Bicyclists and drivers plead for caution on roadways: Roadshow

Readers share stories of recent close calls involving cars and bikes

Q: I appreciate your writing about the critical issue of automobiles and bicycles sharing city streets in a respectful manner. Recent harrowing events necessitate bringing this issue up again.

I’m a 70-year-old retired social worker who enjoys cycling. I frequently ride near my Berryessa home. I prefer the South Bay’s many car-free bike trails, such as the Guadalupe, Stevens Creek, and San Tomas trails. To get there, I have to navigate surface streets and encounter automobiles. Many, if not most, drivers share the road with courtesy. Unlike many cyclists, I am a conscientious rider who adheres to all traffic laws while riding my road bike, which is outfitted with front and rear blinking lights and a side view mirror.

I encountered cars emerging from commercial parking lots twice in a recent week while riding eastbound on Borregas Avenue in Sunnyvale. In both cases, they entered the street directly in front of me. Collisions and, most likely, significant bodily harm were avoided for me solely because I ride as if drivers are not paying attention to me. I would have collided with these vehicles if I hadn’t slowed down. Please remind your readers to focus.

San Jose’s Barry Goldman-Hall

A: I’m delighted to bring up the subject of paying attention. In addition to your plea for drivers to pay attention to bicyclists, a few readers recently wrote with similar requests.

Q: What I just witnessed would have caused some parents to gasp and thank a cautious driver for not hitting their children. Three kids on bikes were riding south on Grant toward Bryant Street, most likely from a nearby junior high. Bike No. 1 safely entered the left turn lane and was the first to arrive at the red-light intersection. Bikes Nos. 2 and 3 trailed far behind in the green-painted bike line, which had a green light for through traffic. When the turn arrow turned green, Bike No. 1 began his left turn, and Bikes Nos. 2 and 3 saw him turn and shot left from the bike lane to make the turn as well, cutting off a driver who was passing through on a green light.

Youth, inexperience, and rash behavior = high risk.

Mountain View resident David Russel

A: And…

Q: Two weeks ago, I saw a boy between the ages of 12 and 13 riding his bike down a busy street, completely engrossed in his phone. What possibly could go wrong?

Milpitas resident Keith Scott

A: It concerns me when I see cyclists riding while distracted by their phones, just as it does when drivers and pedestrians are distracted and endangering themselves and others.

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