Town Square

Post a New Topic

Attention Palo Alto cycling enthusiasts

Original post made by Terrified driver, Los Altos Hills, on Jul 14, 2007

You are on notice: Los Altos Hills is not your gym. People live there. Yes, the streets are public. That doesn't mean they're your playground, it means they're open to people who need to transport themselves. Most streets in Los Altos Hills are barely wide enough for two traffic lanes. When you ride your bike in the Hills, cars have to pass you in the left lane, often dangerously close to blind curves. Your fun and games put lives at risk, especially your own. Please grow up, sign on to a proper gym, and leave your Spandex at home.

Comments (25)

Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 14, 2007 at 1:21 pm

"You are on notice: Los Altos Hills is not your gym."

Terrified driver, do you know that they those pesky bike drivers are from Palo Alto? How about Mountain View or Los Altos (or other towns?). Some of them advertise that they are from Europe (e.g Pedalli Alpini types).

I am not a bike rider, and I do admit that there is tension (and danger) out there on the public streets, but why do you limit it to Palo Alto bike riders?

I have run into many Arastradero Preserve hikers, from Los Altos Hills, on those 10 miles of trails that Palo Alto paid for. What was the financial contribution (in $$) contributed by other cities, especially Los Altos Hills? The LAH people must have paid a lot, becasue they use it like their own personal gym.

Like this comment
Posted by Fred
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 14, 2007 at 1:44 pm

Terrified, I understand your concerns, it is hard to share the road, especially when there is not much road. But the fact is that bikers have the same rights to the roads as drivers (see CA Vehicle Code 21200(a)).

Bikers also have the same responsibilities as drivers. If bikers are doing things that are illegal, which of course does happen, that is not right - especially when conditions are tight anyway. And bikes are obligated to stay close the curb, unless it would endanger them. And of course, it is helpful if bikers, like other slower moving vehicles, allow other vehicles to pass if there is no way for them to do so safely for a long period.

As the road signs say in various places, we need to "Share the Road."


Like this comment
Posted by Pragmatist
a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2007 at 2:09 pm

Los Altos Hills pays to maintain its roads. I think they have every right to keep Palo Alto cyclists off them. Palo Alto drivers, for that matter.

Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 14, 2007 at 2:29 pm

This one is a real laugher. It sounds like the underlying issue is FHP. Right? If not, I appologize. If it is just about public roads, and LAH folk are bitching about the use of their roads by PA citizens, then I make a fair offer:

PA citizens will stay off your streets, and you stay off ours. It would be interesting to see how soon the LAH complainers start to beg for mercy! Sounds like a good cocktail party game...I am convinced that the PA 'players' would win all the free drinks from the LAH players!!!

Like this comment
Posted by Tim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 14, 2007 at 2:41 pm

To Terrified driver,

Did you fall off your bike at the gym and hit your head?

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jul 14, 2007 at 9:04 pm

Actually I am an old, meaning former, cyclist myself who lives in the hills. I fully support cyclists, and love to see them up here...except when they line up 2,3 or 4 abreast and force me to stay behind them as they peddle up the hill. I resent that. I believe that is probably what the initial poster was trying to say, albeit a little obscured.

So, all we need is for y'all to stay single file to give the cars a chance to pass you when it is safe to do so.

Conversely, drivers, please try to stay at least 3-4 feet away from the bikers when you pass, ..if they slip or fall beside you and you are closer, they can die.

Like this comment
Posted by Tim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 14, 2007 at 11:05 pm

To Resident: As a Cyclist myself, I couldn't of said it better! We all need to share the road.

Like this comment
Posted by LosAltosHillsian
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jul 16, 2007 at 7:41 pm

Terrified, that was a pretty good comment, and I had to laugh! I wonder if the bikists understand that there are TEENAGERS driving up and down those hills? Ha ha! I know because one of them is MINE.

And frankly, knowing that, and knowing what I know from having driven up and down Page Mill nearly every day for 10 years, I would NEVER EVERbike on Page Mill. It's death wish come true.

The bikers are, yes, annoying to those of us trying to drive. But more importantly, they are putting themselves in incredible danger. One sneeze, spaz, or quick reach for a cassette tape, and biker is history.

Sometimes I see someone with a kiddie trailer in back, or flogging some poor 8-12-year-old to ride up ahead of them. What are you thinking, you guys? And I mean "guys" because it's almost always guys -- I wonder if the mom knows where the Dad is taking that child while she has her well-earned weekend rest? It's one thing to threaten your own life by riding on Page Mill, but it borders on criminal to force a child to do it.

For those who value their own lives, or those of their children, here's some advice: Take Arastradero to Purissima to Elena to Natoma to Black Mountain to Altamont to Page Mill. You end up the same place, the scenery is gorgeous, and you breathe less car exhaust and miss the worst of Page Mill traffic.

Good luck, all of you. :)

Let me share a secret with you

Like this comment
Posted by Stanford Student
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jan 12, 2008 at 6:23 pm


The law is: The streets are public. Cyclist and motorists share the roads. End of story.

Moreover: if you, as a motorist, antagonize me, a cyclist, on one of these roads, as has happened to other bicyclists, then it constitutes a threat with your vehicle a weapon. In such a case, it's the weaker party's right to self defense. I, for one, will try to stop you and teach you a lesson.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2008 at 7:35 pm

Motorists are licensed to drive and cars have to pay a tax to use the roads. Cyclists are neither. Motorists have to pass a test to use a car. Cyclists do not. Most cyclists (apart from children) use cars as well as ride their bikes. Some motorists do ride bikes but not all.

A cyclist should realise that they cannot be compared to cars. Riding their bikes on public roads is their right, but it is also a privilege. They should obey the rules of good driving, not behave in a pack mentality or in any type of mentality which does not consitute good road use.

We do not have to talk about self defence or teaching each other a lesson. A bicyle can do a lot of damage to another bicycle or to a pedestrian even if it cannot cause much damage to a car even though it may cause a car to have an accident. I have been hit by a bicycle not stopping to give me, as a pedestrian, right of way. Cyclists are just sharing the road, not owning it.

Treat the roads and other road users with respect, and you will be treated likewise by the majority. Treating the road with an attitude problem, whatever your vehicle (yes, bicycles are vehicles), is no help to anyone.

A vehicle is a mode of transport, a transport device. It does not have to be motorised to be called a vehicle. Therefore, all vehicles are subject to the same rules.

Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 12, 2008 at 7:43 pm

Last week, I was driving home in College Terrace, on College Ave. I came to an intersection, and I did not have a stop sign, while the cross street did have stop signs. I saw a bicyclist coming from my right. Some little voice told me that he was not about to stop, so I slowed, then hit the brakes hard, as he blew through the stop sign. If I had not slowed, he would now be dead. Of course, in all his arrogance, he flipped me off - to be expected from the bike jocks.

Until the bike boys decide to obey the law, on these public streets, they will continue to be at risk.

Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 12, 2008 at 8:27 pm

Another good reason for surveillance cameras at all intersections, connected to a database, and able to trigger tickets to egregious offenders. Nail everyone who blows through a stop sign.

Like this comment
Posted by arrogant bikes
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 13, 2008 at 8:41 am

John, I love your comment about being flipped off. A bicyclist did this to me years ago after my quick reflexes saved his life when HE was completely out of line...and I was 9 months pregnant.

I got so mad that I lumbered rapidly out of my car, grabbed him, and started yelling at him about HIS risking MY baby's life with his stupid arrogance in riding on the wrong side of the road in a blind intersection.

He was pretty shocked!

Like this comment
Posted by ToStanford Student
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 13, 2008 at 8:43 am

Perhaps your arrogance causes you to not note when you are driving DANGEROUSLY! Perhaps you need to look at yourself and teach yourself a lesson before assuming the drivers of cars are the ones in the wrong.

As a student, I can venture a guess that you are much younger than the average driving population.

A little humility might save your life.

Pretend you are driving a car...then follow the same rules.

Like this comment
Posted by rob
a resident of Woodside
on Jan 15, 2009 at 8:38 am

How are our kids going to be motivated to become wealthy when all they see of wealthy people as being old and crochety?

So mucch for the idea of being rich as owning a sweet Porsche 911 turbo and having a playboy model wife. Around here it means being an isolated old fart with no social skills and a crappy outlook on life.

What a waste.

Like this comment
Posted by Almost hit one
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jan 18, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Well, my 17 year old was driving me someplace this week and almost slammed into a biker..on Arastradero at the narrow part between Purissima and Deer Creek.

Use the bike path just to the side of that spot in the hills. That part of the road is TOO NARROW and TOO WINDY for you to be on it with cars.

Like this comment
Posted by Me Too
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 18, 2009 at 1:52 pm

The bike path is a reasonable alternative - but bikers are allowed to use the road. Given that, drivers should drive more slowly and cautiously in that stretch, given that you know it can be hazardous. Bikes are generally going 15-20 mph there - how fast was your son driving that he came upon a bike so suddenly?

Like this comment
Posted by Sarah
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 18, 2009 at 2:58 pm

If you almost slam into a bicyclist who is legally using the road, then you are driving way to fast for the conditions. If a road is narrow and winding, then you need to slow down, possibly to significantly lower than the posted speed limit.

Like this comment
Posted by Almost Hit One
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jan 18, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Sarah and Me, Too..You need to go drive the Arastradero Road from Purissima around the narrow curving road where there is NO BIKE PATH FOR A REASON..and that is because there is no room for 2 cars AND a bike on the road at that same place. That is why the path is to the side of the road.

Even if you are going 15 miles per hour ( and the speed limit is 25) it is QUITE easy to hit a bike that is going slower if it is at the right spot and wobbles even a little.

Don't be so quick to assume the driver of the vehicle is at fault. I am extremely careful of this area and have been far too close to far too many bicyclists who should be very grateful the drivers are pretty good here at that spot..but it just takes one inexperienced driver or one person who is unfamiliar with the danger of bicyclists for a tragedy to happen.

And in any case, does it really matter who is "at fault" if the bicyclist is hurt or dead? The body doesn't really care whose "fault" it is. I offer this out of concern for the many bicyclists I see there who I suspect never drive it and so therefore haven't much clue how bad it is.

Go look at the road..and if you are bicyclist, please cross Arastradero at Purissima and follow that path, or catch it at...the name just left me, I think it is Deer Creek. Not only is it safer, it is MUCH more beautiful and you aren't sucking gas fumes.

Like this comment
Posted by Sarah
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 18, 2009 at 4:11 pm

If you rear-end someone who is legally using a road, then you are at fault. Period.

If you hit a bicyclist after he "wobbles even a little", then you are way to close to begin with. If you cannot safely and legally pass a bicyclist with at least 3 feet of clearance, then do not try to pass.

These are common sense rules of the road. There is no reason to ever get "far too close to far too many bicyclists" unless you are driving too carelessly or too aggressively for the road conditions.

Like this comment
Posted by Me Too
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 18, 2009 at 7:32 pm

Almost, I have driven and ridden that stretch of road probably 1000 times, so know it well.

There, as anywhere, if there is not room for 2 cars and a bike, then the car overtaking the bike is supposed to slow down until it can pass the bike safely. If you think the bike might wobble, just slow down and wait to pass. I am always surprised at the dangerous passing maneuvers drivers make (veering into the next lane coming up to a curve, say) when they could just wait a few seconds and pass safely.

Those are the rules of the road, with bikes or any other slow-moving vehicle or pedestrians (or broken down vehicle) - no car is entitled to pass, it needs to wait to pass safely. So as Sarah says, unless the biker is on the wrong side the of the road, the car driver would always be at fault.

So if you almost had a collision there overtaking a biker, you were almost certainly driving too fast for the conditions. You should slow down - hitting a biker is terrible for the biker, but it wouldn't be good for you either.

Still, your point is valid that the bike path is there for bikers to use. I personally don't like the bike path and prefer the road, but it is safer, especially if the biker is less experienced, since cars do drive too fast there.

Like this comment
Posted by Alison
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Feb 28, 2009 at 10:46 pm

It's a rude way to address cyclists but on the other hand, I often cringe when I'm driving along the windy roads to my home in LAH and I have to mind a cyclist. They don't just endanger themselves. They endanger us because when we have to go around them, most of the time we have to drive over the yellow line into the oncoming traffic lane to do it. Cyclists also do stupid things on occasion when they are in a hurry or when they are too lazy to stop and mind the rules of the road at intersections. It's bothersome.

Like this comment
Posted by Alison
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Feb 28, 2009 at 11:04 pm

Sometimes cyclists tailgate my car downhill, trying to catch an easy ride off the wind drag. There's nothing like driving 30 mph with some idiot a couple feet from the back of the car on a bike. The thing that is most annoying about it is that they involve the driver in their stunt. When I'm driving and a cyclist is trying to drag off the back of my car, I think less about the road, less about my driving, and almost entirely about the fact that this person is made of breakable human material and if I do ONE thing out of whack, like step on the brakes because a squirrel darts out in front of my car (has happened frequently), the guy is going to be in a terrible place. Honestly, I think that's wildly inconsiderate toward the drivers!

Like this comment
Posted by Debra
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Feb 28, 2009 at 11:36 pm

My 8 year old daughter loves to look at the clown costumes on parade.

Like this comment
Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Feb 28, 2009 at 11:56 pm


Try Sand Hill Road, between Santa Cruz Ave and 280.

You'll see herds of clowns there, all in formation, plugging the roadway, and violating the minimum speed law (VC section 22400)

You will see more than you'll ever see in LAH, so please consider yourself lucky.

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


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Nobu confirmed to open in Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 22,556 views

And one more makes three
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 7,043 views

Secretary of Plate
By Laura Stec | 3 comments | 2,311 views

New York College Tours
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 1 comment | 1,099 views

Family Planning: Both Agree Before Getting Pregnant
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 719 views


Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

For the last 23 years, the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund has given away more than $4 million to local nonprofits serving children and families. When you make a donation, every dollar is automatically doubled, and 100% of the funds go directly to local programs. It’s a great way to ensure your charitable donations are working at home.