A wooden telephone pole probably prevented major injuries to a bicyclist traveling north on El Camino Real near Watkins Avenue in Atherton Tuesday afternoon when an 81-year-old Atherton resident fell asleep at the wheel of an Infiniti sedan and veered off the road, police said.
The cyclist, a 25-year-old Redwood City man, suffered minor abrasions after falling off his bike, which was struck and knocked down by a bus stop sign, which had been sent flying when the car hit it, said Lt. Joe Wade of the Atherton Police Department. The cyclist was able to walk away from the scene, Wade said.
The car might have continued on into the cyclist but for a telephone pole that did not give way and that stopped the forward progress of the car, Wade said.
Neither the driver nor the car's one passenger were injured, Wade said.
The driver will not be charged and the matter now goes to the insurance companies involved for payment of damages, Wade said.
"Obviously if this had been a fatality, we send those up to the District Attorney," he added. "Ultimately, it would have been a crime if something worse had happened."
With an accident involving an 81-year-old driver, does it trigger an inquiry by the state Department of Motor Vehicles? "Not necessarily," Wade said, adding that he did not know if the DMV had a blanket policy for such cases.
A call to the DMV's public affairs office has not yet been returned.