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Collision sends 3 cyclists to hospital

Original post made on Sep 19, 2013

A collision on Sept. 5 in Woodside involving three bicyclists and a vehicle sent the cyclists to the hospital with major injuries, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 12:00 AM

Comments (5)

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Posted by Reality Check
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2013 at 10:20 am

The left-turning driver clearly failed to yield right of way to the 3 in-plain-sight fast-moving oncoming bicyclists and turned across their path. A quick look at the intersection from the driver's point of view with two on-coming bicyclists ( Web Link ) makes it obvious there is no other way this could have happened.

This probably the worst and most deadly type of threat posed to two-wheeled road users (motorcycles included -- two RWC police motorcyclists were struck and injured by a grossly negligent left-turning driver last Friday).

According to the reporting, the driver was said to have stopped before proceeding to drive directly into the path of not one -- but three -- oncoming cyclists, who at that hour (6:10 p.m.) would have been well-lit facing the driver due the light coming from the west and more or less from behind the driver.

Actual headline: Collision sends 3 cyclists to hospital
Better headline: Motorist sends 3 cyclists to hospital


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Posted by Bel
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Sep 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm

I don't get it... if the car was stopped or slowed for an obvious turn into the school, why wouldn't the cyclists have been more aware and cautious? It is clearly the driver's fault, but the first thing we learn is defensive riding/driving.


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Posted by Reality Check
a resident of another community
on Sep 20, 2013 at 8:03 am

@Bel: how much do you slow down when you have a the right of way, have absolutely no reason to suspect you are not easily and plainly visible and see a vehicle stopped or slowing to turn left across your path? It's pretty impractical to keep that up, and, after a while, you'll stop doing it because until someone violates your right of way, it's wasted effort to slow down and then come back up to speed.

If you're like most, when you are in plain sight of the oncoming driver, with good or perfect line-of-sight visibility in broad daylight, you just assume that they see you and will wait a moment for you to pass ... because that's what you or any other half-competent driver would do ... just like all the others that you've encountered countless times before ... so it never even occurs to you that they are just going to drive right into your path at the worst possible moment when it's too late for you to stop, swerve or otherwise avoid smashing into them.

The fact that it happens so infrequently is what makes it so deadly. And when it does, the oncoming bicyclist or motorcyclist cannot believe what they are seeing ... oh !#$% ... they're turning right into me! This CANNOT BE HAPPENING! How can they not see me!!! <SMASH!>

Same type of "how can they not see me!?" crashes happen with people pulling out of side streets and driveways right in front of bicyclists in plain sight. It's happened to me. I even can see their eyes as they seemingly are looking right *at me* while pulling out. It's as though some motorists suffer the inability to see bicycles and motorcycles and can only see other cars?


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Posted by Bel
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Sep 20, 2013 at 9:11 am

" how much do you slow down when you have a the right of way,"

If it's me on ten pounds of metal tubing and a helmet versus 3,000 pounds of metal, I'm defensive the ENTIRE time I'm riding. And if I see this: "if the car was stopped or slowed for an obvious turn into the school" Then I'm REALLY aware of what's going on and prepared. It was already mentioned, they were riding out from the underpass, long shadows, a slight uphill grade, etc...

The driver was wrong. The cyclist should always be aware that they were not seen, especially with any shadows in play. Up here in PV, people driving CARS around are not seen when they come along a street with lots of tree shadows in the morning or dusk.

That's why I always drive with my lights on, no matter the time of day. Defensive driving 101 - make yourself VISIBLE.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 20, 2013 at 12:12 pm

I used to ride motorcycles. I don't ride a bike. When I rode my motorcycle I ALWAYS assumed a driver that was turning left did not see me until I was sure they had. Until I could see the driver had seen me and was not going to turn into my path my hands went out over the clutch and brake and my foot shifted to be in position to mash the rear brake. I did this because I knew that even if I was in the right when a car turned left in front of me I was going to be the one going to the hospital. It's called defensive riding. I apply those same principals while driving a car or truck.

I drive over 35,000 miles a year and I've had some close calls that I was able to avoid because I drive defensively. Cyclists would be wise to ride defensively. They are always going to wind up on the short end of the stick in an auto-bike collision.


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