Town Square

Post a New Topic

Bicyclists say city's bike network needs a boost

Original post made on Sep 6, 2012

According to census data, a growing number of Mountain View residents are rolling to work on bicycles. But Mountain View's efforts to grow its network of bike routes is at a standstill.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, September 6, 2012, 10:37 AM

Comments (64)

Posted by SRB, a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Sep 6, 2012 at 10:55 am

Wanted to echo Jarren Mullen's comment on Mountain View bike "boulevards". My favorite example is Miramonte that has a nice Bike Route sign right off El Camino..... but no marked bike lane until after St Joseph elementary school.

Posted by agree, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 6, 2012 at 11:11 am

I agree that Mountain View's network of bicycle-safe streets is lacking. The Stevens Creek Trail is great if you live and work along that route, but most people don't. North-south bicycle routes through the city are poor with heavy traffic, cars blocking the "bike lanes" on Middlefield and California, and few good connections to Palo Alto, Los Altos, or Sunnyvale.

Posted by CC, a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2012 at 11:21 am

Instant safety: Wear a helmet Jarren.

Posted by agree, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 6, 2012 at 11:23 am

San Antonio Road has bike lanes west of El Camino, but not east of El Camino. What's up with that?

On Middlefield Road heading north to Palo Alto, the bike lane ends a few blocks before San Antonio Road where traffic is the worst.

Gaps in the bicycle network like this make it real hard to safely get around town.

Posted by Janet Lafleur, a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 6, 2012 at 11:35 am

@agree Where Middlefield crosses San Antonio is exactly the stretch I was talking about in my quote in the article. The bike lanes go away to make room for all the turning lanes, and the right lane adjacent to the Valero station on Middlefield is too narrow for both a car and a bike. It was the worst 20 seconds of an otherwise wonderful 5 mile commute. But this small breaks in the chain often keep people from riding their bikes.

Posted by Um, OK, a resident of Castro City
on Sep 6, 2012 at 11:44 am

CC, a helmet is an "After the accident" safety measure. These discussions are about AVOIDING the accident in the first place. It'd be like saying "Lane markers on the road are not needed for safety...just wear a seat belt."

Posted by CC, a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2012 at 11:57 am

@ Umm OK Safest roads in the world you should still wear a safety belt, same goes for safest bike lanes/routes and wearing a helmet. Just seems silly that an advocate for "bike safety" is ignoring the first and foremost #1 rule in Bike safety. Duh

Posted by Biker chic, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Mountain View's "bike boulevard" falls far short of Palo Alto's, and I rarely use it even though it goes places that I go. One of the big advantages of Bryant Street is that there are relatively few stop signs and traffic signals, allowing cyclists to get through the area efficiently, safely, and in good time.

Conversely, Mountain View's boulevard makes several twists and turns, all with stop signs at fairly minor intersections, greatly slowing down progress ... and sending more experienced cyclists over to Middlefield or even Central.

A bike boulevard is supposed to *favor* bike traffic, but Mountain View's implementation merely *accommodates* bikes.

Posted by Donald, a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2012 at 12:24 pm

I found this article a bit ironic. People in Palo Alto complain that the city is focused too much on on-street facilities and they point enviously to Mountain View's off-road trails, while those in Mountain View envy Palo Alto's bike boulevards.

Posted by need both, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 6, 2012 at 12:34 pm

The Stevens Creek Trail is really great, but it only serves one corridor. Mountain View badly needs to expand the bicycle-friendly network, whether by more off-street trails or on-street facilities. In particular, connections from Mountain View to Palo Alto and to Los Altos are really terrible.

Posted by James, a resident of Castro City
on Sep 6, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I'm not sure why there would be neighborhood opposition to bike boulevards like those of Palo Alto.

They do create a much more friendly bike route. However, they also serve to throttle traffic through residential neighborhoods and encourage use of expressways or highways for non-local traffic. I can't imagine any proper suburban family that wouldn't want to slow or eliminate cars speeding through their neighborhoods in their morning commutes.

It's very common to see kids playing kickball or games on Bryant street roads. Particular right at the points that have through traffic blocked. You don't see that as much in other neighborhoods (because it's not safe). I bet if you took a poll of residents (particularly parents) along Bryant St., the vast majority absolutely love the traffic regulation.

We need traffic flow designs like this in Mountain View. We also need bike lanes along man roads like El Camino. It's good for neighborhood safety. It's good for commerce. And it improves community access.

Posted by Janet Lafleur, a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 6, 2012 at 12:42 pm

@Donald I think the answer is that cities need both. Trails are wonderful but without on-street facilities to get there then trails are recreational facilities that people drive to use. I'm sure the trails' neighbors don't want those traffic or parking problems.

On-street facilities are needed to get kids to schools, to shop, and to run errands, but creek trails are great for longer commutes to work and for having a relaxing ride across town. It's just like what freeways and city street are for cars--you need both.

Posted by @Editor, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 6, 2012 at 2:00 pm

"... Angelo said of a place where bike accidents serious enough to make headlines have occurred. He said he believes that's the consensus of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee."

Lauren Angelo is female so "he" should be "she" in both places above.

Posted by Sparty, a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 6, 2012 at 2:19 pm

One thing that would really improve safety is to change the law so that bicycles are required to stop at red lights/stop signs.

Posted by cars, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm

One thing that would really improve safety is to change the law so that cars are required to stop at red lights/stop signs.

Seems to me that fewer than half of car drivers come to complete stops before proceeding straight at stop signs; much fewer when turning right at stop signs.

Posted by Mike, a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm

I think that comparing Mountain View to other cities should take into account the entire city. Palo Alto does have a nice bike route but the rest of the cities roads are a joke compared to Mountain View. Many narrow bike lanes in Palo Alto are unridable because of poor pavement, ruts, etc., while Mountain View roads are actually repaired and maintained. But one key element missing in this discussion is any and all intersections controlled by Caltrans, I. E. El Camino, San Antonio, etc. These intersections have numerous issues such as no sensors, and 3 second yellow lights.
Try turning left from Foothill Expressway towards Foothill College - no sensor, no pushbutton.

Posted by Um, OK, a resident of Castro City
on Sep 6, 2012 at 2:49 pm

OK CC, I guess if you're looking for some sort of negative, you could use that helmet statement. He's also straddling his bike on the sidewalk, not riding it. I have a feeling he was simply posing for a pic and not riding at all; probably made an appointment to meet the photog and he said "How about one on your bike" But I guess we should also tell him to stay off the sidewalk...even if the photog asked him stand there and pose.
Seems there's more important issues in this story other than what someone wore or didn't wear while he posed for a picture. But maybe not. Maybe that's the issue everyone should focus on. Well done in your observations (though you totally missed the sidewalk "issue")
Cheers to you and your agreement on the importance of bicycle safety!

Posted by Janet Lafleur, a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 6, 2012 at 2:58 pm

@Mike You're right about the importance of traffic light sensors detecting bicycles. When I first started biking in the mid-90s there were bike-sensitive sensors in Mtn View but not in San Jose. I remember going to a San Jose bike meeting and trying to explain what they were to a city transportation guy who had never heard of them. That's what I meant about Mountain View being in the forefront.

Posted by Peeved, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 6, 2012 at 4:34 pm

My pet peeve is the condition of the bycicle lanes. The vertical cracks, potholes, gravel, vegitation, and stuff in general make for a bumpy hazardous ride.

Also, Calderon from El Camino to to Evelyn, I think they removed the white line for bike lane by scratching the paint off the surface leaving hazardous grooves in the pavement. Gee thanks?

Posted by Bob, a resident of Slater
on Sep 6, 2012 at 5:03 pm

I would like to add some balance to this discussion. Bicyclists are continually commenting that cars are not sharing the road with them, at least not to their satisfaction. That the city should allocate road space for them so they can be more equal with autos in using the public streets. The city is now looking to spend about 1.7 million dollars for two relative short bike lanes. Motor vehicles are licensed and fees paid,their operators are licensed and fees paid, when they buy gas, more fees paid, a mandatory smog inspection every two years, and they are required to have insurance to use the public roads. Currently, bicyclists are exempt from all of this, and yet they want equality and tax dollars. Yes there are those drivers who fail to stop at intersections, but they are a small percentage when compared to the number of bicyclists who blow through a stop sign or light, don't ride on the proper side of the road, ride at night with inadequate lighting to name a few examples.

Perhaps the bicycle community who are now demanding the city do more for them, should share in the financial responsibility. Share the road and share the rules and responsibilities. With cities looking for new sources of revenue, requiring bicyclists to have a operators license for a fee, bike registration for a fee, a mandatory safety inspection every two years for a fee and insurance just as motor vehicles and their operators are required to do would be a good start. I am sure that everyone on the bike committee always obeys all the rules, but there are so many more who do not, and they are on the road as well.

Posted by taxes, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 6, 2012 at 5:23 pm

The majority of road projects are paid for by sales taxes, including those $100 million freeway ramps that are currently being built on Hwy 101. Bicyclists are banned from using the freeway, even though they pay for it with their tax dollars. Encouraging more people to bike to work reduces congestion and road costs for everyone. If more people were bicycling to begin with, we wouldn't have had to waste that $100 million on a minor freeway improvements.

Posted by we all pay road taxes, a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 6, 2012 at 5:41 pm

@Bob Motorist fees like fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees primarily go toward building and maintaining freeways and highways, but funding for local streets and roads--the roads pedestrians and cyclists use most--comes mainly from general taxes (sales, property taxes, etc).

Plus, the vast majority of bicyclists in Mountain View are not selling their cars, they're just using them less. Like hybrid drivers, they burn less gasoline, but they're paying the same car registration fees.

Posted by Bob, a resident of Slater
on Sep 6, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Dear "we all pay road taxes". Cars and trucks and buses cost more than bikes therefore pay more in sales taxes. The bicycle was delivered to the shop in a truck, as were the raw materials delivered to the manufacturer. Yes, bikes are not allowed to use the freeway and neither are cars allowed to use bike lanes and I am certain that we both agree that is a safe tradeoff. Trains and buses have made accommodations for riders to bring their bikes, so riders can travel to places that they couldn't otherwise get to on a bike.
I do not oppose bicycling, just the entitlement attitude that surfaces in stories like this,and like the hybrid drivers you mentioned, most all bicyclists share an arrogance complete with halos as they ride along.
All people who use the public roads should be held to the same standard, knowing their rights and responsiblilitys, being licensed, having vehicles inspected, having insurance.

Posted by Donald, a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm

You are wrong about all road users being held to the same standard. MOTOR vehicle operators are held to a higher standard because of the huge danger that they present to the public. No other users of the road are requred to be licensed, inspected or insured. There are other categories of vehicle and also non-vehicular road users, and none of them are required to be licensed or insured. Motor vehicles are treated differently and that is entirely appropriate.

As far as equity, I don't think that many bicyclists are requesting that the same amount be spent on bike facilities as those for cars, only a fair percentage. At the moment we spend less than 1% of transportation funds on bikes, which is less than the percentage of trips made by bikes.

Posted by Car Cyclist, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 6, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Bob, when you start to go down the "I'm not using it so I shouldn't have to pay for it" road, it becomes silly. The community will have zero money to do anything and will stagnate. If you look at the big picture and end result, this HELPS motorists. Wouldn't you love to get 10% of the cars currently on the local roads off them?
And yes, a higher percentage of cyclists run stop signs and red lights, just as a higher percentage of drivers drive over the posted sped limit on 280 and a high percentage of pedestrians cross mi block and on the red. The world hasn't seemed to come crashing to an end over either except for annoying some. Oh, except that people die more regularly because of excessive speed while driving.

Remember, helping people get on their bikes and out of their cars will also help the people who cannot get out of their cars.
It helps the community as a whole by improving the livability of Mtn View. Don't let personality issue of people you've personally decided are most all smug and entitled block your ability to see what's best for the city.

Posted by David, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm

@Bob, running a red light is illegal for cyclists, and as far as I know so is running a stop sign. Complaining that some cyclists ride on the wrong side of the street or at night without lights is like complaining that some car drivers speed, change lanes without signaling, roll through stop signs, turn right without looking for bikes, etc. These are all illegal and yet people do them. That's why we have laws and police to enforce them.

BTW, Idaho has a "rolling stop" law for cyclists that allows cyclists to

1. slow as they approach a stop sign,
2. treat it as a yield sign, yielding to both cars and pedestrians until it is their turn, stopping only if necessary,
3. and rolling through when it is safe and they have the right of way.

Not only that but it increases the fine for running the stop sign at speed or unsafely by $100. This allows cyclists to conserve energy while maintaining safety.

Web Link

I would like to see this for California as well. I confess that I already do this on the two stop signs I hit on Bryant on my commute home. I slow down so that I can stop easily and *always* stop if there are cars approaching the intersection, even if I could make it through before them. If there are no cars in either direction, I continue through slowly. I don't do this at the poorly-timed traffic signals on Lytton on my way to work even when there are no cars or pedestrians around.

Not everyone is going to obey the law to your satisfaction, but you can't expect the rest of us to suffer for it.

Finally, while my bike cost less than your car, the groceries, clothes, movies, etc. that I buy cost the same, and I pay sales tax just as you do. Why should I be forced to pay for your roads? I look forward to your reimbursement check. :)

Posted by 100% commuter cyclist, a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Almost without exception, the comments section of every story focused on cycling is derailed at some point by the same predictable motorist-vs.-cyclist arguments. I saw this article this morning, figured it was going to happen again, and checked back now to see that indeed it had.

Look at the first stream of comments up to that posted by "Bob". Some interesting back and forth about how neighboring cities approach these issues, some specific examples of things that work and don't work, etc. All very useful and interesting.

Then "Bob" comes in to provide "balance". Out come the two old saws: 1. taxes and 2. bicyclists and stop signs. After that, most of the comments focus on the usual rebuttals: 1. fact checking the tax comment and 2. motorists and speeding.

I have a solution. Every time this paper publishes an article on bicycling, a better written version of the following paragraph should be appended to the end of it:

"We want this to be a productive discussion about bicycling and bicycle commuting in our city. Therefore, we reserve the right to remove comments pertaining to 1. the well-known fact that some cyclists and some motorists sometimes fail to obey rules of the road and 2. taxes, because this topic is not our focus here and is usually misunderstood. Thank you for your cooperation."

Posted by the_punnisher, a resident of Whisman Station
on Sep 6, 2012 at 8:24 pm

When cyclists start paying all the fees the other vehicles and vehicle operators have to along with the license that MUST BE PASSED BEFORE YOU CAN SAFELY OPERATE YOUR VEHICLE, then you have the right to complain about the lack of parity involving BICYCLE STUFF that your community has. Period.

Bringing up a fake argument about " already owning a registered vehicle " doesn't alter the basic requirements that is needed.

There are many good reason why bicycles need PLATES, they are the same reasons that other vehicles have.

When trails opened up just west of Denver, the RUDE, ARROGANT bicycle riders spoiled the trails for the other people using them. Since then, some trails got ONE WAY ONLY for the trails. Other mountain roads PROHIBIT CYCLISTS because of the unsafe manner and arrogance ( no pull off the road to let the build-up of 5-10 cars behind them. There are plenty of pull-offs, cyclists don't use them, but cars do ).

Having illegal pelotons makes things much worse. Local residents have been scattering tacks on heavily used routes frequented by these lawbreakers.

For the people still whining about bicycle issues, I recommend you look up the word TANSTAAFL...

Posted by spoke, a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 6, 2012 at 8:29 pm

I didn't see mention of the new Permanente Creek Trail extension which opened earlier this year. This extension added a bridge over 101 and a tunnel under Old Middlefield Way, and is between Shoreline and Rengstorff.

Also opened this year was the extension of the Stevens Creek Trail that goes over 85 to the intersection of Dale and Heatherstone.

Mountain View could surely do more to extend, enhance, and maintain its bike facilities. But let's acknowledge the great things that have been done in Mountain View.

Posted by Scott Lamb, a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 6, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Bob, I completely disagree. Requiring fees from bicyclists or scaling back on these kinds of improvements would be counterproductive. I suspect increased bicycling earns or saves the city much more money than it costs.

A $1.33 million bicycle lane on San Antonio may seem expensive at first, but how much does regular resurfacing cost? My understanding is that damage to a road is proportional to the *fourth power* of the axle weight of a vehicle. That means that heavy trucks and SUVs do enormous damage, cars do moderate damage, and bicycles effectively never damage roads. I'd be interested to see the full math on how quickly these bicycle lanes pay for themselves, but I think it's fair to assume that they do pay for themselves in road maintenance costs alone, and probably sooner than most people realize.

How much would dramatically expanding car access into North Bayshore cost? That area is a mess traffic-wise and will become even more so as Google continues to expand. If much of that can be addressed with bicycles instead of cars, I suspect a lot of money would be saved.

The recently opened Permanente Creek Trail and Stevens Creek Trail segments are great. I love them. We can always do more, though - more trails, more bicycle boulevard features, more bicycle lanes, and much much more bicycle parking downtown.

These types of improvements make the city a better place to live, work, and shop. That's good enough for me by itself, but budget-wise that also means increased property and sales taxes.

If people commute by bicycle instead of car, their health improves from exercise. Again, I'd consider that a worthy goal by itself, but it also means saves money on city employees' medical insurance. One MSNBC article claims an obese person's health care costs are $1,850/year greater than a person of healthy weight. So maybe we should emulate Boulder, Colorado - famous for bicycle friendliness and being the least obese metro region in the country at 12.1% obese vs our current 17.9% (San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara metro) or the national average of 26.1%.

Posted by Andrew Boone, a resident of another community
on Sep 7, 2012 at 3:18 am

The percent of Mountain View residents who bike to work is 4.1%, not 3.4% as described in this article.

There is no "2011 Census". The most recent data available for commuting statistics is from the U.S. Census 2010 American Community Survey.

Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 7, 2012 at 6:57 am

We need more of change the lines painted on a street, we still have car friendly streets with all the bike improvements. Maybe changing some the small hazatds that drivers, bike riders and others face.

Posted by reader, a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 7, 2012 at 10:54 am

Wow I love seeing all this lively discussion about bicycle transportation! That means people care about and want to ride, which is great.

Let's remember to include in this discussion the several thousand school children in MV, many of which are driven across town twice daily. Take a look at the safe bike routes or bike lanes leading to the elementary and middle schools. You won't find many. I could not find bike lanes mentioned anywhere in the recently approved $200M renovating-the-just-renovated facilities bond.

Posted by Driver, a resident of Castro City
on Sep 7, 2012 at 11:25 am

I almost hit a woman on a bike this morning. BTW, she wasn't wearing a helmet and was peddling on the wrong side of the street! I came to a complete stop at a stop sign, looked both ways and saw nothing, just started to accelerate, and out of no where on the wrong side of the street she zooms right in front of my car. She was easily doing more than 25 MPH. Good thing I was barely moving and was able to stop within about 15-20 feet from where I was stopped.

Posted by David, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 7, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I was almost hit by a car a few weeks back while biking home from work. BTW, she wasn't wearing a seat belt and was texting on their cell phone. I came to a complete stop at a stop sign, looked both ways and saw nothing, just started to accelerate, and out of no where she zooms right in front of me. She was easily doing more than 25 MPH. Good thing I was barely moving and was able to stop within about 15-20 inches from where I was stopped.

@Driver, people break the law and act unsafely all the time, especially when it comes to the rules of the road. You cannot assume that all people like them do the same thing or you'll go mad. BTW, how often do you drive over the posted limit on the highway?

Posted by Jarrett M, a resident of Castro City
on Sep 7, 2012 at 3:20 pm

How about the idea that cycling is good for everyone's bottom line? For the individual, city, and businesses.

For the individual, cycling can be a practical alternative to the automobile, especially since the terrain here is flat, or climate near-perfect, and things are pretty close together. You can cycle for lots of trips and leave your car at home which means you're saving gas, reducing and tear on your car, and positively impacting your personal health.

For the city, the cost of building good bikeways is next to nothing compared to vehicle projects and transit projects. The cost of maintaining bicycle infrastructure is not as high either, simply because a person on a bike weighs 10x less than a typical car. While not a direct impact on the city, our healthcare system could be better off if people cycled for more of their errands and other trips. Cycle 2 miles to the store and back (10 minutes one way at a relaxed pace), and you've accomplished 20 of the 30 minutes of suggested exercise for an adult.

For businesses, cycling is good– it's good because your customers are spending less on their car and can spend more at your business. When properly designed, bike parking makes accessing your business super convenient– you can accomodate all your customers right next to your front door with a few bike racks. Even large car parking lots are not this convenient. Additionally, when people are moving at a slower pace they are more aware of their surroundings, including local businesses.

To sum it up– invest a little, and get big returns. Let's get to work and build the better bike infrastructure to safely and comfortably connect the places people want to go in the city.

Posted by mark henlin, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 7, 2012 at 8:29 pm

bike transit on calderon ave, for example, has increased a lot in the last few years. of course, it leads to the train station and gets a lot of morning traffic. the city has removed the bike lane markings all over calderon and the result is pretty bad for cyclists. on top of that, mv roads are in almost as bad a state of conservation as sunnyvale's. the city needs to definitely get more creative and caring for its cyclists.

Posted by Driver Too, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 8, 2012 at 5:35 am

Driver, I can tell anecdotal stories all day about incidents that happened to me as a driver by OTHER DRIVERS. I have a handfull of stories about bikes as does everyone else, but the majority of my "close calls" on the road have been car vs car. I drive about 40 mins each way on my commute and without question, the dangers on the road are primarily caused by aggressive drivers. Bikes are like a biting fly in a swarm of killer bees. Maybe an irritation, but not the main object of worry if indeed safety is your main concern.
BTW, yet another local citizen was KILLED by someone in a car yesterday. Not one comment urging safe operation of motor vehicles yet from all these so called safety concerned drivers.

Posted by Driver, a resident of Castro City
on Sep 8, 2012 at 8:14 am

Driver Too:

I can tell anecdotal stories too. If you want to make this about pro-cars vs. pro-bikes, go ahead.

The biker in my case was breaking the law, just like many drivers, and putting their life and the lives of others in jeopardy. If cars being more dangerous justifies to you bicyclists riding recklessly and putting their lives in danger, or makes them a minor nuisance in the bigger picture of you and your commute, then I'm at a loss for words. BTW, watch out for those pesky pedestrians. Even a pedestrian jay-walking is breaking the law. This is about people behaving badly in general.


Why don't you ask me instead when was the last time I drove the wrong way on the freeway without a seat belt? That would be a more apt comparison. BTW I don't speed and spend quite a look of time looking in my rear view mirror to make sure I don't get run over by a speeder.

Posted by The Eye, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 8, 2012 at 8:38 am

The Eye is a registered user.

@Sparty: Bicyclists are already supposed to stop at stop signs and lights. The pure fact of it is that 99% of them are scofflaws that don't, and any demands or desires that cyclists have are null and void until they learn to obey the laws of the land. And I'm a cyclist who does.

Posted by Observer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 8, 2012 at 9:36 am


Why infuse the topic with a sense of biker superiority and righteousness. Driver's biker above was riding on the wrong side of the road without a helmet. You apparently follow the law while you ride? So where is the comparison/argument? Yeah, I thought so.

Posted by Observer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 8, 2012 at 9:38 am

And if David's driver was driving on the wrong side of the road, he wouldn't not have almost been hit.

Posted by David, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm


"If cars being more dangerous justifies to you bicyclists riding recklessly."

I never made such a claim, nor did the article. That cars are more dangerous only means that cyclists need more protection from them such as wider bike lanes, slower traffic, left turn signals, left turn boxes, etc. A cyclist who is following all of the traffic laws poses near-zero risk to car drivers doing the same.

"I don't speed and spend quite a look of time looking in my rear view mirror."

That's great. I also don't speed and pay close attention to my surroundings while biking. There are unsafe drivers and unsafe cyclists, and that fact won't change as long as people are controlling the vehicles. How do we improve safety for *everyone* in the interim?

@The Eye

"The pure fact of it is that 99% of them are scofflaws."

Wow, I would love to read that study! Is it the same study that found that 99% of all car drivers speed?


"Driver's biker above was riding on the wrong side of the road without a helmet."

And the car driver in my anecdote blew through a stop sign. Driver and I told the same story with the roles reversed. What's the point? You cannot argue against improving road safety for cyclists because some of them break the law. If you do, you also argue against improving road conditions for car drivers. That's simple logic--not righteousness.

"And if David's driver was driving on the wrong side of the road, he wouldn't not have almost been hit."

It was a one-way street. Had the driver been going the *wrong way* you can bet I'd have given her plenty of leeway while waving my arms frantically to get her to turn around!


Perhaps I'm just missing the point of all these "cyclists are scofflaws who ride without helmets" posts. They seem to imply that cyclists in general don't deserve safe riding conditions because some cyclists ride unsafely. Does that make any sense?

Posted by David, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 8, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Perhaps one thing that is missing here is the point that even car drivers who are faithfully obeying all traffic laws and paying attention still POSE A SERIOUS RISK TO CYCLISTS.

Accidents happen, and one between a bike and car is *more likely* to end with the cyclist going to the hospital and the driver walking away than the other way around. That's simple physics as work. The driver is encased in a solid metal cage while the cyclist has . . . a plastic helmet.

All we want is to modify a few of Mountain View's streets to decrease the likelihood of a car-bike collision. Is that so much to ask? Jarrett outlined many excellent benefits to both drivers, cyclists, and local businesses above.

Posted by spartay, a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Let's see "cars" post a youtube video cyclists even slowing down at a stop sign.

more likely to flip off cars and scream 'share the road' than once in their life stop at a stop sign.

We should all do like bikes, if there are no other cars we can see at a 4 way, just drive on through--

Posted by Mr Advice, a resident of Castro City
on Sep 9, 2012 at 9:04 pm

It really gets me when you see a biker make a left hand turn at a intersection green arrow as a car would. Are they crazy to get in the thick of traffic?
They should be arrested on the spot.

Posted by Donald, a resident of another community
on Sep 9, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Arrested for what? Obeying the law?

Posted by David, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 9, 2012 at 11:36 pm

@Mr Advice, believe me I hate having to do that too, but it's the law. I would much rather use a "bike box" (Web Link) which is one of the proposed additions to some local intersections such as at California and Cuesta.

Posted by Observe, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 10, 2012 at 6:15 am

Perhaps one thing that is missing here is the point that even cyclists who are faithfully obeying all traffic laws and paying attention still POSE A SERIOUS RISK TO PEDESTRIANS.

Posted by Law abiding person on a bike, a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 10, 2012 at 10:48 am

@Observe How would a cyclist faithfully obeying traffic laws and paying attention be a serious risk to pedestrians, unless the pedestrians are disobeying the law and/or not paying attention themselves?

Posted by Lefty, a resident of Castro City
on Sep 10, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Mr. Advise, your irritation is at odds with the law. The law states that cyclists make a left in the way you describe. If you were more aware of the laws, you might have different expectations of behaviors on the road, and it might not irritate you as much when you see people following the law.
That said, a "bike box" would be better. Lets work to change the law and make things good for all!

Posted by 100% commuter cyclist, a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Wow. Since my last post, the vitriol has become only more caustic.

@the_punnisher: Tacks, eh? Sounds like premediated intent to injure or kill, don't you think?

@Mr Advice: Arrested on the spot? Wouldn't that get in the way of your left turn? Arrested to the side would be more convenient, I think, though a bit absurd considering <i>the bicyclists are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing</i>.

If I were a better person, I might attempt to infuse this argument with a sense of perspective. I might mention that not all cyclists are the same: some are responsible commuters (you might recognize them by their lights, rack bags, helmets, rear-view mirrors, and their all-around attentiveness, though they probably make innocent mistakes at about the same rate as drivers); some are recreational or serious athletes who quite possibly drive their bicycles to the start of organized rides (I wish such cyclists weren't counted a real cyclists, because they do tend to do annoying things one the road); some wish they could affort a car and hate bicycling (you might recognize them by their Walmart bicycles with saddles too low, soft rear tire, no lights, bicycling the wrong way, etc.: you might give them a break since they already are having a tough time); some are <i>kids</i>, who famously and for good biological reasons <i>make poor decisions all the time</i>.

Unfortunately, I'm not that kind of person, and so what I really want to say is that this comment stream provides excellent support to me when I try to explain to colleagues why commuter cyclists so often say there's a war on bicyclists. There really is. There are frighteningly angry motorists on the road. It's kind of insane.

Posted by Bottom Line, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 10, 2012 at 4:43 pm

If we accept that 3.6% commute to work by bike, that leaves 96.4% that do not.

Posted by the_punnisher, a resident of Whisman Station
on Sep 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Rural Colorado is not the Californicated Boulder-Denver corridor.

Quite a few people do the tacks thing. If you were traveling at A SAFE SPEED AND OBEYIN TRAFFIC LAWS, there would be no danger to the cyclist and other users of the road LIKE PEDESTRIANS.

Too many people have had a bad experience using the trails;

I've said this one before; A Boulder County Sheriff wrote over 150 TICKETS during a ONE DAY SHIFT at a stop sign that GROUPS of bicyclist constantly blew off..They thought a PELOTON gave them immunity. WRONG!

Posted by David, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 10, 2012 at 7:10 pm

@Observe - I agree that a pedestrian hit by a cyclist would be in for a world of hurt, and probably the cyclist too. The only places they can legally inhabit together are cross walks and recreational trails. What changes would be necessary to improve the safety for both?

Posted by Doesn't Happen, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 10, 2012 at 9:59 pm

punisher talks a good game here...a lot. I've lived and trained in CO for 3 years, riding mostly all rural roads over every mountainous section of the state we could find. Never saw a tacked section. OK, maybe they did tack a road, but if they did, it was such a terrible job nobody noticed except maybe the tittering yokels hiding behind a tree, unaware of their failure.
Its OK though punisher, we're all impressed with your hell cat machismo act of wannabe terrorism, imagined or not.

Glad we're going to see continued interest in building up our cycling infrastructure. Its really starting to snowball and will only get better

Posted by Yeah!, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 11, 2012 at 11:38 am

I truly love how the number of cyclists and cycling interests are exploding. All the new "town style" bikes and improved infrastructure is making it easier and safer to move about w/out a car, and has made more room for cars on the road by getting drivers onto their bikes and out of the lanes. Once people experience the exhilaration and freedom getting around on a bike provides, they become hooked and will likely try and get others to join them. That's how I've seen it happening anyway.

Posted by There should be a law against, a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 11, 2012 at 1:56 pm

There should be a law against bikers going into car turning lanes.

Nothing worse then a biker trying to pedal on there 3 wheelers across the road in the turn lane.

The way it is done is to follow the road until you get to the other side of the road. Then press the walk button, the same as a pedestrian.

Bikes are for kids, not everyone wants to hop on one. I'm part of the 96.4 percent.

This growing explosion some call it is just a dud, as soon as cold weather and rain hits, everyone will be back to their cars. The bikes will be in the garage gathering dust.

Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2012 at 2:04 pm

We have such wide streets that most times a walker can't get to get across. Bikes aren't perfect but the idea is to create a system of getting people from point A to point B, we haven't even touched on the subject of streetcars El Camino or Shoreline. In some places bike travel is less then car travel because traffic is so bad.

Posted by the_punnisher, a resident of Whisman Station
on Sep 11, 2012 at 3:04 pm

What I posted is the truth; you can search the Denver media archives for the stories on all these issues. I didn't make my comment a personal attack, Doesn't Happen did. Where are the censorship masters at the the Voice? You have censored many of my other posts, how about applying your posting rules FAIRLY FOR ALL?

Back OT: The backlash against bicyclists is a known factor when discussing the road worthy issues of combining ALL the types of people including animals like horses and their riders on roads and trails. People and their horses DO NOT like a PELOTON of these ( censored ) piloting their bikes at 25MPH disrupting the peaceful use of our TAXPAYER FUNDED trails.

For myself, I see 90% of the bicyclist lawbreakers when I'm out on my front lawn or getting the mail. Bicyclists ( ALL OF THEM ) blow off the stop sign and some even ride on the center line on the road in front of my house! That is a BLIND T intersection with cars turning on the roadway ALSO at 25MPH. You can guess who loses when a collision takes place!

So how about a LICENSE and REGISTRATION to balance things out and make sure that an operator of a bicycle understand the RESPONSIBILITY they have and the proper operation of a bicycle on a road SHARED BY PEDESTRIANS, HORSEBACK RIDERS, BICYCLISTS and MOTOR VEHICLES?

Posted by Donald, a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Licensing and registration of bicyclists is a money-losing proposition that is a waste of time. Most cities and counties are dropping their bike licensing programs because they cost too much. If this was a big public safety issue then we would hear police chiefs and mayors calling for it, but the only ones asking for it are a few sour posters in online forums. I conclude that they are blowing the safety issues out of all proportion.

I am not opposed to education programs to teach bicyclists the rules of the road. I support having these programs as part of PE classes so everyone growing up would learn how to bike legally and safely. I am opposed to licensing and registration programs because they are money losers and could take away the only means of transportation that some people can afford.

Posted by Punish, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 12, 2012 at 7:10 am

Punisher is one of those guys who fumes when someone gets away with something. License programs have been tried and scrapped all over for lack of results and costs. It doesn't matter if the program will be of no value and cost the community $ they don't long as someone gets a ticket. Some people simply cannot stand that someone may get away with a minor infraction.
Just think how irate he gets when he goes onto 280 and 99% of the cars on the roads are speeding. Oh wait, he doesn't seem to get mad over that. Oh, I get it, he's just an anti-bike crank. time for those people.

Posted by John, a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 12, 2012 at 9:05 pm

The Mountain view bike "boulevards" are a joke. But wait, city staff will "study" and get back to us in late 2013 with a need for a "study" to study a study.

It's no joke watching 1000 cars a day squeezing thru with the bikes in Monta Loma.

Posted by David, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 13, 2012 at 6:53 pm

On my commute ride home today, of the five cars that turned right ahead of me, only one actually pulled into the bike lane first as required by California Vehicle Code section 21717 (Web Link). 80% breaking or ignorant of the law is pretty solid evidence that having a license to drive is no guarantee of knowing or obeying the law.

Better driver and cyclist education must become a higher priority.

If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

September food and drink goings on
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 1,471 views

College Freshmen: Avoiding the Pitfalls
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 1 comment | 1,269 views

Camp Glamp
By Laura Stec | 8 comments | 1,146 views

Property rights and the will of the people
By Steve Levy | 7 comments | 344 views