Bicyclist hit by big-rig on Alpine Road, dies

Middle-aged woman killed in collision near 280

A woman riding a bicycle was struck and killed by a big-rig near Portola Valley Thursday afternoon (Nov. 4), a California Highway Patrol officer said.

The collision was reported at 3:39 p.m. on Alpine Road near the on-ramp to northbound Interstate Highway 280.

Initial reports indicated the bicyclist had been hit by an 18-wheeler and was underneath the big-rig. The San Mateo County coroner's office has been called to the scene.

CHP Officer Art Montiel said the bicyclist appears to be a woman in her 40s or early 50s.

As of about 5:30 p.m., a small stretch of westbound Alpine Road remained closed, Montiel said.

The CHP is interviewing the big-rig's driver and is seeking witnesses to the accident. Anyone with information is encouraged to call 650-369-6261 and ask to speak to Officer Keith Nielsen.

— Bay City News Service

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Like this comment
Posted by rest in peace
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 4, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Rest in peace.

I really wish they would install traffic lights at the I-280 interchanges in Portola Valley and Los Altos Hills. Cars and trucks going so fast on the freeway off ramps that they cannot stop in time if there is a pedestrian or bicyclist in their path.

Like this comment
Posted by Bike Commuter
a resident of Ventura
on Nov 4, 2010 at 5:40 pm

My deepest sympathies to her family and friends.

Please look out for each other out there and ride in packs if at all possible.

Like this comment
Posted by Cyclist
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 4, 2010 at 7:09 pm

That direction of Alpine at 280 is especially nasty for cyclists. The shoulder markings end just before the stop sign (where this incident reportedly occurred), and traffic turning onto the 280 north on-ramp can easily cut right across the path that a cyclist is likely to take. And once past the stop sign, cyclists have to head for the *middle* of the road in order to avoid the accelerating traffic onto the 280 south on-ramp. At the Page Mill and Sand Hill interchanges, there are at least marked bike lanes to guide everyone through the area.

Given the huge volume of cyclists and motorized vehicles that pass through this intersection daily, it's amazing that serious incidents don't happen more often. Condolences to those who know today's victim. I trust that the commenters here will be respectful.

Like this comment
Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2010 at 9:05 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Like this comment
Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2010 at 9:35 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Like this comment
Posted by Cyclist
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 4, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Outside Observer, please check your facts. There is no bicycle path through the I-280 junction where this incident occurred, which is by all accounts a far more dangerous (and heavily used, by all types of road users) area.

Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 4, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Perhaps the time has come to realize that cars and trucks are not compatible with bicycles and that, in the event of a crash, the cyclists will always lose, perhaps even paying with their lives (as in this case). Why not build dedicated bike paths and then prohibit bicycles from sharing the road with cars and trucks whenever there is a dedicated bike path - as there is along most parts of Alpine Road?

Like this comment
Posted by Bikes2work
a resident of Santa Rita (Los Altos)
on Nov 4, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Perhaps the time has come that all drivers should realize they have the equivalent of a loaded gun with their hands on the steering wheel. They should all approach driving with the same care as if their finger was on the trigger. Even clerks behind counters in pizza shops aren't safe.

May this woman please rest in peace, and hope her family finds some solace. This death was truly tragic.

Like this comment
Posted by Dog7
a resident of Southgate
on Nov 4, 2010 at 10:23 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Like this comment
Posted by John Murphy
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2010 at 10:23 pm

I do not hear the hue and cry to close the roads completely after any of the 41,000 deaths annually of people riding in cars or trucks.

There are rules of the road. If they are followed, nobody dies. Do not blame the victims (an aside - we cannot blame the truck driver pending investigation).

Now is the time to grieve a lost soul - period.

Like this comment
Posted by Cyclist
a resident of Portola Valley
on Nov 4, 2010 at 10:48 pm

To say that the trail is usable for cyclists is ridiculous. In many places it is only wide enough for one pedestrian, makes sharp turns, and is distressed by roots and age. Stanford offered a free trail to county standards along Alpine, but local activists blocked the trail at the County in their selfish effort to make Stanford put the trail on their land to block future development there. Under the overpass is particularly dangerous for cyclist who cross the on-ramp traffic lane to go straight, and in the shadows of the overpass, they are hard to see.

Like this comment
Posted by Agatha
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Nov 5, 2010 at 12:17 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Like this comment
Posted by Sue
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2010 at 12:24 am

It is just a fact that when you ride a bicycle out here with all the vehicle traffic you are taking a big risk. As a bike rider you have to be especially cautious and watch out for yourself because you don't stand a chance if you are hit, in this case with a big rig. It is the same as if you are walking. Just don't put yourself in harms way and use your common sense.

Like this comment
Posted by Driver
a resident of Portola Valley
on Nov 5, 2010 at 12:25 am

I'm a resident of Portola Valley and use 280 daily at this section. I'm a bit puzzled as to exactly where this accident took place.

It is a tricky intersection, but I've found people to very careful about stopping at the signs and yielding the right of way.

Not knowing all the facts, I hesitate to blame either the driver or the cyclist, but I'm sure the driver is feeling very sad about this.

I can only offer my condolences to the victim's family.

Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 5, 2010 at 1:31 am

Please be sensitive about comments here and remember that family and friends may be reading whatever we write. Blaming has no place; the primary focus needs to be on supporting those who have suffered a great loss.

My wish is that those who are hurting will find solace in shared memories and support from those around them.

Like this comment
Posted by daniel
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 5, 2010 at 7:31 am

I ride my bike through that intersection a couple of times a week and exhale a big sigh of relief when I manage to get through. Many vehicles abruptly cut in front of cyclists in order to get to the 280 on-ramp, and I often had big rigs doing it in front of me at high speed, sometimes within inches of me, with complete disregard to the fact any contact would result in certain death to the cyclist. I'm always surprised at the speed of traffic on Alpine, which approaches freeway speed.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2010 at 7:33 am

Deeply saddened by this incident. My condolences to the family and sympathy to the truck driver.

Big rigs are huge and we all have to be very careful near them whether we are driving a SUV or walking the dog. They have multi huge mirrors to help drivers see, and they need to work hard to see all the way around them particularly when they need to turn. They take up more than one lane when turning and it is important that everyone realises that. Even on a merge type turn, we should be on our guard.

I have no idea if this is any reason for this accident or not. But it is worth remembering.

Like this comment
Posted by PAoldtimer
a resident of Meadow Park
on Nov 5, 2010 at 8:37 am

This is why I no longer race road bikes or do triathlons. Even the best cyclist has no safety against huge vehicles on the road, and some drivers are texting, drinking coffee or other things or just get distracted. On the other hand, I do have to make a slight suggestion to the pack riders on this particular road---when you ride out 3-4 deep and wobble in and out chatting to other riders, it is really confusing to the drivers where exactly to go around you.

Please people be careful out there, and condolences to the poor womans family. Im sure she went doing something she loved.

Like this comment
Posted by Ron Wolf
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 5, 2010 at 9:15 am

This is hardly and effective or appropriate forum or time for amateur attempts at traffic engineering. Do you not realize that so much has been done in this domain? A good resource to start with - Web Link

However, implementation takes will, time, and resource. The traffic safety situation on the mid-Peninsula is a disgrace, especially for cyclists and pedistrians. Does a week go by without a local death or severe injury?

Another cyclist has lost her life. Her family and friends deserve our sympathy. They have mine.

Like this comment
Posted by CJ of Daly City
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2010 at 10:53 am

No one is to blame for we don't know what really happen. Let this tragic accident be a lesson for us that we need to respect each other on the road whether you're a cyclist, a motorist or pedestrian. And always follow the traffic rules.

My deepest condolences for the woman's family. May she rest in peace..

Like this comment
Posted by local resident
a resident of Portola Valley
on Nov 5, 2010 at 11:46 am

I drive by the spot where the accident occurred six or seven times every day, including about 15 min after the accident happened yesterday. I do not know the cause of the accident. I am always hyperaware driving that stretch. It's commmon to see bicyclists run through the stop signs, many times without even slowing down and changing lanes without signaling. I have also seen cars/trucks run through the stop signs, go out of order confusing all directions, or speed. I have seen many near hits over the years. Having personally lost a family member to a car-bike accident, I know the devastation for everyone involved that nothing can really undo. I can only offer my condolences and hope we all will try to be better drivers and riders.

Like this comment
Posted by syl pascale
a resident of Woodside
on Nov 5, 2010 at 5:54 pm

I ride this road every day, and it is sometimes very tricky near the 280 interchange.
My condolences to the family.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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