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

The still-damaged roads in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties

The winter of 2022 was brutal for many of our favorite roads, some of which have seen deferred maintenance for the very reason cyclists like them so much… they get very low car traffic. This is not a comprehensive list but covers some of the more-popular local cycling roads.

Stage Road between San Gregorio and Pescadero- Until recently, bicyclists had been able to use Stage Road on the pavement remaining intact; that is no longer the case as work has commenced in repairing the roadway. Estimated date of reopening is 11/17/23. As repairs are active, please do not even attempt to get through.

West Old LaHonda slide, 10/15/23. Note that there is a fair amount of debris in places on the road on the uphill side, but easy to ride through.

West Old LaHonda- We’ve had this road pretty much to ourselves since a chunk of it fell in January 23, and the county has not set a date for when repairs might happen. There remains a wide enough section to easily ride through, with dirt shoulder the county has provided to keep cyclists from riding where it would be too dangerous. Note that, unlike Stage Road, the county does not have messaging suggesting bicyclists use alternative routes. You will find more debris on the road than normal, due to lesser vehicular traffic (since it’s no longer a through road for motorists).

Stop light near top of Old LaHonda

Old LaHonda Road- No restrictions in place. Occasional work being done that requires it to be shut down for a day here and there, always on weekdays. The stop-lighted one-way section is still in place (near the top) so not suitable for good Strava efforts.

Highway 84 from Sky Londa to Woodside- The road is open and well-maintained, with a stop-lighted one-way section towards the bottom. I’ve never experienced more than a 3 minute delay so it’s perfectly suitable for cycling.

Just below park entrance on Kings Mtn.

Kings Mtn- They’re finally getting around to repairing the one-lane section below the Huddart Park entrance. Expect the occasional short delay when construction is taking place; otherwise there are stop signs at each end of the short one-lane section. Note that cars aren’t behaving well here; sometimes they go through without stopping.

Higgins Canyon Road, Half Moon Bay side. Video-

Higgins Canyon Road- This popular

“bypass” of Highway 1, north of Tunitas and south of Half Moon Bay, has a failed section on the Half Moon Bay side. The county expects repairs to be completed mid-November. In the meantime it’s an active worksite on weekdays and completely impassible. On weekends, you may be able to squeeze through a nylon fence with your bike (there’s an area the workers have cut back for their own access). We last rode through on 10/15/23.

Dirt Alpine- Lower Alpine Road Trail is closed for repairs between the end of the paved section and Clouds Rest Trail. Repairs expected to be completed before the end of 2023. Note that Spring Ridge Trail in the Windy Hill Preserve remains open, allowing gravel & mountain-bike access to Skyline from Portola Valley.

Highway 9 (From Santa Cruz to Skyline)- 3 areas between Santa Cruz and Boulder Creek with one-lane controlled traffic. 1 one-lane section 3 miles west of Skyline where a landslide is being removed. The last of the work will extend into April 2024. The road is bikable.

Highway 35- Completely closed near Bear Creek, north of 35. Estimated reopening Dec 10th.

Highway 236 (Big Basin Way)- 1 or 2 sections with controlled one-way traffic. The road had been fully closed but is apparently open again. Verify before riding.

Imagine airplanes flying without transponders. Like riding a bike without flashing lights?

GCN (Global Cycling Network) might be one of the reasons we see, or don’t see, so many cyclists on the road. It can be dark and drizzly, and GCN is out there, promoting black kit (apparel) and no flashing lights either front or rear.

Ah, winter. The time of year it’s darker, drizzly if not raining, and we see so many cyclists up on Skyline in black kit (apparel) and no flashing lights. As it warms up and gets sunnier, they move to their “team” kits that are often brightly colored… but still, of course, no lights. Not everyone; there remains a pretty goodly number of people who keep wearing black as long as they can, probably giving up only when they feel that wearing black on an 80F degree day leads to overheating. However, I’m pretty sure there’s a widespread contest to see who can wear black on the hottest day of the year.

Another frame confirming the lack of daytime lights.

I don’t get it. Sure, in the finale of Star Trek Picard, the USS Titan, piloted by Seven of Nine, buys enough time for Picard to save humanity by using a cloaking device. Being invisible can have its advantages. But not when out on a highway shared with cars moving at even moderate speed. Whether you want to be seen or not, you need to be seen.

In this area, we ride our road bikes almost exclusively on shared roadway, shared with other bikes, cars, trucks & motorcycles. We cannot expect a carefree, bucolic experience, yet we can still have a pretty darned safe and enjoyable ride, if we take just a few simple steps to make it easier for people to see us, if we use technology to know what’s behind us, if we ride actively aware that not everybody on the road is being careful.

Should you have to do that? Sure, it’s a choice, but why would you exercise less care riding a bike than you would driving a car? Think about how many times you avoided a collison, had a near miss, because you saw someone merging into your space on the freeway? Or racing to get through a just-turned-red light? It happens frequently.

I used to think it was being paranoid to have not just one, but two or three flashing lights on the back of my bike. On my commute home it is frequently three; a helmet light, my Garmin Varia 715 radar w/light, and an older flashing light that I attach to my seatbag. The most-important is the sturdily-mounted Varia 715, because it’s at the exact right angle to be seen by a motorist behind me. The others will attract attention from varying angles as they move around a bit. For my longer, “recreational” rides, just two lights, the Garmin Varia and the seatbag mounted.

And on the front, a single bright Bontrager headlight set to flashing mode. Some cyclists still wonder, do you need a light up front, since you can see what’s in front of you? Absolutely, yes! I’ve seen so many double-takes when somebody didn’t initially see me, then caught my flashing light. Cars coming from intersections are more dangerous than you think, because you’re making a (logical) assumption they’re not going to jet out right as you pass.

I don’t think having to do all this is an “I’m asking for it if I don’t” mentality. It’s just trying to stay safe and make it home in one piece so I can keep on having great rides for a long time to come.