Cyclist injured in Alpine Road collision


A 65-year-old Portola Valley woman who had been heading east on Alpine Road on a bicycle at about 6:40 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19, was taken to Stanford Hospital after colliding with a small westbound station wagon making a left turn at Indian Crossing, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.

Resident Angela Hey, who lives near the scene of the accident, said she called 911 after hearing a woman scream, followed a few seconds later by the sound of a crash.

Medics from the Woodside Fire Protection District and deputies arrived at about the same time, Detective Salvador Zuno of the Sheriff's Office said. The collision left the cyclist, who was wearing a helmet, with large cuts and scrapes on her left side, but not life threatening injuries, he said.

A Palo Alto man in his 30s was driving the car, he said.

The accident took place in a section of Alpine Road with a long downward slope heading east, allowing cyclists to pick up speed before reaching the stop sign at the intersection with Portola Road.

The collision caused damage to the bike and minor damage to the car, Mr. Zuno said. Ms. Hey said the collision damaged the car's windshield.

— Dave Boyce

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Posted by Horton
a resident of Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch
on Aug 25, 2015 at 12:25 pm

So sorry to hear this, might we consider adding the green bike lane striping to the Portola Rd. Alpine Rd. intersection? It gets so much bike traffic, I fear this will occur again.

18 people like this
Posted by Bil Jones
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Aug 25, 2015 at 1:47 pm

Do you really think that adding a green bike lane to the road will slow down the speeding bicycles? Or that they will stop for the stop sign at Portola Road and Alpine?
I do not know who was a fault, but there are many cyclists who believe that the road rules and laws do not apply to them.

13 people like this
Posted by Robert Cronin
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 25, 2015 at 2:22 pm

How could it possibly have been the cyclist's fault? She was hit by a car turning left. She had the right of way, and she would have to be very strong indeed to have been speeding.

3 people like this
Posted by dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 25, 2015 at 2:35 pm

I witnessed a similar accident at the same spot but the driver was leaving Portola Ranch and cut-off the descending cyclist who then crashed in the road while trying to avoid a collision. And a couple months ago I talked to a friend who was leaving a public driveway on Sand Hill Road and was struck by a bike after she pulled into the bike lane believing the cyclist would stop for her. She was surprised to learn she was at fault. Both bike riders and motorists need to be more careful when crossing paths.

7 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch
on Aug 25, 2015 at 3:59 pm

Here we go again. Let's blame the driver. I would ask that cyclists consider riding responsibly, not speeding, and that they ride defensively. That's how I drive my car and it is how everyone using our roads should conduct themselves.

As for more bike lanes, that wouldn't have helped in this case. They're a bit like pedestrian crossings. The crossing won't prevent an accident unless both pedestrians and drivers follow the rules.

11 people like this
Posted by CCB
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Aug 25, 2015 at 4:27 pm

This was bound to happen eventually. It's a popular after-work route for bikes and has relatively little downhill car traffic, so there's not much to catch the eye of a left-turning driver. At that time of day visibility isn't great and I'd bet money that in this case, especially given that the driver wasn't a local, he simply didn't see the cyclist. Very similar scenario to the death on Skyline a couple of years ago, although this straightaway has much better visibility.

Chris, driving defensively means looking carefully before making an unprotected left, yes? Cyclist had right-of-way, may or may not have been exceeding the speed limit, but wasn't obviously doing anything wrong. So yeah, absent additional facts, driver was probably technically at fault. Awful for everyone involved, though.

I agree that bike lanes aren't the solution here--just people being more alert and defensive when biking/driving. And using daytime running lights (bike). And looking twice before turning (car). And not trusting that the car really saw you unless you get confirmation. Etc.

11 people like this
Posted by CCB
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Aug 25, 2015 at 4:40 pm

PS: Bil, stop sign is a non-factor in this case because the cyclist hadn't gotten there yet. You can be grumpy about people who flout traffic laws, as am I, but why bring it up here? This isn't the rabid peloton of noon riders that you all love to hate--it's a 65-year-old solo woman who might as well have been your neighbor or wife. I seriously doubt she was exceeding the 35 mph speed limit.

8 people like this
Posted by Adrian
a resident of Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch
on Aug 25, 2015 at 7:46 pm

Hey Bil Jones,
I know the woman on the bicycle who was hit. If you want to come to the hospital and meet her I can arrange that.

"Do you really think that adding a green bike lane to the road will slow down the speeding bicycles? " Speeding bicycles?the speed limit is 35 mph. Are you confusing bicycles with motorcycles?

"Or that they will stop for the stop sign at Portola Road and Alpine?" I see more drivers than [groups] of bicyclists run that stop sign every day.

"I do not know who was a fault" Having seen the scene of the accident and where the pool of blood was on the road, I can assure you that the driver was at fault.

4 people like this
Posted by Clodismo
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 25, 2015 at 8:50 pm

It is a foregone conclusion that anytime a bicycle accident occurs, people like Bil Jones will blame the cyclist. Others will always blame the drivers. There are for sure scofflaw cyclists and there are really bad drivers. Both will not go away. Cyclists will always be on the losing end of a collision with a car. Cyclists need to always be on the lookout, and I think should always use a headlight and taillight to make themselves as visible as possible to cars

8 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 25, 2015 at 9:21 pm

pogo is a registered user.

We've seen this all before - many times.

The truth is that none of you know who was to blame in this accident. Was the bicyclist speeding? Did the driver of the car fail to yield? You don't know.

Take a breath and wait for the final report.

Thank goodness the woman was not seriously injured and I hope she has a quick and full recovery.

2 people like this
Posted by Miller
a resident of Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on Aug 26, 2015 at 1:13 pm

Dana, it horrifies me there are people like your friend who do not understand such basic rules of the road and would pull in front of a cyclist assuming the cyclist would stop.

5 people like this
Posted by PV Resident
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Aug 26, 2015 at 5:27 pm

As a long time PV resident, a recreational cyclist, a horseback rider and of course a car driver, it saddens me to see these accidents still occur and will KEEP occurring until we sit down and force some unwelcome changes upon our community. Yes, we know some car drivers are not doing everything they can to prevent accidents. Yes, we know some cyclists are not doing everything they can do to prevent accidents. I've watched both the car and cyclist count increase dramatically over the years, with only very few changes to our enforceable rules and regulations (needed I'm afraid as not everyone is willing to step up voluntarily).

I vote "Yes" on the following:

1. Real enforcement the speed limits and other rules for cars and cyclists. EVERYONE has to stop at stop signs!
2. Dramatically change the rules for cyclists: registration & insurance, DOT approved safety gear etc.
3. Once or twice a week close the road to cyclists only. I know, hard to do. But better than somebody dying.
4. More cyclist lanes, green lanes etc (yes, won't solve problem, but they will help - right?).
5. Any other common sense proposal that will save lives, prevent injuries and reduce tension.

Bikes are here to stay, cars are here to stay, I hope horses are here to stay too.

My sympathies to the gal hurt in this accident, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

9 people like this
Posted by Kay Blocker
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Aug 27, 2015 at 11:57 am

Hopefully those cyclists reading this article will also note my comments. I often drive up Westridge Dr. from Portola Road and it is treacherous as the sun starts to go down. In order to navigate because of the sunlight glaring through the windshield it is often necessary to navigate by looking at the side of the road immediately before your car. Not a safe place to be riding a bike uphill at this time of day. There isn't a lot of bike traffic but the occasional lone rider. Strongly suggest they take another route in late afternoon.

2 people like this
Posted by Water
a resident of another community
on Aug 27, 2015 at 5:04 pm

Water is a registered user.

Perhaps recreational cyclists could become more risk-averse and not ride those roads at those hours.

Like this comment
Posted by jason
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 28, 2015 at 1:29 pm

I was the second cyclist to arrive to the accident. She was in her 30s and the driver was in his late 50s.

I too was headed east down alpine, unfortunately I did not see the accident but she definitely had broken some limbs. I'm glad to hear that she's ok. It looks like it's going to be a loooong road to recovery.

One other cyclist comment to me that this intersection should have a stop sign.... Makes sense.

I believe the windshield saved her life, Very Lucky.

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