News

More details released in 2010 bicyclist fatality

Lauren Perdriau Ward's bicycle was upright during crash, CHP says

An investigation into the November 2010 death of bicyclist Lauren Perdriau Ward, who died in a collision with a big rig on Alpine Road, determined that the bicycle was hit from the rear and was upright during the collision, the California Highway Patrol announced Thursday.

Ward, 47, a Los Altos Hills resident, was riding west near Portola Valley at Interstate 280 when she was hit by a 26-wheeler and trapped beneath the vehicle, according to the CHP.

The CHP has determined the bicycle came into contact with the left front portion of the truck, which collided with the right rear portion of the bicycle, while the bike was still in an upright position, based on additional forensic testing and a subsequent accident reconstruction.

But investigators could not determine the relationship of both vehicles immediately preceding the collision and did not have enough information to determine whether Ward or the big-rig driver was most at fault, the CHP said.

Ward, a trained nurse, won state Sen. Joe Simitian's "There Oughta Be a Law" contest after suggesting a bill to add a bittering agent to antifreeze so that children and animals would not be accidentally poisoned.

Comments

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Posted by contact
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 16, 2011 at 10:29 am

RIP Ms. Ward. Crashes like this would not happen if car and truck drivers paid more attention to the road.

Going up hill on a wide, straight road, the truck driver would have had plenty of time to see the bicyclist in front of him. He should have passed her by a wide margin or waited behind her until she cleared the intersection.


Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2011 at 11:34 am

The article in the other newspaper, available here:
Web Link

says very clearly "bicyclist not at fault", although this article avoids stating that. The original investigation claimed the victim was at fault and swerved in front of the truck. After the family hired their own investigative team the CHP agreed to re-open their investigation and the result is now that they have dropped their initial conclusion. Now they say they don't know what happened, a conclusion I can believe.

It does seem that a competent and attentive truck driver should have seen her and been able to avoid running over her from behind.


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Posted by Truck driver not a fault
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 16, 2011 at 12:00 pm

"He should have passed her by a wide margin or waited behind her until she cleared the intersection."

and

"It does seem that a competent and attentive truck driver should have seen her and been able to avoid running over her from behind."

While they no longer believe she was at fault, due to the lack of witnesses, she may have been at fault. No point in blaming the truck driver, there is no conlcusive evidence that he was at fault either.
But always easier to blame the vehicle operator--bicyclists never break traffic laws


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Posted by contact
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 16, 2011 at 12:10 pm

The cops will always blame the pedestrian or bicyclist when there is even a slightest amount of doubt about the guilt of the car driver. In this case, they explicitly declared that the bicyclist was not at fault, which is an exceptional finding.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2011 at 1:54 pm

After killing three bicyclists it's hard to give much weight to the truck driver's account of the accident. However, the reason the police presume the bicyclist is at fault is because we see them blatantly disregarding traffic laws daily.


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Posted by Truck driver not a fault
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 16, 2011 at 2:20 pm

"After killing three bicyclists it's hard to give much weight to the truck driver's account of the accident. "

Anonymous--care to stick with the facts?

Web Link
"On August 7, 2007, teacher John Myslin of Santa Cruz was riding his bicycle to work when he was hit by a truck and killed at the intersection of Mission and Bay in Santa Cruz, California. The truck was driven by Gabriel Manzur Vera working for Randazzo Enterprises. The cyclist in this case was determined to be at fault. Myslin was riding on the sidewalk, passed on the truck’s right and was hit as the truck driver made a right turn."

And I believe that the other fatality was a car that was on the wrong side of the road and strick hi struck.

You are correct, however, about cyclists blatantly disregarding traffic laws.


Like this comment
Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2011 at 8:32 pm

"Crashes like this would not happen if car and truck drivers paid more attention to the road."

Wrong. Crashes like this would not happen if bicyclists were required to use the bicycle path that parallels Alpine road and were prevented from using the motor vehicle roadway.


Like this comment
Posted by Rider
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 16, 2011 at 9:27 pm

What is with all these comments that the bicyclist wasn't doing something that she should have done? Regardless, the truck driver should have avoided hitting her. He was the one with the immensely more powerful vehicle. He was the one who had previously hit two other bicyclists. This guy should have had his license revoked. A reasonable driver does her best not to hit pedestrians, bicyclists, horse riders, etc. But some drivers don't seem to care. These drivers should be taken off the roads.


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

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