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Letter: Concerns with bicyclists on Old La Honda Road

Original post made on May 15, 2018

Cyclists, nowadays, are oblivious not only to the rules and courtesies necessary in shared roads, but are blatantly reckless. Since 1970 I have been running and cycling up Old La Honda Road — from Sand Hill to the Sayler place at 736. I was the first woman and USA Olympian to make that training run/ride.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 12:00 AM

Comments (6)

22 people like this
Posted by CF
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Hills
on May 15, 2018 at 6:56 pm

AMEN Pat!!! As a resident of OLHR I couldn't agree more. Cyclists have become more dangerous and brazen and something needs to be done before more accidents happen. [Portion removed]


18 people like this
Posted by Fiona Bensen
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 16, 2018 at 7:57 pm

I have lived on Old La Honda Rd for 11 years. and fully endorse Pat's informed and measured comments. Sharing the narrow and precarious road with cars and bikes alike has always been a challenge, but in recent years it has become increasing hair-raising. I believe the surge in cyclists timing themselves as they ascend and descend the road is in large part responsible for this.


18 people like this
Posted by Cyclist Living on OLHR
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 16, 2018 at 8:26 pm

Thank you for the thoughtful letter. I really like this idea of permits and cyclists being allowed on OLHR only after signing an acknowledgement of rules.

Our beautiful, country road is not racecourse, and my daughter, who will be driving in 2 years, shouldn't have to ditch her car in order to avoid a cyclist cutting the corner into her lane to knock a few seconds off his time as he tries to be the Strava KOM (King of the Mountain) of the OLHR east descent.

We also have a problem of motorists who drive up in the middle of the road around blind corners and/or pass cyclists on blind corners. When they do, they could so easily cause a head-on collision with a car OR seriously injure or kill a cyclist descending too fast. A few signs reminding cars not to pass cyclists on blind corners and to "stay right" would go a long way to avoiding serious accidents. A few signs telling cyclists to descend no faster than 20 mph or 15 on blind curves would also help. A sign suggesting cyclists descend on Hwy 84 instead would be even better.

Just as the speed limit for driving through any blind intersections is 15 mph, so should every cyclist descend at this speed around the blind corners if they value their lives. (Cars too.) Nearly EVERY curve on OLHR is blind.


24 people like this
Posted by steve schmidt
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 18, 2018 at 4:13 pm

As a former resident of Old La Honda and an aging cyclist who still climbs this iconic road, I appreciate the concerns expressed about safety. I would caution motorists, even former olympians, frustrated by the presence of cyclists on a public road: are you are prepared to purchase the OLH right-of-way for your exclusive use? Unless it’s a freeway, I don’t think that special rules for bikes on a public road can be enforced.

From a cyclist’s perspective, I have some less drastic & more practical suggestions for all:
Descending OLH on a bike is dangerous and should be avoided at all times; using Strava here is just not right;
Ascending, riders should be riding single file or be ready to immediately do so;
Neither cyclists nor motorists should be passing on curves;
Keep the Hwy 35 intersection clear for turning cars;
Do what is safe to avoid annoying overtaking motorists.

Vigilance, empathy, patience and common sense exercised by all should take care of this problem.


14 people like this
Posted by kbehroozi
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on May 18, 2018 at 4:26 pm

kbehroozi is a registered user.

I 100% agree with Steve.

I'll also put in a pitch to my fellow cyclists who are riding OLH, particularly on busy weekend days. The odds are, you are riding this road for recreation. Most drivers you encounter are on Old La Honda because they don't have other options and are trying to get somewhere–back to their house from the grocery store, for example. I encourage you to approach encounters with drivers on OLH with this mindset and empathize a little with the challenge of living on a twisty road that happens to be an increasingly popular recreational route.

To minimize the risk of a driver getting frustrated with my 7-8 mph pace and passing me unsafely in a blind corner, I'll often preemptively move over, pause, and let them pass. I'm not required by law to do this unless there are 5+ vehicles backed up behind me, per California Vehicle Code. But it's a considerate thing to do, both for the driver and for anyone, bike or car, who may be just around the corner, heading downhill. I think if enough of us do this, it could begin to rehabilitate this frayed relationship between local residents and cyclists.


2 people like this
Posted by Robert Cronin
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 21, 2018 at 10:14 pm

I have been cycling on Old La Honda Road for 50 years. If I have learned one thing, it is that, especially descending, one has to go very slowly around blind curves, because many motorists drive in the middle of the narrow road, leaving very little room for traffic in the other direction to go by. It doesn't matter if you have two wheels or four, you have to respect the blind curves, and there are many on this road.


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