Category Archives: Advocacy & Local Issues

Bicycle advocacy both local and national, as well as discussion of local bicycle incidents with the community and/or police

Bikes behaving badly, cars behaving badly

Tuesday morning, Kevin and I headed over Jefferson, stopping at Canada and checked left & right to make sure it was safe, before heading across. But it’s not just cars we have to watch out for. Check out the graphic above, a Strava screenshot showing one of a group of cyclists heading south on Canada Road, right as we got there. Strava conveniently laid out a data point exactly in the middle of the intersection.  You’d expect to see a cyclist, at that point, doing maybe 5 or 10mph. Not 25.9mph.

That group of cyclists blew through the stop sign without bothering to slow down at all. It’s a group that commutes from SF to Mountain View on a regular basis; we’ve seen them frequently. This is, quite literally, how they roll. 26 miles per hour through a stop sign.

Sure, you can shave off a lot of time blowing through stop signs on  your way to work, but what if everyone felt entitled to do so? Our paths cross with this group more often than not as we’re heading to the start of the Tuesday/Thursday-morning ride; obviously they keep to a schedule just like us, and they’ve managed to keep to that schedule, within a minute or two, even after riding 20+ miles with a number of stop lights & signs along the way. Doesn’t take much to figure out how. Next time you’re minding your own business, riding where you ought to be, sharing the road with motorists and yet somebody comes up behind you blaring their horn and maybe shouting you should be on a bike path, you might now have an idea who the motorists had come across previously.
And then there was this morning’s ride. We missed crossing paths with the SF-Mountain View commuters by maybe 10-20 seconds, for what it’s worth. But today it was a motorist’s opportunity to play stupid, up on Skyline. Foggy & damp conditions, and you can see what’s playing out in the photo above. There were three of us; myself, Kevin & Karen, all of us with bright flashing lights up front, and here’s this guy in the other direction passing not one but two cars, and probably would have passed a third had he not seen us and cut back very sharply in front of the car above.

If we hadn’t had lights… who knows. It’s hard to believe how many cyclists we see, on days like this, without flashing lights front or rear. Sometimes even dressed head to toe in black. Please, let them know you exist! High quality flashing lights can be seen great distances and make a motorist aware there are others out there on the road.

New bike-specific (and frankly offensive) stop-sign addition in Los Altos


Did a sort of “wandering around” ride Sunday, heading south through the foothills, up Moody (why?), up Page Mill (again, why?), north on Skyline in the cold (where did that come from?), West OLH loop then back home. On the way I spotted the latest assault on cyclists by, I think, Los Altos Hills. I get a bit confused about where one city ends and another begins sometimes.

Apparently, in Los Altos, it’s only bikes that have issues at stop signs, so they’ve added a second red box below the regular “Stop” sign that says “BIKES MUST STOP AT ALL STOP SIGNS.” OK… so after unintentionally recording video of a car just blowing through one (making a right-hand turn, the first subject in the video above), I pulled over to record the next 4 cars through that intersection and the next.

Not one came to a full stop. Every single car had its wheels moving at all times. One or two came close to a stop, pretty much the same way a cyclist typically does. But nobody put the brakes on, brought the car to a complete stop, then started again. Which is, I think, technically what the law requires. Note that it is possible to do this on a bicycle without putting your foot down.

If the idea is to have safer streets, effort to reduce distracted driving (specifically cell phone use) would likely yield far greater results, if “results” are to be measured by fewer lives lost or injured. More likely the impetus for this comes from motorists annoyed about the growing congestion in the area and anything that’s in front of them, slowing them down, is the enemy. Or maybe it’s even jealousy; motorists stuck in traffic while cyclists zip past to their side.

Whatever it is, it’s misguided and wrong.