code, no, I'm not the police, I just like to be educated about the rules of the roads that we all share - as both a driver and a cyclist. Also, paying taxes has nothing to do with our rights to use the roads, and neither does our destination. We have jobs too, it's not like we ride around all day every day intentionally clogging the road.

Peter - yes, cyclists should take a turnout when there is space if there are a number of cars following. However, most roads don't have turnouts everywhere, and sometimes it takes a while to reach an appropriate place to pull over on a road with no shoulder. Usually cars just get impatient and pass when they can. I should also point out that in the scenario where there are 50+ bikes "blocking the road", then I should think that the normal flow of traffic might be the speed of the cyclists, since they outnumber the 5 impatient cars behind them. Of course if there is heavy car traffic at that time, then the normal flow may be faster. That said, I have never been on a group ride where people did not yell out to each other "car back" as a signal to ride as far right as possible, single file, in an attempt to allow cars to pass. When the group is large, this may take a little while, but we generally understand that it's a pain to wait, so we try to get out of the way safely so that the car may pass (legally or not).

In any case, I think we all agree that widening the roads would make everything better and safer for all.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Woodside High School
on May 23, 2011 at 4:38 pm

a few points of reflection

1. Bike lanes do not confine bikes to the bike lane, they merely restrict where the motor vehicle may not travel (Bike lanes are like car pool lanes in this regard: car pools are not confined to the car pool lane)

2. Bike lanes do not block cars from parking in the bike lane (one of the many reasons why you will not always find bikes in the bike lane) this might a candidate for the periodic Simitian "ought-to-be-a-law" contests.

3. any vehicle with 5 behind should pull over ... the trouble with the law as now written is that the pack of cyclists may define the "normal flow of traffic" by sheer numbers.

4. any steps taken by Portola Valley won't encompass Arasterdero or the sheriff: that road is in Palo Alto and Santa Clara county. Arasterdero is narrow and its often safer taking the bike path though the preserve rather than the road - but that requires a mountain bike.

5. Most bike citations are at the Alpine/Portola intersection: car citations occur there as well. Other configurations of this intersection may improve traffic flow eg an intersection more like Westridge and Alpine or Ladera and Alpine. It would be important to find way to keep traffic slow though the intersection since there is considerable use of the crosswalks.

6. Many cyclists are local residents ... and more would be if it were safer.

7. The peletons (large groups) are mostly an issue on the turns (Arasterdero and Portola on Alpine) and on uphill sections. elsewhere, they often move at the speed limit.


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Posted by peter carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 23, 2011 at 4:42 pm

peter carpenter is a registered user.

"or wherever sufficient area for a safe turnout exists" does NOT require an official turnout - just a safe place to pull over.

And 'the normal flow of traffic' is the posted speed limit NOT the pace of slower vehicles. If the pace of slower vehicles prevailed then this entire section of the Vehicle Code would be unnecessary.


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Posted by Legally speaking
a resident of another community
on May 23, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Peter - On roads without shoulders, there's no good place to pull over out of the roadway, except possibly driveways or intersections, which are small and not necessarily an appropriate place to pull over, depending on where traffic is present. I'm pretty sure that the ditch doesn't count as sufficient area for a safe turnout, even on a bike.

Also "the normal flow of traffic" is defined somewhat ambiguously, since "normal" can mean "regular" or "average". If regular, then it's the speed limit (barring unsafe conditions). If average, then if the slower vehicles outnumber the faster by a good margin, then the normal flow might be slower. I'm not a lawyer though, so I couldn't say for sure how best to interpret it.


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Posted by Donald
a resident of another community
on May 23, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Peter, you are wrong about the "normal flow of traffic" phrase. If they meant the speed limit they would have said that, but they said "the normal flow of traffic at that particular time and place". That is different, and among other things is allows for the possibility that it is not safe to drive at the speed limit in some places at some times. Drivers often cite this CVC section as justifying the philosophy that speeders rule and all others should get out of their way, even those traveling at the speed limit. That is not the case at all. It is designed to cover heavy trucks, vehicles towing trailers uphill, etc. It also covers bicyles, but in no case does it every require anyone to immediately yield to faster traffic or do anything unsafe.


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Posted by Greg Davis
a resident of another community
on May 23, 2011 at 5:18 pm

I would like to invite council, and safety committee members to look at Idaho's bike laws have a law "Stop as Yield" and there are many items that one could go on about the law, but I would like to point out two items.
First is safety. Studies have shown this law is safer. One can find a lot of info on this and I encourage the both towns look into this.
As far as the bad cyclists that has no regards for the law and others. Idaho has something for them too. Not yielding at a stop sign, or stopping at a red light cost the cyclists $100 more that a motor vehicle fines.


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Posted by peter carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 23, 2011 at 6:20 pm

peter carpenter is a registered user.

SoCal Criminal Defense Lawyer's Blog
"• VC 21656 – Failure to use turnouts. This section requires that you were driving at a slower rate than the normal flow of traffic on a two lane highway (one in each direction), there were at least five vehicles behind you, and you failed to pull over in a marked turnout area. Unlike the previous section, it is no defense to this violation that you were traveling at speed necessary for the safe operation of your vehicle; if you failed to pull over at a turnout when you could have, you are guilty."


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Posted by Local Car and Bike operator
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 23, 2011 at 6:23 pm

I find it truly stunning how hostile people on both sides get on any issue around bicycles on the road. However, from my perspective the scariest comments come from car drivers who don't know the law and can't seem to gain sufficient perspective.

1) Bikes are "vehicles" under California law. They must obey the same restrictions (i.e. stop signs) and have the same rights (to occupy any portion of the road they wish unless otherwise posted)

2) The 'causing a line of 5 cars' rule applies to slow cars and trucks too. Don't see the dawdlers pull over on a mountain hwy much either. It also does not require the slower vehicle to yield at all times, merely accommodate the faster traffic as soon as practical and safe.

3) Bike lanes are not prisons. They are a semi protected space. However, as others have noted, there are often legally parked cars and other objects blocking the lane which makes it unsafe to stay in it. (BTW, those dotted lines at on bike lanes before intersections are meant for cars to merge in before the turn like any other kind of lane. Do not make a right turn across a bike lane.

4) Bicyclists need to obey basic traffic laws too. All too frequently lately I see bikes flying through stop signs without even slowing down. This is stupid dangerous AND it makes other road users mad. Don't do it. Back 'in the day' when bicyclists generally obeyed stop signs (i.e. at least slowed to a reasonable speed before proceeding a la a CA stop), there was much less hostility.

5) And one final note for those of you legally inclined. In order to operate a car on the public roadways, you must be granted a license by the state. However, one is entitled to walk or ride a bicycle on a public roadway automatically. Who has the superior rights there.


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Posted by peter carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 23, 2011 at 6:24 pm

peter carpenter is a registered user.

Wikipedia:
"CVC 21656 states "On a two-lane highway where passing is unsafe because of traffic in the opposite direction or other conditions, a slow-moving vehicle, including a passenger vehicle, behind which five or more vehicles are formed in line, shall turn off the roadway at the nearest place designated as a turnout by signs erected by the authority having jurisdiction over the highway, or wherever sufficient area for a safe turnout exists, in order to permit the vehicles following it to proceed. As used in this section a slow-moving vehicle is one which is proceeding at a rate of speed less than the normal flow of traffic at the particular time and place."

So, when on a two-lane highway with five or more vehicles following in a line, bicyclists, like all vehicles, are to turn off the road whenever there is sufficient room to safely do so."


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Posted by Debbie
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on May 23, 2011 at 6:49 pm

When I moved to Portola Valley in the early nineties, I used to drive patiently behind bikes on Arastradero. The bicyclists did not seem to like this, though I try to follow at a safe distance (and I'm usually the car on the freeway with a big gap between me and the next car). In fact, bike riders would frequently wave me to pass them, rather impatient with me if I did not, despite the yellow line. I've always hated doing this, but honestly, it seemed to be what the bicyclists in the area expected of me as a courtesy!

From the tone of this discussion, I gather you all would prefer that I never pass on Arastradero, and stay behind you. Okay, I'll try.

I have a very, very sincere wish to never have a close call with a bicyclist. I certainly don't want to hurt anyone! But as a driver, I would truly appreciate it if, in general, bikes would not ride slowly two abreast. I am sure it makes your workout much more enjoyable. But it makes it much more dangerous for all of us, especially those without lots of metal armor protecting them.

Neighbors on bikes, I am doing my best. I am just trying to pick up my kids, buy groceries, get to the pool for my own workout. I do hope you will help me keep you safe.


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Posted by Thom
a resident of another community
on May 23, 2011 at 9:08 pm

To Debbie;

It is obvious you are not familiar with the nuances of bicycle law. However your attitude expressed by your statement "I have a very very sincerely wish to never have a close call with a bicyclist. I certainly don't want to hurt anyone!" has earned you a place in my nightly prayers. If everyone would do that, we would not need any other laws. I would guess that you demonstrate the same courtesy around pedestrians and equestrians. Thank you

I only ride side-by-side on roads that are unshareable, left to right. Two bicyclists are more visible if they are side-by-side instead of one in front of the other. Also bicyclists in parallel make for a much shorter pack. Having said that. If my riding single file, will enable motor vehicles to safely pass me, then I ride single file.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Woodside High School
on May 23, 2011 at 10:32 pm

@Peter: some important caveats to your admonition that "bicyclists, like all vehicles, are to turn off the road whenever there is sufficient room to safely do so."

1) when passing is unsafe
so if there is a solid yellow line, there is no requirement is pull over

2) sufficient room to safely do so
this placed quite a bit in the judgement of the cyclist ... just as it is the cyclist's judgement when the far right side of a lane is unsafe

3) if there are enough bikes, the normal flow of traffic may just be the bike speed (and the car is speeding)


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Posted by PV Resident
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on May 24, 2011 at 9:02 am

Safety is the key issue here. As a resident of Portola Valley, I drive the roads here everyday. I also bike them frequently. When I drive my car I encounter (almost daily) unsafe situations with bikes. When I bike, I encounter (almost daily) unsafe situations with cars.

Solving the issues regarding safety should be the focus of the town. As other posts have noted, we have many more vehicles competing for limited space. Both cyclists and auto drivers will need to give a little ground for the sake of safety. We all know the issues, now it's time to take action. I hope the town can make progress addressing issues relating to safety without taking sides. At the end of the day, we all want to arrive at our destination alive!


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Posted by sadfsf
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 24, 2011 at 9:19 am

Observer,
1) where are you seeing these solid yellow lines?They are mostly double yellows or dashed yellows out there.

2) A bicycle is designed so it can pull out onto the grass or dirt. It is very rarely the case that there is not enough ground to pul out.

3) No, read the law. It doesn't matter how many bikes there are, as long as there are five vehicles or more stuck behind them, they are legally required to pull off the road. Notice that the law says turn OFF the road, that is, get on to the dirt and grass.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 24, 2011 at 9:21 am

stating that "if there are enough bikes, the normal flow of traffic may just be the bike speed (and the car is speeding)" is sophistry.

Normal flow of traffic is what occurs when there are not slow moving vehicles impeding traffic flow. Why else would there even be this section in the Ca Motor Vehicle code:

"CA Vehicle Code Section 21656.

On a two-lane highway where passing is unsafe because of traffic in the opposite direction or other conditions, a slow-moving vehicle, including a passenger vehicle, behind which five or more vehicles are formed in line, shall turn off the roadway at the nearest place designated as a turnout by signs erected by the authority having jurisdiction over the highway, or wherever sufficient area for a safe turnout exists, in order to permit the vehicles following it to proceed. As used in this section a slow-moving vehicle is one which is proceeding at a rate of speed less than the normal flow of traffic at the particular time and place. "


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Posted by sadfsf
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 24, 2011 at 9:44 am

If they want to share the roads, it only makes sense that they be subject to the same licensing and insurance requirements.


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Posted by Legally speaking
a resident of another community
on May 24, 2011 at 10:30 am

PV Resident - well said! Everyone needs to be a little patient and flexible for safety's sake.

sadfsf - Double yellows are a type of solid lines, and are present for at least half of Arastradero (the other half is double botts dots, which seems ambiguous since the lines have faded). Also, road bicycles are NOT designed to be able to pull out onto grass and dirt (mountain bikes may be able to), and the fact is that in many places, the ground immediately next to the road is covered in tall grasses, unfriendly plants, bushes, trees, and ditches, none of which provide a safe place to pull over. Cars are actually much better at driving on grass and dirt than bikes, but are generally not required to pull over (if slow-moving) onto rough terrain. Consider the terrain on Old La Honda, where the road is narrow and there's no place to get off the road for much of it, for cars or bikes.

Peter, you sound like a broken record, please stop repeating 21656, we all know what it says. We've already established that cyclists should attempt to pull over as soon as reasonably possible. The rest is simple common (or not so common these days it seems) courtesy, realizing that there are a lot of people using the road (including cyclists) and that you won't always be able to zoom through at the speed limit or above. The fact is that if a group of cyclists was instead a tractor or other slow-moving large vehicle, you wouldn't be able to pass them instantaneously either, and that you may have to wait a little while for the situation to be safe for passing. Unfortunately, in my experience, many drivers are unwilling to wait for than about 2 seconds for any slowdown in traffic on any road going anywhere.

sadfsf (again) - only if all pedestrians are also required to have licenses to walk and have insurance in case they cause an accident or are hit. Do you seriously want 5 year olds to be unable to ride their bikes because they can't get a license and can't afford insurance? By law, cycling is a right, and driving is a privilege. It's that way for a reason, because not everyone is eligible to drive, and biking is a good alternative method of transportation.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Woodside High School
on May 24, 2011 at 10:31 am

Not sophistry, just a reading of the last sentence in your citation

how do you parse "a slow-moving vehicle is one which is proceeding at a rate of speed less than the normal flow of traffic at the particular time and place" when there are more bicycles than cars?



In other news, there will be a large bike event passing through Woodside and Portola Valley on Saturday, May 28.

Web Link

from the map, there will be three general waves: the 50km, the 100km and the 100 mile groups. They're likely to more tightly clustered when passing through Woodside in their first 10-15 miles - although it;s a rolling start: closer to 6 am expected for the 100 mile group while closer to 9 am for the 50 km group. They'll be more spread out in the afternoon in PV being in the last 10-15 miles of the ride. Keep a careful eye out.


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Posted by peter carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 24, 2011 at 10:42 am

peter carpenter is a registered user.

Observer asks:"how do you parse "a slow-moving vehicle is one which is proceeding at a rate of speed less than the normal flow of traffic at the particular time and place" when there are more bicycles than cars?"

I parse it as meaning what would be the speed of traffic at that time and place absent the slow moving vehicle(s). If that were no the case then this section would have no meaning as the slow moving vehicles would define the 'normal flow'.

Ls - repetition is necessary when people either ignore what has been posted or misinterpret what has been posted. From long experience I know that people seldom reread the entire thread before posting their comment/question.


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Posted by sadfsf
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 24, 2011 at 11:21 am

why should cycling be a right when you can walk? if cycling is to be a right, stay off the road. cyclists show blatant disregard for the law because they are not licensed.


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Posted by Karellen
a resident of another community
on May 24, 2011 at 11:39 am

Your point rings hollow. Everyone has the right to travel on public roads. If you don't like it, or can't handle it, then perhaps you should stay off the road or go cry to momma. Most bike riders do in fact have driver licenses, and there are plenty of licensed drivers failing to adhere to the vehicle code. Bicycle riders are often cited for violating the law, as the original article states.


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Posted by sadfsf
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 24, 2011 at 11:44 am

if everyone has the right to travel on public roads, why the lack of consistency? why the licensing requirements for drivers?

getting cited for violating the law is no deterrent. they can do it as many times as they want and only need to pay a fine.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Woodside High School
on May 24, 2011 at 12:53 pm

> why the licensing requirements for drivers?
there are over 4000 reasons (average US car weight) speed, momentum and capacity for damage weigh into it. Trucks, even heavier, have even more stringent license requirements. if you want to take an low speed, very lightweight vehicle on the road, no license is needed. et voila: Web Link


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Posted by sadfsf
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 24, 2011 at 1:06 pm

I don't agree that licensing should be based on how much light or slow a vehicle is. Being on the road is very dangerous, regardless of whether you are driving or biking, and irresponsible behavior on the road often leads to life-ending consequences, whether to yourself, or to others. Drivers should not have to deal with more irresponsible behavior on the road than there already is, and a significant portion of dangerous antics on the road are due to cyclists. If you see a red light, come to a stop. If you see a stop sign, come to a complete stop. Signaling doesn't mean you have right of way. Pull over when there are a line of cars or other vehicles behind you. Why can't cyclists follow these simple rules? Making cycling a privilege instead of a right will go a long way in correcting such behavior.


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Posted by Legally speaking
a resident of another community
on May 24, 2011 at 1:32 pm

sadfsf - I think you're being very naive in your assertions. Firstly, paying a fine is a big deterrent - it's often around $200 from what I've heard, which is a significant chunk of money for most people. Secondly, to your question "Why can't cyclists follow these simple rules?" I feel compelled to say two things. First, many cyclists do follow those simple rules. Second, why can't drivers follow simple rules such as "no handheld cellphones", "use turn signals", "don't speed", "stop at stop signs", and "don't pass (anyone) on a narrow curving hilly road with no visibility"? These are all laws that I see broken on a daily basis by many cars, and although driving is a privilege, that fact isn't stopping people from breaking them. I wish there were a way to correct such blatant law-breaking by all types of road users, but there isn't, not without putting a police car on every road and intersection, which is a little too close to martial law for my taste.

I have had more near-misses than I can count with cars, and I have never been at fault. It usually seems to be a case of driver distraction or not paying attention/looking properly. Often they also don't signal, making it harder for me to predict their movements (though I should have to since straight traffic has right of way). The only reason that I haven't been flattened once or twice is that I am a defensive rider, always predicting the worst situations possible, and that I have very very good brakes. I recognize that even if I have right of way, sometimes I have to give way to clueless/malicious/distracted drivers so that I don't get killed.


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Posted by sadfsf
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 24, 2011 at 2:00 pm

it is without a doubt that the percentage of law abiding drivers is magnitudes higher than that of law abiding riders. go stand at an intersection and count the % of drivers and cyclists who come to a full stop at a stop sign.


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Posted by Donald
a resident of another community
on May 24, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Arguing about interpretations of the law or who is holier will not solve the problem. PV has tried to discourage bicylists by refusing to provide accomodations and by encouraging the sheriffs to harass them. This has not worked at all, so something new must be tried. How about accepting bicylists and encouraging them, then see if they can repay the kindness? Why not reach out to the major clubs and rides and see if they are willing to express some gratitude in exchange for being welcomed? I am not talking about requesting bribes in order to ride public roads in peace. Wester Wheelers used to have a Portola Valley clean-up day when they went around and picked up trash on the roads they ride. Something like that could help. Bike racks at businesses and discounts for customers carrying bike helmets would encourage more riders to stop and spend a bit of money instead of just pedalling through. Stripes on the road alone will not be enough to overcome the decades of hostility and the nasty attitude of so many residents; it will take some real change.


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