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Old 11-06-10, 06:57 PM   #1
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Los Altos Hills bicyclist killed in big-rig crash

Very sad news for the local cycling community ... Rest in Peace Lauren.

Quote:
Los Altos Hills bicyclist killed in big-rig crash was a mother, nurse and a 'go-getter'
By Jesse Dungan Daily News Staff Writer Posted: 11/05/2010
http://www.mercurynews.com/san-mateo...ce=rss_emailed

Lauren Perdriau Ward, left, a 47-year-old Los Altos Hills woman,
Photo courtesy of Bob Ward.



Los Altos Hills woman killed in collision with big-rig near Portola ValleyFriends and family of Lauren Perdriau Ward, a 47-year-old Los Altos Hills woman killed Thursday in a bicycle crash with a big-rig, said she was an active mother, a passionate "go-getter" and an avid cyclist out to make the roads safer. "It's a huge hole," Bob Ward, her husband of nearly 30 years, told The Daily News in a phone interview Friday. "She lived a full life and reached and impacted many people."

Lauren Ward was riding along Alpine Road when her pink Trek bicycle collided with a big-rig near the Interstate 280 underpass at about 3:40 p.m. Thursday. She had left her home on Camino Hermosa Drive at about 3 p.m. after returning from a morning shift at the South Bay Endoscopy Center, where she worked part-time as a registered nurse.

Investigators have determined the big-rig was in the far right lane of westbound Alpine Road and the collision occurred on the left side of the truck, said California Highway Patrol Officer Art Montiel. He added it's not clear whether Ward pedaled into the big-rig or the truck drove into her. Officers have not yet found any witnesses.

Bob Ward said he and his wife had gone mountain biking in the rain just two weeks ago and she did well. "Basically, her bike-handling skills were pretty damn good," he said. Ward, who has cycled competitively, said he didn't consider the stretch of Alpine Road where his wife was killed to be particularly dangerous compared to other roads in the area, such as Sand Hill.

Lauren Ward was the mother of a freshman daughter and senior son at Mountain View High School, where she had previously worked as a volunteer for the school's water polo team. She also was heavily involved with the Cupertino Hills Swim and Racquet Club, serving earlier this year as co-president of the swim team.

LeeAnn Constant, a friend who knew Ward through the swim team, said, "she was definitely a take-charge, go-getter person." A few years ago, Ward organized a six-team championship swim meet at Stanford University. Bob Ward described his wife as a passionate person who, when she got upset about something, would "go after it."

Such was the case when their puppy died after drinking antifreeze, he said. Lauren Ward entered state Sen. Joe Simitian's "There Oughta Be a Law" contest in its first year and suggested legislation that would require antifreeze to include a bittering agent; that way, pets and children would be less likely to consume the poisonous substance. The legislation made its way through the state Senate and was signed into law in 2002.

"I thoroughly enjoyed working with her," Simitian, D-Palo Alto, said in an interview Friday. "She was both very gracious and very determined," he said, recalling that she testified before Senate and Assembly committees, sometimes bringing her family. Ward's proactive nature extended to cycling, a passion she shared with her husband. Veronica Lentfer, a friend who knew Ward through the swim club and went on several bike rides with her, said she was always trying to help make the roads safer for bicyclists.

In May, Ward sent an e-mail to Lentfer's cycling team, Velo Girls, warning of a hazardous "blind corner" along Camino Hermosa Drive. Ward said in the e-mail that she had asked the city to put up warning signs and trim hedges of a two-story house on the corner.

In January 2009, Ward wrote a letter to the weekly Los Altos Town Crier newspaper titled "Rules of the Road: Respect and Understanding," in which she acknowledged animosity between some cyclists and motorists, then went on to say: "If we could all have more respect and understanding toward others, life might get a little bit nicer."

CHP Officer Montiel said the investigation into Thursday's crash is ongoing. The CHP is withholding the big-rig driver's statement so it won't influence what potential witnesses may say later. No foul play is suspected in the crash and the CHP is asking anyone who may have witnessed it to call investigators at 650-369-6261.

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Old 11-06-10, 07:16 PM   #2
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shame, really.
oh, well, life goes on.
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Old 11-08-10, 06:20 PM   #3
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Anyone with information regarding the crash is asked to call the CHP at 650-369-6261.

Thank you.
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Old 11-19-10, 01:32 PM   #4
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More bad news ... the Truck driver should not be on the road



John Myslin, 25. Pacific Collegiate School history teacher who was killed in a 2007 crash
with a truck driven by Gabriel Manzur Vera in Santa Cruz. (Bay Area News Group )


Quote:
Alpine Road collision was third fatal crash for trucker
By Jesse Dungan Daily News Staff Writer11/18/2010

The crash that claimed a bicyclist's life near Portola Valley earlier this month was the third fatal collision involving Gabriel Manzur Vera and his 26-wheel big rig, The Daily News has learned.

Authorities did not find Vera at fault in the first two fatal collisions. The cause of the Nov. 4 crash that killed Lauren Perdriau Ward, a 47-year-old Los Altos Hills resident and mother of two, remains under investigation.

According to California Highway Patrol records, Vera's first fatal collision occurred Dec. 31, 2003, on Highway 1 in Monterey County. Vera, of Salinas, was driving through Moss Landing when another vehicle driven by Annette McDaniel, 53, reportedly crossed into opposite lanes and struck his truck head-on.

Vera acknowledged that crash in a deposition he gave last year as a defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit. He and the demolition company that has employed him for nearly 20 years, Randazzo Enterprises, were sued after a 2007 collision in Santa Cruz that killed bicyclist John Myslin.

Asked during the deposition whether he had been involved in a prior accident, Vera mentioned the Moss Landing accident. Vera said he wasn't cited following the accident and didn't know whether the other driver was cited. He said he didn't remember the other driver's name and did not say she died.

CHP Officer Joshua Allen said records show that Vera was a driver involved in a fatal crash on
Highway 1 just north of Springfield Road in Moss Landing at 4:28 p.m. with a vehicle driven by Annette McDaniel.

The Monterey County Coroner's Office reported at the time McDaniel had been weaving in and out of her lane and crossed the center line before colliding with a large truck. She was killed in the crash.

The fatal accident in Santa Cruz happened at Mission and Bay streets. Following a two-month
investigation, police concluded that Myslin, a popular Pacific Collegiate School teacher, tried to
pass on the right side of Vera's 26-wheeler and was struck as he turned right. Police determined Vera wasn't at fault.

In March, Vera and Randazzo Enterprises settled a wrongful death suit filed by Myslin's parents, Paul and Maria of Eureka, for $1.5 million. CHP Officer Art Montiel said the Portola Valley crash remains under investigation and no eyewitnesses have emerged. The CHP has not released Vera's statement because it doesn't want witnesses who may come forward later to be influenced.

Montiel said that Vera was heading west in the far right lane of Alpine Road when the left side of his truck collided with Ward as the two approached Interstate 280. Ward's family has hired an attorney to investigate that accident. The attorney, John Feder of the San
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Old 11-19-10, 02:27 PM   #5
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Did you read what you posted? There is absolutely nothing in that information that would indicate that the driver was unfit.

In the first instance the woman was driving erractically crossed the center line, and struck him.

In the second instance it sounds like a right turn squeeze where the car tries to sneek through on the right as the truck makes a right turn, a hugely stupid and dangerous manuever.

In both instances he was found not to be at fault.

In the current instance there simply is no information to judge.

That truck driver has likely driven in the range of 2 million miles in that 20 year period. It's not at all unusual to have 2 not at fault accidents in that time frame.

Whether he's at fault for this accident or not will hopefully be determined as more facts are learned.

But it is grossly unfair to condemn the truck driver because stupid drivers hit him twice over the last 20 years.
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Old 11-19-10, 03:03 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Did you read what you posted? ...
In the second instance it sounds like a right turn squeeze where the car tries to sneek through on the right as the truck makes a right turn, a hugely stupid and dangerous manuever.

In both instances he was found not to be at fault.
The second incident involved a bicyclist hit by the truck doing a right hook. Given typical speeds in the area it seems likely that the truck would have initially passed the cyclist before slowing to initiate the turn. And although the police did not assign fault to the truck driver, there was the $1.5 million settlement agreed to by the insurance company for the truck driver and his company. Seems unlikely that they would have agreed to such a large settlement if they felt confident that the truck driver had not contributed to the crash.
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Old 11-19-10, 04:28 PM   #7
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The second incident involved a bicyclist hit by the truck doing a right hook. Given typical speeds in the area it seems likely that the truck would have initially passed the cyclist before slowing to initiate the turn. And although the police did not assign fault to the truck driver, there was the $1.5 million settlement agreed to by the insurance company for the truck driver and his company. Seems unlikely that they would have agreed to such a large settlement if they felt confident that the truck driver had not contributed to the crash.

That is very possible. I have almost been run over by a big rig in the same way. I was in the bike lane, a big rig pulls up next to me and starts slowing down. I had an idea that he might make a right turn so I got on my brakes. Good thing I did. He made a right turn and I had to slam on my brakes hard to avoid becoming hamburger meat.

In this particular "accident" I can't imagine the bicyclist going across several lanes of traffic to end up in the right hand lane of the oncoming traffic. This was an underpass so I doubt she was making any kind of turn. I'll bet she was crossing either an on ramp or off ramp and the big rig plowed right into her. Hopefully there was some debris left at the site of the impact but unfortunately with a bicycle there might not have been enough debris to identify the spot of the impact.
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Old 11-19-10, 04:30 PM   #8
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Blame the victims ...
The truck driver killed three people in the last seven years ... something is very wrong here.

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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Did you read what you posted? There is absolutely nothing in that information that would indicate that the driver was unfit.
In the first instance the woman was driving erratically crossed the center line, and struck him. In the second instance it sounds like a right turn squeeze where the car tries to sneak through on the right as the truck makes a right turn, a hugely stupid and dangerous maneuver. In both instances he was found not to be at fault.

In the current instance there simply is no information to judge. That truck driver has likely driven in the range of 2 million miles in that 20 year period. It's not at all unusual to have 2 not at fault accidents in that time frame. Whether he's at fault for this accident or not will hopefully be determined as more facts are learned. But it is grossly unfair to condemn the truck driver because stupid drivers hit him twice over the last 20 years.
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Old 11-19-10, 04:35 PM   #9
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Blame the victims ...
If they are at fault yes. From the article provided I would say the first 2 deaths were the fault of the victims. 1st victim crossed the center line head-on and the second, the cyclist was passing the truck on the right side through an intersection. I do not care if the truck had previously passed me or not. I am not going to ride next to him through an intersection. Instead of sticking our heads in the sand and pointing fingers maybe we should look at what happened and learn something.
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Old 11-19-10, 04:47 PM   #10
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Blame the victims ...
The truck driver killed three people in the last seven years ... something is very wrong here.
What's wrong with blaming the victims if that's where the blame belongs...? He was involved in 3 deaths in the last seven years. There's quite a difference between simply being involved in some form or fashion, and being at fault. We obviously don't know about the most recent death as the investigation is ongoing, but it seems pretty clear that the first one was definitely the dead woman's fault. I can't really form any sort of opinion about the other cyclist since the article says that he (the cyclist) was passing the truck on the right (which, on the surface, would place fault with the cyclist), but does not state whether he was in a bicycle lane (which would give him right-of-way before the truck's right turn).
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Old 11-19-10, 04:47 PM   #11
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http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/47057

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Published Wednesday, November 10, 2010, by the Palo Alto Daily Post

Scene of tragedy telling
Officials visit spot where cyclist died

By Jamie Morrow
Daily Post Associate Editor

As county officials and bicycle safety advocates met yesterday on Alpine Road at
the I-280 underpass where a bicyclist was killed by a big rig last week, several
bicyclists rode by.

No two of them went through the interchange the same way. And that perhaps
illustrates the problem that may have led to last week's tragic death. Bikers
don't know where to go as they move through the intersection.

Cyclists unprotected?

"It's my opinion that the cues and striping there right now are inadequate to
protect cyclists," said former Menlo Park mayor Steve Schmidt, who sits on San
Mateo County's City/County Association of Governments' bicycle and pedestrian
committee. Schmidt organized the meeting after Lauren Perdriau Ward of Los Altos
Hills, an experienced cyclist, lost her life at the intersection on Thursday.

The bike lane on Alpine Road trails off before the interchange into what Schmidt
calls a "free-for-all." County road operations manager Diana Shu, associate
civil engineer Robin Dusaint and the four cycling activists observed several
bicyclists passing through the interchange, noting one who hugged the sidewalk
along Alpine Road, one who took up a whole vehicle lane, one who straddled the
line between the two vehicle lanes and another who kept to the right of the
rightmost through-traffic vehicle lane.

"Now he has to merge through that freeway-bound traffic," Shu observed of the
cyclist hugging the sidewalk, who didn't initially want to merge into through
traffic. "Now he's trapped."

That cyclist had to cut over quickly to avoid being swept into southbound I-280.
The cyclists agreed that their aim is to make bicycle behavior more predictable
to motorists and to make it obvious to cyclists where they ought to be. Bob
Cronin noted that the new bike lanes may be put through interchanges, which has
been done at Sand Hill Road. Cronin, Schmidt, Mike Harding, and John Langbein
also discussed several pavement-striping methods that could direct bicyclists
where to go and show cars where to expect them.

Langbein said he rode in the area frequently before he broke his hip after being
hit by a vehicle at Santa Cruz Avenue and Alameda de las Pulgas 12 weeks ago.

Shu said the county had already been in the process of looking at the safety of
the intersection before Ward died.

Complex process

She noted that the right of way belongs to the state, and said the county would
study the interchange and make recommendations to Caltrans. At that point, she
said, Caltrans would send its own engineers to look over the area.

As the group was clustered together talking, a woman bicycled up. She was on her
way to put some flowers near the spot where Ward, whom she knew, had died.

"She was so nice," said the cyclist, her voice breaking.
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Old 11-19-10, 06:02 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by SactoDoug View Post
In this particular "accident" I can't imagine the bicyclist going across several lanes of traffic to end up in the right hand lane of the oncoming traffic. This was an underpass so I doubt she was making any kind of turn. I'll bet she was crossing either an on ramp or off ramp and the big rig plowed right into her. Hopefully there was some debris left at the site of the impact but unfortunately with a bicycle there might not have been enough debris to identify the spot of the impact.
From this article, it sounds like the impact was on the left side of the truck and that it was in the far right lane (http://www.mercurynews.com/top-stori...nclick_check=1). So it sounds like either the truck had to veer left, or she had to move right.



This is where I've heard the accident occurred, and as you can see it's a bit of a mess. The right lane forces you onto the freeway, the center lane forces you to merge left, and the left lane continues on. The post above is definitely correct when saying people move through there in many different ways. Most people I know take the middle lane, knowing cars will have to move left anyways and not interfering with the cars that want to hit the on-ramp going 40mph.
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Old 11-19-10, 08:38 PM   #13
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From this article, it sounds like the impact was on the left side of the truck and that it was in the far right lane (http://www.mercurynews.com/top-stori...nclick_check=1). So it sounds like either the truck had to veer left, or she had to move right.



This is where I've heard the accident occurred, and as you can see it's a bit of a mess. The right lane forces you onto the freeway, the center lane forces you to merge left, and the left lane continues on. The post above is definitely correct when saying people move through there in many different ways. Most people I know take the middle lane, knowing cars will have to move left anyways and not interfering with the cars that want to hit the on-ramp going 40mph.

Thanks for posting the street view of that underpass. That helps me to visualize it.

I think there is a little bit of misunderstanding as far as which side of the vehicle she was struck. I tend to think of left and right from the driver's perspective. So the left side would be the driver's side and the right would be the passenger. It will be reversed if viewed looking at the vehicle from the front.

Also, thank you for posting that link to a better detailed description of the events:

Quote:
Both Lauren Perdriau Ward and a 26-wheel truck were going west on Alpine Road and approaching Interstate 280 when they collided at about 3:40 p.m, said California Highway Patrol Officer Art Montiel. The big-rig was in the far right hand lane but before the highway onramp, according to Montiel, and the collision occurred on the left side of the truck. She was found between the right rear tires, Montiel said. There is no bike lane on Alpine Road. It is unclear whether the truck driver intended to enter the highway onramp or was continuing straight.

Based on that version of events, I think it is clear what happened. The only way to get struck on the left side of the vehicle (driver's side), then end up under the right (passenger's side) rear tires is if the truck driver was making a wide right turn like they usually do. She was on the right side of the middle lane. The truck driver went wide and might not have seen her in the shadows or was not paying attention. He heard a scream and felt a bump so he slammed on the brakes as he was rolling over her.

Knowing what happened does not bring her back. It is still very tragic. I do hope they get that truck driver off the road. How many more people have to die to this guy.
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Old 11-20-10, 05:52 AM   #14
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There's a better place for this.

Off to A&S.
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Old 11-20-10, 07:57 AM   #15
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After reading all the articles and accounts I could find and looking at the streetview, it seems pretty clear the cyclist was proceeding straight through the intersection in the lane designated for that purpose and the truck was in the right turn lane to get on the freeway and either decided at the last minute he didn't want to get on the freeway or mad a overly wide turn to get on the freeway, and in either situation did not look in his mirror before making the maneuver.

Either way I don't see how it could be anyone's fault but the driver.

For authorities to state in the article "...it's not clear whether Ward pedaled into the big-rig or the truck drove into her." is so completely ridiculous. I've been riding for over twenty years and I've never once seen or heard of another cyclist "pedaling into" a moving truck, or car for that matter. Even in cases where it could be argued that the cyclist "struck" the motor vehicle it was because the motor vehicle pulled in front of the cyclist in some way.
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Old 11-20-10, 09:21 AM   #16
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After reading all the articles and accounts I could find and looking at the streetview, it seems pretty clear the cyclist was proceeding straight through the intersection in the lane designated for that purpose and the truck was in the right turn lane to get on the freeway and either decided at the last minute he didn't want to get on the freeway or mad a overly wide turn to get on the freeway, and in either situation did not look in his mirror before making the maneuver.

Either way I don't see how it could be anyone's fault but the driver.

For authorities to state in the article "...it's not clear whether Ward pedaled into the big-rig or the truck drove into her." is so completely ridiculous. I've been riding for over twenty years and I've never once seen or heard of another cyclist "pedaling into" a moving truck, or car for that matter. Even in cases where it could be argued that the cyclist "struck" the motor vehicle it was because the motor vehicle pulled in front of the cyclist in some way.
I agree. I rode Alpine Road all the time when I lived in California. There are cyclists on that road all day long. It's a very popular road to ride. I've ridden through that intersection with 280 hundreds of times. Never had a problem with cars or trucks trying to get on or off 280. Seems to me the driver was not paying attention to what he was doing and ran her over.
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Old 11-20-10, 10:51 AM   #17
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If you back up a little on street view you can see a huge what 20 foot lane?

Wouldn't be pretty easy to extend the right turn lane line marking to the stop sign with dashes or something.
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Old 11-20-10, 12:33 PM   #18
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I agree. I rode Alpine Road all the time when I lived in California. There are cyclists on that road all day long. It's a very popular road to ride. I've ridden through that intersection with 280 hundreds of times. Never had a problem with cars or trucks trying to get on or off 280. Seems to me the driver was not paying attention to what he was doing and ran her over.
If you've ridden through that intersection a lot you know the design isn't exactly clear, signage is non-existent, and as a result drivers aren't exactly predictable. I frequently see drivers attempting to change lanes abruptly as they approach the underpass, because they suddenly find that the lane they're in doesn't go where they want to go. It's one of the reasons that I'm always wary of having vehicles to my left or right when approaching the intersection.

Hopefully, CalTrans will use this tragedy as an excuse to improve the design of this intersection, improve the signage, or both regardless of who is at fault...
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Old 11-21-10, 04:44 PM   #19
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The second incident involved a bicyclist hit by the truck doing a right hook. Given typical speeds in the area it seems likely that the truck would have initially passed the cyclist before slowing to initiate the turn. And although the police did not assign fault to the truck driver, there was the $1.5 million settlement agreed to by the insurance company for the truck driver and his company. Seems unlikely that they would have agreed to such a large settlement if they felt confident that the truck driver had not contributed to the crash.
This truck driver is obviously a negligent stain on society and needs to pay the piper with a stay in the greybar hilton.
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