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What are the rules of the road for bicycles?

Original post made by Nancy, Midtown, on Mar 26, 2009

Are bicyclists considered pedestrians or moving vehicles?

Today, I saw a bicylclist coming at high speed through a crosswalk, while a car was making a left hand turn across that same crosswalk. Both the car and bicycle were going in the same direction, with a green light. I noticed that the bicylcist yelled some harsh words at the car driver. This surprised me, because I thought the car driver had the right of way, and he could not have anticipated that the bicylcist would come racing through like that. I happen to notice that same bicyclist blow through a red light, then a stop sign down the road.

What are the rules for bicylcists? Are they pedestrians or moving vehicles, or both?

Comments (49)

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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 26, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Bikes are moving vehicles, sometimes not very bright ones...


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Posted by Greg
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 26, 2009 at 7:53 pm

1. bicyclists must obey the same speed limits as car drivers
2. if the bicycle is going straight and the car is turning and they both have green lights, then the car must yield

How fast was the bicyclist going? Faster than the speed limit? The car driver must expect on-coming traffic to be close to the speed limit and should not cut them off when turning.


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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2009 at 8:04 pm

In Palo Alto, Bicyclists are "Elite Greens" and above all the laws of the roadways. They are not, however, above the laws of physics, and whenever one is killed or maimed on the motor vehicle roadway, there are 100 more green brainwashed "useful idiots" to take their place.

Here's a little known fact for Bicyclists, and one I think will show the idiocy of the unrestricted Bicyclism.

Highway 17. You know the one. Connects San Jose to Santa Cruz. It's a high-speed freeway winding through the Santa Cruz mountains. 2 lanes with local fast commuters who know the road, and 35 mph trucks. It used to be called "blood alley" before they installed the "pool bumper" center divider. It's still the most dangerous freeway in the Bay Area.

Well, Bicycles are allowed on that Freeway! And from time to time you will see one, making his political statement, by risking the lives of the motor vehicle drivers for their own personal political folly.



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Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 26, 2009 at 8:13 pm

bikes are not supposed are vehicles. They are not supposed to be operated in crosswalks. I think a bike would have had to be traveling on the wrong side of the street for this to happen, assuming a bidrectional street, another violation, right?

Same direction and a left turn is a problem, so wrong side of street, right?


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Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 26, 2009 at 8:15 pm

poorly worded, sorry

bikes are vehicles.


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Posted by Nancy
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 26, 2009 at 8:26 pm

Both bicyclist and the car driver were going in the same direction. The bicyclist was on the wrong side of the street (the left side). The car driver was making a left hand turn from his proper lane. The bicyclist was crossing in the crosswalk. The driver probably did not see him coming from behind.


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Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 26, 2009 at 8:45 pm

so yeah, he cant legally be riding on the wrong side of the street. Given the other behaviors, he is just an accident waiting to happen. So did he have on a helmet?


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Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 26, 2009 at 9:05 pm

So there is one situation where a bike can cross against a red light. If the light can not detect the bike, the bike can treat it as a stop sign and proceed when its safe. I dont think this sounds like what you described above, but I'll just add it.

One other thing that happens is about 50% cars in Palo Alto yield right of way to bikes. If there is opposing traffic at a stop sign I always try to wait my turn, but very frequently the opposing traffic will wave me through, so while it might look like the biker was being rude, he might have just reacted to the driver at the front of the line.

Again not what you described, but hopefully useful to the general conversation of bike/car interaction in PA.


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Posted by They are reckless
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2009 at 8:35 am

"In Palo Alto, Bicyclists are "Elite Greens" and above all the laws of the roadways. Very good, you are so right. I had one cut me off yesterday, if I hadn't breaked hard he'd be dead today. Bicyclist in PA have a death wish.


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Posted by Palo Parent
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 27, 2009 at 8:56 am

Oh I'm sorry, what did you break?


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Posted by Joe Peters
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 27, 2009 at 9:02 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by David
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 27, 2009 at 9:53 am

As 95% bike and pedal across town on my daily commute to campus; here's a classic intersection to use as an example.El Camino & Embarcadero/Galvez, eastbound on a bike using the crosswalk from the campus pathway, over to town & country. There is a sign above the left turn signal that states "Vehicles must yield to pedestrians". On bike or foot, cars usually don't stop and make the left from Galvez onto northbound EC. I'm on a bike and really should be following the vehicle code and be on the right, side where I'll arrive on the Paly side of Embarcadero, but I'm headed to the bike boulevard via the bike path from the PA med center to Churchill and the easiest access is thru the gate on the T/C side, rather than the Paly access. So I break the law. It's a matter of self preservation Cars by law should not enter an intersection until a pedestrian has left the vehicles lanes of traffic; but making a right or left, cars usually just blow by a pedestrian, just as they ignore us coming from the right when they are making a left, cars never look both left and right. Us bikers have to do what we have to or we die, or get really banged up. Helmets only save the head, not the body BTW.


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Posted by Stanford Employee
a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2009 at 10:26 am

This discussion is focused on cars and bicycles. Let's look at pedestrians and bicycles. I walk and use the Marguerite on campus. In my 3 years at Stanford I would say that cars have yielded to me in crosswalk about 95% of the time. Yet bicyclists yield about 25% of the time. I would love to see Campus police hand out more tickets and do more training for the bicyclists.


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Posted by PatrickD
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 27, 2009 at 11:01 am

Car drivers need to chill down a little bit. It's a lot less effort to check the momentum of a car than it is for a cyclist to stop and start again. The cyclist is taking the risk here; if the car hits the cyclist, the cyclist is dead, not the driver of the car.

Yes, there are plenty of cyclists that break the law by speeding through intersections, but this is (in my opinion) mostly because by-and-large we live in a community that caters to cars above all other forms of transportation. As soon as our (non-existent) bicycling infrastructure improves and more people realize that cycling is a great, convenient, healthy and cheap way to get around town, I hope that this kind of cyclist vs. driver attitude goes away. It certainly doesn't exist in places like Amsterdam or Copenhagen.

I don't think this kind of aggression is limited to cars vs. cylists, though. There are plenty of drivers who break the law and/or exhibit road rage towards other drivers.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 27, 2009 at 11:05 am

Most dedicated cyclists know the rules and that they are considered a vehicle very well. Some choose to ignore it or push the envelope and some obey the law.

A lot of casual cyclists do not know the law, and think that like pedestrians, cars should always yield to them. And they often have a militant attitude like the reference above to the biker yelling at a car.

The Standford campus is especially bad on this-cyclists riding on the many paths/sidewalks burst across intersections as if the cars always see them, assumming cyclists have the right of way. Someone will be killed or injured this way.

A few years ago I witnessed an older woman with a helmet on a bike cycle across the crosswalk on El Camino at Cambridge, oblivious to traffic. She had to be assuming traffic would stop. She was hit and physically thrown in the air about six feet. Do not know the final outcome, but at best she had some broken bones.


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Posted by Ouch!
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 27, 2009 at 11:07 am

I was in the bike lane on campus minding the rules of the road, a driver on their cell phone looking the other way hit me. And to the 80% of the cars on campus, BTW, the speed limit is 25, not 35, and the law states you must come to a complete stop at all stop signs; and it doesn't hurt to look both ways. Stanford is a bike community; and part of the mission of the transportation states that they do everything they can to keep you from driving to the campus. And bike riders, be sure to have a bell and treat those pedestrians with kindness!


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Posted by KM
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 27, 2009 at 11:45 am

Cyclists who wish to use crosswalks should DISMOUNT and walk their bikes across. Otherwise they should stay on the right in the bicycle lane (if there is one) or the auto lane. Cyclists in my West Menlo neighborhood frequently ride the wrong way down the middle of one-way streets and do not obey stop signs. Twice I have seen near-misses with cars, and once a kid cyclist hit a car's side mirror because he was in the middle of the road riding the wrong way. Yet both kids and parents have told me "it's OK to ride the wrong way on a bike". I hope no one gets killed because he thinks a bicycle is not a vehicle. (P.S. Walking down the middle of the street is pretty stupid, too.)


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Posted by Early Riser
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 27, 2009 at 12:17 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


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Posted by Nancy
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 27, 2009 at 3:13 pm

I was at this intersection a few minutes ago. The situation I described is even worse than I first thought. Not only was the bicyclist on the wrong side of the street, but he also went against a pedestrian red light (you know, that red hand that tells pedestrians not to cross). The car driver was fully in his rights to make that left hand turn, without needing to worry about bicyclists coming up from behind (on his left, in the crosswalk). That bicyclist is lucky that the car driver did not take real issue with him.

However, my main question is what are the real laws that control bicyclists in Palo Alto? Are they moving vehicles, or are they pedestrians?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anne
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 27, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Nancy,
Bikes are vehicles and as such need to follow the rules of the road. That means riding on the right hand side of the street and stopping at stop signs and lights. Kids younger than 18 may ride on the sidewalk, though in many instances, they are safer riding in the street on the right hand side (kids on bikes are harder to see on the sidewalk). Cyclists who ignore the rules of the road make it bad for all of us and enrage some motorists (see above).

Biking to work this week during Spring Break, I noticed how few cars were on the road. It is truly amazing how many more cars are on teh road simply to get kids to school. I would ask more parents to think about alternate ways to get their kids to school. There are bike safety classes to take if you feel unsure about your child's biking skills. If you live w/in a mile of school, why not walk? How about carpooling. Does your teen really need to drive to high school?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 27, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Nancy,

Just to add to what you have been told. Bikes are vehicles by state law.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nancy
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 27, 2009 at 8:31 pm

RS,

Does that mean that these bicycle vehicles are not allowed to drive in crosswalks or on sidewalks? Do the police ticket them if they do?

I am completely confused.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 27, 2009 at 8:57 pm

Yes, bicycles can not be ridden in crosswalks.
Read what Anne said about Sidewalks.
Sidewalks are a mixed bag, most cities allow it in residential areas. When a bike leaves the sidewalk though, the traffic already in the roadbed has right of way. The bike must enter the roadbed as safe. Similar to a car coming out a driveway.

Could a police officer ticket, you bet what you saw, you bet. Last I knew it can count as points against your driver's license too.
That said I dont see much traffic enforcement of cars in PA, let alone bikes. I think the real problem might be budget, do we have the budget for enough officers to do traffic enforcement? I'm guessing not, or I'd see cars, bikes, and pedestrians getting tickets all over.

Whens the last time you saw a bike stop for a stop sign?
Whens the last time you saw a car drive 25 MPH on embaradero?
Whens the last time you say a pedestrian obey a red light downtown?
Just a gold mine of ticket potential here in PA

So every mode of transportation seems to have laws they flaunt, and no real enforcement that I see.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2009 at 7:54 am

The original poster did not know what rules bicyclists are required to follow, and the answers here have been confusing and many have been incorrect. It is no wonder that the bicyclists don't understand the rules! How are they suppposed to learn, when we don't teach them? In fact even police officers trained in the law are confused regarding things like sidewalk bicycling and biking in crosswalks. Bicyclists are NOT considered vehicles under state law, but they have the same rights and responsibilites of vehicle drivers when it comes to the rules of the road (but not smog testing, lights, etc). This is a subtle but very important distinction that is often overlooked, hence the mistaken statements that bikes are vehicles. If in doubt look at the definitions of vehicle, motor vehicle and bicycle and section 21200 in the California Vehicle Code:

Web Link


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Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 28, 2009 at 8:29 am

Donald, you did not point to snything that supports your contention that bicycles are not vehicles.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 28, 2009 at 8:38 am

From the DMV:

"Bicycles riders (cyclists) on public streets have the same rights and responsibilities as automobile drivers and are subject to the same rules and regulations as any other vehicle on the road. "

It does not say

"as vehicles on the road", but "any other vehicle on the road".


 +   Like this comment
Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 28, 2009 at 9:11 am

Donald,

Besides lets say bikes are technically not vehicles. It does not matter. What matters is what laws guide them? Laws for pedestrians or cars? When operating in the roadbed, bikes have to follow the same rules as cars. There are some bike specific and car specific exceptions, but for the most part bikes have to follow the car laws and are subject to the traffic regulations of cars, not pedestrians.

Thats the answer to the question asked.


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Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2009 at 9:21 am

I pointed to the Vehicle Code where section 670 has the definition of a vehicle:

A "vehicle" is a device by which any person or property may be propelled, moved, or drawn upon a highway, excepting a device moved exclusively by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.

This clearly excludes bicycles unless powered by a dog or trained bear. I also said that bicyclists need to follow the same rules of the road as drivers of vehicles, so I am not disagreeing with you there. I do think it is important not to get sloppy and say that bikes are vehicles because the differences are very important when you look at issues that go beyond the rules of the road.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by TipAndRing
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 28, 2009 at 10:07 am

Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community, on Mar 26, 2009 at 8:04 pm

"Highway 17. You know the one. Connects San Jose to Santa Cruz. It's a high-speed freeway winding through the Santa Cruz mountains. 2 lanes with local fast commuters who know the road, and 35 mph trucks. It used to be called "blood alley" before they installed the "pool bumper" center divider. It's still the most dangerous freeway in the Bay Area.

Well, Bicycles are allowed on that Freeway! And from time to time you will see one, making his political statement, by risking the lives of the motor vehicle drivers for their own personal political folly."

That would be wrong. Highway 17 between South Santa Cruz Avenue in Los Gatos and the old Santa's Village in Scotts Valley is not a freeway.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 28, 2009 at 11:22 am

Donald,

You are picking nits.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sarah
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2009 at 4:58 pm

My daughter and I rode our bikes up Bryant Street today to buy some ice cream downtown. On our way there, we were buzzed by a car traveling at least 10mph over the speed limit. We were also cut off by 3 different car drivers who did not stop at stop signs (no stop sign in our direction). One of the drivers gave us the finger as I yelled at him for almost hitting us. I got his license plate number and called 911. The dispatcher said they don't care unless they he hit someone.

What is the point of having traffic laws if car drivers do not obey them and the police refuses to enforce them?


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Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 28, 2009 at 6:43 pm

Sarah,

The incident you reported is classed as an infraction. The police can't ticket infractions unless they witness it.

That does not, however, justify the response you got from the dispatcher. Call back and demand that a supervisor (probably a sergeant) come out and take your report.

If they refuse that submit your report at the next city council meeting. That should get some action.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by AB
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 28, 2009 at 7:41 pm

How about them cyclists in the hills. Talk about a lack of respect and responsibility. Death wish coming down the hills, failing to stop or yield at ANY intersection, taking the whole road crawling up hill while talking 2 or 3 across. Can you say organ donor.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan Gutierrez
a resident of another community
on Mar 28, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Rather than bore you with a long text description of cyclists' rights and duties, sit back and watch League of American Bicyclist Certified Instructors (LCIs) follwoing CA traffic laws by acting as drivers of vehicles in a video entitled "The Rights and Duties of Cyclists":

Web Link


- Dan Gutierrez -
Long Beach, CA
LCI # 962
www.CABOBike.org
www.CyclistView.com
www.YouTube.com/user/CyclistLorax


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Posted by Bob Shanteau, Transportation Engineering Liaison, California Association of Bicycling Organizations
a resident of another community
on Mar 28, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Apparently a lot of people think that bicyclists are supposed to stay out of the way of cars and that bicyclists are not subject to the rules of the road. Not true.

Bicycling-related sections of the California Vehicle Code are listed here: <Web Link;.

Section 21200 says: "Every person riding a bicycle upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this division ... except those provisions which by their very nature can have no application."

Section 21202(a) says: "Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations: (1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction; (2) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway; (3) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a 'substandard width lane' is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane; and (4) When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized."

So bicyclists who ride against traffic, run stop signs and red lights, and speed are violating the Vehicle Code. But bicyclists who ride in the center of a lane that is too narrow to share with a vehicle are not. And bicyclists are allowed to use any street, road or highway except those from which bicyclists are prohibited, such as most (but not all) freeways. And Highway 17 from Los Gatos to Scotts Valley is not a freeway, so bicyclists are explicitly allowed.

Motorists, just treat bicyclists as though they were low powered motorcyclists. And bicyclists, just act as though you were a low powered motorcyclist. If both motorists and bicyclists follow the rules of the road for vehicles and treat each other as equals, everyone should be OK.


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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Mar 28, 2009 at 10:38 pm


Re: Highway 17

I said bicycles were allowed.

I deal in common sense, not semantic nit-picking. A high-speed thoroughfare with off-ramps and merge lanes, no cross streets or sidewalks sounds like a freeway to me. If you want to deny the reality of highway 17 to justify bicycle usage, then please also justify how a consumer product that is the number one cause of injury accidents in the USA is allowed to be produced and sold....

That product is bicycles.


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Posted by Meth_mom
a resident of Woodside
on Mar 28, 2009 at 10:58 pm

To me bicyclists seem pretty harmless. Getting worked up about cyclists in residential areas seems pretty shallow and petty, especially cyclists on a frickin bike boulevard. What people don't realize who don't ride a bike is that cyclists can hear and see cars much better at a slower speed than cars, so they can likely save energy at stops and do a 'California' stop very safely. At a 4 way, you can pretty safely blow through with the main risk being another cyclist blowing the stop coming from the opposite street. Cars without their lights on at night would be another sure death.

What concerns me are the drivers on freeways who pass on the right, tailgate, go 15 mph in a 65 mph zone, etc. These people can take your, or a loved ones life in an instant. There are a lot of people that simply shouldn't drive.


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Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 28, 2009 at 11:05 pm

Outside Observer,

While I agree with you riding 17 on a bike is for the truly insane, you are wrong about the configuration of 17. It does have cross streets. It even has driveways coming off it.


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Posted by Bob Shanteau, Transportation Engineering Liaison, California Association of Bicycling Organizations
a resident of another community
on Mar 28, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Outside Observer:

You talk about "common sense". The Basic Speed Law is probably the most common sense rule of the road there is Web Link

"22350. No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property."

When you drive on Highway 17 (or any mountain road), do you ever go so fast that if around the next corner there were a tree across the road, or a child walking, or a bicyclist riding with traffic in a narrow travel lane, that you could not avoid a collision? Then you would not be following the Basic Speed Law. Or common sense.


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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Mar 28, 2009 at 11:46 pm

Bob Shanteau,

Your response is a bit off topic from the issues I raised, but in reply to you, the "Basic Speed Law" is certainty applicable to the herds of non-resident recreational bicyclists on La Honda road who ride "at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property."


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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Mar 28, 2009 at 11:53 pm

RS,

Those cross streets and driveways have merge lanes.

The last dangerous cross street in that segment of Highway 17 was Bear Creek Road. That is a much used road, and the main road to the town of Boulder Creek. People on that road used to have to make a left turn against HW 17 traffic to get on HW 17 to San Jose. That intersection was replaced with an overpass and merge lane years ago.


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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Mar 29, 2009 at 12:10 am

On a parallel thought, as I've described Highway 17, maybe one of the bicycle enthusiasts can educate me.

Another road, that I'm sure most are familiar with. Lawrence Expressway. It has many of the features of HW 17. Lots of exit/entry lanes, a fast speed limit, but it does have cross streets with traffic lights.

I can't recall ever seeing a bicycle on it, but then I'm only on it, say, once a month.

Are bicycles legal there? If they are, then I think the South Bay residents have more common sense than Palo Altans, because I've never seen one.

If bicycles are illegal there, then again South Bay residents have more common sense.




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Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 29, 2009 at 7:59 am

The leading cause of death in this country for ages 4-35 is motor vehicle crashes, and this has been true every year for decades. The annual death toll is around 40,000. I can't believe that these dangerous machines are allowed to be sold, especially considering the damage they cause to our environment.

Bicycles are allowed on all County Expressways. The lack of parked cars and driveways, and the limited number of intersections make them safer and more attractive to experienced bicyclists than riding on parallel streets. Speed alone does not cause crashes; most of them occur at intersections.


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Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 29, 2009 at 8:28 am

Outside Observer

"Those cross streets and driveways have merge lanes."

I own property off 17, you clearly dont know this road well.

Web Link

Google mapview to the rescue. 17661 Santa Cruz Hwy is one of the driveways between Los Gatos and the Summit. You can clearly see there is no merge lane. The resident enters the highway off his dirt driveway. There are more than this one, this is just the first one on the way to Summit Rd. Between Bear Creek and Summit, few if any of the roads have merge lanes. Most have good visability though.

Anyway this is way off the original topic, but you brought up Highway 17, and apparently dont know this road as well as you think.


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Posted by Bob Shanteau, Transportation Engineering Liaison, California Association of Bicycling Organizations
a resident of another community
on Mar 29, 2009 at 11:44 am

Outside Observer:

"The 'Basic Speed Law' is certainty applicable to the herds of non-resident recreational bicyclists on La Honda road who ride 'at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.'"

No argument there. Both bicyclists and motorists who go so fast that they wouldn't be able to stop for a stationary object (or a slower bicyclist) around the next corner are endangering themselves and others. They should be cited.


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Posted by Bob Shanteau, Transportation Engineering Liaison, California Association of Bicycling Organizations
a resident of another community
on Mar 29, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Outside Observer:

Re: Highway 17

"I deal in common sense, not semantic nit-picking. A high-speed thoroughfare with off-ramps and merge lanes, no cross streets or sidewalks sounds like a freeway to me."

No semantics here. A road is either a motorway (for motor vehicles only) or not. Since pedestrians, bicycles and motor driven cycles are prohibited on most urban freeways, they are motorways. All other roads are not motorways. Highway 17 may look like a motorway to you and you may treat it as one, but it is not. All legitimate road users are entitled to use it. That bigger, faster road users may have chased off smaller, slower road users does not make it right.

As you point out, Highway 17 (and indeed most roads) are currently designed as if they were motorways. The California Association of Bicycling Organizations is working to change that. As time goes on, motorists will need to get used to the idea of sharing the roads with increasing numbers of low powered users such electric cars, mopeds and bicycles.


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Posted by bikerider
a resident of another community
on Mar 29, 2009 at 2:46 pm

In this case the bike was at fault. The bike was traveling on the wrong side of the road and was riding through a crosswalk. If the person had gotton off the bike and walked into the crosswalk they could then expect the car to yield because they would then be considered a pedestrian. As far as I know bikes are supposed to follow the rules of the road of moving vehicles.


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Posted by Angela Hey
a resident of Portola Valley
on Mar 30, 2009 at 11:25 am

Bike defensively - assume cars will not stop for you, even if you have the right of way - and have wide eyes - scanning for obstacles. Stop at all stop signs - Web Link - get a bracelet.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2009 at 1:00 pm

I'm on Stanford campus a lot & noticed a new trend: students not wearing helmets, often w/cell phones glued to their ears.

They're a death wish - intellectual Darwinism at work!


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