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Cyclist hospitalized after collision at Iron Horse Trail crossing

Original post made on Jun 24, 2009

An unidentified male bicyclist suffered minor injuries Tuesday morning after colliding with an automobile at the intersection where the Iron Horse Tail crosses Greenbrook Drive.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, June 23, 2009, 5:22 PM

Comments (30)

Posted by Nancy
a resident of Danville
on Jun 24, 2009 at 8:26 am

I'm sorry that this happened to the cyclist, but it has been a LONG time coming that motorist and bicyclists in Danville/Alamo have and will contine to clash. I live along Diablo road and it is a nightmare every single day to negotiate that road with throngs of cyclists who think they own the road! I understand their desire to get to Mt. Diablo, but it has to be the unsafest stretch of road in Danville and something needs to be done about it!!!! Many times I have seen and been in LONG lines of cars (on the way to work or dropping kids off at school) crawling along behind one cyclist, when there is a sidewalk almost the whole length of the road - I know because I have walked it and would happily move aside for bikers rather than them take up the little road that is there. What really steams me is that cyclists demand "equal" rights on the road, yet as the accident in the article mentioned, they rarely (at least this is my experience) stop at corner stop signs, red lights, etc. with the cars. Apparently these road rules don't apply to them when it's not convenient or they have to step off their bike and wait like the rest of us! I especially love it when they ride side-by-side in the bike lane, clearly taking up extra room in the right driving lane so they can chat and hold up yet more traffic. Cyclists: if you want to be treated as equals on the road - OBEY THE RULES WITH THE REST OF US!

Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on Jun 24, 2009 at 8:59 am

Nancy, I couldn't have said it better myself. You are absolutely correct. Traffic laws are not for the cyclist or at least that's what they believe. In Alamo at the corner of Danville Blvd and Stone Valley Rd is a prime example...99% couldn't care less what the traffic signal says. And if you happen to be moving through the intersection on a green light and a cyclist is going through on a red light and you should happen to meet, 9 out of 10 times he will call you a bitch and flip you off. It never happens to my husband...They don't have the guts to confront a male drive with a highway salute...especially one driving a Ford 350 pickup. Lately, they have become the rudest people on the road.

Posted by Jerry
a resident of Danville
on Jun 24, 2009 at 9:12 am

I am a bicycle rider and I agree some cyclists are inconsiderate and ignore basic traffic laws and courtesies, but don't put all of us who ride in the same bad boy bag. Just as there are good and bad car drivers there are good and bad cyclists. In my experience as a rider and driver in Danville for the past thirty years this has been my experience. MAny a time I cross with the green light just to have a vehicle run the red or ignore my right of way in an intersection. Fortunately these drivers are the exception not the rule. In hundreds of times I have stopped at the light at Danville Blvd and StoneValley and I have never seen a biker run a red at that busy interection.

Posted by Marie
a resident of Danville
on Jun 24, 2009 at 9:17 am

I agree with both of you. Cyclists think they are above the law. I don't want anyone to get hurt, but when it happens because of their own stupidity, don’t complain and blame the driver.

I tell my kids never to cross the road (even if the signal says to walk) until you look at the driver and know that the driver sees them. When a cyclist does do something wrong, don’t try to confront them, because they will curse & sign inappropriate things. So instead, I use it as another learning lesson for my kids.

Posted by Farmer Dave
a resident of Danville
on Jun 24, 2009 at 10:29 am

Gather your own data and form your opinion based on observable facts. Spend 20 minutes at an intersection of Railroad Avenue in Danville on a Saturday morning. Watch as LINES of bicyclists swoosh through the stop signs.

Posted by Jim
a resident of Charlotte Wood Middle School
on Jun 24, 2009 at 10:45 am

I'm also sorry about this accident and the resulting injury to the cyclist, but I agree with Nancy that it has been a LONG time coming. Motorists and cyclists at this specific intersection will continue to clash simply because the trail crossing is hidden by large bushes. I always slow down to about 5 miles per hour as I approach this trail crossing to spot cyclists approaching since most of them do NOT stop despite a large visible STOP sign. Yes, a warning light should be triggered by bikes and foot traffic, but I do NOT depend on it. I understand and know that some cyclists STOP, but most think they own the road! When cyclists demand "equal" rights on the road, they need to obey the same traffic laws as do automobile drivers. Some do, but most do NOT. It is a wonder there are not more accidents. My experience is similar to Nancy: 'they rarely stop at corner stop signs, red lights, etc. with cars. Apparently these road rules don't apply to them when it's not convenient or they have to step off their bike and wait like the rest of us!'...Cyclists: if you want to be treated as equals on the road - OBEY THE RULES WITH THE REST OF US!

Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Jun 24, 2009 at 10:46 am

There's plenty to complain about with these roving, spandex-encrusted hoards of bicyclistas, even beyond their unfortunate sartorial choices. I think they ride together to share the burden of derisive fashion commentary from passing motorists.

This guy, for instance, apparently blew through the trail crossing stop sign. Not a good choice. I wonder who will pay for the car damage?

Posted by Jan
a resident of Alamo
on Jun 24, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Their manners are not any better on the Iron Horse Trail. Try walking when they use this instead of Danville Blvd. Some stop at crossings but the biggest majority just ride through. They very seldom move over for people walking. I think they expect us to step to the side for them to pass. Also their speed on the trail is scary...........

Posted by Susan
a resident of Alamo
on Jun 24, 2009 at 12:37 pm

I agree totally with the commenters who complain about bicyclists ignoring the law and common courtesy. I do not walk on the trail during prime hours simply because I don't like having two bicyclists pass each other in the same place as I am and edging me off the trail.

I also drive across the trail every day. I slow down and look for walkers and bicylists because I don't want the heartbreak of a collision with a pedestrian or cyclist. I can't tell you how many times trail users ignore the stop sign and pass right in front of me. Some of them even hold up their hand -- signalling me to stop notwithstanding the stop sign which gives me the right of way.

Posted by Bob
a resident of Alamo
on Jun 24, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Perhaps there would be less incidents if the police would cite both vehicle and bicycle drivers for violations. In my 22 years in the Alamo/Danville area I have yet to see a cyclist pulled over by police. Also, think of the additional revenue potential there is for Danville if tickets were written for both drivers and cyclists.

Posted by Bill
a resident of Danville
on Jun 26, 2009 at 9:21 pm

The comments on the bicyclists are well taken. But I have to laugh at all the sanctimoniuos drivers. "Obey the rules like the rest of us!". They have got to be kidding.

My wife and I are senior citizens and we often walk into town for coffee. We have learned to be extremely careful. No body is driving at or under the speed limit - especially on residential streets. And stop signs don't mean stop - just slow down and see if another car is coming (ignoring pedestrians). And lately we have been astonished at the number of drivers running red lights.

This is particularly true when mom's are taking their kids to school. We try to avoid being out walking during that time.

There is a pedestrian crossing in front of the Library that has a motion activated voice message that says "be careful crossing the street". It should be modified to say "be careful crossing the street - your in Danville".

Posted by David Mc Arthur
a resident of Danville
on Jun 28, 2009 at 6:35 pm

I wish I could say how sorry I am for the cyclist in this and other incidents, but I can't. My sympathy is with the driver of the car that did nothing wrong, but our boys in blue will probably reward that with a careless driving ticket. A bit back a guy came barreling down a road out off Highland Road, mad the turn and died after smashing head on into some poor guy in a pickup. Maybe I should feel terrible for that cyclist, but once again, my sympathy is with the family he thoughtlessly left behind and the innocent pickup driver that will live that moment of impact over and over the rest of his life. Our boys in blue ignore these terrorist on wheels and concentrate of ticketing the kids, with reflexes of a cat, for the smallest of infractions. I've seen cyclsit shoot thru red lights on Hartz or Danville blvd with the cop waiting for the signal to change. They just ignore it and tool on as if it didn't happen. Go 27 MPH in front of the schools and "Bingo." A moving violation, points and all. So whay can cyclist ride two abreast on a single lane? Cars can't. They are supposedly subject to the same rules. Don't you believe it. I was forced to flatten myself on the side of my car as one of the idiots whizzed by. He turned around to call me a foul name and ran into a parked car in front of Vally Medlyn's. I had to sit in the car for a few minutes to quit laughing, before driving home.

Posted by Duffy
a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Jun 29, 2009 at 8:03 am

The intersection of the Iron Horse Trail and Greenbrook Drive, where the cyclist was injured, is "guarded" by a flashing yellow light for drivers on Greenbrook Drive and "STOP" signs for those on the trail. The flashing yellow light is only a caution for drivers on Greenbrook Drive
that someone on the trail is approaching. The STOP sign on the trail indicates just exactly that - STOP! By my observation very few, if any, cyclists obey this command and assume they have the right-of-way because most drivers will yield to them. The East Bay Park District and the Danville Police have created an accident hazard by the flashing yellow "caution" light. It should be removed and cyclists should abide by the California Vehicle Code when crossing this intersection. Drivers need only yield to cyclists and pedestrians when they are IN a marked crossing.

Posted by John
a resident of Diablo
on Jun 29, 2009 at 8:40 am

I now Simply place a complimentry consistent pressure on the horn while I see bikers on the narrow part of diablo road. I believe that to be legal and effective to put bikers on high alert, possibly making more reactionary bikers to give an appreciative "salute" while causing others to avoid that "noisey "area off thier dangerous route.Good citizens unite lay on those horns and protect our bikers!!!!!!

Posted by Bill
a resident of Danville
on Jun 29, 2009 at 11:25 am

I agree with all of the comments and as someone who retired from law enforcement, I am frustrated that the police ignore the bicycle riders. After a rider is killed, then enforcement will begin. They should post a "zero tolerance for bicyclist" sign and, for thier own safety, cite them liberally. As for Diablo road, another enforcement oversight, they are obstructing traffic and should be cited. Start writing the sheriff.

As for Iron Horse, I advocate a "no wheels" policy on Iron Horse Trail, as has been successfully used in LA County. The only exception is for baby carriers. Any politicians reading this? I would write if for him or her.

Posted by Tony
a resident of Charlotte Wood Middle School
on Jun 29, 2009 at 12:10 pm

I completely disagree with the last comment. Number 1, bicyclists have the same rights on public roads as cars. By the same token if they break the laws, cite them by all means. On Diablo the speed limit is 35 mph. I rarely see any cars follow that, but cyclists coming down off of the hill and through Diablo will be going between 25-30 mph. It's a fast downhill. If you want to write to someone, write the county highway department and ask them to put in bike lanes. I ride that area and there is no sidewalk there as another poster commented. And if we want to get to Mt. Diablo there is no other way to get there.

2..police ignoring cyclists. I've seen cyclists get tickets in Danville and all throughout the bay area. And I've seen cars blow stop signs or run red lights and not get ticketed. And don't even get me started on the number of drivers talking on cells, texting and all the other stupid things that distract from watching the road. In this case, in this story the cyclist was at fault. He didn't stop and he paid the price. And he'll probably be ticketed. As for the other cyclists who do all those rude things, they are not the majority. They're the ones you notice because they're doing something wrong. Just like not all motorcyclists are insane lane splitters. but you notice the ones who do. I'm sure you all blamed the two bicyclists killed last year by the Sheriff's deputy who fell asleep at the wheel. If they hadn't been out there on the road he wouldn't have killed them, right?

3. No wheels on Iron Horse trail? That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Do you have any idea how many children ride their bikes to school on the trails? That trail provides a lot of children a higher level of safety than they would have out on the streets getting to school. Not to mention rollerbladers who use the trail for exercise. Try showing a little tolerance for people who enjoy different hobbies than you. Most cyclists I know call out 'on your left' when they are passing or ring their bells. We have every bit as much right to be out there as anyone else. I've nearly been wiped out because some person had their dog on a 20 foot lead and just let the animal run across the trail right in front of me. And then yelled at me for endangering her dog.

Finally just a word about the intolerance I've read on here about us 'spandex encrusted' people. We wear bike shorts because they have padding. The jerseys help keep us cool on these 100 degree days. It's comfort, not fashion. And at least we're out exercising, instead of crusing around polluting the atmosphere and adding judging people you don't even know based on riding bikes and wearing spandex.

Posted by Barbara
a resident of Danville
on Jun 29, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Wow, a lot of comments about the cyclists... and as a driver & cyclist, I've seen & read above, how people can be inconsiderate and expect everyone to be horrible offenders. On more the one occassion, while driving, I've rolled down my window to tell a cyclist they need to stop and obey the traffic signs, without expletives.
At the same time, as a cyclist, I don't feel comfortable riding the trail in my tight spandex speeding if front of mom's and children learning to ride. I choose to take my chances on the Railroad when riding thru Danville. There are only 5 potential stops starting from the HS thru to Marcello's. 2 required stops signs. That's not many and a good trade off to help slow down cars going thru town.
The town made some wonderful parking improvements, but the road is narrow with parking on one side and the bike lane mysteriously disappears in a small section of town. The road could be shared better. I think everyone knows who losses if there is an accident no matter whose fault - I can spread the word - obey the rules. Maybe, posting something at the local cycle shops, Peets... I'd rather live amongst friendly neighbors rather than hostile ones.

Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Jun 29, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Tell me, Tony, do stuffed shirts come in spandex, too? Or only the padded shorts to protect your well-toned, pompous ... never mind.

Posted by Elvis
a resident of Danville
on Jun 29, 2009 at 5:37 pm

My best to all involved in this accident. Quite a load of bicycle itolerance and misunderstanding. For all those posting their own anecdotes and biases, let me add some more rational points, based on actual data and studies.

It appears that the cyclist here was at fault - this is actually unusual. Many studies have shown that the vast majority of auto v. bicycle crashes (and deaths) are, in fact, the fault of the auto driver. And the vast majority of those at-fault drivers are never charged with anything.

Cyclists must obey traffic laws and safety common sense:
1. Stop at all stop signs!
2. Never ride aginst traffic: ride on the right side of the road!
3. Riding on the sidewalk is actually significantly more dangerous that sharing the road with cars.

Personally, I rarely ride the Iron Horse trail on my bike. The current roadway, multi-use path crossings are very dangerous. Well-meaning, but confused drivers stop when they shouldn't (they usually have the right of way). And too many impatient drivers whip around those who stop - making it extremely dangerous for trail users. Cyclists, skaters and pedestrians cross when they should stop (they usually don't have the right of way). Every trail/street crossing seems to leave all involved confused - a driver one directions stops, a driver from the other direction doesn't, one cyclist stops, another barrels through.

The only reasonably safe crossings are those that are fully signalized (like at Crow Canyon Road). Those involved in assessing Iron Horse Trail safety should consider fully signalized crossings.

Posted by Tony
a resident of Charlotte Wood Middle School
on Jun 29, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Citizen Paine, I must say LOL. You calling someone else pompous? Wow, Read your earlier post about spandex encrusted bikers and tell me that wasn't dripping with pomposity.

I responded in defense of the many many cyclists who do their best to obey the laws and still get yelled at, honked at and 'saluted' just as often as drivers.

In case you hadn't heard about it, there was another cyclist killed over the weekend on Camino Tassajara by a driver who "lost control". Was that the cyclists' fault too? Because he dared to be on the roadway?

I'm a driver and a rider and I agree that both sides are guilty of stupidity. but if you read the majority of posts on this thread all the blame and rude comments are aimed at the cyclists. So, you want to insult me because I provide a counterpoint and offer some attitude back, have at it.

Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Jun 29, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Here's a laugh backatcha, Tony -- glad you can give as good as you get. I will say that cyclistas do tend to be in shape, and therefore you have it all over the Speedo Guys -- whose motto should be: "Any of us who would wear one -- probably shouldn't."

I did see the report on the WC cyclist, and that wasn't funny, obviously. Are there any deets on how it happened?

Posted by Tony
a resident of Charlotte Wood Middle School
on Jun 29, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Pretty awful actually. I've never done a weblink before but I'll try. Web Link The short version if the link did not work is...the female driver apparently lost control of her vehicle, pinned the cyclist underneath and then swerved into oncoming traffic and had a headon collision. Cyclist was dead at the scene. What got me in the report I read was how people were anxious to get past the accident scene and were kicking pieces of the bike out of their way so they could keep going.

As for your comments about the cyclistas being in shape. I'm probably more in the speedo segment of the cycling population. Spandex is not my friend but the padded seat and the cooling that a good light jersey can provide makes it worth the self consciousness that wearing it can cause.

Posted by tom
a resident of Charlotte Wood Middle School
on Jul 1, 2009 at 7:39 am

At the iron horse crossing and El Capitan many of the bikers just dont stop. They just drive across. They dont even bother looking that they have a stop sign to follow first. Never do I see the police giving a citation or even stopping on of them. This is a accident waiting to happen. Supposedly the city is going to install the ground flashing lights soon. But, what good does that do for the ones that dont stop at all before crossing?

Posted by Sally
a resident of Diablo
on Jul 1, 2009 at 10:19 am

I also agree that it's a nightmare to try driving in between these fearless bicycle riders!!! Car drivers are delayed to their destinations and they are also put in great danger in trying not to collide into an oncoming vehicle!! It's a very nerve-racking experience!! Nobody is out to kill bikers!! After all, roads are made for driving cars!?!?! Bikers have more to loose in terms of "getting hurt or die" since they have less protection than a car driver. I think it's to their own benefit to ride only on areas where there are bicycle lanes only. I also think that the bike lanes should be carefully thought out before creating them, certainly not on Diablo road!!!!! Also, bikers' attitude of "I own the road" and "I can run a stop light or stop sign" needs to be addressed since that puts them in even more jeopardy of getting killed and to top it off, they leave a very distressed car driver for injuring them...

Posted by Debbie Henderson
a resident of Danville
on Jul 1, 2009 at 3:22 pm

As a Danville resident, cyclist and driver, I am floored by the hatred in these comments. As someone said before, there are considerate, inconsiderate, self righteous and clueless walkers, cyclists and drivers. Would you rather kill someone? I really try to follow the rules and get my fellow riders to do the same, but I am sure I am not a perfect all of the time. EVERY time I ride, there are drivers that get unnecessarily close and honking is ridiculous. I am shocked by the anger. I agree that we should all be following the laws. I think we need to get rid of the rage and get some tolerance. The world isn't perfect - ever.

Posted by Don
a resident of Danville
on Jul 1, 2009 at 9:31 pm

I'm sorry to hear of the recent accident, but it doesn't surprise me a bit. A year or two ago the intersection of Crow Canyon Rd and Camino Tassajara was reconfigured and the number of lanes were increased. At one corner the bicycle lane was diverted onto the sidewalk for a short distance. I drive through that intersection daily, and have NEVER observed a single cyclist follow the visual directions and divert onto the sidewalk. Every one I've seen has ridden through the intersection, and then stayed in the right vehicle lane- expecting that cars will slow or squeeze by them- knowing that the lanes are too narrow for both bikes and cars to use at the same time. Another example is Bollinger Canyon Rd traveling east toward the Bridges from Alcosta Blvd. Last year that road was widened to three lanes, and the bicycle lane was diverted onto the sidewalk. Again, I've yet to see a any bicyclist follow the directions and move over onto the sidewalk! Daily as I drive home I observe bicyclists riding slowly uphill in the right lane- on a road where traffic moves at 45 mph! Unfortunately I fear it is only a matter of time until there is a bad accident on that stretch of road as well.

Posted by Elvis
a resident of Danville
on Jul 5, 2009 at 12:17 am

Don, Interesting observation, but little to do with the roadway/trail crossing discussed above. Experienced cyclists know that riding on the street is actually significantly safer than on sidewalks. And I'm pretty sure those "diversions" that you note are not enforceable via vehicle code - I would never think of using those two.

Posted by sp
a resident of Diablo
on Jul 5, 2009 at 3:24 pm

There are equally many motorists who feel they're above the law when driving 50+ mph on Diablo Rd. I've had two close calls by drivers in their monster SUV's or Porsches thinking they own road. Sharing the road is not just the duty of cyclists.
And if you're stuck behind a cyclist, take it easy. If you're in such a rush, leave the house earlier but don't blame cyclists if you're in a hurry and be late a 2 minutes.

Posted by Jack
a resident of Walnut Creek
on May 13, 2010 at 12:43 am

For what it's worth, the whole "on your left" warning gets old after awhile from a pedestrian's point of view. A lot of cyclists seem to see us as deaf and blind zombies, liable to lurch in any direction on the trail, even if we're on the far right side and practicing lane discipline. I guess they have no way of knowing, and have had some bad experiences. Still, they should tone it down when there's plenty of room "on the left" and a walker is headed in a steady straight line.

I do see some groups of walkers taking up the width of the trail. Usually women gabbing about family life, or people with cellphones glued to their ears. The moral is that everyone using any conveyance needs to be aware of their surroundings, period. Never trust a car to stop at a crossing; always make eye contact, etc.

Posted by Jack
a resident of Walnut Creek
on May 13, 2010 at 12:54 am

Correction: "On YOUR left" is usually what the spandex bikers say.

And then there are the those who use bells (less grating), and in one case a guy with a simulated train whistle to symbolize the origins of the Iron Horse Trail.

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