Almanac

Viewpoint - January 5, 2011

Letter: Cyclist takes issue with story, editorial

The article by Dave Boyce in the Dec. 29 edition of The Almanac regarding the accident in which cyclist Lauren Ward was killed, and the editorial in the same edition have left me both amazed and shaking my head.

First, regarding Boyce's article, I have to question on what grounds the law firm hired by Ward's family can call this a "wrongful death" when the California Highway Patrol investigation concluded that Ward was at fault for having made "an unsafe turning movement" into the left side of the truck. Having ridden by the accident scene on my bicycle that afternoon, I can only concur with the CHP conclusion. As I stated in my previous letter to The Almanac, the truck was exactly where you'd expect it to be in approaching the southbound ramp to Interstate 280.

There are, at the point of the accident, two right turn lanes for vehicles intending to head south on 280. Gabriel Vera's truck was positioned straight and centered in the rightmost lane. As a cyclist, the only place I have any business being at the apparent point of impact is on or very close to the white line separating the leftmost right turn lane and the lane going straight on Alpine Road toward Ladera. Sadly, for whatever the reason, Lauren Ward was apparently too far to the right of where she should have been.

Secondly, I cannot agree with The Almanac's editorial conclusion that a design similar to what is in place now at Sand Hill Road and Interstate 280 is any safer. Westbound cyclists at that interchange are still faced with an equally dangerous crossover situation. Then they must negotiate the overpass of 280 between fast-moving vehicles which cross between lanes around them.

I am saddened by the death of Lauren Ward, but I feel we are seeing a lot of print, and hearing a lot of words of many well-meaning individuals intent on putting band-aids on dangers they are not likely to improve.

I am reminded of the words of theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. "... grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

It is incumbent on me as a cyclist to choose my route wisely and to realize that regardless of how many times I ride the same route, each ride will be different and present new sights, new smells, and new potential hazards. It is my challenge, my joy, and my responsibility.

Don Fabiano

Watkins Avenue, Atherton

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