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Bicyclist suffers serious injuries in collision with city shuttle

Original post made on Sep 26, 2016

A bicyclist was taken to the hospital with serious injuries Friday afternoon after he collided with a Mountain View Community Shuttle on Castro Street.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, September 26, 2016, 11:05 AM

Comments (45)

Posted by resident
a resident of North Bayshore
on Sep 26, 2016 at 11:46 am

The child was riding alongside the bus, or the bus tried to pass him without giving the legally required 3 feet of passing distance?

Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2016 at 11:59 am

Jim Neal is a registered user.

I think we need to wait for more information to come out before jumping to any conclusions about the shuttle being at fault. With that being said, this is exactly why I have been working so hard during the summer to get the shuttles to top taking shortcuts through neighborhood streets where there are many more children riding/walking/playing than on Castro street.

All the shuttles except for one are now sticking to the approved and published routes.

I hope that more information will be published on the exact cause of the collision so that we know where the fault lies, and then are able to try to take steps to prevent the types of incidents from happening again.

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

Posted by School zones
a resident of Bailey Park
on Sep 26, 2016 at 12:19 pm

This collision occurred very close to - practically in front of - Graham middle school, shortly after school let out for the day. There shuttle ended up half in the median of Castro near the intersection of Harpster. Who knows what happened? Could be that the child was attempting to cross (make a left trun) in front of the shuttle at the crosswalk after having ridden along side it, and the shuttle driver never saw the bike rider, or not? Whatever happened, it is super scary. I certainly hope the child makes a full recovery.

Posted by Safety belongs to us drivers
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 26, 2016 at 12:27 pm

I use the absolute highest level of precautions in active school zones near high schools and especially middle schools. The brains of kids that age don't process the risks like others do. The younger kids seem to take greater care, but around the older kids it can be like driving through a heard of puppies.

Posted by Tragic Irony
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 26, 2016 at 1:15 pm

I sent a letter to a city staffer just LAST WEEK discussing the traffic safety concerns I had in reference to the ongoing construction work at 801 El Camino Real - the Greystar construction project which extends from the corner of El Camino Real all the way up to within 20' of Sonia Drive.

After explaining the specifics of the ongoing & recurring problem, one of my comments was, "It is very dangerous, and with school now back in session and numerous children and cars now traveling the area (and often not paying as much attention as they should) I am afraid it's only a matter of time before there is a serious collision."

Perhaps this collision had NOTHING to do with the ongoing construction, I don't know. What I DO know is that the construction conditions have created ongoing and recurring hazardous conditions for pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles as well. And this construction is occurring within 300 yards of Graham, and in my opinion it creates a safety problem.

The fact that a collision occurred less than a week after I sent this letter is frustrating, distressing and makes me very sad.

Posted by resident
a resident of North Bayshore
on Sep 26, 2016 at 1:20 pm

If you are confused by construction or other road conditions, please slow down and pay attention. Unsafe speed is a primary cause of many traffic collisions.

If the construction is especially confusing, the city should post lower speed limit signs around the construction zone.

Posted by Kelly
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2016 at 2:37 pm

Castro St north of El Camino Real is dangerous for bikes. Graham students who live on that side of town and ride bikes to school have to cross there. Castro has no bike lanes, is narrow, has car parking on the side, and bikes are not allowed to use the sidewalk. This was an accident waiting to happen. An immediate fix it is to remove the car parking and add green bike lanes. When I bike it it feels too narrow and scary. When I drive it and a bike is also in the lane it feels too narrow to share with bikes. I've also wondered why the bike share program was put on a street that is dangerous for bicyclists.
The entire El Camino Real and Castro intersection is extremely dangerous for the kids trying to get to and from school. I thought there was a plan to make it safer so let's get moving on that before another kid gets hit.

Posted by resident
a resident of North Bayshore
on Sep 26, 2016 at 2:57 pm

@Kelly - the lane is *never* too narrow to share with bicyclists. Just follow behind them. That is what sharing means. Castro Street has so many stop signs and crosswalks that following a bicyclist is not going to lose you any time.

I do agree that there needs to be more space for bikes at the big intersections with stop lights. Other cities paint a green "bike box" area at intersections like that that is supposed to be reserved for bicycle to stop in when the light is red.

Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 26, 2016 at 3:14 pm

This street was supposed to have protected bike lanes by now.

This is exactly why our city needs to get very very serious about separating vehicles from our kids.

My big question is did the driver obey the 3 foot law. This law has been on the books since 2013: Web Link

Drivers are required to give bicyclists 3 foot of clearance when passing.

Posted by Tragic Irony
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 26, 2016 at 4:02 pm


I 100% agree with you that anyone who may be confused by construction or other road conditions, should please slow down and pay attention.

However, the details of the recurring safety hazard involving the Greystar construction at 801 W. El Camino Real that I was referring to in my post above was specifically about whenever there is a day when numerous cement (or other large trucks) are lined up along Castro Street, and they line up extending from some point near the construction site all the way past Sonia Drive and often times past Harpster Drive. These cement (and sometimes other trucks) are very large and OBSTRUCT the entire lane of Castro Street. The safety issue is that there is NO ONE controlling traffic at the intersection of Sonia & Castro (or Harpster & Castro, when needed) and when those trucks are lined up blocking the entire lane, it is IMPOSSIBLE for either cars, bicycles or pedestrians to see beyond those trucks when EXITING out of Sonia or Harpster until they have ENTERED INTO the lane of MOVING TRAFFIC (lane #1 of Castro St.) all without first having been able to SEE if there is oncoming traffic approaching on Castro St. -- at any speed.

It is a very dangerous condition to have those large trucks parked/staged on Castro street so close to the corners of Sonia and Harpster that they completely obstruct the sight lines for any/all persons trying to SAFELY exit from either Harpster or Sonia onto Castro.

It's a huge ongoing safety hazard.

*Greystar makes sure NO ONE walks on the sidewalk during construction hours -- closing the sidewalk and directing people to cross the street at the corner of Sonia & Castro Street -- which is EXACTLY where the trucks most frequently OBSTRUCT the line of sight making crossing the street safely - in the crosswalk - A HUGE SAFETY HAZARD.

Posted by Graham Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 26, 2016 at 4:11 pm

There is really no safe way for bicycles to share the road with cars and buses. One small error on either side and the person on the bike can be killed or seriously injured. As much as I would like to, I don't let my kids ride their bikes to school because the risks are too great.

Posted by Member
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 26, 2016 at 4:16 pm

I told my daughter to ride on the side walk if in doubt on her way to school which is down Castro Street. If she gets stopped by the police they can call me. I am even o.k. paying a fine for ensuring my kids have a safe ride. It is not worth getting injured or killed in the atrociously disorganized traffic around town. Castro street should be closed to through traffic and dedicated for pedestrians and bicyclists. Now that would add some distinguishing element to our downtown: a place to meet, to have fun, to slow down, to have festivals and much more. A place for all of us with a little bit of space to breathe, relax and stroll. Or maybe this is not Silicon Valley enough...

Posted by TWEEEEET!!!!
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 26, 2016 at 4:19 pm

Referee here, calling a flagrant foul for overuse of caps in the above post. Also yellow card warning for using the enter key to try and maximize the space your post takes up. Both are egregious offenses of the international message board protocol.
OK, lets get back at it now, with less yelling and enter keys so people don't stop reading 1/2 way through.


Posted by I cycle too!!
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 26, 2016 at 4:25 pm

First of all, I am very glad the child will be OK! My thought and prayers are with them, as well as the driver of the bus. With that being said, I avoid Castro street after school hours as much as possible. You would not believe the "unsafe moves" I have witnessed by students. Last week, I literally saw one child riding without their hands on the handle bars while texting! Some kids leave school in such a hurry to get where they are going, they just don't use common sense. Thye ride 2 or 3 side by side (instead of single file) cutting in between cars and yes, riding right up alongside them. I think some parents might be shocked if they saw a video of their child riding their bike at times. I hope the school, law enforcement and parents take this time to reeducate their children on riding safely. And yes, I know some adults are guilty of the same offenses... But this article pertains to the safety of student bicycle riders, and that is what I am commenting on. Lets keep our children safe by taking the time address issues such as these. If this happens again, the outcome might be even worse.

Posted by Member
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 26, 2016 at 4:32 pm

Close Castro to vehicle traffic. It is a nightmare to ride a bicycle on this street and it is not safe.

Posted by Tragic Irony
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 26, 2016 at 5:46 pm

For those of you calling for Castro Street to be closed to vehicle traffic, good luck with that. Greystar has it's primary egress point - you know, for those 164 apartments currently under construction on the corner of El Camino real & Castro Street - exiting onto Castro Street across from Victor way.

That ought to be exceptional during morning drop off rush at Graham -- when all those cars are trying to exit out of that underground garage and will be shooting across the bike lane (which will be in place at some point) and the remaining lane of Castro Street then either make a left turn and head back down Castro toward El Camino Real, or head all the way across Castro street (that would be across the other lane of oncoming traffic and across another bike lane) and then cut thru Victor trying to avoid the traffic on El Camino Real.

Either that or the cars will pull out, cut across the bike lane, turn right onto Sonia - using that tiny residential street as cut thru street as they make their way back to Miramonte/Shoreline in an effort to avoid El Camino Real. ** Remember, Sonia has numerous children who use this street daily on their way to/from both Graham and St. Josephs.

Yup, there's not going to be any increased safety hazard created with that egress point, and the resulting traffic flow. Not at all.

Posted by Seriously
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Sep 26, 2016 at 6:15 pm

It's great to see kids cycling to and from school - it's healthy for them and for the environment. However, there are too many who seem to have no clue about the rules of the road (or choose to ignore them) and too many without the mandatory protective helmets. Auto drivers must absolutely drive with great caution around all cyclists - they are so vulnerable to serious injury. BUT children also need to learn how to ride defensively and to respect traffic laws.

Posted by resident
a resident of North Bayshore
on Sep 26, 2016 at 6:36 pm

@Seriously - don't blame the victim. There is no evidence that the victim was doing anything illegal. Personally, I see car drivers breaking the law (speeding, talking on cell phones, etc) far more often than bicyclists. Car drivers run stop signs more often than bicyclists, too.

Posted by Michael
a resident of another community
on Sep 27, 2016 at 3:46 am

Poor kid. We should aspire to have bike lanes separated from traffic by physical barriers to prevent accidents like this from ever happening again.

Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 27, 2016 at 9:07 am

Jim Neal is a registered user.

As a follow up, today's PA Daily Post said that the child lost control of the bicycle and collided with the bus. The story did not give the age of the child. This is why I mentioned that people might want to wait for the facts instead of assuming the vehicle driver is always at fault.

Depending on the age of the child, the child may not have been at fault either. This does highlight however why adding bike lanes to roadways is a bad idea. In Germany, they have wide roads to accommodate the auto traffic, and wide paths that are used as sidewalks and bike lanes; however, the bike lanes are distinguished by using a different type/color of concrete than the sidewalk so that bikes and pedestrians clearly know which path they HAVE to use.

The biggest problem I see with adopting a similar system here is getting the cyclists to stay on the cycle part of the path. Every day when I get off Caltrain, the first thing I see is 90% cyclists riding on the pedestrian Caltrain path right where the "Walk your bike" sign is posted and then riding on the sidewalk on Castro. The same thing occurs on BART where they ride inside the stations, take the bikes on escalators and block the train doors. This may be due to a lack of awareness of the rules, or in some cases and attitude of not caring.

The bottom line is that we all need to care about the rules and stick to them to prevent avoidable collisions. Note, I did not say accidents, because accidents can and do happen as it appears was the case in this story.

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

Posted by resident
a resident of North Bayshore
on Sep 27, 2016 at 9:56 am

Was the bus passing by the legally required 3 feet? Passing too closely can easily cause a bicyclist to lose control. That is why 3 feet is the legal minimum.

Pro tip: on narrower roads, a bicyclist would be wise to ride closer to the center of the lane to discourage unsafe passing. Cars should change lanes to pass instead of trying to squeeze by in the same lane.

Posted by Feel better kid
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2016 at 10:55 am

Mix a kid's feeling on indestructibility with a developing brain that is not set up to make rational decisions all the time, then throw in drivers always racing around as fast as they can get away with, and you have a recipe for the kind of history we have seen on this section of Castro.

Separated bike lanes should be installed here...too many kids vs cars accidents with varied reasons that can be mostly prevented by a separated bike lane.

Posted by Holly L
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 27, 2016 at 1:23 pm

This keeps happening. Drivers need to SLOW DOWN

Posted by PA Resident
a resident of another community
on Sep 27, 2016 at 2:22 pm

With all the emphasis lately on getting residents and school children in particular out of cars and onto bikes, this doesn't surprise me at all.

What types of bike preparedness training are given in Mountain View Schools?

If it is like Palo Alto, it happens mainly in 3rd grade.

I hate to say this, but with the increases in traffic congestion and the solution touted is to put more bikes on the roads with less education for bike riders, then we are going to see more of this. Drivers and bus drivers are all required to pass practical tests on the roads. Anybody can get on a bike and ride in the road without knowing anything about vehicle laws and rules.

Outside Jordan middle school on Middlefield in Palo Alto, we have now ridiculous situation of two way bike lanes on one side of the street. To accommodate this, the motor vehicle lanes are reduced. This is causing a traffic nightmare particularly if you put a bus, shuttle or any other large sized vehicle into the mix.

Can we please get some efficient traffic planning in our two towns.

Posted by Not the same
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2016 at 2:57 pm

Please don't compare MV with PA's ineptitude. PA has a special way of making everything it touches "Palo Alto-ish". Besides, while educating school kids about cycling is a nice idea, all drivers are also educated and I find them to be the most common offenders on the road. Definitely the biggest life takers. Good bike infrastructure is needed, not Palo Alto infrastructure. Separated bike lanes are a tremendous idea but there's likely more.

Posted by Kelly
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 27, 2016 at 4:41 pm

Castro St is dangerous for bicycle riders, especially the middle school kids. The section of Castro just north of El Camino Real is narrow, has no bike lanes, and has perpendicular parking. Bikes are not allowed on the sidewalk, so these middle school kids and everyone else on a bike are forced into the travel lane. This is definitely not a "safe route to school". This danger is compounded by the super huge radius at the intersection and the free right turn from El Camino Real that whisks cars onto Castro Street and into any bikes in the road.
An immediate fix is to remove the car parking and add green bike lanes to get kids from downtown to Graham. Then redo the Castro/El Camino Real intersection to make it less of a freeway-like crossing and safer and more bike and pedestrian friendly...before another kid gets hit.

Posted by Reader
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 28, 2016 at 8:55 am

Note that this is a duplicate copy of the story. The original, with all the comments, is here: Web Link

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 28, 2016 at 11:34 am

It is truly a shame that construction on safety improvements in this area has not commenced. The city and the school district may fund this - since the costs for the approved design are 'higher than expected'. The school and student traffic issues on Castro near Graham have been clearly demonstrated a number of times in the past three years. We do not need a fatality for us to finish acting. I urge the School Board President to call a special meeting on this delayed construction issue ASAP.

The city design for this street has called for a 'lane separation' where student bikers are physically separated from traffic by various types of physical lane barriers. This protects bikers of all ages. There is IMO no excuse for local government to delay correcting this local safety problem (city and school district). This is indeed the place for the Board to show that it can provide leadership without waisting any more time.

SN is a Trustee of the MVWSD, only the President or three members of the Board may call a special meeting.
these are my opinions, and not the direction of the Board or the administration of the MVWSD

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 28, 2016 at 12:18 pm

FYI: the speed limit in MV next to schools with TWO LANE roads is 15 MPH when school kids are around. This does not currently apply to Castro Street near Graham. It will apply to sections of Castro Street, once the city traffic/street improvement plan is actually built.

(IMO) Student bike driver improvement. It is clear that we (city/schools) could monitor and administer bike safety better. Perhaps the policy should be, No helmet? No bike! No brakes? No bike! (that last one I heard from my bike shop down on the first block North of El Camino, some Graham students are riding to school with no-brakes "messenger bikes."

SN is a Trustee of the MVWSD (and not a duck) and this is only his opinion and not that of the Administration or Board of the MVWSD

Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 29, 2016 at 5:30 pm

There has been a rise of reckless bicyclists all over town. Bicyclists cheating crosswalks, riding out of the driveways spooking cars into thinking they will get ran over. I think the bicyclists in this town are losing their discipline from the oldest to the youngest riders. Something should be done about this- maybe awareness days, ticketing bicyclists, etc.

Posted by Fixed!
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2016 at 2:00 pm

There has been a rise of reckless drivers all over town. Drivers cheating crosswalks, driving out of the driveways spooking bikes and peds into thinking they will get ran over. I think the drivers in this town are losing their discipline from the oldest to the youngest. Something should be done about this- maybe awareness days, ticketing drivers, etc.

Kind of goes both ways, don't you think? Interesting that you choose to view it only one way. Open your mind and try to see the other side.

Posted by The anger resides almost entirely w/in cars
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 30, 2016 at 2:42 pm

There is an anger and aggression displayed by drivers that no other user group so regularly displays. No, a bike running a stop sign is not the same as the constant tailgating, and aggressive games being played by drivers of cars on seemingly every road. I got raged at because I dared to back out of my driveway one morning on my sleepy residential street. The driver sped up from pretty far back, slammed on the brakes then flipped me off. That was just one of literally uncountable acts I've seen drivers display daily. There is no question at all. The drivers are the ones with the anger and aggression issues and they are the ones killing others.

Posted by Me
a resident of Willowgate
on Oct 1, 2016 at 5:22 pm

Awareness sounds like a great plan. We should but "bicycles need to obey traffic rules" signs under all existing speed limit signs.

Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 1, 2016 at 11:30 pm

mvresident2003 is a registered user.

Better yet.....bikers want equal rights on roads? Then license, tag, insure and tax them equally as cars are.

Posted by @mvresident2003
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2016 at 11:19 am

How about this: We actually ensure that car drivers are actually COMPETENT to drive on the roads?

[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 2, 2016 at 6:05 pm

mvresident2003 is a registered user.

@ @mvres...
Yep, totally agree, waaaaay too many incompetent drivers out there. But that doesn't take away from the fact that if cyclists want equal rights on the road then they should be equally accountable.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) I didn't see the portion that was deleted so I can't really comment.

Posted by @mvresident2003
a resident of another community
on Oct 2, 2016 at 7:25 pm

Yeah, who needs kids anyway. No license, no bike. The kid must have been drinking. How else could he lose control of a bike and smash into a wall, er bus. Couldn't have been rocks on the road, could it? A license would solve this problem, because it would get bikes off the road and away from the rocks.

Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 2, 2016 at 7:56 pm

mvresident2003 is a registered user.

drinking? You threw that out there, not me. I'm not implying any fault in the kid, you're the one getting snarky. there absolutely should be accountability for cyclists just as there should be for drivers.

Cyclist are rightfully pushing for rights on the road. With those rights should come accountability.

Posted by @mvresident2003
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2016 at 1:44 am

Please stop victim blaming! Cyclists get special protection on the road to save their lives. Otherwise, drivers would just run them over and then sue the parents to repair their front bumper.

It sounds like you are one of the drivers that speed through the neighborhood, texting and fixing your makeup. A cyclist dares to ride on the road, you almost hit them and get upset. ("Well, if that cyclist I hit was in a car, they wouldn't be dead now, would they?")

Why don't you put your phone down, obey the speed limit and stop making our streets so dangerous? And please!


Posted by Talk about not thought through
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2016 at 10:43 am

I'm not willing to pay for a massive gov't run license and insurance bureaucracy just for bikes. My god, the administrative costs it takes to run the DMV
would pale in comparison if you threw every person who buys/sells/owns a bike.
Talk about a great way to flush millions upon millions (upon 10's of millions)of dollars down the toilet to keep track of my 10 year old.
That's a project for the loons to push, motivated by anger and spite rather than common sense.

Posted by Reader
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2016 at 10:57 am

"mvresident2003," acknowledging the abundance of incompetent motorists, makes a common-sense observation (really, a principle beyond serious dispute) that if cyclists want equal rights on the road, they should be equally accountable.  (The same point is stressed by conscientious *bicyclists* I know, appalled at some of the bicyclist behavior they see.)

But that doesn't stop an obsessive tirade here of "stop blaming the victim" (mvresident2003 blamed no victims) and insults (the part above that mvresident2003 couldn't see, because it was deleted).

Please! Enough with the "blaming the victim" rhetoric, when it's irrelevant and counterproductive (obviously enough to most people.)

Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 3, 2016 at 12:02 pm

In reading the comments here, I was dismayed to see that it appears that some people did not read the full story here or the additional details that were published in the Post.

The most recent information that I saw was that the child riding the bicycle lost control of the bike while riding alongside the City Shuttle. So far I have not seen anything to indicate that the City hustle was speeding or doing anything else inappropriate at the time of the incident. There also was no mention of the child's age, or of any potential road hazards that could have caused the incident.

I would recommend again that we wait for all the fact to come out and not engage in rhetoric. That helps no one and solves nothing.

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 3, 2016 at 12:06 pm

Should have been "City Shuttle " in 2nd paragraph above instead of "City hustle". ( Autocorrect error )

Jim Neal

Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Oct 4, 2016 at 10:33 am

While the article does not call out the boy's specific age, it does mention that the child attends Graham Middle School, so predictably, that kid is somewhere between 11 (a young 6th grader) to 14 (and older 8th grader) years old.

Over the years, I have seen lots of kids with poor bike riding skills at this age, often weaving left and right while pedaling. You rarely see that from adult riders or professional riders since weaving is unstable, risks accidents and wastes energy.

Of course, some of these kids are burdened with a bike that's too large for their bodies (presumably a bike that they would grow into over the course of several years) or that's too heavy.

Presumably, readers here will never know the complete extent of this incident because no one here witnessed and can assess the child's abilities or any transient dangers (like rocks or wet leaves).

That said, the article is pretty clear that the boy lost control of his bike. As a kid, I certainly lost control of my bike a few times, but fortunately I walked away with nothing more than a scraped elbow or skinned knee. Unfortunately for this boy, it happened when he was next to a large vehicle.

He and his family should count their blessings that he is still alive. I wish him a swift recovery.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Stierlin Estates

on Sep 24, 2017 at 12:36 pm

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