Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sun, Jan 21

Weather-wise, today was just like the Sunday 3 weeks ago. Still feeling the effects of yesterday's ride plus encountering a nasty headwind today, the 40-mile loop took me about 2 3/4 hours. Part of my route is going west on Sand Hill Rd, between Santa Cruz Ave and Highway 280. On this particular stretch of Sand Hill Rd, westbound as well as eastbound, there have been many near misses between cars and bicycles, but also a few "hits". In 2001, an intern at SLAC was struck by a car and killed. In today's San Jose Mercury News, Scott Herhold writes about MaryAnn Levenson, who was struck by a car on Dec 23, while riding in the bike lane eastbound on Sand Hill Rd, east of 280. Levenson luckily survived, and she's on her way to recover.

My personal issue with the 2-lane westbound stretch, is that just before reaching 280 and where the EB and WB lanes kind of diverge, the bike lane ends. Then, just before the next traffic light, a bike lane emerges between lane #1 (the right lane to the on-ramp to 280N) and lane #2, the left lane that continues westbound. After the traffic light, the bike lane continues to be between the two lanes until lane #1 turns away to 280N; lane #2 is now a single lane road with the bike lane to the right for the next ~400 ft. Now it becomes more scary: the 280N off-ramp lane joins Sand Hill Rd, and runs in parallel to it with the bike lane in between, for the next ~700 ft. Drivers coming west on Sand Hill Rd and planning to go on 280S, and drivers coming from 280N and planning to continue west on Sand Hill Rd, BOTH have to cross the bike lane. Now you can imagine the cyclists' nightmare there. Scott Herhold sums it up:

"The unequal odds out on the streets bear repeating. Bicyclists need to do even more to be vigilant and safe."

Again, be safe out there !

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