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  1. #1
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    Female cyclist, Lauren Ward, killed by Big Rig on Alpine near 280

    I hope it was quick, may she rest in peace

    A woman riding a bicycle was struck and killed by a big-rig near Portola Valley this afternoon, a California Highway Patrol officer said.

    The accident was reported at 3:39 p.m. on Alpine Road near the on-ramp to northbound Interstate Highway 280.

    Initial reports indicated the bicyclist had been hit by an 18-wheeler and was underneath the big-rig. The San Mateo County coroner's office has been called to the scene.

    CHP Officer Art Montiel said the bicyclist appears to be a woman in her 40s or early 50s.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/top-stori...nclick_check=1
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  2. #2
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    I heard on the radio about a fatality there and instantly had a bad feeling before I even knew a cyclist was involved - there are a lot of cyclists on that road mixing with some heavy traffic. Rest in peace, and condolences to her family.
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  3. #3
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    OMG, my condolences to her family. That is tragic. I lost a dear friend years ago to a similar encounter with a big rig with the same results.

    Fiona
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  4. #4
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    Lets all remember how this works

    The cars and big rigs have right of WEIGHT!!!

    Stay safe out there
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  5. #5
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    Story just aired on KTVU News. They had a live anchor at the spot for the broadcast. Looks like it happened before the southbound on-ramp (under 280 overpass), not northbound as the print story indicates. Condolences to the family and friends.

    I ride that stretch often when going to Arastradero and points beyond. Almost every bike rider I see takes the lane at that spot (as she did). That puts the rider out in the middle of the road, under a dark bridge, with cars changing lanes and whizzing by you on both sides. While that's what a car should do, I never ever do that on my bikes - way to friggin' dangerous IMHO. I always hug the curb in that stretch. Better safe than sorry...

  6. #6
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    I ride that section of road 2 or 3 times per week. I recently changed my routine when riding it. I no longer put myself "out in the middle of nowhere" and instead, stay as close to the right shoulder as possible, crossing the ramp lane at the last second in order to minimize my exposure. Like you, I recommend that other folks do the same. The shadows/speed of traffic in that underpass is a volatile mix.

    May she rest in peace.
    My presence would be the equivalent of painting lamb's blood on your frame, causing the "angel of crash" to nail me instead.

  7. #7
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    I ride that stretch of road often and will now change my riding habits to hug the right shoulder.

  8. #8
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    I just check the intersection to see what it was like on google maps and that does look dangerous for a bike to be out there in the straight lane. Even if you put some kind of bike lane through there like on Sand Hill Rd, it would still be dangerous.

    Ironically, on google maps, there is a big rig sitting right there.

    Condolences to the family
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

  9. #9
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    Man, that sucks. Condolences to her family.
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  10. #10
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    Here's the best story so far and a photo of the truck. It is huge flatbed carrying a cherry picker vehicle.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_165281...e=most_emailed

  11. #11
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    My heart goes out to the family.

  12. #12
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    condolances to her family. This is very disheartening.


    About how to ride, Ive read the article, and not totally sure what happened, but taking the lane seems like the right thing to do.

    Hugging the curb/shoulder would have a right-turning vehicle next to you, and puts you in the right-hook situation, which sounds like what happened here. None of the stories specifically say what happened, but they all imply the truck was turning right and hooked the rider along the curb. Taking the lane, the vehicle would have to run directly into you, which although sounds scary, is a lot less common than the right hook collision.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsmil4901
    I ride that stretch of road often and will now change my riding habits to hug the right shoulder.
    So do I and I go back and forth on the "right" way to ride the intersection. Hugging the right shoulder makes you invisible and ultimately the only way to be safe on the road is for drivers to see you in intersections. I find that it also tends to freak out some drivers because they are expecting you to change lanes in front of them, or they don't see you until the last minute. Crossing over just before the on-ramp can also be quite sticky.

    Probably the only really "safe" way is to get off and walk.

    I'm seeing more and more people on the loop using blinking tail lights during the day and that's one place where it really makes a lot of sense.

    _ Booker C. Bense

  14. #14
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    We have a name from the SJ Merc article:

    -------
    A 47-year-old woman was killed when her bike was hit by a big-rig on Alpine Road near Portola Valley on Thursday afternoon, and investigators said they are looking for witnesses to the "tragic accident."

    The bicyclist, Lauren Perdriau Ward, and a 26-wheel truck were both 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.
    -------

    We believe her husband is Bob Ward, bike author and manager of REI in SF. They have two kids. Some of our friends and board members here know them. This is all preliminary as we'll find out more today.

    fc

  15. #15
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    Condolences to the family.

    To everyone saying the best way is to hug the shoulder...Isn't there a Bike path that completely avoids all of this on the south side [for those going east]? I've always wondered why so many bikers take the more dangerous option staying with cars rather than use the bike path just to save a few seconds. Granted I'm always going east, so that may not be feasible going the other direction.

  16. #16
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    Sad. That little section right there is horribly dangerous.

    Given there are so many cyclists in that area the infrastructure is not very compliant.

  17. #17
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    Sincerest condolences to her family. Please be extra-extra careful on the road folks! (whether driving or riding...).
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  18. #18
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    First off, my deepest condolences to her family and friends.

    I live just on the other side of I-280 so fortunately do not have to use that interchange on my normal ride routes, but occasionally I commute to work via Caltrain and end up coming back through that intersection on the way home. Both the Page Mill and Sand Hill freeway crossings have bike lanes and signage. Alpine warrants them as well, IMO. As someone else mentioned, there are tons of cyclists who move through that interchange.

    There are two lanes of traffic coming up to that stop sign. The right lane leads onto the southbound freeway onramp and the left lane goes straight towards PV. At times of high traffic, the stop sign causes westbound Alpine to back up and a majority of drivers who want to get on the freeway will come up to the stop sign in the left lane and then cut over to the right underneath the overpass (where it's dark).

    Most cyclists come up to the stop sign on the shoulder, first having to negotiate the vehicle crossing for those cars headed onto northbound I-280. After going through the stop sign, most cyclists (myself included) will move over in between the two lanes of traffic so as to avoid trying to cross in front of vehicles accelerating as they head onto the southbound freeway onramp. It's a tough call but if you're going to stay on that side of the road, you either do that or you hug the shoulder up until the start of the cloverleaf and try and cross then.

    The article in the Merc states that the driver was in the right hand lane but that the collision was on the left hand side of the truck. My guess is that the rider had taken the center between the two lanes and the truck driver was either changing lanes from left to right to get onto the freeway onramp or from right to left to head straight into PV.

    Just a bad situation all around.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neela
    Condolences to the family.

    To everyone saying the best way is to hug the shoulder...Isn't there a Bike path that completely avoids all of this on the south side [for those going east]? I've always wondered why so many bikers take the more dangerous option staying with cars rather than use the bike path just to save a few seconds. Granted I'm always going east, so that may not be feasible going the other direction.
    The bike path that you are supposed to get off and walk most of due to a very low clearance and blind corner. And you still get dumped out into traffic on the other side.
    Personally, I think it's actually safer to just keep up the speed and get through there
    as fast as possible, rather than attempting to remerge back into traffic. Riding on the road in that direction at least feels much safer than the other way. The only real danger spot
    is crossing the on ramp entrance and if there isn't traffic there's no reason to avoid it.

    There is no bike path on the west direction and a much longer exposure to lane changing traffic. As much as it unnerves me having done both ways many times, I really think pretending there is a marked bike lane like on Sandhill going west is the safest way short of getting off and walking. Bikes and cars using different rules for getting through an intersection is generally the wrong answer. The safest way is to be seen and to go where the driver expects you to go.

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  20. #20
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    I commute home using that intersection twice a week. I found the Sandhill on / off ramps to unnerving for me. In the past two weeks out of the four times I have used that intersection, I have had 3 incidents where it was a contest on who had right a way. I'm considering giving up on bicycle commuting. It is just not worth the drama everytime I ride.

  21. #21
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    Several years ago wifey and I were car traveling a two lane highway in CO. The highway went under a bridge, making it dark in there. When we got to the bridge I saw, to my total shock, three road bikes traveling near the right shoulder.

    I about sh*t because I totally could not see them ahead of time.

    They were out of the way and I was only going maybe 55 or less, but the experience still lives with me to this day.

    Every time I approach a bridge I look extra hard for bikes in the "car lane."

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by elder_mtber
    Several years ago wifey and I were car traveling a two lane highway in CO. The highway went under a bridge, making it dark in there. When we got to the bridge I saw, to my total shock, three road bikes traveling near the right shoulder.

    I about sh*t because I totally could not see them ahead of time.

    They were out of the way and I was only going maybe 55 or less, but the experience still lives with me to this day.

    Every time I approach a bridge I look extra hard for bikes in the "car lane."
    This is good insight. In these underpasses, it goes from light to dark and it is very hard to see a cyclist.

    My guess is the driver didn't see her and moved over and hit the cylist on the non-freeway entry lane. Then she perished as she got entangled with the 26 tires.

    Simply unbelievable there are no witnesses...
    fc

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonala
    I commute home using that intersection twice a week. I found the Sandhill on / off ramps to unnerving for me. In the past two weeks out of the four times I have used that intersection, I have had 3 incidents where it was a contest on who had right a way. I'm considering giving up on bicycle commuting. It is just not worth the drama everytime I ride.
    I try really hard to avoid those crossings during commute hours. There are much nicer ways
    under 280 off of Purissma in Los Altos, but that's the long way round. As ugly as it is perhaps 84 is the best way, at least there are stoplights. Although I recall that there was a fatality there not too long ago.

    If you're willing to ride up Farm hill, you can get to Canada Rd by going through Canada College campus roads.

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois
    We have a name from the SJ Merc article:

    ------
    The bicyclist, Lauren Perdriau Ward, and a 26-wheel truck were both 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.
    -------

    We believe her husband is Bob Ward, bike author and manager of REI in SF. They have two kids. Some of our friends and board members here know them. This is all preliminary as we'll find out more today.

    fc
    Just to update FC's post. I don't believe the bicyclist killed is the wife of Bob Ward. Bob's wife is Annie Ward and they both now reside in New Mexico. Bob manages, last I heard when I talked with Annie earlier this year, the Albuquerque REI store. The left CA a few years ago.

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  25. #25
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    The first letter to the editor here is written by Lauren Ward,

    http://www.losaltosonline.com/index....6580&Itemid=55

    -------


    Letters to the Editor
    Written by Los Altos Town Crier
    WEDNESDAY, 21 JANUARY 2009

    RULES OF THE ROAD: RESPECT, UNDERSTANDING

    Wow. It sounds like there is some real resentful, bitter, maybe even hateful feelings from the two ladies in Los Altos Hills who seem to feel cyclists are all rule-breakers and do not deserve to ride on the same roads with cars (Town Crier, Letters to the Editor, Dec. 31 and Jan. 7).

    I also live in Los Altos Hills. I drive and ride a bike. I have children who ride, and one is about to learn how to drive on roads where unpredictability is in fashion. I have lived here for more than 40 years. I, too, have seen the changes in peopleís attitudes on the road. However, I see it in all walks of travel.

    Just so these ladies understand, not all cyclists are bad. I happen to take great pleasure in chasing someone down, on my bike, when I see him or her run a light or stop sign. When I catch them, I ask them to please follow the rules of the road and not endanger others.

    However, itís not just a few cyclists that seem to flagrantly disobey the laws. Have you noticed that even after all the new flashing crosswalk lights that have been installed on San Antonio Road, pedestrians still cross between them?

    Unfortunately, I see way more infractions with autos than I do with cyclists or pedestrians. The police should be heavily enforcing laws to ensure that automobile drivers obey, and there should be greater fees and penalties for broken rules. I would suggest a starting penalty of $200 for driving while on a cell phone and have it escalate from there.

    Remember what it may be like to ride a bike alongside cars. Most people are not out there to ruin your day by getting in your way. A bicyclist is very vulnerable, like a pedestrian, to any sort of accident.Why some of these people choose to disregard laws of safety is beyond me. Maybe itís Darwinís theory of natural selection in action?

    If we could all have more respect and understanding toward others, life might get a little bit nicer.

    Lauren Ward

    Los Altos Hills
    .............

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