The city of Palo Alto, California issued this press release yesterday afternoon. The attack occurred on the sidepath alongside East Bayshore Road on the Bay side of Highway 101 in Palo Alto, CA.
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What does it take for the Santa Clara attorney to file charges against somebody who runs down a 12 year old boy on a bike?
12 year old Sebastian Lerrick was on his way to school at 7:19 a.m. when Hau’s Nissan Quest struck him from behind, breaking his bicycle frame in two and damaging the Nissan’s front bumper, hood and windshield. The boy was wearing a bike helmet, but he sustained a leg and wrist fracture, a broken jaw, broken teeth and brain swelling, according to a police report. He still suffers traumatic brain injuries, resulting in physical, cognitive, psychological and emotional issues.
Luis Felipe Hau was allegedly speeding down a narrow, bike-laned street with a suspended license, the sun in his eyes and meth in his blood when he steered his Nissan Quest minivan into the boy, resulting in disabling injuries for the boy.
Apparently even this bar is too high; the Santa Clara Attorney’s office declined to bring charges because they feel this case is not winnable in court.
Go ahead and drive like a maniac; the Santa Clara attorney’s office says it’s okay.
Hau’s actions did not constitute reckless driving under the law, [Supervising Deputy District Attorney Cindy Hendrickson] said.
“We could not find a single case where similar driving was found to be ‘reckless.’ The evidence here supports at most a finding that the driver violated two California vehicle codes: unsafe speed for the conditions, assuming the sun impaired the driver’s vision and the safe speed was therefore 0 mph; and improper driving in a bike lane.
Details in the the Palo Alto online.
America’s first bicycle boulevard along Bryant Avenue in Palo Alto features a number of intersections that restrict motor vehicles but allow bicycles and pedestrians to pass through unhindered.
Major intersections, such as the one with Embarcadero, look like this, where cars and trucks must turn right, but bikes can continue through.
Here’s the Google Streetview at this intersection.
If you ask for Google bike directions, though, Google doesn’t seem to know how to deal with these bicycle-only exceptions. The simplest case is travel across a single block that crosses Embarcadero. Google tells me, as a cyclist, to detour away from the bike boulevard, up to Waverly and back south again to Bryant. I’ve highlighted the bike boulevard in yellow.
I and several other people reported this problem to the Google Maps team. I just received a response from Google.
Thank you for reporting this problem. Unfortunately, for various reasons, the problem you reported isn’t easy for us to fix at this time.
We did want to let you know that we’ve escalated your report to the appropriate engineering team. Even though we don’t have an immediate fix to your problem, please be assured that we’re working hard for a resolution.
Given that similar road treatments are becoming more common, I hope Google does engineer a way to recognize bicycle exceptions like this.
Holocaust survivor, PTA mom, city council member, and bike advocate: Ellen Fletcher succumbed yesterday at age 83 to lung cancer at her Palo Alto home.
Santa Clara County considers Bay Trail Gap funding – Key decision next Tuesday!