Mercury News journalist Mike Rosenberg tweeted out this letter sent to City Hall the other day regarding pedestrian safety and dangerous sidewalk cyclists in downtown San Jose.
Letter San Jose City Hall received: Guy worried about being sent to his crypt; "meanwhile enjoy" pic.twitter.com/6zrcL7wjfR
— Mike Rosenberg (@RosenbergMerc) March 25, 2014
A couple of us (including myself) pooh-poohed the concerns expressed in the letter.
And then this tragic story broke last night.
Pedestrians are the more vulnerable users relative to cyclists, you all. Slow down to walking speed if n3cessary, please. With sincere condolences to the family of the deceased.
More bicycle news
Hit & Run fatality in Winters, California: A male cyclist was killed Wednesday night at about 5 PM by an apparent hit-and-run driver on Putah Creek Road near Boyce Road outside of Winters, CA. Investigators saw tire tracks in the mud at a nearby orchard and had a helicopter up within the hour to search for the suspect. Putah Creek Road is a popular route for road cyclists between Davis and Winters; the deceased rode a BMC road bike equipped with time trial bars and a disk wheel, probably preparing for the Time Trial scheduled (and cancelled) last night. CHP dispatch log shows a white Audi Q5 SUV was found and towed, but I’m not sure if that’s the suspect vehicle or the victim’s vehicle. The suspect vehicle left a significant amount of debris on the road so it will have obvious damage. Anybody with information about this crime is asked to call the California Highway Patrol at (707) 428-2100. Solano County Crimestoppers at (707) 644-7867 may also offer up to $1000 for information leading to an arrest.
Settlement in Santa Cruz fatality: The Tesla driver who lost control of his car on Highway 1 north of Santa Cruz and killed Joshua Alper has settled a civil suit out of court.
The Devil’s Slide Trail north of Half Moon Bay, California in San Mateo County opens to the public today
The average automobile is parked 95% of the time.
System Failure on socialist parking meters.
You know bikes are good for your city; now prove it to the skeptics.
A slick, minimalist coffee cup holder for your bike.
Cell phone use involved in an estimated 26% of motor vehicle crashes.
Santa Cruz County’s $2.7 billion transportation plan.
CONSPICUITY: Imagine driving on a dark road. In the distance you see a single light. As the light approaches it splits into two headlights. That’s a car, not a motorcycle, your brain tells you.
Cyclists just ride however they want to and run stop signs and stop lights. Most cyclists don’t believe the rules of the road apply to them and that is the truth. I wish more cyclists would be cited.
“Drivers just drive however they want to and run stop signs and stop lights. Most drivers don’t believe the rules of the road apply to them and that is the truth. I wish more drivers would be cited.”
Further: “Pedestrians just walk however they want to and cross streets without a crosswalk or green hand. Most pedestrians don’t believe the rules of the road apply to them and that is the truth. I wish more pedestrians would be cited.”
I can’t speak to the campus situation, but the surrounding downtown has become very rideable in my opinion. Some infrastructure and you can somewhat keep up with traffic. This Sat I was in ped mode downtown and saw many riders on the sidewalk. I think its a good question to ask why might this be, since it seems unnecessary.
I would propose its because people ride like they are used to riding. Most riders probably come from outside of the downtown area, and as soon as you leave the downtown area, you are faced with a different situation. San Jose has not banned side walk riding outside of downtown because they know they don’t have the infrastructure and are not willing to invest in the suburbs. Instead they propose the creek paths in all their bike plans. Creek paths are basically sidewalks not connected to roads….a creek sidewalk mixes peds and bikes in the same lane. So what do riders get use to doing? The Dutch always separate bike and ped paths in different colors even, so they never need to ride on the ped path, but SJ could not be bothered to make the creek paths 50% wider to allow this.
Or look at a suburban road like Tully. It has a bike lane but I’ve only seen bikes on the sidewalk on that road. Tully has aggressive driving with too high of a speed limit, high speed pork chop intersections, and is just not friendly even to cars. The law allows it, so most locals just ride on the Tully sidewalks.
So outside of downtown, people are either forced (creek sidewalks) or pressured to ride on sidewalks, then all of the sudden when you cross the boarder of downtown they want them to change the way they ride and switch to the road.
I would propose if we invest in making the suburb streets more rideable, or provide bike-only path options, people will stop riding on sidewalks in the suburbs and the problem with downtown will go away.
Speaking as someone who often rides in downtown San Jose, calling those roads rideable is a joke. The drivers make it, in my opinion, more unsafe than downtown SF. At least in SF everyone realizes it is SF and serious business, people mess around sometimes but you don’t have some jackass driving down the lightrail tracks illegally (sometimes the wrong way) on a DAILY basis. Try being a pedestrian or bike and feeling safe with that. i have nearly a dozen lights on my bike, generally wait for lights unless it is late at night, and always ride in the bike lane…that means little in downtown SJ where cars use the bike lanes as car lanes.
I guess I am trying to say, if only those big scary death machines (cars) obeyed the law and stopped behaving totally erratically it would make my life that much easier and more stress free as a cyclist.
SJSU is notorious for awful cyclist behavior though. Speaking as an alumni I almost had asshole cyclists/longboarders take me out many times….about as many times as the incompetent groundskeepers in their mini-cars riding around at high pace without alerting pedestrians to their presence. Let’s see…then there are the people who just try to drive across campus…that happens.