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Bicyclist dies after accident on Woodside Road

Original post made on Jun 13, 2011

Richard Kadet, 67, of Redwood City died June 9 from injuries suffered in a May 29 bicycle accident on Woodside Road near the intersection with Northgate Drive, his family said.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, June 6, 2011, 4:25 PM

Comments (37)

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2011 at 12:20 pm

I am so truly, truly sorry; I'd hoped for a happier outcome. My condolences to his family & other loved ones.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 13, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Perhaps a suitable memorial would be a serious effort to create separate bike paths along ALL of the popular local biking routes.

Sharing the road, regardless of the cause of this particular death, inevitably means that more bicyclists will be injured and killed if they continue to utilize the same roadway as cars and trucks.


Posted by Anne Paulson, a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2011 at 3:49 pm

So, we're going to create separate bike paths along Alpine, Portola Road, Old La Honda, Page Mill, Foothill Expressway, King's Mountain, Sand Hill, Highway 84, Alpine Road, Westridge, Joaquin and Arastradero? Really? Who is going to pay for them, and where will the land come from?

Not to mention that if the witness is telling the truth, riding on a separated bike path wouldn't have prevented this sad accident, since allegedly no motorist was involved. Furthermore, avid road bikers like Mr. Kadet in general don't want separated bike paths and wouldn't ride on them if they existed.

Nope, drivers will have to learn to share the roads with all the other traffic.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 13, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Well said.


Posted by Steve, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 13, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Very sad but he died doing what he enjoyed doing.

No other vehicle was involved, he was NOT hit by another car. He must have had a medical emergency and died doing what he lvoed best. My condolances to his family.


Posted by Liz, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 13, 2011 at 4:32 pm

My very, very sincere condolences to the family for your loss. May you have wonderful memories of Richard and find peace.

(And I am appalled at the totally insensitive comments by some here, starting with Peter Carpenter. This article is about a local resident who died in a tragic accident. Please take your discussion about bike paths, your speculation about what could happen, etc. to a separate topic. The family doesn't need this. This thread should be about comfort and condolences for the family, especially at this time.)


Posted by Condolences, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 13, 2011 at 4:39 pm

My sincere condolences to the family, also.

I think it presumptuous to assume that it was a medical emergency, but I also agree with those who find it cynical and unfair to cast the aura of suspicion upon the witness without a single shred of evidence beyond an unfortunate proximity to the accident. Personally my belief is that the kind of person who would stop in the first place would not be willing to risk misrepresenting themselves should either a witness appear or the involved cyclist be eventually be able to dispute their account.

One should note that section of Woodside Rd is fast and steep. As I read the article, the police noted that he was descending at an estimated 30-40 mph. That is not necessarily unmanageable for an experienced cyclist in excellent condition riding a bicycle designed for those speeds. If, however, he was riding a mountain bike, then I would have my own speculations about the cause of the accident, especially for a 67 year old. Certainly that speed left no margin of error. Even steering around a rock or unevenness in the road could be sufficient to cause a spill at 40mph.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Many, many things that we love are dangerous. Many, many things we don't love, but have to do, are also dangerous. Life is a risk. I am impressed that he had been cycling for so long & I assume he was a healthy, vital man. Many older folks have so much to offer the world, are wise and passionate and have the time to focus on their interests, which is what we all should be able to live to do. I am glad that he received help so quickly. I am sorry that his family, friends and the community has lost such a vital person.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 13, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Liz - my apologies. My intent was to suggest a suitable response to a very sad accident.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2011 at 7:28 pm

It's really hard, when we read a story like this one, Liz, to know the purpose of the forum. To you, it's for the family to receive condolences, but I respectfully disagree. That can be done online via Facebook, Legacy, or a personal website. OTOH, it does seem a little disrespectful to march off in different directions, so to speak, w/ideas on prevention, etc. I don't think anyone means to be disrespectful, espec. not Mr. Carpenter. But as read so often about these terrible accidents, our minds instantly go to solutions & it feels natural to communicate that. It is also a way to handle the grief/upset we feel, albeit in a diluted amount, if we didn't know the poor person who died, but we are still upset by it.

I have to say, that when I read a post chastising someone's post who was trying to be helpful, it seems rude & controlling, perhaps as rude as you take those solution-oriented posts to be. I think tolerance & assumption of good intentions are needed during these times, & when posts seem to be at cross purposes. I hope that if his loved ones read these comments, they understand that no one wishes this to happen to anyone else, that readers are upset by his death that often looking for solutions is the natural direction for many to go in - not out of disrespect, but out of a desire to prevent future tragedy.




Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights
on Jun 13, 2011 at 10:03 pm

I'm a regular cyclist who happens to live about 4 houses away from the accident site. Whether the accident was caused by mechanical failure, a medical issue, a road hazard (rock, etc), or something else, in my 10+ years of driving AND cycling thru this intersection 4-10 times EVERY day I have never felt that a separate bike path was need. Except when the high school is letting out, and then I'd rather not be nearby in a car either.

My condolences to the family, and at least it does appear that Richard died doing something he loved.

Bob


Posted by Anne Paulson, a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2011 at 11:13 pm

That particular section of road is fast, but it's also straight, with excellent visibility and a wide bike lane. No experienced cyclist would consider it dangerous in the slightest; it's completely routine. Moreover, going 30-40 mph on that stretch is common for many recreational cyclists; it's a normal thing to do, not a daredevil thing like crazy fast descending on 84 or Kings Mountain. We don't know what happened to Mr. Kadet, but that is not a place where one would expect a cyclist to crash.


Posted by in traffic, a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2011 at 10:06 am

Liz, this thread is not a memorial, not an obituary, not a condolence book and it's not about Mr. Kadet and it's not for his family, no matter how much he was loved and how nice he and they are. It is about the accident. Any discussion about bike paths, causes, similar accidents, and related subjects are not just fair game but highly proper. To try to inject guilt on posters and limit and stifle discussion with the notion that we should be constrained posting about the accident because family can (if they want to) read the thread makes no sense to me. Of course, any time any human being dies it's sad and it happens every day, but the thread is not about a person. Please stop this path to emotional thread content and let's get back to the accident.


Posted by in traffic, a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2011 at 10:30 am

At 30 miles/hour even car passengers can suffer fatal injuries. 15m/h without seat belts can lead to death. Whatever the cause of this accident bike speeds of the kind reported can and do lead to very serious harm even with helmet (only protects the head in a limited way, not the neck and body). Perhaps a very reasonable personal risk, I think, but there is no margin of error for the biker. Because of physics and frequency gradient is a good predictor of where the bike accidents occur, as are curves, . Yesterday, on La Honda rd there was a motorcycle accident ( I only saw the aftermath) with only one motorcycle involved and no cars. Sand on the road? Momentary distraction? Perhaps other causes, but if you know a tiny wee bit of high school physics you know that an instant of a directional kick will lead to total loss of control for the biker.


Posted by bob, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 14, 2011 at 1:49 pm

My condolences to the family a sad loss, but as people here have said he died doing what he loved. To suggest that we should redo woodside rd bike lanes makes no sense at all. This was a solo accident and he lost control of his bike. Could have been excess speed or he could have had a medical incident. Even though it was a tragic event, it had nothing to do with the safety of the bike path.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 14, 2011 at 2:00 pm

As a bicyclist who favors slow riding, I agree with "in traffic."

When you're going 30 or 40 mph on a two-wheeled vehicle on a road not maintained for either cleanliness or bicycle safety and with absolutely no physical protection except a helmet perched on top of your head, you are taking your life in your hands.

That's not to say that it isn't fun, but an unblinking reality based on the physics noted above will deal consequences for the slightest mistake.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 14, 2011 at 2:21 pm

bob states:"it had nothing to do with the safety of the bike path."

The fact is we do know know that this accident "had nothing to do with the safety of the bike path".

As others have pointed out any slight debris on the road or any discontinuity in the road surface COULD have been a factor. A dedicated bike path would provide both separation from larger vehicles and could have a better and more resilient surface. Expensive - yes. But in a conflict with cars and trucks bicyclists will always lose. How many do we need to lose before we provide a safer alternative?

Most European countries that have lots of bicycles absolutely separate them from motor vehicles and everybody is better off. The bike 'road racers' won't like it but if there is a dedicated bike path then they will have to use it.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Joe - perhaps you should start a slow ride movement, a la the slow food movement? I am only half joking. I drive more slowly now that there is so much traffic. Certainly, not slow enough to cause traffic problems, but slow enough to be safer than I did in my more speed demon youth. We often take slower routes to visit friends, wasting less gas, not getting caught up in the stress of striving & hurrying.

I love seeing cyclists taking a leisurely ride- it makes it easier to see them and plan accordingly. I remember taking plenty of leisurely rides myself- being able to really enjoy the elements, the gardens, all of my that way.


Posted by Craig Cytron, a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2011 at 5:39 pm

I was honored to have worked with Rick and am so saddened by his loss. My condolences to the family. Being an avid biker also, it just shows how dangerous this can be. Hopefully both bikers and car drivers will show courtesy and respect the laws... This is truly a sad day.


Posted by Anne Paulson, a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Peter Carpenter, you say that a bike path would have a better surface than Woodside Road. Well, that's certainly logically possible, but it's unlikely. Bike paths in this area(and in every other area I've ridden in) are poorly surfaced and poorly maintained. I'd like to know where this smooth, well-swept bike path is.

in traffic says "there is no margin for error" for a cyclist going 30 mph. What does that even mean? It sounds like in traffic is saying that any crash will invariably result in death. Nothing could be further from the truth.

If you turn on the Tour de France and watch, you'll see that the riders, who for the last hour or so of the ride are going 30+ mph even on the flat, end up crashing a lot. And usually, a rider who crashes picks himself up and keeps racing. No crash is good, but even these high-speed crashes usually don't result in more than road rash and broken collar bones. If a rider, even a recreational rider, is riding 30 mph down a flat, straight hill, he is very unlikely to crash; bikes are stable at that speed. If he does crash and there is no car involved, he probably won't be seriously injured.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 14, 2011 at 6:19 pm

There is no logical reason that bike paths cannot be well designed, well surfaced and well maintained.

Here is a country that has been doing high quality dedicated bike path for decades:

Web Link


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 14, 2011 at 7:40 pm

"There is no logical reason that bike paths cannot be well designed, well surfaced and well maintained."

uh, how about money? we can't even keep our streets properly paved and pot holes filled.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Speaking of paved roads, one of fave areas to complain about was that tiny stretch on ECR on the MP/Shallow Alto border, the right turn lane to go into Stanford Shopping Center. It was sooooooooooooo baaaaaaaaaaaad for so long, but now it's finally paved. Woo hoo! Now, we just have to find another road to kvetch about...which shouldn't be hard to do at all...& I don't even mean here in EPA.


Posted by in traffic, a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2011 at 10:41 pm

"in traffic says "there is no margin for error" for a cyclist going 30 mph. What does that even mean? It sounds like in traffic is saying that any crash will invariably result in death"

At 30 mph any crash of a human being against a hard surface will produce a lot of trauma (that is why seat belts are required even at 25mph) and many a time death depending, of course, on the way one falls. There are indeed some cases in which the biker will not straight crash but will slide a bit and those crashes are less damaging particularly if the biker has learned what to do when crashing. Many athletes, law enforcement personel , etc, learn how to minimize damage. But remains a fact, known by physicists and ER personel that any crash at 30mph will, by and large produce devastating effects. And if Paulson doesn't want to believe reality all she has to do is read again what happend to Mr. Kadet, who, for whatever reason had a crash at an estimated (by other bikers) 30/40 mph.


Posted by in traffic, a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Maybe Anne Paulson would like to read this : 'Web Link"
There are countless similar crashes both in professional and semi-professional cycling, lesure and/or thrill bikers.


Posted by Anne Paulson, a resident of another community
on Jun 15, 2011 at 8:43 am

Anecdotes are not data. Obviously, some bike crashes at 30 mph result in death. That by itself tells us NOTHING. Is riding 30 mph down a straight hill more dangerous than other things that one might do on a bike? Is it too dangerous? We need to investigate, and discover what kinds of cycling accidents are common and dangerous. A experienced cyclist suddenly falling down on a straight stretch of road is uncommon.

If we want to encourage bike riders to ride more safely, we should focus our attention not on routine descents, but on actual dangerous behavior, like riding the wrong way on the road, running stop lights, and riding at night without lights. We should also focus on dangerous motorist behavior, like passing cyclists on blind curves, turning right without merging to the curb first, and turning left without looking for oncoming bike traffic. One freak accident is sad and tragic, but one freak accident should not be a guide for policy.


Posted by in traffic, a resident of another community
on Jun 15, 2011 at 9:50 am

One of the more complete collection of stats :Web Link.


Posted by Anne Paulson, a resident of another community
on Jun 15, 2011 at 12:19 pm

in traffic, those statistics are interesting but as quoted, incomplete. The reports are examining the cyclists killed or injured in motor vehicle crashes. In other words, those numbers don't even include accidents such as the one we're discussing.

A surprising (at least to me) number of cyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes were drunk-- almost a quarter of them. Yet I think I'm safe in saying that the overwhelming percentage of cyclists miles are ridden by sober cyclists.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 15, 2011 at 12:25 pm

In 2008 37% of motor vehicle fatalities were alcohol related.

No matter what you are doing alcohol impairment raises the probability
of a poor outcome.


Posted by Donald, a resident of another community
on Jun 15, 2011 at 12:33 pm

The type of crash is at least as important as the speed. John Forester defined several categories of bike crashes in his Effective Cycling book. I don't remember all of them, but it caused me to appreciate the importance of not lumping them all together. People fall over in a bathtub and die of head injuries - the speed is zero except for that gained in the fall. If a bicyclist slides and does not hit a solid object such as a wall or curb the chances are good for minimal injuries. If there is a collision with a car or wall, or if the front wheel becomes trapped causing the bicyclist to be launched in the air then there will probably be major injuries.


Posted by in traffic, a resident of another community
on Jun 15, 2011 at 6:04 pm

It would be a good idea to learn a bit of physics and read all sections of report ,Being as it is an average body mass crashing head on at 30 mph against a motionless hard target will have gained enough energy which will be dissipated by the crash through displaced and crashed body parts decelerating. Please avoid crashing at all costs. You will not like the result. One has the right to one's own opinions but proverbially not to one's own facts and shifting arguments won't help at all. I. Newton got it right a long time ago and the laws of motion are here to stay. When they will be dismissed, overturned or stayed please let me know.
In the meanwhile let us talk about ways to minimize bikers risks.


Posted by Anne Paulson, a resident of another community
on Jun 15, 2011 at 9:13 pm

The cyclist wouldn't be crashing head on at 30 mph, though, because he didn't run into anything head on. You're talking as if it's common for cyclists who ride straight downhills at 30 mph to crash... but it isn't. Saying that cyclists shouldn't ride at 30 mph because *one cyclist* crashed and died makes no more sense than saying that drivers should drive at 65 mph on the freeway because *one driver* crashed and died.

I agree that we should talk about how to minimize cyclists' risks. But let's do this from an informed view of what the most common cyclist accidents are, and how cyclists and motorists can act to minimize common accident types. A blanket "Don't go fast on your bike" is bad advice that won't lead to more safety.

Here is better advice:

Don't ride at night without lights.
Don't ride close enough to parked cars that someone can open a door in front of you and knock you down.
Never ride on the wrong side of the road.
At intersections, don't squeeze in between cars or trucks and the curb. They can't see you, and they might turn right and hit you.
Don't run stoplights.
Take the lane when you need to.
Look behind you to see that it's safe before you merge left to make a left turn (should be obvious, I know, but some cyclists just wave a hand to signal without looking).
Be predictable.


Posted by Richard, a resident of another community
on Jun 16, 2011 at 8:45 pm

First of all let me say that Anne Paulson is absolutely right on in her comments.

Second of all, as a physics professor, let me say that "in traffic" is doing an injustice to Newton and all his followers. One of Newton's laws says that a body in motion tends to stay in motion, so a bicyclist will continue to move at the same speed even when separated from the bike. The issue that leads to injuries has nothing to do with Newton's laws but has to do with how much deceleration occurs. As Donald said, a bicyclist sliding along the pavement may lose a lot of skin, but will decelerate slowly and may emerge trauma-free. Those who decelerate faster because of impact with a fixed object will suffer more.
As a former bike racer who suffered in many crashes with no more than road rash I know that crashing a bike is no fun, but a solo crash can be quite survivable even at high speed. The details matter.
It is tragic that this bicyclist on Woodside Road died from his injuries and we will probably never know exactly what happened, so further speculation is pointless.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 17, 2011 at 9:08 am

Newtonian physics also applies with respect to coefficients of friction, which can change significantly and instantly on a patch of sand or gravel. And you've got only two wheels.

Yes, forward progress is relatively stable, like a gyroscope, if you let the bike pass through the bad patch without trying to change direction or velocity, but if you reach for the brakes, you should understand the different results of braking from the rear versus the front. And what a change in direction can do to the area of contact of your tires with the road, even a dry clean road.

Any racer will tell you that a race track is a much safer place to go fast than is a public road.

For me, age and speed of travel are directly proportional. But then I've never been a racer so I have no nostalgia for my younger days to deal with when I'm on a bike.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 17, 2011 at 9:16 am

30 miles per hour on a bicycle may not be fast to expert riders who scream down from the top of La Honda (or to a teenage boy, for that matter), but it is definitely fast enough to cause lethal injuries when you fall off.

For those who think losing a bit skin on the pavement is just an inconvenience, in addition to being extraordinarily painful and having a high propensity for scarring, major skin abrasions are very prone to infection which can cause lots of other problems and complications.

We don't know for sure what caused this accident which is tragic in every respect. This site of the accident appears to be a relatively safe area.

Please tell your friends and family to enjoy the ride, but do it carefully.


Posted by Richard, a resident of another community
on Jun 17, 2011 at 9:27 pm

There is a persistent bias in our country that bicycling is more dangerous than driving a car, and that is tinging the discussion here. This is mostly a myth cultivated by our automobile culture and not supported by facts. Far more people die in car crashes. Bicycling per se would not be much more dangerous than walking if it were not for all the car drivers. Driving a car is actually much more dangerous than riding a bike, although public perception is the opposite. When in a car crash you don't have the option of sliding slowly to a stop; you stop suddenly and despite air bags and seat belts severe trauma is often the result. The interior of a car has many unforgiving surfaces into which people slam. We expect bicyclists to wear helmets but we would save more people from head trauma if we required car drivers and passengers to do so. A tragedy like that on Woodside road gets lots of press, but look at how many people have died in car crashes while we have been discussing this. As an experienced bicyclist I know I can take care of myself, so I just need to look out for the other idiots on the road who make life dangerous for me.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 17, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Richard -

"Bicycling per se would not be much more dangerous than walking if it were not for all the car drivers."

Yes, and guns would be very safe if not for bullets.

You also forget that the number of cars and the miles driven by them DWARFS the exposure of bicycle riders. I'll bet the commuters in one large American city account from more miles on the road in a week than all the bicycles in America over the course of a full year.

Finally, when someone driving a car makes a mistake, they are belted in, surrounded by lots of metal, and have airbags to cushion them. When someone on a bicycle makes a mistake, they are a random projectile looking for a random target.


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