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Pedestrian struck by bicycle in Palo Alto sustains major injuries

 

An elderly woman who was struck by a bicyclist on Page Mill Road on Monday morning sustained major injuries, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The woman was crossing the road when she was struck by a bicyclist traveling downhill, CHP officer Art Montiel said.

Officers and emergency personnel responded to the scene at 11:02 a.m. The male bicyclist was riding eastbound on Page Mill Road near Foothills Park at about 25 mph around a blind curve when he struck the woman, who was not in a crosswalk. The woman was transported to Stanford Hospital.

The bicyclist sustained minor injuries, mainly scrapes and cuts, and was transported home by one of the responding officers. He has not been charged in the incident, Montiel said. Montiel did not immediately know the ages and cities of residence of the woman and bicyclist.

Police closed Page Mill Road between Altamont Circle and Moody Road in the area near Foothills Park for about one hour, he said.

Comments

4 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 20, 2015 at 4:49 pm

Best wishes to the women, but I don't see why the the newspaper is asking about charges to the bicyclist if there is no crosswalk at this location. 25mph is below the marked speed limit for this road and I regularly see sports cars and motorcycles going much faster than that.

I know there has been a proposal in the past to paint a crosswalk at the intersection of Moody & Page Mill. Did anything ever become of that?


19 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2015 at 4:59 pm

> but I don't see why the the newspaper is asking about charges to the bicyclist

Riding a bicycle is not a license to throw common sense out of the window. The person operating the wheeled vehicle is responsible for the safe operation of that vehicle--which is not what happened in this case.

And what about the damages to the lady--hospital bills and pain/suffering. Presumably the cyclist is going to claim that there were no charges, so he is not responsible for any damages he caused?

The police often don't charge motorists for these sorts of accidents, so there is some precident for no charges. Unfortunately, the police almost never explain to the public why they decided to not charge the party operating the wheeled vehicle.

Given how irresponsible so many cyclists are (blowing through stop signs and red lights), it's hard to believe that we are not going to see more of these sorts of accidents in the future. Cyclsts should be charged just like motorists, when they cause accidents like this one.


6 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:21 pm

I have never heard of a motorist being charged for hitting a pedestrian outside of a crosswalk. Have you?

For that matter, motorists are rarely charged for hitting pedestrians that are in crosswalks (or on sidewalks). Just say "I didn't see her" or "I pressed the wrong pedal by mistake" and the cop will usually just tell the victim to let their insurance company work it out.


14 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:44 pm

On a blind corner, whether you are driving or riding a bike, you should be proceeding so that you can stop within your seeing distance.

These curves are not 25 mph curves, if you are driving a car you slow to a much slower speed to navigate them. Unfortunately the bikes appear to ride as if they are on a closed course coming down the hill.

This was an accident waiting to happen, in my opinion.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery to the pedestrian. I hope the cyclist gets ticketed for riding with undue care and attention, the same as if it had been a car driver.


12 people like this
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:55 pm

Is 25mph too fast? It is when you hit someone. It is a dangerous misconception that pedestrians are required to cross at crosswalks. The rule only applies on streets where the intersection on either side has a traffic light. The cyclist is as much at fault as a car that hit a cyclist even though there is no bike lane.


3 people like this
Posted by ndn
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 20, 2015 at 6:01 pm

If one can reasonably expect that there will be pedestrians crossing that place is defined as a crosswalk.

That's the law. A painted surface as a crosswalk is just an advisory just as a stop sign is an advisory ( the white line on the road is the stop sign) . These are tecvhnical definitions that may not be the same as in ordinary parlance.


7 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 20, 2015 at 6:02 pm

I agree that the bicyclist should be treated just like a motorist in collisions like this. There is no chance that a motorist would ever be charged for this collision. If a car hit the woman outside of the crosswalk, people would be blaming the pedestrian for jaywalking. I'm kind of surprised that everyone (including the newspaper) is treating this differently because it was a bicycle instead of a car.


2 people like this
Posted by Stop the Trolls
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 20, 2015 at 6:14 pm

@resident: The attention for this story is actually easy to explain.
How many pedestrians get hit by bicycles?
How many pedestrians get hit by motor vehicles?
The ratio is pretty significant. Add to that the general view of bicyclists in this area, and it's obvious why this is a "big" story.


14 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Apr 20, 2015 at 6:27 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The pedestrian was apparently in an unmarked crosswalk so section c below applies:
"Right-of-Way at Crosswalks

21950. (a) The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.
(b) This section does not relieve a pedestrian from the duty of using due care for his or her safety. No pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. No pedestrian may unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while in a marked or unmarked crosswalk.

(c) The driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of the vehicle or take any other action relating to the operation of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.

(d) Subdivision (b) does not relieve a driver of a vehicle from the duty of exercising due care for the safety of any pedestrian within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.


26 people like this
Posted by LAH
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 20, 2015 at 7:12 pm

I live on Page Mill Road and I know for a fact that bicyclists take these sharp curves a lot faster than cars do. They have less mass and can lean into it. They love getting right on a car's bumper and trying to intimidate the driver into going faster than is safe for their car to go. A bicyclist caused a serious accident involving a motorcycle, just a half mile down hill from my house. They are a plague on the roadways up here. And they're the first to whine and cry if some benighted motorist should accidentally offend one of them. I'm sure there will be plenty of snarling in response to this message. Bring it.


14 people like this
Posted by Michael Viramontes
a resident of another community
on Apr 20, 2015 at 7:16 pm

I passed the accident on my way in to work at Foothills Park this morning and called 9-1-1 as quickly as possible. The gentleman was frantically trying to call. I didn't see it happen, but I wish the best to both that were involved in this accident. I truly believe that this could have happened to anyone with limited visibility, on a road that wasn't designed to be crossed very easily.


4 people like this
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 20, 2015 at 7:30 pm

Resident @ Midtown

Here is a recent case where a bicyclist was charged with felony vehicle manslaughter - Web Link

Here's the California rule on vehicle speed: "California requires drivers to drive at a speed that is "reasonable and prudent" given a logical analysis of the road conditions, including factors such as road grade, weather, and traffic. If the "reasonable and prudent" speed in a given situation is lower then the posted speed limit, a driver can be held accountable for negligent speed if their speed is higher then the "reasonable and prudent" speed but still below the posted limit."

The question is given the bike characteristics, and the blind curve, was the bicyclist operating in a reasonable & prudent manner.


2 people like this
Posted by Illuminato
a resident of another community
on Apr 20, 2015 at 7:59 pm

[Post removed.]


15 people like this
Posted by undrgrndgirl
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 20, 2015 at 8:38 pm

if cars have to give cyclists 3 ft of clearance; it seems only fair that cyclists should have to give 3 ft of clearance to pedestrians regardless of where that pedestrian is!


8 people like this
Posted by Asking
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 20, 2015 at 8:47 pm


On that road in that area, how far away is the nearest marked crosswalk? People need to cross the road sometimes. Bicyclists should slow down for blind curves, not just for possible pedestrians, but possible large animals (or small ones), or hotrodding cars, or other hotrodding bicyclists. The basic speed law says to drive (or ride) at a safe speed for the conditions where you are at that time.


5 people like this
Posted by Michael Viramontes
a resident of another community
on Apr 20, 2015 at 8:50 pm

"Asking"... There are no crosswalks really.


7 people like this
Posted by Double Standard
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 20, 2015 at 8:56 pm

I agree with common sense. California's basic speed law is "Never drive faster than is safe." If a car was broken down in the lane, and another car came around the corner and rear-ended them at 25 MPH, do you really think there would be no blame assessed? You bet there would, and it would be 100% the fault of the driver that hit the stopped vehicle.

I agree that bicyclists fly down these hills and seem to think they are immune from being safe. We are all responsible for not driving faster than our stopping distance allows, including bicyclists.

I can't explain why the police did not issue a citation, but I think they still can. A civil case is certainly a reasonable possibility as well.

I pray for the recovery of the elderly woman. It sounds like she was hurt very badly.


6 people like this
Posted by Double Standard
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 20, 2015 at 9:00 pm

I want to add, that I also pray for the bicyclists. I'm sure he did not intend for this to happen. I think bicyclists need to be more aware of the harm they can cause, but I wish no ill on this particular man.


3 people like this
Posted by Joseph Baloney
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 20, 2015 at 9:29 pm

Joe-"Cyclsts should be charged just like motorists, when they cause accidents like this one."

Siroeli Torres, killed in a crosswalk in EPA on 9/28/2011. No charges for the driver.
6 year old boys crushed walking on sidewalk in Menlo Park on 10/17/2013. No charges for the driver.
Shahriar Rahimzadeh, killed in a crosswalk in Atherton on 7/23/2014. No charges for the driver.
Robert Schwehr, killed in a crosswalk in Los Altos on 2/27/2015. No charges for the driver.

Yeah, cyclists should be charged just like motorists.


10 people like this
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 20, 2015 at 9:34 pm

Contrary to what some people have said above, this pedestrian was not in an unmarked crosswalk. Those exist only where there are sidewalks on both sides of an intersection. In this location there are no sidewalks and it is extremely dangerous for pedestrians to be crossing there.

I have biked on Page Mill for many years, and one of the problems is that Los Altos Hills has allowed a lot of development there. Places that had been completely rural are now filled with houses, driveways, pedestrians, dogs, etc. They have allowed people to build houses in dangerous locations, then are indignant when the occupants of these houses are injured. LAH needs to take some responsibility here.


7 people like this
Posted by Double Standard
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 20, 2015 at 10:21 pm

Joseph:

Very sad incidents, I agree. Every one of the four incidents you mention have different issues, including some where the intersections were to blame, and some that included lawsuits. But none include a "vehicle" rounding a blind corner and hitting a pedestrian.

These other situations have no bearing on this one. I.e. a bunch of other wrongs (or incidents that were not "wrongs") don't make this one right.

California's Basic Speed law: Never drive faster than is safe. If you are rounding a corner with limited visibility, you must slow down so you are not traveling at a rate of speed that prevents you from stopping in time to avoid an accident.

It is quite likely this lady was relying on sound to alert her to oncoming traffic, and a bike does not provide that logical warning, which means bicyclists need to be even more cautious.

Bicyclists are not immune from traffic laws, much as many of them behave as though they are. When I ride a bike, I often don't make complete stops at stop signs, but I darn well make sure the intersection is completely clear (of cars and pedestrians) before continuing on.


12 people like this
Posted by Double Standard
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 20, 2015 at 10:28 pm

Donald:

"They have allowed people to build houses in dangerous locations, then are indignant when the occupants of these houses are injured. LAH needs to take some responsibility here."

So people should not be able to build homes that might interfere with your bike ride and therefore you are not responsible for accidents on the ROAD? Bicyclists should not have to obey basic traffic laws when riding on public roads because the roads used to have fewer houses?

Are you kidding me?


14 people like this
Posted by HaHa
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Apr 21, 2015 at 2:30 am

Bravo Double Standard! Donald appears to be one of those bicyclists who see Page Mill Road as their own private raceway. Woe betide anyone, man or beast, who gets in the way of Donald.


2 people like this
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 21, 2015 at 7:30 am

You misunderstand me. The many new driveways on Page Mill are hazardous to everyone: those who live there and must pull out blind, and to all who travel on the road in cars, on motorcycles and bikes. Many of the houses are also built on very steep slopes subject to slides, and the developments have cut into habitat for wildlife. There are many reasons why these houses should not have been built, but I guess money prevails. I personally try to ride a safe and reasonable speed on Page Mill, but often have impatient drivers riding my tail and pressuring me to go faster.


10 people like this
Posted by DittoHaHa
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 21, 2015 at 7:32 am

I've driven down Page Mill from Skyline and have had irate bicyclists scream at me because my mere presence on the road in front of them interfered with their downhill zooming. Follow the law.


1 person likes this
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Apr 21, 2015 at 8:04 am

Alphonso is a registered user.

Usually it takes two to cause an accident and if the biker was going 25MPH then he was going a reasonable speed. If the biker had been racing then he would have sustained more serious injuries. Sure bikers need to go at safe speeds but pedestrians also need to cross the road in places where they can be seen and be prepared to move in case somebody does not see you.


3 people like this
Posted by DittoDittoHaHa
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Apr 21, 2015 at 8:37 am

Donald - Very few driveways enter Page Mill Road below Moody Road. At least one that used to enter Page Mill has been removed in recent years for precisely the reason you state. A lot of streets enter Page Mill downhill of Moody. Between Moody and Monte Bello, most of the houses on Page Mill are half a century old. Above Altamont you have almost unbroken open space preserves to the West and large stretches of it to the East. I agree with you about the evils of development in LAH, but most of the LAH development has happened off Page Mill and it's a lot less obscene out here than what is happening in PA, MV, RWC, SV, SC, and SJ. But I digress.


Like this comment
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Apr 21, 2015 at 8:42 am

If the accident happened at the Foothill Park entrance, then yes that is a horrifically dangerous place to cross Page Mill Road. Maybe a crosswalk is in order, there, since some motorists and bicyclists appear to believe crosswalks are necessary to ensure save driving/riding.


Like this comment
Posted by A Troll in Time...
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 21, 2015 at 11:52 am

"@resident: The attention for this story is actually easy to explain.
How many pedestrians get hit by bicycles?
How many pedestrians get hit by motor vehicles?
The ratio is pretty significant."

I doubt it will be much comfort to this victim that she helped even the box score.


10 people like this
Posted by Friend
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 21, 2015 at 3:40 pm

The victim was not an elderly woman. She was perhaps 60. Because she had no ID was was left at Stanford Hospital as a Jane Doe for nearly 24 hours until her husband was finally notified. She has sustained a fatal brain injury and is scheduled to be taken off life support today. Her husband and friends are devastated.


5 people like this
Posted by Friend Prayers
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Apr 21, 2015 at 5:03 pm

Dear "Friend",

I'm so so sorry to hear this. My prayers and condolences go to her husband, family, and all her friends.


8 people like this
Posted by Robert Allen
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Apr 21, 2015 at 5:38 pm

[Post removed.]


1 person likes this
Posted by Double Standard
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 22, 2015 at 1:37 am

I am so sorry to hear this woman will not survive her injuries. I am praying for her soul and for her family's recovery from her loss.

Words cannot suffice. I'm so sorry.


13 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Apr 22, 2015 at 10:12 am

[Post removed.]


9 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 22, 2015 at 11:08 am

It seems like a lot of bicyclists are really inconsiderate and/or unintelligent.
When I am walking in the Baylands they seem to think that if they shout
"on your left" at the last minute that gives them the right to whatever they
want and blame me if I am not where they want me to be.

When I ride my bike I watch for pedestrians or other bicyclists first. I don't
mind if I have to slow down for a moment, it's not the Tour de France. I
ride my bike defensively, as if the other person is going to do the most
stupid, unexpected thing possible, which means slowing way down and
giving the other person a wide berth.

This is all in line with today's world where somehow we are catered to
in commercials and media to all of us think we are the only people in the
world that count and other people just have to get out of our way.
I don't know how you change attitudes like this kind of selfish solipsism,
or why we seem to think that selling stuff by making people think only
of themselves is ultimately going to do anything for our civilization.

People on Page Mill can kill themselves or others this way by
thinking that there is nothing in front of them in order to go fast and
get a thrill. HEY - there are other people in the world, if you cannot
control your speed and direction you should not be riding, driving,
flying or whatever is my take on this.


5 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 22, 2015 at 11:10 am

And that is exactly the wrong spot not to be very careful driving, walking or riding!


6 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 22, 2015 at 11:15 am

I'd be for putting a stop sign, and warning to stop right up and down from that spot at the hairpin entrance to the park so people are moving slower.


3 people like this
Posted by LAH
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Apr 22, 2015 at 11:34 am

Sorry I mistated my location last time. In response CrescentParkAnon's helpful suggestions ... I suspect there would be huge pushback against stop signs on Page Mill. It has already been suggested for the Moody/BuenaVista/PageMill intersection which is complicated and dangerous. But rejected. One thing we CAN do is add signage in that section of Page Mill which is probably the most heavily WALKED section of Page Mill due to Foothills Park and the confluence of several LAH pathways. The pathway system is great but sometimes there is no choice but to cross Page Mill. I.e., if you want to walk from Foothills Park to Byrne Preserve (and many do) you have to cross Page Mill. Maybe a pedestrian-activated light. Or at the very least a crosswalk since it seems some commenters here believe that only a crosswalk gives pedestrians the legal right to cross safely.


2 people like this
Posted by LAH
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Apr 22, 2015 at 11:36 am

Or how about a pedestrian bridge? Named in memorial for the woman who recently lost her life. Privately funded from donations, engineered in collaboration with LAH and PA planners. A thought to consider ...


1 person likes this
Posted by LAH resident
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Apr 22, 2015 at 2:46 pm

As a resident of the area where this sad incident occurred I find it wholly remarkable that Donald would suggest that our town modify its development plan according to the recreational needs of non-residents.

Visitors are welcome in our neighborhood but we ask that they demonstrate the same respect for it and its residents that they would show in their own.


Like this comment
Posted by Uh nHuh
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 22, 2015 at 3:05 pm

@DittoHaHa
I'm not mocking but you summarized my thoughts perfectly. I've changed your quote to fit my experience, but glad we are supportive of the same message to cyclists and drivers alike.
Your experience:
I've driven down Page Mill from Skyline and have had irate bicyclists scream at me because my mere presence on the road in front of them interfered with their downhill zooming. Follow the law.
My Experience:
I've ridden down Page Mill from Skyline and have had irate drivers scream at me because my mere presence on the road in front of them interfered with their downhill zooming. Follow the law.

I would add that I have had them use their cars as weapons of assult as they tried to literally run me off the road(only 3 times in 30 years though, they were probably having a tough day)


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 22, 2015 at 4:22 pm

Is there any official update on the condition of the pedestrian?

Is there any official update on whether the bicyclist gets charged?

Please update with any news on this.

As someone who frequently uses Foothill Park, I have seen so many near misses on this road that nothing surprises me.


1 person likes this
Posted by Friend2
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 22, 2015 at 7:39 pm

She passed away last night. Her family and friends are heartbroken.


3 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 22, 2015 at 9:07 pm

So very sorry to hear this news. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family.

I only hope the bicyclist gets to learn to ride safer, this is not a downhill speedway, it is a dangerous curvy road. Speed kills.


2 people like this
Posted by Steve C
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 25, 2015 at 11:07 am

Steve C is a registered user.

I found Brian's post while trying figure out where the accident happened. Even I can go around that turn faster than 10 MPH. My guess is that if you are brave 20 is not too difficult. Look at Brian's link - it would be real easy if not paying attention to step out in front of a bike. However if you look up the road you could see the bike for some distance before it got to you.

This is scary - I have descended Page hundreds of times and have never seen a pedestrian crossing the road.


Steve Chapel
schapel2@gmail.com


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

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