Bike lanes open in memory of cyclist | October 30, 2013 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - October 30, 2013

Bike lanes open in memory of cyclist

by Dave Boyce

Cyclists and officials from San Mateo County, the California Department of Transportation, the California Highway Patrol and the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition gathered Thursday, Oct. 24, in the parking lot of the Ladera Country Shopper mall to remember Lauren Perdriau Ward.

Ms. Ward, 47, and a resident of Los Alto Hills, died in November 2010 after her bicycle collided with a tractor trailer truck on Alpine Road as she and the truck were headed west under Interstate 280.

On Oct. 24, Ms. Ward's husband Bob and public officials gathered about a quarter mile west of the accident site to officially acknowledge sophisticated new bike lanes at the interchange. Installation was completed in mid-September.

The westbound bike lane threads cyclists between freeway-bound and local traffic, while the eastbound lane hugs the curb. At on-ramps — where cyclists contend with merging vehicle traffic — the bike lanes are painted bright green and staggered into blocks. These alternating blocks of green and black pavement should alert motorists that they're sharing a right-of-way with cyclists, officials have said. Sets of diagonal white stripes alongside the bike lanes further demarcate them from traffic lanes.

"(Lauren's) death was the momentum that moved this project forward," Mr. Ward told the gathering of about 20. It's momentum that can be carried forward to other intersections "and really improve safety for all on the road," he added.

"I do think that this is a moment that is going to continue," CHP Capt. Mike Maskarich said a few minutes later. "These bike lanes will serve as a constant reminder that motor vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians can co-exist safely."

Colored non-slip paint is widely used in European bike lanes and is increasingly popular in the United States, said Corinne Winter, the bicycle coalition's executive director.

Former state legislator Joe Simitian, now a Santa Clara County supervisor, recalled that Ms. Ward was among the first winners of his "There Oughta Be A Law contest," in which constituents submitted ideas for laws. "She was decent and wholesome and utterly clean of heart," Mr. Simitian said, "and sweet and determined." The bike lane can be a launching pad for similar efforts on the Peninsula, in the region and around the state, he added.

The law, adopted in 2002 and based on Ms. Ward's idea, requires antifreeze sold in California to contain a bittering agent to discourage accidental consumption by children, pets and wildlife.


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