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Cyclist Killed on My Route
Old 02-24-2013, 07:29 PM   #1
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Cyclist Killed on My Route

I saw a lot of police cars and other emergency vehicles on the road close to my house on the route that I ride each time I ride from home. In fact, it was literally right where this picture of Lena was taken.



I don't know anything more.

In addition, in 2008 I wrote a letter to Caltrans telling them that this area of the highway was unsafe for cyclists, and that the last time the modified the road, they made it more unsafe. They responded by saying, essentially, "There haven't been any problems there."

Should I send that letter to the local news? Would that make things better or worse?
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:35 PM   #2
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By all means send a respectful letter. Lives of cyclists are no less important than those driving cars/trucks.

Ironic how tragedies involving guns/knives/etc. grab front page headlines for days (even weeks), but US public seems to freely accept 35-40,000 motor vehicle related deaths annually with nothing more than "meh".
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:47 PM   #3
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Please send it. Anything that brings attention to making roads safer for cyclists is a good thing.
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:54 PM   #4
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Most bike paths are a joke...

Here in Houston, they would repaint a roadway and make the car lanes skinner and paint a 'bike lane'....

They really thought they were doing people a favor with this...
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:01 PM   #5
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How awful! I'm so glad you and Lena are OK.

YES, I would call the local TV station, give them the story about the letter, and offer to be interviewed for the story. Maybe, just maybe, with a little prodding from the media like this something may be done to lessen the risk at that location.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:30 PM   #6
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Al, follow your heart. Sometimes doing the right thing can cause an un-easy feeling. One thing to think about, 99.9% chance you will end up being a witness in depositions or trial in a wrongfull death lawsuit.
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
I saw a lot of police cars and other emergency vehicles on the road close to my house on the route that I ride each time I ride from home. In fact, it was literally right where this picture of Lena was taken.



I don't know anything more.

In addition, in 2008 I wrote a letter to Caltrans telling them that this area of the highway was unsafe for cyclists, and that the last time the modified the road, they made it more unsafe. They responded by saying, essentially, "There haven't been any problems there."

Should I send that letter to the local news? Would that make things better or worse?
I think I would try to find out what happened first.
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:35 PM   #8
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So sorry to hear about this.

I can't bring myself to ride on roads with regular car traffic. I stick to bike paths and state park roads.
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:06 AM   #9
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So sorry to hear about this.

I can't bring myself to ride on roads with regular car traffic. I stick to bike paths and state park roads.
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:40 AM   #10
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Sorry to hear that Al, it tends to shake one up when things like this strike close to home. By all means send your letter if it can prompt action to prevent another incident. Also, I suspect it may give some ammo to the family of the cyclist that was killed to go after the state.
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:49 AM   #11
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So sorry to hear about this.

I can't bring myself to ride on roads with regular car traffic. I stick to bike paths and state park roads.
Me too. I'll stick to the trails on my mountain bike. The only "road" riding I will do is when I want a quick workout and just ride around the neighborhood for a few laps.
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:45 AM   #12
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Please send a respectful letter.

It is frustrating that bikes or vespas are still not welcome on the roads here in the US, whereas majority of Western European countries encourage use of two-wheelers by taking responsible actions to make them safer on the roads.

As another poster mentioned, in my neighborhood, they shrunk the car lanes, got rid of side walks to make 'bike lanes'. Plus, a police cars wastes time there almost all working day to fine those cars that cross into bike lanes. Plus, that is the only street where there are bike lanes as if the bikes are similar to aeroplanes that just going to land in that lane, cross the road and then take off. What a joke (and waste of our tax money) !!!
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:51 AM   #13
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Visit Amsterdam. Many streets have a bike lane that is about 2 meters wide in addition to a sidewalk and a lane for cars. The biggest problems for the bikers is stupid tourists like myself, walking mindlessly in the bike lane and disrupting the flow of traffic.

They have a bike parking structure near the main train station that must have 10,000 bikes parked there on an average day. And thousands more parked around the station. Biking is great in a flat city.
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Old 02-25-2013, 11:22 AM   #14
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Send it. Maybe it will turn into a PR nightmare for Caltrans (if they own the road). Maybe they'll throw down a couple (extra) feet of asphalt shoulder in the area around the incident to hush up the press. Maybe nothing will happen. Squeaky wheels get oiled.
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Old 02-25-2013, 11:53 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
Most bike paths are a joke...

Here in Houston, they would repaint a roadway and make the car lanes skinner and paint a 'bike lane'....

They really thought they were doing people a favor with this...
Most bike paths are not sufficiently wide enough to be safe. I ride a recumbent trike (not the granny trike with the basket) and most bike paths are not wide enough to accomodate. Due to back injury a few years ago my handbuilt Klein road bike is now a chandelier in the garage. It's rediculous to think that in a state like Florida with year round opportunity to be outdoors they can't pave for proper bike paths.

If memory serves well I recall that Anchorage, Alaska built a paved system throughout the city about 10-12+ ft wide for runners, cyclists, etc. that never crosses car traffic but rather goes underneath the intersections through large culverts. Too bad more cities where possible don't adopt that plan.

Alaska can do this but Florida doesn't? Go figure.

Cheers!
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:42 PM   #16
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So sorry to hear about this.

I can't bring myself to ride on roads with regular car traffic. I stick to bike paths and state park roads.
+2.

My city has over 70 miles of interconnected paths, many with tunnels and bridges crossing major roads. Sure, it limits me a bit, but it is mostly worth it. I also know which ones to cruise that have the fewest pedestrians. Some are too crowded to be safe for me or the peds.

Meanwhile, there still are some road crossings and I've had some close calls. Crazy stuff! One was on a walkway (marked as such) and I'm crossing because a car came to a stop for me acting as a temporary pedestrian walking my bike. State law. Meanwhile, some bozo decides to pass the stopped car on a double yellow and nearly creamed me in the crosswalk.

It's risky all around, but I love getting out there.
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:52 PM   #17
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Al, follow your heart. Sometimes doing the right thing can cause an un-easy feeling.....
Yes, follow your heart. Not some fear of a lawsuit or unwanted publicity. Peoples lives are at stake. You got to do the right thing (what ever it is) so that you can have a clear conscience going forward.
Sorry. Good luck on what ever you decide.
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:56 PM   #18
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+2.

My city has over 70 miles of interconnected paths, many with tunnels and bridges crossing major roads. Sure, it limits me a bit, but it is mostly worth it. I also know which ones to cruise that have the fewest pedestrians. Some are too crowded to be safe for me or the peds.

Meanwhile, there still are some road crossings and I've had some close calls. Crazy stuff! One was on a walkway (marked as such) and I'm crossing because a car came to a stop for me acting as a temporary pedestrian walking my bike. State law. Meanwhile, some bozo decides to pass the stopped car on a double yellow and nearly creamed me in the crosswalk.

It's risky all around, but I love getting out there.
Our city is similar with over 150 miles of bike trails but we had a similar experience just a week ago. The bike path comes to a 4 lane boulevard with a refuge half way across by a school. It is in the morning at school drop off time so lots of slow moving traffic. We stop and wait at the crosswalk until both lanes stop and we set off walking. As we are passing the car in the 2nd lane she sets off driving and slams her brakes on just stopping inches before me. She had a dog on her lap and I guess had forgotten why she had stopped in the first place, after all it had been a good 15 seconds since she stopped for us. (She stopped first and we waited to be sure the car closest to us had stopped for us as well).

Al, I would send the letter.
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:10 PM   #19
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+1

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Al, I would send the letter.
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:40 PM   #20
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I sent it to the TV news station, and they mentioned it and showed some of the letter on the air. They didn't really get it that in the location of the crash, the shoulder is about 3 feet wide, but much of that is too steeply slanted to ride on.

Here's the letter. The second picture is exactly where the cyclist was killed.


June 4, 2008
Charlie Fielder
CalTrans Director, District 1
P.O. Box 3700
Eureka, CA 95502
Dear Mr. Fielder:

I'm writing to make you aware of a safety problem for cyclists on highway 101 near mile marker 107.2 northbound and southbound. Briefly, there's very little room for cyclists on the shoulders near the summit of the hill just north of the xxx exit.

The last time the highway was resurfaced in this area, two changes were made that drastically reduced the area available for bicycles. First, the center divider was increased in width, and second, a “curb” was added at some locations along this stretch.

This first photo show how little space is available. It was taken northbound south of marker xxx:

What isn't apparent in this picture is that the lighter pavement is actually steeply sloped. That is, it's difficult to ride in the area shown by the red arrows, and most cyclists will ride right on the fog line.

You can ride on the sloped area, but it's tricky and takes some getting used to.

This next photo (southbound) shows that in a few places weeds are growing through the pavement, requiring the bikers to ride around them. The pavement is buckled around the plants.

It's hard to describe how it feels to be riding in these locations and having a truck passing you at 65 MPH. Some trucks will move into the center lane, but most do not.

This shot gives another view of the narrow shoulder (truck traveling southbound).

This final picture shows why the addition of a curb results in less space for bicycles. Since the curb is higher than the bike pedal at it's lowest point of travel, the pedal can hit the curb resulting in a spill. As a result, cyclists tend to stay away from it and ride closer to the traffic.

Much of the highway is great for cyclists, but this one small area is dangerous. I understand what's involved in making changes to the highway; I'm writing to make you aware of the issue, so that the next time changes are made, perhaps some accommodation can be made for safety.
Thanks for listening.

Sincerely,
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