Posted by The-Law-Does-Not-Apply-To-Me: I"m-A-Cyclist!", a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 4, 2013 at 3:35 pm
It's difficult to understand what exacty happened here. There was a similar article in the Daily Post that adds a few other details.
> "There are some guys that are jerks on that ride. Out of all
> the group rides, that's one of the craziest rides there is.
> More mayhem
This comment, from this mysterious "Mark" certainly does not give one a sense that this crew of cyclists are acting responsible.
> A gray Dodge Ram pickup "blew by us just crazy fast.
So how big was this pack of cyclists? Did they make it difficult for cars to pass?
> Mark said he called in a complaint to the Sheriff's Office
So, what exactly did this "Mark's" complaint say?
> Mark said he and other cyclists tried to defuse the situation
> by calling off the cyclists pounding the truck, telling them
> to mellow out.
So, what gives any cyclist the right to take the law into their own hands. It's hard to believe that there were not a lot of cell phones in their midst--so why not call the police, and ask for an officer to come to the scene?
Wonder if this "Mark" has the integrity to tell the Sheriff's Office the names of those involved in damaging this driver's car--or if he will just slink off into the sidelines?
Sounds like it's time to start videoing these rides--because it's only a matter of time before some of these cyclists become more than abusive, and actually hurt someone.
Posted by Anon., a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Feb 4, 2013 at 3:50 pm
> "What the cyclists did after the fact was absolutely wrong and illegal. But he used his car as a weapon,"
What definition of "weapon" are you using here?
I don't see that. It may seem that way, and I hate aggressive drivers that try to prove something or bother people, but on these rides (of which I am not a member) someone or maybe a few ought to carry a camera and video their POVs because this kind of thing will always happens. It happens with cars where people do dumb things, purposefully or innocently. I don't like it when I am driving through Palo Alto and a huge pile of bikes is all over the road and I cannot get by. They are being just as aggressive as this car was, or are they just enjoying themselves? Hard to tell.
It is not right to bang on a car. If there was damage done, a video the police might get some sympathy and some action, but vandalizing a car is just stupid. You just never know what someone might do or whether they are armed or just crazy and will run you over.
Posted by Bob, a resident of Los Altos Hills, on Feb 4, 2013 at 3:56 pm
Bicyclists should ONLY be allowed to ride in dedicated bike lanes, and NOT on regular roads where vehicles are larger and traveling much faster. A truck driver should not have to go totally out of his way to accommodate a bicyclist!
Posted by ASBII, a resident of the Green Acres neighborhood, on Feb 4, 2013 at 4:07 pm
I used to take the side of the cyclists, but as of the past 4 years, they feel they own the road. They ride the entire road 4 side by side.. not single up on the right side.. They then become upset when you pass them. But they when I am riding my horse, they don't yield to 4 hooves as they are supposed to and blow by without caring they are going to spook a horse. Honestly, I take the side of the driver on this one. Cyclists think they are so superior.. I care not to deal with them PERIOD.
Posted by Eye Open and Recording, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 4, 2013 at 4:20 pm
The cameras have been rolling for years, and they've been mostly catching hit and run drivers. I plan on running my GoPro on each and every ride and would welcome all riders to do so. They have been crucial in bringing aggressive and criminal drivers to justice.
Posted by Eamonn, a resident of another community, on Feb 4, 2013 at 4:29 pm
No shortage of sanctimonious idiot motorists commenting on this thread. The day when motorists start obeying the traffic laws will be the day when I listen to lectures from them. Fact is this truck driver was trying to run riders off the road all morning, but he picked on the wrong group this time. I hope he's arrested and thrown in the slammer before he tries to kill again.
Posted by neighbor, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Feb 4, 2013 at 4:31 pm
As a former cyclist, I certainly don't condone the kind of "payback" these cyclists engaged in. However, it is unlikely the driver is innocent. To save a few seconds of driving time by putting others' lives at risk happens way too often. I have had people intentionally try to run me off the road when riding single file as far to the right as possible (lots of room left for the vehicle), have had beer bottles thrown out of windows intentionally to try to knock me off of my bike and producing dangerous shards of glass, teenagers throw water balloons because they thought it was funny (very dangerous in the spokes of a moving bicycle), horns honked unnecessarily and in a threatening way, etc. There are dumb, inconsiderate bicylists and dumb, inconsiderate motorists; both need to follow the rules of the road -- don't block traffic, cyclists, and stop at lights and stop signs; given reasonable berth to cylists, drivers, and cool your jets -- a few additional seconds isn't going to make a difference. It really comes down to being considerate of those around you.
Posted by Ride single file, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 4, 2013 at 5:00 pm
Canada Rd, Woodside Rd, Stevens Canyon Rd, and others in the local hills are not wide enough for cars and bikes. Which is why so many have no bike lane. If there is no room for a bike lane, how can there be room for a bike, much less two to six abreast.
After bicyclists were killed by a drowsy Sheriff's officer on Stevens Canyon Rd a few years ago, the SJ Merc made public a little known fact that it is actually illegal to ride abreast. For everyone's safety, riders must ride single file. It makes it hard to talk, but you aren't out there to talk anyway.
Posted by robit noops, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Feb 4, 2013 at 5:20 pm
If you come up on a pack of cyclists that is too wide, slow down and pass when appropriate. Thats common sense. The group rides are 50 or more people, so saying they should ride single file comes across as pretty stupid. Among all the comments in this thread, if cyclists and motorists would show a little more respect, than this argument would be moot.
When I cycled on a regular basis, I have had cars swerve into my path, cigarette butts flicked at me, cans/bottles thrown at me, etc., I have utmost respect for cyclists since they are at least making an effort to exercise and not end up fat cows in automobiles.
Posted by Paul Blart, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Feb 4, 2013 at 5:30 pm
I'm geting sick of these cyclists .Just last week I was behind one on Colorado Ave. He was taking up the whole lane?? I slowed and followed him for about half a block.. So i went around him. I actually was in both west and east bound lanes just to give him plenty of room.. Guess what?? The little jerk flipped me off.
Posted by AY, a resident of Stanford, on Feb 4, 2013 at 5:39 pm
This is not the first cycling group attack in the South Bay. When I was a student at Stanford last year, I was harassed by bikers from San Jose who were riding through Stanford campus. The biker group included several teenagers who were aggressive and were swearing at Stanford students walking home on sidewalks. They were riding their bikes on the road and on the sidewalks and onto pedestrians in threatening manner. They were very unruly and I was afraid they could assault me or other students. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the name of the biker club that organizes these rides. When I contacted them that their bikers were unruly and threatening to people on their way, they simply claimed I was a liar (like I would find their obscure website and waste my time typing lies for no reason)and ignored my concerns. The police should do their job and provide people security when these unruly biker groups are around.
Posted by MV Resident, a resident of Mountain View, on Feb 4, 2013 at 6:00 pm
Cycling group attacks were pretty common in the early Critical Mass years. The cycle mob behavior definitely has precedent around here.
As a cyclist, pedestrian, and auto driver, I see all sorts of bad behavior around this area. From cyclists, I consistently see people blowing through stop signs (and through certain stop lights) and a lot of cycling against traffic, people riding bikes on paved walkways that are CLEARLY MARKED "Walk Bikes" (local Caltrain station platforms and various downtown sideways in Mountain View and Palo Alto are perfect examples).
Often, I see cyclists creating dangerous situations for pedestrians. The archetypical scenario is cyclist Chris Bucchere saying that he "laid it down and just plowed through the crowded crosswalk", killing a Mission District pedestrian in San Francisco about a year ago.
It's really a shame that cycling has earned such a bad image around here. Elsewhere around the world, it's a well-recognized mode of transportation for the everyman (and everywoman).
Here, it has ended up being a display of ultra-macho, super expensive carbon fiber white privilege entitlement.
Posted by rob, a resident of Woodside, on Feb 4, 2013 at 6:12 pm
I occasionally race and partake in group rides. They are a lot of fun, but I notice as a driver and when riding alone, these packs tend to act selfishly and tend to be somewhat dangerous.
Bike racing's kind of a dead sport after Lance Armstrong, so likely things will chill out a little and we can enjoy riding along without the stigma attached. It is a great way to experience the local landscape without pounding on the body.
I tend to ride alone, before 7am, and stay out of the way of drivers. Don't hate me bro!
Posted by CP, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Feb 4, 2013 at 6:17 pm
Cyclists in this area are the worst I've seen in the country: entitled jerks who don't obey traffic laws, have no consideration for pedestrians, hog entire lanes, and now decide to attack cars. What gives them the right to clog up traffic in the first place?
Posted by Peter, a resident of another community, on Feb 4, 2013 at 7:16 pm
I ride in and around Palo Alto a lot, usually with a small group of friends. We are always careful and respectful of automobiles, and I have few if any bad experiences with road rage. I wish to implore on both cyclists and car drivers to be careful and remember that we share the road. Remember as a cyclist you're very vulnerable, and accidents can easily turn into tragic. Most people are responsible. Maybe people should reconsider the wisdom of very large group rides. This is not the Tour de France. I am a car driver as well by the way, and to all car drivers I wish to caution to be careful as well, use your mirrors and make sure you know who is around / behind you. Blind spots are dangerous. Be especially careful when making a right turn, do not cut into cyclist going straight ahead.
Cycling is a fantastic sport but safety comes first and foremost. Palo Alto and Portola Valley are fantastic for cycling (beautiful enviromnent, nice weather year around). Let's try to preserve it for everyone.
Posted by Chris C., a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Feb 4, 2013 at 7:24 pm
I'm both a cyclist and a driver. Many of the most inflammatory comments above are, well, just wrong.
There are polite cyclists, and aggressive cyclists. There are polite drivers, and aggressive drivers. I think it is reasonable to assert that the polite cyclists and drivers outnumber the aggressive ones by a fair margin -- but it doesn't matter, since the aggressive cyclists and drivers are the ones you really remember. It is bad news when an aggressive cyclist (or members of a group of cyclists) meet an aggressive driver -- and it looks like this is what happened here.
I think that most cyclists and drivers will agree to the following: (a) Xing can be a good mode of transportation. (b) Xing can be fun. (c) the roads in the hills around Woodside are really beautiful to X on. Note how this is true whether X=cycle or X=drive. As a result, these popular roads gets lots of cycle and motorized traffic -- which means there are lots of chances for vehicles to interact. The aggressive jerks (both cars and bikes) meet each other more often here than elsewhere.
I've lived and cycled and driven in many areas, including Toronto, Pittsburgh, New York City and the Bay Area. Quite frankly, on average both the drivers and cyclists are significantly more relaxed around here than they are in other places I've lived. But compared to the cities I've lived in -- both the cars and bikes go faster around here, which means when they interact the injuries are worse.
It is hard to blame the "leaders" of the Spectrum Ride for this, as it is a leaderless ride -- it is just well known in the cycling community that if you want to go on an impromptu race, show up at the Sunnyvale Starbucks by 9am. But I think it is likely that this incident may scare off some of the more responsible riders, and possibly attract the more aggressive ones. That is unfortunate.
Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community, on Feb 4, 2013 at 7:49 pm
Note to cyclists:
The laws of physics trump the California Vehicle Code. Quote the CVC all you want to justify your use of the roads, but please note that when you are hit by a motor vehicle you will be killed or injured.
Posted by Cyclist, a resident of another community, on Feb 4, 2013 at 7:55 pm
@Mall Cop and CP : The motor vehicle code gives cyclists the rights to the road and in certain situations, they can take the lane. Cyclists are not "clog[ing] up traffic" b/c they ARE traffic, just like any other vehicle on the road.
Anyone know the speed limit on Canada in and just outside Woodside? A lot of you folks that have a bias against cycling and cyclists seem to assume all cyclist go slow, but a pack this size with such cyclists easily does 30-35mph on gentle grades. I will guess that the speed limit there is 35mph, and if that's the case, then the driver was breaking the speed limit to pass, but no one wants to call the driver out for that.
The fact is that there are jerks in all circles of people. The cyclists that harmed the driver's truck were certainly in the wrong, but the driver was most likely not in the all-clear when it came to making bad decisions, either. As others have stated, we all have to be considerate of the other road users and not feel superior to the others, as drivers seem to feel; I would say cyclists are more defensive of their rights than feeling superior, though I'm sure some probably do.
Cyclists are more vulnerable, as drivers like to point out in their might-is-right arguments, but rather than take responsibility for themselves and their vehicles, they like to say that all the responsibility lies with the cyclists. I would say it lies with both.
Posted by Ride single file, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 4, 2013 at 8:22 pm
Perhaps group rides should be split into more manageable groups. Fifty bicyclists are too large a group, heaven forvid 100, especially when there is no bike lane. Car clubs and motorcycle clubs often split into smaller groups for group tours, and safety is not as big an issue for them.
The law, apparently, states that no more than single file is legal. Even two abreast is unsafe and leaves no room for error or emergencies.
Posted by Bob, a member of the Egan Middle School (Los Altos) community, on Feb 4, 2013 at 8:50 pm
I learned a decade ago to avoid bicycling on Arastradero, Woodside, and Canada Rd on weekends. It became obvious to me that a lot of drivers were raged and not about to cut me any slack. Why? Because they had just dealt with a pack or two of aggressive cyclists.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 4, 2013 at 9:18 pm
When a wide load is on the highway, it tends to have a big sign with a Caltrans vehicle behind it to alert drivers to the fact that there is a wide load which is moving slower than other traffic.
A pack of 50 cyclists on a winding 2 lane incline is just as much of an obstacle to other vehicles as one wide load on a highway. It is no wonder that they can cause road rage. It sounds as if there were faults on both sides, but the real problem is that there is nothing to stop a pack of cyclists acting like a wide, slow vehicle.
When laws for bikes on roads were initiated, nobody expected bikes to travel in packs on hilly 2 lane roads. Perhaps it is the laws that need to be looked at.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton, on Feb 4, 2013 at 9:23 pm Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
"It is hard to blame the "leaders" of the Spectrum Ride for this, as it is a leaderless ride"
In the absence of leadership anarchy will prevail. IF the bicyclist want to continue these rides then either they must provide for appropriate leadership or they will find that the community will turn against them.
Posted by John, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Feb 4, 2013 at 11:47 pm
Cyclists need to pay at DMV, too. Maybe a sticker like to identify organ donor. They need to pay along with their car registration an additional amount for cyclist, like motorcyclists. They should also pass a test that teaches them the laws for any moving vehicle Why should we pay for all these bike tunnels and special bike crap ehpwhen they don't contribute financially. They free loaders!
Posted by Donald, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2013 at 6:59 am
Most transportation funds come from general funds or sales taxes, which cyclists pay. The percentage of money spent on bike projects is below 1%, less than the percentage of bike trips. When they buy a tire for their bike part of the sales tax goes to pay for the new lanes on 101, which they aren't allowed to use. The truth is that bicyclists are getting less than their fair share and are subsidizing motorists.
Posted by MV Resident, a resident of Mountain View, on Feb 5, 2013 at 7:46 am
I'm sorry, that's not how the world works. Paying a sales tax does not entitle a person to have access to every single square inch of this planet. The government has the right to regulate use of public property in a manner so that chaos doesn't ensue. Cyclists (and pedestrians) on freeways is not a wise course of action.
Note that the Spectrum Ride cyclists probably all arrived in motor vehicles.
Posted by Jack, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2013 at 8:26 am
When a huge group of riders are together it is hard to figure out what move they are going to make next so I quickly get around them even if that means speeding up just to get past them. It's almost like removing yourself from a potential accident with the riders. Riders are so unpredictable. Sometimes they are single file and then in an instant they will be passing each other or begin riding side by side. They ride on these roads as if they are invincible but in fact they are much more at risk of being injured than a person in their car.
Posted by Entitled , a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2013 at 9:43 am
Are you joking, Donald?! Think about what you are saying. So how many tires are the cyclists buying that subsidizes 101? Or these bikes tunnels at what $9 mil plus? Everyone from this area knows how rude cyclists are. You know it's too bad that several rotten cyclists are giving the rest a bad name. No different them drivers when they behave badly. I think the cyclists NEED to pay at DMV, period. Make them responsible for their actions on the road just like drivers. If the cyclists had a license plate or some I.D. then those who were combative would have thought twice about attacking the truck. If a group like the Spectrum want to ride on an open road then it should have Website where this is posted for EVERYONE to know so those who want to take a nice weekend drive do NOT have to deal with a group of cyclists. What if this truck was an emergency vehicle on it's way way to a elderly? Cyclists think they are entited!
Posted by Nayeli, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2013 at 10:32 am
Last year, my husband and I were "trapped" behind a very large group of cyclists on our way to Woodside one morning. We are unfamiliar with this road (or that it is hogged by large cycling groups) and were relying on our GPS for navigation.
The group was so large and spread out that one could conclude that they were using the road for their own, rendering it almost unusable for motor vehicles. They were too large of a group to pass, and we actually had a car behind us that was honking. That car eventually did a u-turn.
Eventually, we were able to pass a few cyclists. At a stop sign, one of the cyclists through a water bottle at our vehicle. This caught us off guard since we were very submissive to their biking. He screamed, "Stop honking, @#$%@#$%!" My husband continued to remain idle, pulled out his cell phone and snapped a photo of the cyclist. This startled the cyclist. My husband explained that it was another car behind us. The cyclist apologized. We eventually took a turn (so we didn't follow the cyclists) and allowed our GPS to "recalculate."
This experience caused us to think about how some cyclists in this area think. I have no problem with cyclists using the roads. My husband and I often ride our bikes through the city. However, these cyclists are using the road as if it were the Tour de France. I suppose that they are unaware that those roads are CLOSED TO TRAFFIC during each leg of the race for that day. Why? I suppose that it is probably due to the fact that the conditions are unsafe for both drivers and cyclists.
Roads were not designed to be used by large groups of cyclists riding in large groups. An easy solution would be to either ban groups larger than a certain size (for safety's sake) or require cyclists to get a permit for special occasions that would close down portions of the road at certain days/times. I would point out that the overwhelming majority of funding for California roads come from motor vehicle taxes (including fuel/motor oil taxes) and auto tolls.
There is no reason for a cyclist (or motor vehicle driver) to respond with violence. In this case, we don't know the reason that the driver may have had for passing the cyclists in the manner in which they felt was unsafe. Was he simply picking up enough speed to safely pass a group of 50-100 cyclists spread out over a long distance? That might explain why he sped by (to safely pass before an oncoming vehicle approached). Still, there is NO REASON (including testosterone) for a group of cyclists to revert to thuggery. If he did something illegal, take down his license plate and call the authorities.
Posted by Donald, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2013 at 11:19 am
Your numbers are all for STATE funds, which are dwarfed by federal funds. My comments were referring to the country as a whole. I am not saying that bicyclists should be allowed to use 101 anymore than car drivers should be allowed to use the Homer tunnel.
Posted by Donald, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2013 at 11:29 am
For an analysis of whether bicyclists pay for their share of roads, see the report "Whose Roads" at Web Link
Here are a couple of quotes: "Currently, only about half of U.S. roadway expenditures are financed by motor vehicle user fees" and "Although motor vehicle user fees fund most state highway expenses, local roads are mainly funded through general taxes that residents pay regardless of how they travel" and "Non-drivers pay almost as much as motorists for local roads but impose lower costs. As a result, they tend to overpay their share of roadway costs."
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2013 at 11:30 am
How about obtaining a permit if a group wishes to hold a special ride? How about stepped-up police/sheriff enforcement of the stuation if there is this ongoing conflict on the roads on the weekends? I hear and read enough stories of BOTH cyclists/cycling groups and drivers being at fault or committing dangerous acts on our public roads...there is enough history to merit the attention of law enforcement folks - isn't this why we pay taxes?!
Safety and reasonable use of the roads are the goals.
Posted by Ben, a resident of the Palo Alto Hills neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2013 at 11:34 am
What many don't seem to realize is that cyclist have every right to the road as a vehicle. If a car is behind 50-100 vehicles it has to wait unless it can pass safely. Next it is very common for police to claim a suspect used a vehicle as a weapon in "justified shottings." Check recent records. Police kill people all the time when they use their car in a manor which puts lives at risk. What motorist don't seem to realize is that if you hit a cyclist, there's no paint to scratch or mirror to break. You hit a cyclist they are either severly injured or dead. Spandex vs. steel no competition.
Posted by Big Talk on the Internet, a resident of Portola Valley, on Feb 5, 2013 at 11:35 am
Let's just all meet and fight this out, since yelling at each other on the internet does little good. Back up your strong words. Let's rumble!
Come on people, show some respect for others in this world. Until we stop having babies, there will be more and more people everywhere, We have to once again learn to share and treat others as we would like to be treated.
Think about the fact that everyone out there riding a bike or driving a car is someone's brother, dad, son, sister, mother, husband, wife... How would you behave to your own kin?
Think about that before you get so angry and violent.
Posted by Silly, a resident of the Embarcadero Oaks/Leland neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2013 at 11:59 am
The cyclists, esp. those in large groups, think they're entitled to screw up traffic for everyone else. They're supposed to be ON the shoulder, not blocking traffic. They also park their cars at the Ladera Shopping Center and then take off on their bikes, leaving no parking for legitimate shoppers which hurts the merchants and inconveniences everyone else.
So tired of their holier-than-thou attitudes. Look at the stats for Palo Alto traffic which has gotten significantly WORSE for everyone except for bicyclists.
Posted by michele, a resident of Portola Valley, on Feb 5, 2013 at 12:17 pm
I am a driver and a cyclist, no excuse for bad behavior on both sides, but lets remember that there are NO bike lanes in Woodside or Portola Valley, so we need to share the road, no need to take unnecessary risks and endanger everyone
Posted by Chic choc, a resident of Atherton, on Feb 5, 2013 at 12:17 pm
Someone stated earlier in this thread that it's illegal for cyclists to ride next to each other. I believe there's a statement in the driver's handbook about not having more than two cyclists abreast. But can anyone point to the actual law that mandates this?
Posted by Entitled, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2013 at 12:21 pm
You are right if a car was driving behind 50-100 cars, they would have to slow down, no choice not to. First, Canada Road is not designed for a traffic of 50-100 cars at one time. Second, there is no difference than a cyclist who might be behind 50-100 cars perhaps weaving through making it dangerous for the drivers. If those 50-100 cars blocked that cyclist and then attacked the bike itself causing dents and scratches that those drivers would be at fault. The problem here is that cyclists (not saying all that were there,though no one stopped or reported those who caused the attack) through their actions displayed entitlement of their use of the road. I think the cyclists know it would be hard to identify one of them if their helmets and similar attire that's why there should be a way to I.D. them on their bikes.
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto, on Feb 5, 2013 at 12:21 pm
Question: If no bike lanes on the roads mentioned, why not find safer roads to cycle? I recall cycling them in my much less traffic youth & gave up for safety's sake. Of course, I wasn't an arrogant guy riding in a pack of non-yielders.
Posted by Former biker, a resident of Menlo Park, on Feb 5, 2013 at 12:24 pm
As someone who rode avidly for years, I do understand that cyclists want to ride side-by-side, it is more social that way - but we regularly got told by the sheriff not to ride that way. All these riders know it is against the law. But when out in the country I understand it and share the road well.
That said, I have observed recently that many riders, especially those in larger groups, seem to think that the rules are for others, and that "share the road" means "I am going to do what I want and you need to steer clear of me". They are frankly rude and selfish and are giving the sport a really bad name. I'd like to see the police/sheriff be a little more aggressive in getting them to follow the rules, otherwise they just keep getting more and more out of control.
Posted by Brian, a resident of the Evergreen Park neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2013 at 12:26 pm
I'll respond to a couple of Silly's points, but my comments are general. I am a cyclist and a driver, and I agree that many cyclists insist on using more of the non-bike lane roadway than they need to. And many of them blatantly run stop signs and lights when they do not have the right of way. As a cyclist, I cringe when I see that or any bad behavior. However, if I am in my car, I do NOT think about doing something to endanger anyone. I also think that if cyclists are using merchants' limited parking areas in Woodside or elsewhere, their cars can be towed. A little enforcement such as that - properly publicized - would probably put an end to it. As far as traffic getting worse in Palo Alto for cars, but not bikes? Blaming cyclists' behavior or attitudes for that makes no sense. I hope I needn't explain.
Posted by Kathy, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Feb 5, 2013 at 12:33 pm
I certainly respect the athletic prowess of the Spectrum riders but I really hate their attitude. I've been run off the road by them 3 times while riding my bike! If I could have caught up with them after these incidents I probably would have wanted to smack a few bikes with my pump!
Posted by Nayeli, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2013 at 12:53 pm
It shouldn't be legal for 50-100 riders to congregate in a pack on roads like this. A motor vehicle cannot safely pass those riders when they are spread out over 1/8 mile.
This is why I suggest laws that limit the number of cyclists in a pack to about 5-10. This would allow motor vehicles to "leap frog" over the smaller packs without having to go 55 mph to pass a pack of 50-100 cyclists strung out over an eighth mile or more.
Otherwise, cyclists should have a obtain a permit that allows them to consume such lengthy sections of road.
As for the cyclists in question. They weren't "defending themselves." They felt slighted and decided to attack someone's truck like little vigilantes. They should be ashamed of themselves. If this gang of cyclists had a real grievance against the driver, they should have simply called the authorities and reported his make, model and tags.
Posted by Susan, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2013 at 1:05 pm
Wow - this is an emotional issue.
I felt neutral about it as I ride a bike and drive a car.
One day when a incredibly rude exercising bicylist was going along in the bike path as I needed to turn right onto my home cul-de-sac. I slowed way down so he could get past my turning spot. I guess he was offended at my slowing down. He started beating on my car with his fist. I was just trying to not cause him to slow down or be in danger.
Also, as a slower bicyclist in the area, I am almost run off the bike path by whizzing riders who even make rude comments.
The bicyclists exercise regime is not my problem to endure and pay for!!!
Posted by the_punnisher, a resident of Mountain View, on Feb 5, 2013 at 1:53 pm the_punnisher is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
Two wrongs never make a right...
Having said that, as long as CYCLISTS don't pay for a license ( TRAINING TO USE ALL ROADS RESPONSIBLY ) registration ( PAYING FOR LOCAL COSTS OF ENFORCING STATE'S LAWS ) and insurance ( YOUR DAMAGE TO PROPERTY AND OTHER PEOPLE ) you will NOT be considered as SHARING the road!
Don't use " I own a vehicle and pay your taxes on it " excuse. YOU ARE NOT PAYING TAXES ON THIS VEHICLE YOU ARE OPERATING ON A PUBLIC ROAD!
When I was getting the OT and PT in the REACH program at Cubberley, I had several incidents of being RUN INTO on the hallways and sidewalks on and around Palo Alto. I have also witnessed that happening to my fellow students.
The arrogance of MOST of the cyclists in Palo Alto resembles the arrogance of the " Critical mASS " riders in SF.
Critical mASS could never get a following in other cities like Denver. Colorado has done it's fair share in accommodation for cyclists. That healthy chunk of TAXES spent came with ENFORCEMENT on all roads and trails; Colorado has " SHARE THE ROAD " SIGNS SHOWING ONE CAR AND ONE CYCLIST ON THEM!
A three foot separation BETWEEN VEHICLES IS NOW THE LAW! That applies to ALL VEHICLES ( Yes, a bicycle IS A VEHICLE ) and UNLESS YOU HAVE A PERMIT, you can be cited for not obeying that law.
If you impede traffic on your vehicle, you MUST stop and allow the following vehicles to pass.
That 3 FOOT LAW can be applied ON THE SHARED TRAILS AS WELL!
YOU, THE CYCLIST, IS OFTER THE AGGRESSOR AND BULLY ON THE TRAILS when sharing them with other users. That has gotten so bad that restrictions have been placed on CYCLISTS, like " One Way " days and other limits.
There are yield and stop signs on these trails and cops on bikes enforcing laws including speed limits...
I've posted before on the Boulder County Sheriff Deputy writing over 150 TICKETS to cyclists in a single shift; THEY ALL blew off a STOP sign on a US Highway.
What HAS happened is that county residents have decided to add a direct "TACKS" to major publicized cycling events. A county sweeper has to try to clean up the " message " residents have left anonymously.
I witness improper bicycle use almost every day; some accidents every year too. I live next to a blind " T " interesection. The " leg " of the tee has a stop sign. How many cyclist PUT A FOOT ON THE GROUND WHICH MARKS A LEGAL STOP? NONE so far. Cars TURNING ONTO THAT ROAD cannot see a bicyclist and often do the 20 MPH speed limit while turning. Guess who will be the loser in a collision at that intersection?
Until a CYCLIST bears a RESPONSIBILITY along with a RIGHT to use a public road, it will never be seen as an equal in the eyes of many others WHO MUST PAY TO USE THOSE ROADS!
That is the real, hidden issue on RIGHTS these days; no one wants the RESPONSIBILITY that comes with those RIGHTS.
Posted by my2cents, a resident of another community, on Feb 5, 2013 at 2:43 pm
I wasn't there so I can't speak to exactly what happened that day. However, I've driven and ridden many times on Canada Road and most parts of it are NOT windy and narrow. Yes it is one lane each way, but most parts of it have decent well-marked bike lanes, especially one of the referenced parts at Canada and Glenwood (you can see that if you do a Google Map on that intersection and then explore Canada Road in both directions). There are even parts of Canada Road that are actually 50 mph speed limit (as you get closer to Edgewood Road), although the parts near residential areas and the college are only 35 mph. My point is that unless things have changed drastically on that road in the last several months since I've driven/rode on it, there is usually plenty of room for cyclists to keep right and not impede traffic (unless there are wide cars parked in certain spots).
Posted by Ralph, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2013 at 2:45 pm
the_punnisher-well done! Thanks for common sense talk. To me, seems like the City listens to these Bicyclist groups yet ignore the residents and businesses of this town. By the way, not all these bicyclists are from Palo Alto but they sure use our roads as if they do.
The video is interesting in that it shows the path by which the cyclists take. It also shows that the cyclists do NOT use the "Bike Lane" (they take one lane of traffic on Foothill Expressway). You can also see how difficult it is for vehicles to pass such a long group of cyclists. Toward the end of the video, you can see many vehicles trying to pass the long line of cyclists.
Posted by member of group ride, a resident of another community, on Feb 5, 2013 at 3:59 pm
First, we ride close to each other, so we could ride faster and longer. We don't chat and don't swing from side to side.
We roll out on weekends 8-30am or 9am to avoid traffic.
We descend single-file and practice pace-lining on busy roads (like 84), to get through it as fast as possible. When we see a car stuck behind, we go single-file, so it could pass.
We don't go up 92 or 84, because we know its not good for traffic. Yes, we also drive cars on the roads we ride bikes.
When we go through stop signs, we act as a one (sometimes two) group, so we won't spread out for too long. Yes, we do stop at stop signs and traffic lights.
On the descend we easily hit 35mph, on flat road average speed is 18mph.
Sometimes there's glass/rocks/mud/parked cars/walkers/runners/slower cyclists in the bike lane. We signal and pass them with care.
There are national and world champions in their age categories, former olympians and pro-cyclists in every group ride.
I've seen this truck before on Canada rd. It was driving back and forth, speeding and driving aggressively near cyclists. On purpose.
Spectrum riders are experienced racers, I guess this is why nobody went down, when truck tried to cut them off, but they were very pissed. If you go down in such a big group, there'll be a pile-up, injuries and a lot of expensive broken carbon frames, and (officially)nobody to blame for it.
I see a lot of dangerous cycling, and it usually comes from amateur group rides, kids and crazy commuters. I yell at cyclists, that roll red light, honk at people who swing and ride 3 abreast, and point at "walk your bike" sign.
I suggest you stop making stupid ideas about bike taxes and police guided group rides and do the same, because shame works.
After what I've read here, I'm really scared to go out and bike. All these nice people, driving in cars and smiling, they think we're dressed up stupid angry wantons and we should be branded, banned from roads and kept somewhere far away from honest tax-paying drivers.
BTW, people, do you think that road funding comes from big box with label "car taxes" on it?
Posted by Jay Kilby, a resident of another community, on Feb 5, 2013 at 5:37 pm
I was out on Southbound Canada Road when this truck screamed by me at about 75-80 mph with exhaust blaring. This is the second time in two weeks that I have seen this truck. I understand how the spectrum riders feel. This guy could kill someone. Agree that retaliation is not the answer in any case. However, I do want to make a point to the spectrum riders. What that guy did you , you do every saturday morning, passing extremely close to many riders, with no "on your left" or any warning whatsoever. I am an experienced rider but there are many others who are newbie who could get frightened, fall, and take out many of you out. A simple code of conduct, for both riders and drivers applies here. So the next time the spectrum riders pass me or any others without warning, expect a "please, please don't be a truck, respect others like you want to be respected.
Posted by Truuth Hurts, a resident of Atherton, on Feb 5, 2013 at 6:20 pm
As stated by @Outside Observer, the fact remains:
Note to cyclists:
The laws of physics trump the California Vehicle Code. Quote the CVC all you want to justify your use of the roads, but please note that when you are hit by a motor vehicle you will be killed or injured.
If these people drive 5k# SUV's to get their families where they desire to go or 10k# trucks to support their own (and expensive) equestrian hobby or even a 2k# planet saving Leaf, a 16# titanium alloy super light uber expensive frame with blah blah wheel set, etc... is still on the losing end of the equation. When I ride, the burden of "Defensive" rests with those most vulnerable to the environment. Bike lanes, traffic laws, common courtesy, will all help me, and others, live to ride/drive/hug my kids another day.
Posted by Norm, a resident of the Charleston Gardens neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2013 at 8:58 pm
To any cyclist who cares to respond:
Why do so many people ride their bikes on Alma? The stretch between University Ave south into Mountain View is very busy, exceptionally narrow at points, offers no shoulder, certainly no bike lane, and few places to get off the road if necessary when going south bound. Further more, the great bike route on Bryant is just a few blocks away.
What gives? Oh yes, bikes and cars must share the road, but when cyclists insist on riding on a street with a 25 and 35 MPH speed limit (and traffic moves faster than that), which very few cyclists can keep up with for any significant distance, they are a road hazard, and place themselves in harms way needlessly.
I cycle all the time, so I'm no bike hating nut, but I would never ride on Alma. Ever.
Posted by Mike, a resident of another community, on Feb 5, 2013 at 10:28 pm
Someone made the point that a "legal stop" for a bike requires putting a foot down.
It does not. You will find no language to support that anywhere in the vehicle code. The reason *some* rogue officers require this is because they say it's the only way they can judge that a bike came to a stop. Why isn't that same standard applied to motorists? What is the difference? A bicyclist does not need to put a foot down to stop forward motion.
The general procedure for a skilled cyclist is that you roll up to the intersection, just like a car, stop briefly (we call it a "track stand" and then, if safe, proceed. If you have to wait more than a second or two, then you put your foot down. Simple as that. Because it's more convenient not to put your foot down, most cyclists will alter their speed approaching the intersection so as to minimize the "down time" as it were.
Posted by Nonameplease, a resident of Woodside, on Feb 5, 2013 at 11:39 pm
I was attacked by one of these mobs on Canada Road years ago in my mini-van with my child in the back seat. I simply tooted my horn to indicate my presence and they went berserk and surrounded my car and pounded on it and forced me into the oncoming lane. Very scary. i immediately called the Sheriff who said that this was not the first complaint they have had and I should not have swerved out of my lane to avoid them because if I hit one, it wouldn't have been my fault. Since then, I turn in the opposite direction when I see them coming. These people turn into a pack of wild animals when together and they are a blight on the community. Talk to any local and most have been harassed by bike riders whether they were riding a horse, bike or simply walking. My daughter and her friends were screamed at (with expletives) while walking from Woodside School to Roberts. Everyone bows to the almighty bike lobby because they generate millions of dollars in sales. If no one does anything to curb the behavior of these cyclists, I predict that an enraged and crazy motorist will go postal on one of these packs and injure a lot of people. It seems crazy to me that these bike riders forget that no matter how right they think they are, they are still going to lose when it comes to a collision with a motor vehicle.
Posted by the_punnisher, a resident of Mountain View, on Feb 6, 2013 at 12:22 am the_punnisher is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
In COLORADO ONE FOOT DOWN IS A LEGAL STOP. A " California Stop " is still considered blowing off the Stop Sign or Traffic Control device.
It looks like someone explains why they justify blowing off a stop sign and why this is called a " California Stop " in other States....
Thanks for the response to the facts. The reality is that many of the aggressive cyclists who do not care about other users of a trail have the idea that because they have more invested in their bicycle than in their car, that makes them better than the other trail users...
Getting hit with all the fees ( taxes ) would probably change the minds of the mountain residents and would get rid of the other TACKS too.
Posted by Woodsider, a resident of Woodside, on Feb 6, 2013 at 9:29 am
Just to put people's minds at ease, I have been riding the roads in the area of this incident regularly for the past couple weeks. You wanna know what's REALLY going on 99.9% of the time? People are being nice to each other. Pedestrians and equestrians are waving and smiling back at cyclists who initiate it, or just exchange pleasant "G'morning"s.
Cars and cyclists pass each other without incident and wave the other through intersections, which is usually followed by a friendly thank you wave.
So to put people's minds at ease, the roads in our area are not filled with angry raving lunatics. They exist, but they are the super minority. It sees these msg boards attract the angry loonies so the perception is that more exist, but let me assure you, 99.9% of the time we're good to each other out there on the roads.
Posted by musical, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Feb 6, 2013 at 11:05 am
I agree with Woodsider, but would say 99.44% of the time.
@Norm re bikes on Alma. I often rode that 4-mile stretch from University to San Antonio when I was younger. Going southbound it's by far the safest route if you want to cover that distance in 10 minutes. And it's the ONLY route to maintain that speed legally. Prevailing winds in the late afternoon are very favorable. There are two lanes each direction and I am less of an obstacle to motorists than cars slowing or stopping for a left turn. I may look like an idiot but at least an experienced one. I'd be very concerned to see some elementary school kid or a leisure-rider try it.
Posted by Steve, a resident of Menlo Park, on Feb 6, 2013 at 11:17 am
I'm a rider too and I share your impression that these problems are rare and tend to be exaggerated. I have a bike mirror so I'm never surprised by one of these group rides coming up from behind and actually am thrilled (and a bit embarrassed) by how quickly they blow by me. Still, I'm 60 and don't expect to set records. I'm just glad I can get the level of exercise by biking that I used to get by running.
Oh, I also wear spandex biking clothes because they're appropriate for the activity, especially the extra padding in the shorts. If G Luc & others have a problem with it, that says more about them than it does about me.
Posted by DC, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 6, 2013 at 12:09 pm
I'm a driver and a casual bike rider. I drive to Pescadero monthly, and try to go on weekdays because of the cyclists. Most of them ride single file - tho no bike lane makes this ify for them...more likely to end up in a ditch - and keep an eye on whoever is coming up behind and get to the R. . I've only had a couple of times when there were 3-4 riders who wanted to ride in the traffic lane...who didn't move over. Arrogance, lack of bike lane..who knows. I've even driven behind a cyclist who had an opportunity to fly down part of the road when no traffic ahead, and was glad to offer a buffer between him and the cars behind me. He looked like he was having a fine time! Sure it's annoying to have to slow down until at a safe place to go around, but it's a beautiful drive, so really, come on people! Make a different choice (not getting irritated); Roll down the window and smell the trees! It's the cyclist who will pay more dearly for the poor choice of traveling too fast on too narrow of a road for uphill/downhill vehicles AND cyclists. We all need to take it easy. And by the way, it starts here in Palo Alto with kids riding 2, 3, 4 abreast down side streets and not getting over for vehicles coming up behind them. That behavior, unconsequenced/unpunished, feeds the entitlement of the "mobs" on Woodside road. Common sense and courtesy are sadly lacking. Can someone tell me why there's not a separate bike path running along Woodside Rd? If this area wants to become a "biking" city, might there be funds for this?
Posted by musical, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Feb 6, 2013 at 12:14 pm
@Steve, I'm roughly your vintage, and wore woolen shorts with leather chamois back in my racing days. Jerseys were also a light wool. Mirrors are great. Still riding the same 21-pound Peugeot road bike. I'm holding my tongue (fingers?) on most of this thread's comments. Same complaints as 40 years ago, and I had the same stuff thrown at me from passing cars and the occasional getting literally run off the road. Never really participated in the big group rides (except once with 10000 Iowans).
Posted by Jay Kilby, a resident of another community, on Feb 6, 2013 at 3:49 pm
To the comment about Alma. Agree about people riding on Alma. Just plain dumb and unsafe. I grew up on West Meadow, just by the tracks and for years always wondered why Palo Alto did not cut a deal with Southern Pacific/Caltrain to put a protected bike path just on the other side of the bushes, running from downtown PA to at least Mt View with ability to cross at the lights at each intersection. I use to ride Park Avenue pretty much all the back and forth.
Posted by PAmom, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Feb 6, 2013 at 4:37 pm
I am a cyclist, driver and ped, so I relate with all three. I've had problems with all three, too. I agree that most cyclists are courteous and that the bullies are the exception, but the incidents I've had with the bullies are doozies. One day in Palo Alto, I drove down Channing and stopped at the crosswalk at the corner of Webster to let a young, spandex clad, super-fit looking cyclist pass from my left. Instead of waving his thanks and passing calmly, he stopped and yelled f___ you, you stupid f------ B____! at me, with a number of repeats. My husband and two young kids were with me and heard it all. Till this day I still can't understand why he did that when I was being courteous and following the law to stop for him. Another time I passed a slow cyclist at the beginning of my block, where i live on the opposite corner. I pulled into my driveway. Later (maybe a minute), after I'd gathered my things and was out taking some groceries out of the back of my car, the same cyclist approached with angry looks and hand gestures, as if I'd done something wrong. He was a whole block away when I passed and parked in my driveway!
It's those types that give cyclists a bad name. Tip: If you have frequent trouble with drivers or cyclists in an area where you travel frequently, call the police and ask them to post patrols there issuing tickets. I've done it, and the problem clears up quickly for a while. If it starts being a problem again, I call the police again about it.
The aggressive and entitled drivers and cyclists out their could be narcissists or sociopaths; their behavior sure is. More tips: don't honk at a cyclist unless it's an emergency, it scares them and comes across as rude. When walking or cycling, be careful when asserting your right of way with oncoming autos. You may be in the right, but being right isn't better than being dead if they don't see you or are aggressive drivers; don't take the chance.
Posted by Chic choc, a resident of Atherton, on Feb 6, 2013 at 5:00 pm
Doesn't the law that bicyclists ride as close to the right hand side of the road as practical imply that packs of bikers are not riding legally when spread out over the road? There is a practical configuration (single file) that would be closer to the right hand side of the road.
Posted by Chic choc, a resident of Atherton, on Feb 6, 2013 at 6:19 pm
Musical, if you're responding to me, the law that bicycles must ride as close to the right hand side of the road as practical only applies to bicycles.
Is anyone arguing that cars can legally ride side by side if there is room to do so within a single lane? Not sure why bicycles would be different. Of course, if there are multiple lanes, that's something else (it's the whole point of having lanes).
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 6, 2013 at 6:40 pm
Why all the road rage? A lot of made-up requirements for cyclists in this thread. Cyclists are not required to ride on the shoulder - they are entitled to ride on the road. If a lane is wide enough for a bike AND a car, then the cyclist is required to ride as far to the right in the lane as "practible." If a lane is too narrow for a bike and a car, then the cyclist is entitled to use the entire lane. No difference if it's one cyclist or many. If the cyclist(s) are traveling slower than the "normal speed" of traffic, then they must give way when five or more vehicles are behind them. If it's just you in your car caught behind a group of cyclists, your responsibility is to wait until there's a safe and legal place to pass. End of story. Pass illegally, use your car to threaten the cyclists, start honking - you're breaking the law. Any questions?
Posted by ndnorth, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Feb 6, 2013 at 8:31 pm
Spectrum is an organized ride as organized as a rave. It is in fact a cycling rave. In fact what they were doing was preventing traffic from running normally and therefore disturbing the peace. If they want to congregate in large numbers they should have a permit to do so, post it so that we all know not to interfere with their activities so that afterwards we can go about or lives. I am not surprised that the truck driver was annoyed but attacking him is not the answer. If they don't want confrontation which might lead to their activities being curtailedthey might want to refrain not only to attack but also leave a little room where all others can exercise their right to drive. Sharing doesn´t mean that cyclists can have the road for themselves and only themselves. I hope that decent people, cyclists,motorists or pedestrians will be able to share the road.
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 6, 2013 at 9:03 pm
Ndnorth has an interesting legal theory. When Stanford football game traffic balls up El Camino who are the "ravers"? When a horse trailer blocks Woodside Road, is that a rave? Every day at rush hour the presence of many cars slows down 101. Are they all "raving?" Stanford shopping center traffic gets a little unwieldy in December. Ravers?
It's ok to say, "I don't like bikes" if you don't like bikes. But at least read the vehicle code to understand who has the right of way.
Posted by Chic choc, a resident of Atherton, on Feb 6, 2013 at 10:28 pm
As I read the law, the bicyclist has to stay as far to the right as practicable regardless of whether a car can fit next to them or not.
Why do you say "If a lane is too narrow for a bike and a car, then the cyclist is entitled to use the entire lane" - where does that come from?
I don't see anywhere that the law states that multiple bicyclists are allowed to ride two abreast or more. Since it's obviously practical for them to ride single file instead, and that would cause them to be further to the right, then why isn't single file mandated by the "as far to the right as practicable" rule?
Posted by So, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 6, 2013 at 10:40 pm
"21202. (a) 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:"
Canada is 35, they were traveling 35. They don't have to ride on the right and since they were going the speed limit, the truck cannot legally pass them since he would have to exceed the speed limit to do it. It is not legal to exceed the speed limit to pass anything.
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 7, 2013 at 5:58 am
Chic choc: read paragraph (3) of your link on situations where cyclists do not need to ride to the right. Note the substandard lane width exception.
CVC 21208 on use of bike lanes only applies if the group was traveling below the normal speed on the road.
What defines the normal speed on the road at that time? Many vehicles exceed posted speed limits. Some vehicles travel slower than posted speed limits. If we believe the majority of vehicles on the road define the normal speed, then do 100 bikes, one truck or even ten cars prevail? Do you always pull over a lane on 101 when someone wants to pass you?
Spectrum and other groups are doing something legal that's different from what motorists expect to see on the road. It's ok to get angry. It's ok to say, "I wish they wouldn't do that." It's ok to lobby for a different vehicle code. It's not ok to use your car or truck as a weapon to enforce your view of what the CVC should say.
CVC 21202 (a) (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.
Posted by Dad, a resident of the Green Acres neighborhood, on Feb 7, 2013 at 6:51 am
Some drivers have absolutely lost perspective. They are dangerous and need to have their licenses removed for the greater good of society.
The truck driver either lost his emotional control or has an utter disregard for safety on the road. In either event, he dos not have the mental capabilities needed to safely operate a motor vehicle. He is a hazard and a threat to all of us on the road, and there's plenty more like him out there. When you weaponize your car, you must be separated from it for the greater good of all.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 7, 2013 at 7:19 am
The big picture is that all these rules and laws for bicycles were made in the days before large packs of cyclists would ride together the way they do today. It is time that the rules and laws were brought up to date to reflect modern riding habits.
Just because something is the law, it doesn't mean that it is now the right law for our times. Just like driving laws change because drivers start doing things that were unheard of before (driving and texting is an example) there are laws about riding bikes that should also be changed.
Posted by Chic choc, a resident of Atherton, on Feb 7, 2013 at 7:27 am
I agree that the legal requirement to ride as far to the right as practicable only applies when traveling below the normal speed on the road. Most bikers I observe I would put in that category - do you believe that they are legally required to ride in single file in that case?
I read paragraph 3 about "substandard lane width". Do you believe that applies to Canada Road?
Two Smart Cars could fit next to each other in a single lane on Canada Road. Do you believe it's legal for them to drive two abreast?
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 7, 2013 at 8:19 am
California has fairly liberal rules about lane sharing. Two large motorcycles can share a lane. It might be legal for two Smarts to share a lane. I don't know the answer.
There is no definition of substandard other than what's in the code. The code appears to give cyclists discretion to determine if there's enough room to share.
Canada road does have a bike lane. One or more bikes traveling below the normal speed must use the bike lane, although there's an exception for passing other bikes. Woodside Road does not have a bike lane and there's no obligation to ride on the shoulder.
Two or more cyclists can certainly ride abreast in a substandard lane. They will be required to give way when it's safe to 5 or more vehicles caught behind them. What happens in reality is there's a lot of courtesy squeezing to the right to let cars go by, but that's not what's required by law.
The presence of a group ride creates its own definition of normal speed for the road. Just like the presence of any other traffic, pedestrians, wet leaves or other situations.
@resident: suggest away for new vehicle codes. Propose something to Jerry Hill. Sometimes change is needed.
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 7, 2013 at 10:24 am
Peter - if 100 cars are going 10 mph - for example in a traffic jam- then they do create a local definition of normal speed. 100 bikes and 10 cars define a different normal than ten bikes and 100 cars. Do you really think normal speed in the statute means "speed passenger vehicles will travel with competent drivers on a clear day with no impeding traffic? That would create a responsibility under CVC 21208 for everyone in a traffic jam to pull over and let the 5 rearmost vehicles pass. Do you believe that's true? I don't.
Posted by So, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 7, 2013 at 10:54 am
And Peters anolgy does not apply. Closer to this event is driving I5 to LA. Traffic is going 70 MPH, even though the freeway is crowded. There will always be some impatient driver tailgating at the back of a long line of cars because he wants to go faster than the speed limit. That is closer to this.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton, on Feb 7, 2013 at 11:32 am Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
If there are more than 5 vehicles behind you and you are moving slower than the NORMAL speed then you, wether an individual or a group of individuals, must pull over as specified herein:
21656. On a two-lane highway where passing is unsafe because of traffic in the opposite direction or other conditions, a slow-moving vehicle, including a passenger vehicle, behind which five or more vehicles are formed in line, shall turn off the roadway at the nearest place designated as a turnout by signs erected by the authority having jurisdiction over the highway, or wherever sufficient area for a safe turnout exists, in order to permit the vehicles following it to proceed. As used in this section a slow-moving vehicle is one which is proceeding at a rate of speed less than the normal flow of traffic at the particular time and place.
Posted by Chic choc, a resident of Atherton, on Feb 7, 2013 at 11:32 am
It seems clear to me that "the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time" referenced in CVC 21202 is talking about the speed that normal traffic would be going if bicycles were not present to potentially impede their progress. That is why the law states that bicycles that are not going this speed must move to the right as far as practicable.
CVC 21202 and 21208 only apply to bicycles, so there's no obligation for motor vehicle traffic to pull over in a traffic jam or operate as close to the right hand side of the road as practicable, under those laws.
I assume that the reason that bicycles are singled out in these laws is that the law recognizes that typically bicycles are slower than cars.
Posted by the_punnisher, a resident of Mountain View, on Feb 7, 2013 at 11:36 am the_punnisher is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
Well, when a person can't argue with the facts, they resort to personal attacks that are not about the topic at hand. This type of person shows why the controversy over different groups of people sharing community resources becomes an emotional and not factual discussions over how to solve this problem when it's time to share these resources.
Back OT: My comment about " California Stops " is actually turning in to a informal reason an LEO writes a ticket, especially if a pedestrian or a CYCLIST WALKING A BIKE IN A CROSSWALK is involved when a driver does not stop during making a right hand turn without stopping and yielding to pedestrians ( NOTE: YOU BECOME CLASSIFIED AS A PEDESTRIAN WHEN YOU DISMOUNT FROM YOUR VEHICLE ), which USED to be proper manner when using a bicycle on a busy street like E.C.R. I DID THAT when I " commuted " to summer school in my early teens.
So why not get the legal protection as a Pedestrian ( WHO HAS MORE LEGAL RIGHTS THAN PEOPLE DRIVING A VEHICLE!!! ) instead of blowing off that traffic control device OR RIDING ON A SIDEWALK where you can injure other people with your vehicle? I don't drive my XJ12 on a sidewalk, so why should you be able to do the same with your bicycle?
There are many local ( and State ) laws that prohibit bicycle traffic on sidewalks and they avoid many cyclist-pedestrian collisions with injury or death ( the SF article mentioned before ) as a result of BREAKING THE LAW by selfish ME generation cyclists..( I could take many shortcuts to get out of a traffic jam in my Land Rover, but that would be selfish and mostly illegal behavior too )
At this point I equate PELOTON with a MASTODON when it comes to behavior and lawlessness: I'm BIGGER, so YIELD TO ME OR ELSE way of group ( non-thinking ) behavior.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton, on Feb 7, 2013 at 11:56 am Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
"Bicycles are traffic and have no more obligation to get out of the way than cars backed up on 101."
The normal flow of traffic when ALL the vehicles are backed up is that of ALL the vehicles.
If the 'pod' of bicycles has no traffic in front of it and is impeding the normal flow of traffic behind it then that 'pod' is required to yield.
I have no doubt that most such 'pods' will ignore this requirement just as they do most other rules of the road. The 'pod' rule is everyone else must obey the law be we are 'special'. They really have a hard time with the simple phrase SHARE THE ROAD.
Posted by Chic choc, a resident of Atherton, on Feb 7, 2013 at 12:37 pm
'Bicycles are traffic and have no more obligation to get out of the way than cars backed up on 101.'
That is not correct, because CVC 21202 only applies to bicycles. Therefore, there are certainly circumstances where bicycles have more legal obligation to get out of the way.
If bicycles impede normal traffic, in general, they have to get over to the right under CVC 21202. Cars have to do so on 2 lane highways, in general, once 5 vehicles are lined up behind them under CVC 21656.
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 7, 2013 at 2:55 pm
@ chic choc: that's an interesting theory but no judge has ever agreed with it. Bicycles are normal traffic.
@ Peter: if the "pod" is a unit, then it's ok for the "pod" to stop once and then roll through a stop sign? You can't have it both ways. Either the "pod" has a collective responsibility to act as a single vehicle, or each bike is a separate entity. I know you're trying to be constructive, but how do you want the "pod" to be construed?
You guys are well-intentioned, but the vehicle code doesn't currently say what you wish it did. Lobby to change it if you want it to say something different. If you can find support in the vehicle code for the theory that bikes in a substandard lane on a 2 lane road must give way before five vehicles are behind them, and only then when it's safe, present the codes. If you have a better definition of normal speed than "the speed of the majority of traffic at the current time" then say what it is and we can test if it's valid. What you can't do is alternate between saying, "bikes must follow all the rules of the road" and "bikes are special and must do things the code doesn't require."
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton, on Feb 7, 2013 at 3:04 pm Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
"@ Peter: if the "pod" is a unit, then it's ok for the "pod" to stop once and then roll through a stop sign?"
No. Ever bike in the pod has to individually stop. And with regard to the 5 vehicle rule every one of the first five bikes in a pod must pull over and yield to any vehicles behind them if those bikes are going below the normal flow of traffic.
Sharing the Road (FFDL 37) - Safety Tips for Bicyclists and Motorists
Each year in California, more than 100 people are killed and hundreds of thousands more are injured in bicycle collisions. Some bicycle related crashes are connected to the bicyclist’s behavior, while others are due to the motorist’s lack of attention.
Bicycle riders on public roads have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists, and are subject to the same rules and regulations.
Another interesting rule which it seems these 'pelotons' are violating since they have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists:
23109. (a) A person shall not engage in a motor vehicle speed contest on a highway. As used in this section, a motor vehicle speed contest includes a motor vehicle race against another vehicle, a clock, or other timing device.
Posted by Phil, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Feb 7, 2013 at 4:56 pm
Here is the entire text of 21202 (a). It says nothing about having to move over if impeding traffic, only that if the road is wide enough for cars and bikes to ride safely side by side (exception 3), the bike must stay to the right except under specific circumstances. I don't know if the road in question is wide enough, but I doubt it. I'm glad that commentators have stopped citing non-existence laws such having to put ones foot down at a stop sign or having to ride in single file.
(a) 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.
(4) When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.
(b) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway of a highway, which highway carries traffic in one direction only and has two or more marked traffic lanes, may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of that roadway as practicable.
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm
@peter. Good try but 23109 only applies to motor vehicles. There are places where the code singles out different categories of conveyance. Technically in the CVC bicycles are human powered devices with belts or chains - and not vehicles (definition 231). Fun fact: a wheelchair, a unicycle and a high wheeler are technically pedestrians under the CVC.
The driver's manual is a useful reference but the CVC never says bikes and motor vehicles are the same thing. The CVC in 21200(a) exempts bikes from code provisions that "by their very nature" don't apply.
Your "pod" definition needs some work. The "pod" is sometimes a single entity and sometimes a collection of individual entities. Is a single bike an IPod?
For clarity, 21656 applies to vehicles on 2 lane highways (so it doesn't require you to pull over on I5). The law is complicated. There's an explicit cross reference to 21656 from 21202 because otherwise it wouldn't apply to bicycles. 21656 repeats the "normal speed" language in 21202. Speed limit is one aspect of determining normal speed, but it's not definitive. Embarcadero Road is a good example where the speed limit is 25 mph and the normal speed is something different.
I see a lot of generous behavior on the road from cars and bikes. I see cyclists squeezing to allow a dangerous pass on narrow roads. I see motorists yielding to cyclist cross traffic at stop signs. I also see a lot of selfish behavior. In particular I see many motorists angered if they're delayed for even a few seconds by a bike. The CVC does not guarantee that the road will always be wide open. It anticipates that pedestrians, bikes, cars, trucks and from equipment all have different capabilities. It recognizes that conditions like weather, daylight, traffic and visibility will dictate different safe speeds. It balances the needs of faster and slower traffic. It's not perfect by any means. I encourage you to propose changes that regulate what concerns you and make it better.
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 7, 2013 at 5:50 pm
@phil you're right BUT the cross-reference to 21656 adds up to:
IF a bike is going slow (below the normal speed) AND the road is too narrow for a safe pass THEN the bike can use the entire lane UNTIL (21656) five vehicles accumulate AND THEN the bike must pull over to allow a pass WHEN it's safe to do so.
To paraphrase the code says, "if you're slow and it's safe to pass, make space for the pass. If it's not safe to pass, give way when it is."
There's no urgency to get out of the way. In the mountains the next safe place could be 10 miles away. There's no obligation to ride on the shoulder.
If a bike or group of bikes is going normal speed there's no responsibility to move over any more than any other traffic must move over just because someone wants to pass. There's no responsibility to ride single file and there's no responsibility to create space for an unsafe pass.
Normal speed matters. If normal speed is the speed established by the majority of current road users, then a group ride with 100 cyclists has no obligation to pull over for other traffic. There is a responsibility to stop at stop signs, but I doubt the motor-centric commenters have thought through it could take several minutes to get a large group through an intersection this way. The delay would be part of normal speed for passing through an intersection and would doubtless be accompanied by much honking.
@peter let's split the difference. Here's the quote from 21200. 21200. (a) 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. 23109 doesn't apply because it specifically references motor vehicles.
It never says bicycles and cars are the same thing.
Posted by Anon., a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Feb 8, 2013 at 1:50 am
Maybe we need to pitch in and send PC to law school, he jumps on here, twice now on this issue in the last days and makes long-winded speeches supposedly quoting the law, and then is shot down by someone who actually knows what he is talking about and can quote chapter and verse. This is not helpful, particular when written with assumed authority. I really dislike that type of interaction on what is supposed to be a community forum. When you look at what makes crowdsourcing fail, it is exactly that, someone with assumed authority trying to lead the crowd down a rathole. PC, will you please verify your facts before you continue to attempt to railroad the people here? I wonder how wrong you are on the legal problems in getting rid of the Palo Alto Airport now that I see slipshod research you bring to this small incident.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton, on Feb 8, 2013 at 8:25 am Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
This Forum is provided as " a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion." The laws regarding sharing the road are both confusing and ambiguous. The assumption of a forum such as this is that by providing different perspectives intelligent readers will be able to better understand such an issue. The assumption that all the forum's readers are intelligent readers is a reasonable, but obviously not perfect, assumption.
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 9, 2013 at 3:21 pm
@chic choc: I think you're confused. Bicycles are normal traffic. Under the code they are road users with the same fundamental rights as motor vehicles under 21200.. It follows that if the majority of road users at some time are bicycles, then they define the normal speed.
How to test this theory? If I asked you, what's the normal speed on I-280 to get to San Francisco?" The most likely answer would be, "At midnight it's 80mph. At 5pm on a weekday it's 30mph." Nothing changed about the road or the vehicle. So normal speed can't be a property of roads or vehicles. It's just a property of conditions and congestion reflecting the totality of road users at a given time. Nothing twisted in the analysis. We just relied on common speech to analyze the code.
Your assertion that any bike on a 2 lane substandard road must get out of the way of any motor vehicle is incorrect and dangerous. It's not what the code says. The code says "get out of the way of 5 or more vehicles when safe." In practice most cyclists give way earlier, but that's out of courtesy, not obligation. See how easy this is? Most cyclists voluntarily step back from their rights. When was the last time you heard a motorist say, "I saw a really courteous cyclist today who let me squeeze by on the straight part of Woodside Road?"