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By Roz Rogoff

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About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Bikes and Cars don't mix

Uploaded: Jun 28, 2016

The latest news about the 72 year old woman who was hit by a car while riding her bicycle across a busy intersection in Pleasanton is another scary example of how dangerous it is to ride bicycles around here. I am 73 and rode my tricycle from Fircrest Drive to the Walmart shopping center five blocks away. Now I worry that similar accident could be waiting for me.

As some of my readers know my driver's license was suspended last December. I need to go to Oakland to retake the driver's test. I moved to Villa San Ramon expecting to use the shuttle here to get around, but it only goes on certain days and requires signing up in advance. So I used my Tricycle to ride to the nearby Walmart shopping center.

The ride itself is easy. That's not the problem. The problem is the traffic on Alcosta Blvd and Fircrest. This isn't a heavy downtown intersection like the one in Pleasanton where the woman was hit, but there are still enough cars driving past me on Fircrest or making a tight right turn from Alcosta to Fircrest to worry me about the possibility of being hit.

I ride on the sidewalk along Alcosta to the Walmart. Even though there's a bike lane on Alcosta, I wouldn't take a chance of riding in the street.

I commented in my last blog about the slope of the driveways to and from Alcosta, but I'm not too worried about someone turning into or pulling out of a driveway while I'm walking my trike across it.

My biggest concern is the intersection between Fircrest and Alcosta on the ride back. There's no sidewalk on either side of Fircrest and cars are frequently parked along the sides of the street. Cars going up Fircrest so far don't speed and they go around my trike, but cars making a right turn from Alcosta onto Fircrest often cut that corner even when I'm crossing with the light. The fire station on the corner also has vehicles pulling in and out even if there isn't a fire.

I really need to get the suspension taken off my Driver's License. I'll feel safer in my truck than I do on my Trike.

Comments

 +   2 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jun 28, 2016 at 8:27 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Roz,

There is an DMV in Pleasanton.
Why go to Oakland?

Twenty-five years ago while riding my bike, I was struck and run over by a motor vehicle. The vehicle entered the painted bike lane I was in, struck me, then run over me.

I had multiple injuries, Five broken ribs, collapsed lung, lacerated kidney, bruised heart muscle, left and right knee caps fractured, cartilage tears, and concussion. My helmet was fractured in the collision.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Rhel, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jun 28, 2016 at 8:39 pm

Michael, I hope the driver stuck around. But now you're scaring poor Roz!

As a wheelchair user, I often ride in the bicycle lanes – have you tried going down the sidewalks on solid tires? – and have only very rarely run into trouble with the dreaded automotives. Mostly it's because, at stop signs and stoplights, they block the crosswalks.

Maybe I don't have trouble because my wheelchair looks heavy?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Roz Rogoff, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jun 29, 2016 at 12:01 am

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

I have to go into Oakland because my license was suspended and I didn't retake the test here when I was supposed to. So now I have to go in for an interview at the Driver Safety Office in Oakland. I've been putting it off for so long, by the time I'm ready it might be too late.

Michael,

I didn't realize you were so badly injured in a serious accident. You were fortunate to survive it. I was T-Boned crossing the intersection of Bollinger Canyon and Alcosta 3-1/2 years ago, but I was in a car and not on a bike.

Rhel, I didn't know wheelchairs have solid tires. I learn new things every day on this job!

Roz


 +   4 people like this
Posted by leave it lapsed, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jun 29, 2016 at 1:01 pm

Please just forget trying to get back your license. You have demonstrated in your blog and by your actions that your cognitive skills are weakening as well as your ability to drive and think at the same time. Getting lost driving to your own home? You do NOT need to get behind the wheel of a car ever again. Try walking instead of riding your bike. It would help you lose weight and get in shape and you could instantly stop for any car turning the corner.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Roz Rogoff, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jun 29, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

Leave it,

My Doctor filled out a form saying I am forgetful but I do not have dementia. That's why I have to go into Oakland to meet with a Driver Safety Officer to be tested to see if I am still able to drive. If those results say "Leave it," I will. I'd rather trust the person hired to make those decisions than you or me.

Roz


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Rob Barnett, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jun 29, 2016 at 9:38 pm

Hi Roz,

Good to hear about your experiences and thoughts. Note, however, that you leave out the risks of car driving. That is, how do you know that you are safe driving instead of riding a bike? The only time I got "clobbered" was driving a car, and that particular accident (as opposed to some other kinds) would not have happened had I been riding a bicycle. I usually ride my bike to work, from San Ramon to Pleasant Hill, and there are certainly risks and dangers. But who is to say that I would not have been killed out there on the multi-laned, accident-plagued 680.

Regarding your current situation, do all you can to communicate to your fellow travelers that you are trying to be safe. That is, wear highly reflective clothing, e.g., one of those bright green jackets, as well as brightly blinking lights (to be used DAY and night). These safety measures tell drivers that you want to live, which is just as important as being seen.

Best of luck to you.

Rob


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Stev, a resident of Sycamore Heights,
on Jun 30, 2016 at 7:19 am

I am surprised by the number of people who react negatively to bicycles ridden downtown. There are complaints that cyclist ride three or four abreast. Would they prefer the ride single file and take up four times more room? Do they clog the streets? A bike is around 4 feet long, a car closer to eleven, and bike can ride along side most car with courteous drivers who make room for them. Don't like us riding in the streets? Most cities have law requiring us to be there, not on sidewalks. We aren't thrilled about riding with only our elbows between our bikes and that moving van traveling at 50 mph.

One driver rolled down his window and complained we shouldn't be on streets because we don't pay road taxes. We do. Nearly every rider had a car too, but on our bikes we cause a lot less congestion and a 15 lbs bike causes a lot less road damage than a 2,000 lbs auto. And ten bikes can park in only one parking stall.

And of course people complain that cyclist violate stop lights and signs. I am sure everyone knows an auto driver who had eased through signs and lights. I bet you don't know any cyclists who speed. We can't, although I'll bet some cyclist would if they could.

Think how much safer our downtown streets would be if we had bike lanes, more lightweight bikes instead of two-ton SUVs.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Jun 30, 2016 at 7:31 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

Stev,

I didn't say anything last week because of timing, but I drove past that bicyclist who was killed last week and was horrified (along with my kids) to see her lifeless hand sticking out from the tarp surrounding the scene.

Ironically as I was re-routed and driving downtown, I was turning right onto main st just before it turns into Santa Rita and, even though I had the green, some cyclist decided he was going to run his red and came within inches of my hitting him; he didn't even acknowledge his mistake.

I've seen more bad behavior by bicyclists on our roads than by motorists. Running red lights and signs is just the tip of the iceberg.



 +   4 people like this
Posted by Marty Crowningshield, a resident of Vineyard Hills,
on Jun 30, 2016 at 11:14 am

I used to ride a bike from Pleasanton to the Lab for many years. Now I have been retired,for 18 years. I would prefer to ride my bike around Pleasanton, but it is just to dangerous. A bike is a vehicle and entitled to a lane on the road. Enforce it. More bikes equal less pollution, noise, healthier life style, but when we share the lane with cars, we have to include more time in the hospital recovering from crashes. The bike lane in front of Amador Valley high school is a joke. The public gets what the public wants to pay for. Bike lanes in Pleasanton are not in the foreseeable future.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jul 1, 2016 at 4:35 pm


Have you ever riding one of these?

Web Link


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jul 1, 2016 at 4:38 pm

This appears to be a reasonable option to get about:

Web Link


 +   4 people like this
Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Jul 1, 2016 at 5:20 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

I find it very very interesting that Cholo, thankfully, goes silent for a month. Then the day Tom posts a new blog, Cholo magically reappears.

Same for Kluget and others...

Coincidence?


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Sue Thayer, a resident of Birdland,
on Jul 2, 2016 at 7:36 am

I have to say, you have a 'beautiful mind,' former dan: Web Link


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jul 2, 2016 at 10:46 am

I'm so waaaaaaaaaay waaaaaaay teeekle that a few posters r checking my stuff...tee hee...

I bee-leeve that my 2 posts with photos of wheeeeeelies are cool!

get one...


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Marty Crowningshield, a resident of Vineyard Hills,
on Jul 2, 2016 at 1:15 pm

Cholo
I am not quite ready for the wheelchair yet. Those motorized 3 wheelers are to small for the road where they need to be, but to large for the bike path. Maybe we should dedicate a lane on the road for people powered vehicles, or horses, -No motors allowed. Good idea but the horse manure would get catch up in my bicycle spokes


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jul 2, 2016 at 4:37 pm

Marty....this may eventually be sold in the US!

Web Link


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Roz Rogoff, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jul 3, 2016 at 12:55 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

Cholo,

Like Marty, I'm not ready for a motorized scooter yet. However several residents here at the Villa use them. They can be quite bulky even on the wide corridors.

I rode my trike to CVS yesterday. I rode on the sidewalks all the way there and back. I don't know why I thought Fircrest doesn't have sidewalks on both sides of the street. It does, but I rode the one closest to the shopping center so I would not have to walk my trike across the intersection of Fircrest and Alcosta.

There were no pedestrians on the sidewalk when I was riding there but there were a few coming back. I moved out of their way so they could pass me. I plan to write my next blog on this newest shopping excursion.

Roz


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Avg citizen, at best, a resident of West of Foothill,
on Jul 3, 2016 at 5:03 pm

Has anyone read any updates regarding the investigation into what exactly happened at the intersection? Who was it that crossed against the light? Thoughts and prayers to the all affected by this tragic accident. I have a family member who is a serious cyclist and these stories always make me more worried than usual about her hobby. Happy 4th, all.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by KirstenInPleasanton, a resident of another community,
on Jul 4, 2016 at 10:23 am

Roz --

Keep on riding your trike any time you can, daily if possible, for as much of the year as the weather permits. Much better for your body and mind. Smaller ecological footprint than a car. More interesting for you because when you're going slower, you see much more than from a car. I wish others reading this column would do the same.

The tragedy of Gail Turner's death didn't need to happen. Drivers of all types -- cars, bicycles, motorbikes, motorized scooters -- all need to slow down and obey the traffic signals and rules of the road. Stop using mobile devices while driving. Pay attention to what's going on in traffic. If someone is in front of you, take the time to allow traffic to clear before proceeding. Having the right-of-way is not a reason to assert it when conditions don't warrant. Just because you *can* go fast, doesn't mean you always should. This goes for cars and cyclists alike.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Rhel, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jul 4, 2016 at 10:21 pm

Cholo,

I have seen small cars specifically designed for a manual wheelchair, with just enough room for a couple of bags of groceries. And yes, they are available in the United States.

Try going to the next Abilities Expo in San Jose. I believe it's in November.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Marty, a resident of Vineyard Hills,
on Jul 5, 2016 at 10:43 am

just my guess
She was pedalling up hill and not fast enough to get across the intersection with the light(a white bike with light colored cloths). The driver was going eastbound into the morning sun. The driver was barely able to distinguish the light, in the morning sun. The driver never saw her until after the accident. just my guess



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