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Wrongful death alleged in Alpine Road bike fatality

Original post made on Dec 28, 2010

==I This is an expanded version of a previously posted story.== A wrongful death lawsuit is now in process in San Mateo County Superior Court over the case of a 47-year-old Los Altos Hills bicyclist who died after colliding with a tractor-trailer truck at the Alpine Road/Interstate 280 interchange on Nov. 4.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, December 28, 2010, 8:33 AM

Comments (8)

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Posted by laderan
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Dec 28, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Why is Steve Schmidt's opinion published here? "Asked to comment"... Why, & by whom? He wasn't there, didn't see the collision, and is only 1 of thousands of cyclists. Just because he used to be mayor in Menlo Park? He's a traffic analyst? Failure analyst? He's got no creds.

Unless your reporter actually stopped random cyclists as they entered the accident area to get on-the-spot interviews, quoting miscellaneous cyclists is not informative. Comments from investigators only, please.

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Posted by Another Laderan
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Dec 28, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Is there ever such a thing as an accident? Why must someone be at fault here? If both the truck driver and cyclist were doing the best they could to negotiate this tricky interchange and happened to veer into each other, it is *possible* that this is just a tragic accident. I realize the accident is incredibly one-sided in a truck versus bike collision but I can't help but think that because the demolition company paid out once for a bike accident (also found to not be the driver's fault), they are expected to pay out again. I am a cyclist and driver and see a lot of bone-headed moves on the road that can place blame with one party but knowing the nature of that interchange unfortunately leads me to understand how the CHP could conclude as it did. The additional tragedy is the lack of witnesses to the accident.

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Posted by A Laderan (not PV)
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 28, 2010 at 1:08 pm

The only thing missing from the "interpretation" phase of this accident case is ambulance-chaser attorney John Burris.

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Posted by commuter
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Dec 28, 2010 at 2:22 pm

If the bicycle was in front of the truck, the truck driver should have slowed down and waited for the bicyclist to safely clear the intersection. Passing on the right with such a big truck is extremely dangerous.

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Posted by pedestrian in traffic
a resident of another community
on Dec 28, 2010 at 3:43 pm


But Mrs. Ward might not have been visible to the driver because a biker+biker is small relative to the truck, but specially because any high cab vehicle driver will be unable to see what right next to the truck in the front, the back or the sides. That's a limitation that SUVs, vans, buses and truck have about which no driver can do anything. It's really up to the person near near the truck to understand that disregarding this fact may lead to an accident with nobody at fault, just bad luck.

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Posted by Martha
a resident of Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch
on Dec 28, 2010 at 3:50 pm

With this wrongful death lawsuit...what will it really do?
Money for a life?
Why does the family want to torment themselves in a lawsuit?
Life is so short, move on and rebuild, not regress...
Just a thought....

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Posted by Terry
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 28, 2010 at 6:03 pm

You are so right, I lost my brother, and my parents went that way, it was hell on my family all the way around.
Wish we had moved on and concentrated on him alive, not the anger of the unknown.
Best of luck to her kids, why continue to scar them?

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Posted by Moe
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 28, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Analize the first picture: At the stop sign are two lanes. The left lane (in the direction of travel) is clearly continuing straight (west) towards Ladera. The right lane offers drivers a choice of continuing straight (and later merging into one westbound lane) or turning right into the on-ramp approach lane as demonstrated by the three cars between the two bikers. I travel this intersection frequently and very often observe that drivers, in hopes of beating one or two other cars to the on-ramp, approach the stop sign in the left lane and then gun the engine to cross in front of a car that may have left the stop simoultaneously.
From the angle of the front car in the picture I am assuming that a similar maneuvre is about to take place.
Now project 5 seconds fast forward and imagine the potential conflict with this driver shooting for the on-ramp and the biker at the far right trying to cross to his left to follow the front biker who is now at the correct position to continue straight. ouch!

There appears to be no evidence of road rage or anybody intentionally trying to hurt anybody. Why then is it necessary to have an expensive law firm trying to invent some blame for an accident?

My heart goes out to the grieving family but I also feel compassion for the driver who must live with this nightmare for the rest of his life.

Nothing will ever allow your loved one to ever join you again. Let it - and her - rest in peace.

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