Posted by Steve, a resident of another community, on Nov 27, 2012 at 10:41 am
Sad, sad, sad. What was surely a rich life, just gone. This is the kind of story that strikes terror in the heart of every parent whose kids go off on bikes each day. It doesn't really matter how or why it happened, b/c she isn't coming back. I hope her parents have a community around them that can help them to endure this heartbreak.
Posted by Keith, a resident of another community, on Nov 27, 2012 at 11:11 am
Please everyone, slow down out there, drive courteously and use your signals. Many, many accidents are avoidable with a dose of caution and respect for others on the road. At this point, it won't do this girl or her family any good, but if we all slow down just a bit, it might help save someone else.
Posted by Tom, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Nov 27, 2012 at 12:34 pm
Keith is right -- "slow down out there, drive courteously and use your signals" -- but it takes more than that. It's teaching yourself and your kids to be aware of what's happening around you. I've had too many friends involved in bike-car accidents where the bike was going straight through an intersection and the car was turning right. Neither one was really aware of the other, despite the fact that they had a very long time and distance to see each other. The driver has to be aware of where the bike is when his car gets to the intersection, and the bicyclist has to be aware whether the car has its turn signal on, or is even just showing signs of turning, like slowing down and getting in position to turn. Courtesy is great but it doesn't make up for knowing what's going on.
Posted by Mary, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Nov 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm
This is so very sad. The driver is cooperating....no need to focus on him. Its this young girls family and friends that are at loss and grieving because no matter what happens to the driver...it will not bring her back. My condolences to the family and friends.I didn't know her but I still feel sad to hear how many people lives will be affected.My children attended Palo Verde, now theyre adults. I drive through there everyday and have come very close to hitting a child on a bicycle. They don't follow the traffic as they should.The helmet may not always save a life. Bicylists NEED TO FOLLOW THE RULES OF THE ROAD TOO.!Please talk to your children if theyre riding a bike to school.
Posted by to Mary, a resident of the Green Acres neighborhood, on Nov 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm
Mary, you seem to assume that cars follow "the rules of the road". THEY DON'T - no more than bicycles or any others who move around city streets! Following the rules doesn't guarantee safety anyway. I do agree with slowing down - but am not optimistic that people will change their habits anytime soon.
Posted by Ducatigirl, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Nov 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm
Most bikeriders do not use lights, if they have them, except at night. This is an awful tragedy, and it is hard to know how it could have been prevented in such poor visibility, aside from a parent taking her to school that day.
Locally, I see so many teens riding on the wrong side of the road, against traffic, on their way to school. They often ride four or more abreast on narrow, high traffic streets. Too many of them do not know the rules of bikeriding in traffic. I drive VERY slowly past kids on bikes.
Posted by avoidable, a resident of another community, on Nov 27, 2012 at 6:32 pm
This tragedy could have been avoided. Jefferson and Alameda are both residential roads, lined with homes and schools. The victim was apparently bicycling to her school, which is located on Alameda.
Despite being residential roads, many car drivers treat them like high speed highways, which creates a huge safety issue for the people who live there. Redwood City has been looking for ways to make the traffic safer, but apparently they were too late for this young woman.
Posted by Felicity, a resident of Los Altos, on Nov 27, 2012 at 8:47 pm
Okay, we have no idea of the cause of THIS accident. Many lives forever changed. I do want to say that many kids today have no clue how to be safe around cars. It starts with the crossing guards who hold traffic for the kids while they goof around and look at phones and do everything except acknowledge they are crossing a street! I'm not saying get rid of crossing guards, I am suggesting they might tell the kids to "look alive, get with the program, observe the cars!" It gives them a false sense of security. I grew up in NYC where you learned how to deal with cars and traffic defensively and not live in a bubble where you expected people to watch out for you.
I am not saying this is what happened here. I am saying that drivers could certainly drive better and more cautiously but it seems to me that teaching children more personal responsibility would go a long way. Every day I see teens take stupid chances and be utterly clueless about what is going on around them. I have one of them myself. I implore him to be more careful but he always says he can see the cars and he steers (on his bike) away from them. I don't think kids understand how invisible they can be to drivers - coming out from between parked cars, making a right turn against traffic, etc. until they start to drive. There is a reason that the highest cause of death for teens is accidents.
Posted by avoidable, a resident of another community, on Nov 28, 2012 at 9:02 am
If the truck driver didn't see the victim, he would have hit her from behind. Hitting her when turning indicates that he was passing too closely. Drivers should never ever try to pass a bicyclist in a turn or in an intersection. Intersections and turns are always dangerous. Just wait until they clear the intersection, then pass them.
Posted by 100% bicycle commuter, a resident of Los Altos, on Nov 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm
This is very sad.
As a bicycle activist and a car-free bicycle commuter, some of these comments makes me feel very frustrated. It frustrates me that some commenters who are motorists think this is a good opportunity to point out, yet again, that some bicyclists do not follow the rules of road. Yes, indeed, some don't. It frustrates me even more that I, as a cyclist who has never owned a car but has a driver's licence, understand better than some daily drivers what a driver's licence implies.
Let me state clearly what a driver's license does not imply. It does not imply that a driver is licensed to drive on a road free of anything but other licensed drivers, for such roads do not exist.
Rather, a driver's license implies that a driver has properly trained for, and agrees to do his or her utmost best to drive safely in, an evironment full of pedestrians, cyclists, roller bladers, kids playing ball, kids bicycling to school, disabled people in wheelchairs, blind people, deaf people, deer, squirrels, birds, recreational cyclists, careless pedestrians, careless cyclists, potholes, sunlight glare, debris, construction, rain, fog, wind, horns honking, sirens whaling, and so many other things. Does this sound comfortable? Smooth? Easy? No. It was never supposed to be. A driver is maneuvering a mass at least 20 times greater than his own, at speeds 5 times greater than he can sprint, with fewer senses deployed, through a complicated and unpredictable environment separated from the rest of the world by the barest of barriers.
This is why we don't let kids under 16 drive. They are physically capable, but we suppose they are not mentally capable of handling the responsibility. But they bicycle on roads for the simple reason that *there is no alternative*, as is true of every cyclist.
I bicycle because I like our world a lot and don't want to ruin it. I bicycle because I'd like to think we can live in a way that's commensurate with being breathing flesh and not grinding machines. I bicycle because I want to participate in the world at the same level of vulnerability as an animal. If you decide you want to drive a car, then you had better accept the responsibility that implies.
That's why it frustrates me when a driver says that some bicyclists don't follow the rules of the road. No kidding. Lots don't. But it simply is not relevant. It's part of what you signed up for when you got a driver's license.
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto, on Nov 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm
"That's why it frustrates me when a driver says that some bicyclists don't follow the rules of the road. No kidding. Lots don't. But it simply is not relevant. It's part of what you signed up for when you got a driver's license."
Whatever. That means more cyclists will die. That's what you sig up for when you cycle on busy roads.