Town Square

Post a New Topic

Infants in the bike lane

Original post made by Anne Hillman, Portola Valley: Westridge, on Dec 18, 2012

Today at 12:10 PM when driving down Santa Cruz Avenue, I passed three women within a single block walking alone and pushing infants in strollers and carriages in the bicycle lane. There is a sidewalk on the other side, but they were walking in the same direction as the traffic on the right-hand side toward downtown Menlo Park. It is a common occurrence at all times of day. I wonder how many mothers and fathers are aware that this is happening?

Comments (32)

Posted by pedestrian
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 18, 2012 at 6:21 pm

If the sidewalk is only on one side of the street and your origin or destination is on the other side of the street, sometimes you have to be creative before you can get to the sidewalk. At least they were walking single file.

Posted by Anon.
a resident of another community
on Dec 19, 2012 at 1:42 am

What's the problem ?

Posted by Ann On Omous
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Dec 19, 2012 at 9:49 am

Yes, I don't get the problem, ? Is it that they are blocking the bike lane? If you want to open that can of worms, let's discuss the problem of bicyclist refusing to ride single file, but side by side, blocking the traffic lanes.

Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Dec 19, 2012 at 10:08 am

She should use the sidewalk on the other side of the street. She is a pedestrian, and pedestrians should not be in the road. Inconvenient a little? So what?

She is responsible for her baby's safety and should not walk in the street.

The bike lane is for bikes, not strollers or pedestrians. Bikes who are properly using the bike lane would have to swerve into traffic to avoid hitting her and the stroller. There are all kinds of accident scenarios that she could cause.

Use the sidewalk and crosswalk. Keep safe.

Posted by Donald
a resident of another community
on Dec 19, 2012 at 10:26 am

CVC section:
21966. No pedestrian shall proceed along a bicycle path or lane where there is an adjacent adequate pedestrian facility.

It is illegal for pedestrians to use a bike lane if there is an adjacent sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk on that side then it is legal, although perhaps not advisable, for pedestrians to use the bike lane. At least they are facing traffic when they do so.

Posted by Menlo Parker
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Dec 19, 2012 at 12:30 pm

In our neighborhood, it's not only the women with strollers and the dog walkers who go the wrong way down a one-way street with a sidewalk, it's also the cyclists. My whole family are avid cyclists, but even the 5-year-olds know better than to ride facing traffic in the middle of the street like my neighbors. I've begged the cops to patrol Altschul for wrong-way riders, but the scofflaws persist. Are they waiting for a fatality?

Posted by CB
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Santa Cruz Avenue is tough for pedestrians and kids on bikes. The sidewalks are inconsistently available. The bike lane, however, is plenty wide. I frequently pass pedestrians in the street here while biking through, but I'm unclear where else they are supposed to walk. I'm not really inconvenienced by waiting to safely pass them. Visibility is not an issue, especially in the middle of the day. I'm all for better sidewalks on both sides of the road, but until that day, sharing the road without complaining seems like the way to go.

Posted by Annabelle
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 19, 2012 at 12:51 pm

If pedestrians must walk in the bike lane, they should always walk against traffic and not with traffic. This is to avoid all of the people who should be driving but are usually talking on their cell phone held against their head with one hand or texting with two hands or putting on makeup, etc.

Walking in the bike lane with a baby in a stroller is just plain careless.
If you want to take the risk of being hit by a car, that is your choice, but the baby has no choice.

Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 19, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Skateboarders? A few days ago, an adult boarder was casually occupying the middle of the vehicle lane on Crane St while 3 cars crept behind him, unable to pass.

Santa Cruz Ave downtown sidewalks swarm with middle-school boarders who are oblivious to the safety of pedestrians who have to get out of the way to avoid being hit. Last weekend, I stopped walking so 2 abreast & 1 trailing could go around me. Didn't help. One of them hit me anyway & I didn't even get a "Sorry". The challenge of weaving in and out of pedestrians moving in 2 directions on 1 sidewalk is fun?

How about prohibiting skateboarding on Santa Cruz from University to Merrill? Clearly street boarding isn't safe in the street but peds are entitled to protection too. Boarders can use Oak Grove, with fewer pedestrians, to bypass Santa Cruz.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Dec 19, 2012 at 2:02 pm

I've seen this a lot more lately and it's indeed dangerous. There is no good reason that they can't walk against traffic, and cross to a sidewalk side of the street asap.

Posted by Ann On Omous
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Dec 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Objectively, I see all points here, all good call outs on what actually occurs daily in the "Streets of Menlo Park". So MPD, the paid officials who should be addressing these issues and others, take it upon yourselves to be pro-active with this information. We all know there are more important/urgent issues you must attend to, but hopefully one of those will not be a fatality in the streets.

Posted by Big Airful
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Dec 19, 2012 at 3:51 pm

@ Downtowner, who wrote " One of them hit me anyway & I didn't even get a "Sorry". "

Not a lawyah, but that sounds like a case of battery to me. Things like this should not be happening. Here or anywhere.

Simply, we need more cops policing than we seem willing to pay for. And we need more respect for the rights of others who may be different than us. We'll probably have to wait for this to become an economic problem for area businesses for a change to happen.

Posted by Srini
a resident of another community
on Dec 19, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Didn't you know that rules and common sense are for other people, not them?

Posted by walker
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Dec 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm

There's a reason people have to walk in the street with their strollers, and that's that cars are parked on the sidewalks. It's illegal, but the drivers do it anyway, apparently oblivious to any problems their parking might cause pedestrians.

It would be nice to see police ticketing these offenders.

Posted by call the police
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 19, 2012 at 7:37 pm

If cars are blocking the sidewalk, call the police and have it towed. They are a tremendous obstacle for wheelchair users.

Posted by Runner
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Dec 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I have always used the bike lane - but only when I am running with or without my jogger. I run against traffic when there's a bike lane to do so. Asphalt is 50% softer than concrete. I never run on the sidewalk - alone or with a stroller. It's so much worse for your body.

Posted by Member
a resident of Atherton: other
on Dec 20, 2012 at 1:45 pm

People who need to walk to get places (not everybody has unlimited money for gas or convenient use of a car) should not be considered the problem. Not having sidewalks is a problem. It is the responsibility of cars driving near the bike lane not to hit walkers, with or without infants in tow. I drive, walk and bike all around Menlo Park and Atherton, and when in the car I try to be extra careful around bikers or pedestrians. Do you really want to be the person who runs over somebody's mother, or baby?

It's also a shame that regular people cannot feel safe biking around town due to lack of adequate bike routes...I'm just trying to liberate myself (and my kids) from the car and take get out in the "fresh" air for part of the day.

Posted by history guy
a resident of Portola Valley: Brookside Park
on Dec 20, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Sounds to me, after reading all the many posts, that Menlo Park should be considering building a sidewalk on BOTH sides of Santa Cruz Avenue. This is a civic responsibility and one of the reasons their residents pay taxes. Any comment from members of the M.P. City Council? Getting folks out of cars and on foot is better for everyone, so it should be encouraged with adequate safety for pedestrians, as well as for bikers and motorists. Just a thought.

Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 20, 2012 at 3:09 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

It already is illegal to ride a bike or ride a skateboard on the sidewalks on Santa Cruz Ave. Time for the police to take direct involvement. All the police when violations occure. Write to the city council.

Posted by Legal
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 20, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Runner- you just admitted to regularly braking the law. See post above from Donald. If there is a sidewalk you are required to use it, regardless of how you feel about its effect on your body. If you don't like it then run somewhere else. Running in a bike lane is illegal if there is a sidewalk! You are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Dec 20, 2012 at 6:49 pm

The law is clear: Pedestrians (including runners) must stay on the sidewalk. All vehicles -- defined as cars/trucks, motorcycles AND BIKES -- must use the street and stay in the proper lane and travel in the direction of all traffic. (Bikes cannot legally ride against the traffic)

Yes: Ticket those who do not obey the law. You might generate enough $$ to build (pay for) sidewalks for all pedestrians.

Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 20, 2012 at 6:49 pm


a two ton vehicle is a heck of a lot "worse for your body" than running on concrete. Think about it.

Posted by Menlo Biker
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 20, 2012 at 9:07 pm

As a biker I am given, at best, a tiny little strip of pavement, and I am required to ride there. When I find that tiny strip blocked by parked cars or runners I get really ticked off. How selfish can people be to use the bike lane for purposes other than riding a bike? If there isn't a sidewalk I understand, but there is no excuse for not having sidewalks on both sides of every street in Menlo Park.

Posted by anonymouse
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 20, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Neighbor writes"BIKES -- must use the street ."

Actually this is not correct. CA law does not prohibit bikes on sidewalks, specifically leaving it up to the cities. Menlo Park and Palo Alto both only prohibit it in business and commercial districts.

Posted by Twocents
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Dec 20, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Strollers in the street drive me crazy. It's SO dangerous. Why put your children---babies!---at risk by pushing them in a stroller in the street? If there is not a sidewalk, or if you don't have a jog-stroller that will go on the trail, then drive or walk (using a baby backpack or such) to an area where there is one.

Check with your nannies to be sure they are not doing this. Recently, someone in PV was horrified to learn that their nanny was doing this (with a double stroller) on Portola Road, right where it curves and you cannot see around it.

Posted by Seriously?
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 20, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Fact: Not every street in Menlo Park has sidewalks. Most streets in Allied Arts do not have sidewalks. Most stretches of Santa Cruz south of Arbor do not have sidewalks.

Till there are sidewalks, share the roads. Fining pedestrians walking on shoulders of Santa Cruz is not the solution.

Posted by Runner
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Dec 21, 2012 at 10:34 am

I probably should have stated that almost everywhere that I run - in Menlo Park and Atherton are sidewalk free and quiet side streets- not main thoroughfares. There is a stretch on Bay Rd. that I run on, that has sidewalks, and that is where I am a perpetrator, I guess. When I see bikers coming I cruise up to the sidewalks. Obviously, I can only speak for myself... and in addition, when I am running and see a two ton vehicle coming, I get out of the way.

Of course everyone here is always quick to assume everyone in the world is a jerk and no one is courteous. People on occasion do work together. But all of this is neither here nor there, because this thread is more about Santa Cruz avenue and strollers going the same direction as traffic in the bike lanes...of which I agree with the initial poster on the danger.

Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Dec 21, 2012 at 11:40 am

Slower traffic must keep right, or yield. As a runner would sometimes find myself facing oncoming traffic and bikes, I would yield to the bike. Running with traffic I will stay to the right and let t he bike pass.

Posted by James Madison
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 21, 2012 at 2:50 pm

My sainted mother taught me that, if you are a pedestrian and walking in traffic, i.e., not on a sidewalk, always walk facing traffic. You can see approaching vehicles and, if one happens to be coming at you, you have a chance to jump safely out of the way.

Posted by Some Guy
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 21, 2012 at 3:29 pm

I'm surprised more cyclists aren't killed in Downtown due to riding like idiots.
The lack of hand signals, darting in and out of traffic, riding in crosswalks pretending to be pedestrians so they dont have to stop for stop signs.
I just about ran over a woman earlier this week who was on a bike and ran a stop sign.

Cyclists seem to think they are above following the rules of the road.

Posted by Christina
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 24, 2012 at 6:38 pm

I firmly believe that cars should stay off of bicyclist territory and bicyclists off of pedestrian walkways. However, in most cases, I think the reverse is valid. Even on Santa Cruz, sidewalks are narrow and restrictive, and they are never as even as the road. As someone who enjoys running at night, I find that staying on the sidewalk is the surest way to get a scraped knee. Perhaps these women had extra wide strollers. If the sidewalk can't accomodate them, it sort of makes sense that they'd take to walking on the street.

And sure, it's against the law, but not laws make sense in every situation. Take El Camino. I bike on the short stretch between Valparaiso and Menlo Avenue on my way to work, and that region is nothing but right turn lanes. Every time I bike in the through traffic lane, I get angry drivers that tail me for a while and then zoom past me, often honking. For safety reasons (as well as to assuage general annoyance), I've taken to hugging the curb. I'm breaking the law, but who the hell would fault me?

Posted by Not a Tank
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 25, 2012 at 9:44 am

Drivers seem to forget that they are all wielding giant machines of death. When a bicyclist breaks a rule like running a stop sign or stop light, he or she gets what is 'deserved' for being stupid and not checking the road. But when did it become acceptable that the punishment be to get hit and killed by a ton of metal? That's bad enough. When a DRIVER breaks the rules, the end result is frequently the same, but in this instance, you know that it is in large part due to that person's not understanding how dangerous a piece of equipment he/she is using.
I am a very good bicyclist. Yes, I will run stop signs, but I'm not so stupid that I don't check for cross traffic first. Mainly what I notice is drivers not paying attention to rules of the road like right of way that nearly get me killed, not my own negligence. Oftentimes, I'll have people mouth 'sorry, didn't see you!' as they pass within inches of me because they've decided to turn when I have the right of way. So, take some responsibility, drivers! It doesn't matter what time of day or night, we're all counting on you to follow the tough standards you set for everyone else. This is because when you break them, death is so easily the end result. Think about it next time you nearly hit a mom with a stroller.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Almanac Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

James Beard Award winning chef Traci Des Jardins' restaurant el Alto abruptly closes its doors in Los Altos months after highly anticipated opening
By The Peninsula Foodist | 14 comments | 9,072 views

Palo Alto's bold proposal to jumpstart home electrification
By Sherry Listgarten | 22 comments | 5,269 views

San Bruno Wins Food Trend Craze with First Plant-Based Gas Mart
By Laura Stec | 2 comments | 2,805 views

How Much Time do You Spend Outdoors?
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 2,147 views

Is Palo Alto Utilities ready for our increasing demand for more electricity?
By Diana Diamond | 8 comments | 2,061 views