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Yet another cyclist dies from Sand Hill Road accident

Original post made by Sean on Jul 29, 2007

The Mercury News is reporting that Deborah Johnson, a 54-year old Palo Alto business consultant, died Tuesday after a bike accident on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park on Sunday, July 22. Menlo Park police say she was riding with a group of friends when she fell and struck her head.
Here is the earlier story from the Almanac: Web Link
Here is Saturday's story from the Mercury News: Web Link

Comments (13)

Posted by Renee Batti, news editor of The Almanac
on Jul 30, 2007 at 4:14 pm

Renee Batti is a registered user.

Here is the latest information we've published about the accident that killed Deborah Johnson (who was actually 51), and about a possible speed-limit change on a portion of Sand Hill Road: Web Link

Posted by anon, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jul 31, 2007 at 2:32 am

why do drivers have to suffer speed limit changes due to bicyclists who keep dying on the roads?

drivers had nothing to do with this. the bicyclists should just stay off the road and go bike in park or something.

Posted by Alekaneleno, a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Jul 31, 2007 at 11:19 am

Cycling, like every human activity, has some risk. Given the sheer (and increasing) number of flatlanders riding though here, there are bound to be more incidents like this. In our society, we seek to blame others for our own mistakes (conditioned by too many greedy lawyers?). In this case, it's the local residents who evidently are to blame. Anon is right --- there's no evidence that changing speed limits, or any other traffic laws will have any effect on bicycling safety. We're already suffering the visual pollution of too many "share the road signs" --- does anyone really pay any attention to warning labels. Lowering speed limits unnaturally will only produce more police revenue, not safety.

Posted by BeenThere, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Jul 31, 2007 at 8:20 pm

"There is no evidence that changing speed limits...will have any effect on bicycle safety". Well, I have to agree that changing the speed LIMIT will not affect bicyle safety, but changing car SPEEDS will! If you don't think so, then you have not been riding your bike enough! You are right, we need a lot of enforcement to go along with a new and lower speed limit. The signs themselves do no good.

Posted by Citizen A, a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Aug 2, 2007 at 12:02 am

That's right the 55mph speed limit has nothing to do with either fatality. With all due respects to the families of these people, I'll keep it short and say that one fatality was due to a cyclist falling off of her bike. The other fatality was due to the cyclist making a U-turn in the road and being hit by a car going 35mph.

Posted by biker friend, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 2, 2007 at 8:25 am

Citizen A - there is no evidence that the cyclists in either instance cause their own demise. Let's at least wait for the report on the most recent tragedy. Experienced bikers don't simply fall off their bike.

Posted by Citizen A, a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Aug 2, 2007 at 10:26 am

Biker Friend,

Actually to the contrary, the CHP report was very clear that the cyclist was performing a U-turn on Sand Hill Road and was hit by the vehicle at 35mph. At that stretch of the road, its near impossible to see oncoming cars if you are doing a U-turn.

The police report on the recently passed away biker states witness evidence that the cyclist lost control and "fell off" her bike.

The short of it is people make mistakes and bad things can happen. Just like skiing at a ski resort is a risk, so is riding a bike. As in anything else in life.

Posted by you know who, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 2, 2007 at 12:33 pm

I wonder if Citizen A or anyone else, including those who remain quick to absolve motorists of blame when they injure or kill cyclists, have actually seen the "CHP report" of the Rodney Smith tragedy. I haven't, but evidence that I saw at the scene, including the investigators' paint marks, indicated that the late Mr. Smith was well inside the bike lane proceeding straight ahead. Did the investigators rely on any witnesses other than that of the elderly driver, who probably wants to keep driving until he hits 100 years?

Posted by suspicious, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 2, 2007 at 3:42 pm

How does an experienced cyclist "lose control" of a bike? Maybe after being sideswiped by a car?

Posted by Citizen A, a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Aug 3, 2007 at 12:21 am

Why invoke conspiracy theories? Is it just a simple way to feel that if there were these "protections" from cars then everything would be safe? that's ridiculous.

Posted by anon, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 3, 2007 at 1:04 pm

"How does an experienced cyclist "lose control" of a bike? Maybe after being sideswiped by a car?"

how does an experienced driver sideswipe a cyclist? Maybe after the cyclists performs dangerous manuevers such as wandering into the car lane, u-turns without waiting for no traffic, or running stop signs?

Posted by biker friend, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 4, 2007 at 2:06 pm

Vehicles have mirrors and other objects that extend beyond the body of the vehicle. These can strike a biker when to close, regardless of who was over a line.
In addition to being sideswiped by a car, an experienced biker could hit a hole or an object on the pavement. Or suffer a medical problem.
Let's wait for the autopsy report.

Regarding the other accident, it is tragic. Without witnesses, we'll never know what happened, and it's unfortunate that doubts remain.

Posted by Lee, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 17, 2009 at 2:02 am

The ppl arguing that the motorists never do anything wrong and that the cyclists are always unsafe are silly. I've seen both motorists and cyclists do silly, completely unsafe things.

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