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Road safety: Portola Valley reshapes traffic committee

Original post made on Sep 29, 2011

Portola Valley changes name and mission of its traffic committee to focus on problems and conflicts between bicyclist, drivers and pedestrians.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, September 29, 2011, 7:52 AM

Comments (7)

Posted by PV Community Member, a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Sep 29, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Here's hoping that the new Town of Portola Valley committee will help bring more positive light to the cycling community. Yes, some cyclists misbehave on occasion, as do drivers of cars and trucks. This article makes it seem like the cyclists are the ones at fault -- even when run over from behind by a 22-wheel big rig. The sheriffs would be plenty busy ticketing motorists who fail to make complete stops at Alpine and Portola, and enforcing the speed limit in front of the Ladera Shopper. Everyone: Be careful out there, obey the law, and spread positive action in our communities.


Posted by pv rez, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Sep 29, 2011 at 2:40 pm

question to the readers out there regarding this point:

■ Drivers who loom ominously behind pelotons traveling at maybe 30 mph in a 35 mph section and which acquire certain privileges to use an entire lane when bike lanes are absent.

when you come up on a peloton taking the entire lane and you can't pass, what other option is there but to follow behind them?


Posted by Donald, a resident of another community
on Sep 29, 2011 at 7:32 pm

pv rez, follow them at a safe distance. Preferably drop far enough back that you can see past them, but leave at least enough distance to stop without hitting any of them should they fall.


Posted by another PV rez, a resident of Portola Valley: Brookside Park
on Sep 30, 2011 at 10:41 am

Donald - you may be right, but these "peloton" are often longer than a 16 wheeler!

The cyclists that cause dangerous situations are often having to deal with a crash in the heart of the group and they swerve wildly to avoid each other. Perhaps they also need to separate with enough distance to react appropriately?


Posted by marc, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 30, 2011 at 11:56 am

The horse incident is not accurate--

Those horses were on a trail next to the road 10 yrds down and 10 yrds to the right of the Portola. Only the last few riders could see them.

A woman was not yelling stop or slow down. She was screaming in panic and I could not hear any words. She had between 50 and 100yrds to slow the horse and she did not. Then the horse went up to the street where the trail ended at a driveway. At this point it slipped to almost 45% and so did the rider and ran into to oncoming traffic lane just before Old La Honda. I tried to warn oncoming cars to slow down. I saw this looking back from the very back of the pack because I heard far away screaming. Then another out of control horse with rider properly mounted took the same route and did not slip. A few riders slowed down to help this second horse and the 1st horse --without rider and they did just past when Portola splits towards 84. The horses did not turn left with the pack (it was far away) as we were slowing them down and they were gassed by then. I would say only a few riders knew anything about this at the time and the horses though intimidating were not too fast on the road so they never really got close to catching the pack. These horses very likely should not be anywhere near a road with cars, bikes, kids, dogs, etc. They should be on trails without distractions, or properly trained.


Posted by Donald, a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2011 at 9:11 am

How far back would you stay from a 16-wheeler? They have huge blind spots so you need to stay way back from them in order for the driver to see you and for you to be able to see around them. No difference with a group of bikes. Nothing good comes from following them too closely; it makes the cyclists nervous and they keep checking behind to see what you are up to when they should be paying attention to things in front of them.


Posted by A Person, a resident of another community
on Oct 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Dear Marc:

When a horse has been spooked (which can happen even with the most 'bomb-proof' horse, given the right (or wrong) circumstances,) the right thing for any motorist, pedestrian or bicyclist to do is to stop and wait until the situation resolves itself.

Please share this with your bicycle friends. If the pelaton did not stop, they did the wrong thing and need to learn how to do the right thing.

Your comment about "properly trained" was ignorant. Even highly trained police horses have been known to panic under exceptional circumstances (like the one at Candlestick Park that got a plastic bag caught in his bridle and bolted.)

If you want everyone to "share the road" with bikes, then perhaps you should learn how "share" as well. Sharing means, at times, putting the safety of others before your own selfish interests.


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