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Old 09-18-13, 10:42 PM   #1
jaredcasper
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Fatality on Skyline (Hwy 35 in Woodside) today

Here is the story. It always hits hard when it's on a road I ride so often... condolences to the family.

I agree with the comment at the link that it looks like a case of the driver simply not seeing the cyclist, the sight lines there are just fine for any speed a cyclist will be going. Be careful out there.
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Old 09-18-13, 10:47 PM   #2
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I can't really understand what happened from the article. Is there a better written story somewhere?
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Old 09-18-13, 10:58 PM   #3
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My understanding from that article was that the van was making a left on to Elk Tree Rd and left crossed the cyclist who was descending. "Turn toward her lane" sounds like a left turn, not a right off of Elk Tree. I've been left crossed going 30+ mph before and got away with a few scratches and busted bike; I'm counting my lucky stars today. I'm thinking she must have hit the van broadside, or the van hit her going fairly quickly. But yes, a better description of what happened would be nice.
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Old 09-19-13, 12:25 AM   #4
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Mercury-News report: http://www.mercurynews.com/san-mateo...eo-county-road
Bicyclist was heading north. Van was heading south, then made a left turn in front of the bicyclist.
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Old 09-19-13, 01:06 AM   #5
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Ok, I usually roll in the high 30s on that part of Skyline. At those speeds you're so vulnerable--I think it would take at least a quarter mile to safely stop a bike. Since that part of the road I almost never ride up I'm only dimly aware of the intersecting roads. I wonder what the lighting conditions were at 1:30pm Would it had been shadowy? You'd think that Skyline on weekdays is pretty safe, but this is the second fatality I've heard of the past 10 years in what s/h/b good riding conditions during a weekday.

Her right of way was violated. Did the van driver even see her? I know I harp on this a bit, but I really think everyone should be using lights (I'm not saying that she wasn't) when taking to the mountains. I'm almost certain that using a headlight the past five years has worked to my benefit at least a couple of times.
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Old 09-19-13, 08:24 AM   #6
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More details and the cyclists name:
http://pandodaily.com/2013/09/19/for...ycle-accident/
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Old 09-19-13, 08:54 AM   #7
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CFO at Amazon during its IPO. A uber-wealthy woman who sounded very accomplished and balanced it other ways. Why is it that the people who die like this so often seem like such impressive and interesting people?

An eight year old son left behind. Terrible.
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Old 09-19-13, 11:31 AM   #8
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This is so sad. I'm not familiar with that part of Skyline, but there are so many places where the sunlight is dappled, and anything smaller than a Buick is hard to see.

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Originally Posted by SClaraPokeman View Post
At those speeds you're so vulnerable--I think it would take at least a quarter mile to safely stop a bike.
More like under 100 yards, based on hitting red lights at the bottom of the Aragon Hill in San Mateo, but the point is correct that bikes take longer distances to stop without skidding.
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Old 09-19-13, 02:28 PM   #9
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So sorry to read about this tragic accident.

My condolences to her family and friends.

Gorgeous road, too often cars don't see well because of so much shade mixed with bright sun light!

May be insensitive on my part to wonder if a "blinky" could have helped?
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Old 09-19-13, 10:02 PM   #10
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...I really think everyone should be using lights (I'm not saying that she wasn't) when taking to the mountains. I'm almost certain that using a headlight the past five years has worked to my benefit at least a couple of times.
On strobe mode! Solid lights can easily get lost in the "noise". Run them on strobe during the day, front and rear.
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Old 09-19-13, 10:12 PM   #11
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This is so sad. I'm not familiar with that part of Skyline, but there are so many places where the sunlight is dappled, and anything smaller than a Buick is hard to see.
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So sorry to read about this tragic accident.

My condolences to her family and friends.

Gorgeous road, too often cars don't see well because of so much shade mixed with bright sun light!
That's why every state has a "Basic Speed Law" that requires motorists to reduce their speed based on conditions to what is safe. If a motorist encounters dappled sunlight, it is both irresponsible and illegal to continue at the same speed that would be safe under ideal conditions.

Not that I expect any motorists to actually know the laws regarding the operation of their missiles. The CA DMV has released data indicating that the majority of licensed motorists are so ignorant of the laws that they fail the simple written test. Little wonder cyclists have taken to supernova-bright flashing "SEE ME" lights and hi-viz everything.
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Old 09-20-13, 08:52 AM   #12
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I'm seeing the blinky lights a lot these days, and not just around dusk/dawn, and not just on commuters. There seems to have been a change in how riders view them.
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Old 09-20-13, 12:37 PM   #13
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Re: the points about possible light-shadow-light road conditions: Take a look at the Google Maps (search for "Elk Tree Road, woodside ca") street-level camera view from a little bit south of the intersection looking north (what the cyclist would have seen. Most of he intersection itself and the the approching road is entirely in the shade. Immediately north of the intersection 9and even a part of the intersection where the driver would have entered it) on into the visible distance (the direction from which the driver came, according to the descriptions), the road is in bright sunshine, with the angle of the sun coming in at about the driver's 10 o'clock. With that combo, it would be very easy for a driver to simply not see the approaching bike. (Oddly enough, if you go north of the intersection and look south, it is clear that the Gogle maps folks took those phots on a different day, ar at least at a time of day when the lighting is very different.)

That is not an excuse, but it is an explanation and a reminder to us all that there are situations in which we really are not very visible.

Note that this is not to say that that photo captures the actual light conditions at the time of the accident, but it certainly means that the "couldn't see into the shadows" scenario is at least possible. And again, that is a warning to us all.
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Old 09-20-13, 03:06 PM   #14
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I just got around to looking where Elk Tree Road is. I'd been assuming it was farther south, between OLH and Page Mill. No, it's right between OLH and 84. I've passed that place dozens of times, most recently last Sunday, and usually going >30 mph.
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Old 09-20-13, 03:50 PM   #15
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This has convinced me to get a headlight for daytime riding.
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Old 09-20-13, 04:02 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaredcasper View Post
Here is the story. It always hits hard when it's on a road I ride so often... condolences to the family.

I agree with the comment at the link that it looks like a case of the driver simply not seeing the cyclist, the sight lines there are just fine for any speed a cyclist will be going. Be careful out there.
There is a Ghost Bike on a route that I often ride. The cyclist killed there, Bernie Cooper, was 78 years old and a strong rider.

Every time that I ride past the GB it serves as a stark reminder of how dangerous our "hobby" can be. It is also a reminder of how precious life is.

Ride often...ride safely.
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Old 09-20-13, 04:51 PM   #17
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This has convinced me to get a headlight for daytime riding.
If you ride up Kings or Woodside, you really should get a light (head and tail). I have driven on those roads a lot, and every time I drive I am amazed at the number of cyclists with no lights. The cars and cycles go in and out of shade - it is pretty difficult for eyes to adapt quickly so there are many spots where I'm trying to peer into shadows to see if a cycle is hiding there.
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Old 09-23-13, 11:26 AM   #18
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trying to look at the positive side of this terrible accident. when out riding yesterday in the same general area, i noticed many more people have front and rear lights.
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Old 09-23-13, 01:31 PM   #19
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.be

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Old 09-23-13, 02:40 PM   #20
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CFO at Amazon during its IPO. A uber-wealthy woman who sounded very accomplished and balanced it other ways. Why is it that the people who die like this so often seem like such impressive and interesting people?
Simple. Because when "less interesting" people die, it is not as widely reported and not as widely reposted. And maybe simply because you pay less attention to "less interesting" cases.
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Old 09-23-13, 02:46 PM   #21
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****ing doughbag. Maybe that cop who was lecturing us at STP on Saturday should hang out at that intersection. For our safety my ass. Had to bit down the urge to tell him to **** off with his little idiotic safety speech about riding two abreast. Kicker? He didn't even see us ride. Just felt like lecturing.
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Old 09-24-13, 08:44 AM   #22
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I've watched the video of the left turning car about 10 times now. It's almost impossible for me to understand this. Is the driver's brain programed to stop, turn head left, look for "car" or "truck", and then immediately proceed if none is seen? If one lives on Elk Tree are road cyclists a rare sight? Are cyclists going to have to resort to locomotive type lights and horns in the near future?
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Old 09-24-13, 01:03 PM   #23
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I've watched the video of the left turning car about 10 times now. It's almost impossible for me to understand this. Is the driver's brain programed to stop, turn head left, look for "car" or "truck", and then immediately proceed if none is seen? If one lives on Elk Tree are road cyclists a rare sight? Are cyclists going to have to resort to locomotive type lights and horns in the near future?
The other possibility is the driver sees the bicycle and underestimates the likely closing speed, since it's a bicycle. "How could it possibly be going as fast as a car, it's just a bicycle?".

We can only do what we can do. I went out on Saturday to the bike store and got blinkies for my front and rear, and a rear blinkie and more serious headlight for my son's VERY occasional commuter bike.
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Old 09-24-13, 02:01 PM   #24
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good video clip. I wonder if taking the lane is the answer. of course slowing down would help but we have the right to go the speed limit.
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Old 09-24-13, 02:26 PM   #25
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On a motorcycle, moving laterally in the lane is often the answer, but that's not as practical on a bicycle.

Motorcycle safety studies dies have shown that motorists don't do well estimating distance and closing speed of single headlights. Perhaps a pair of lights toward the bar ends, or lights on the forks, would do better.
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