By Craig Davis
In a little over one month, a CyclistVideoEvidence.com (CVE) member’s life, and the lives of oncoming drivers, were repeatedly endangered by egregiously dangerous drivers, crossing double yellow lines, into the oncoming lane, all while entering blind curves. One of the vehicles was a San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office (SMCSO) cruiser. This article shares our member’s cyclist video evidence from ten of those incidents, and another important eleventh incident.
This critical artery, connecting eastern San Mateo County with the coast, is used by cyclists thousands of times throughout the year. That translates to thousands of similar near miss incidents per year. To make matters exponentially worse, some people are demanding that forty-foot buses be allowed on this already incredibly dangerous artery.
Many of the cyclists riding to the coast are compelled to ride for physical, and most importantly, mental well-being. Law enforcement could change the behavior of these dangerous drivers, before collisions occur, by taking traffic violence seriously enough to enforce existing laws. But they refuse to cite drivers, even with objective and irrefutable cyclists’ video evidence.
San Mateo County government officials could save lives, and end this Russian roulette of reckless driving, by demanding law enforcement enforce existing laws, specifically: reckless driving, assault, and crossing double yellow lines, by using cyclists’ objective and irrefutable video evidence.
It's difficult for non-cyclists to comprehend the threats and terror cyclists face riding on the roads. Each of these five extremely dangerous incidents were caused by relatively small vehicles, illegally passing on blind curves, even when a highly visible yellow cyclists' turn out sign was visible a few feet ahead. It's important to remember that Frank Masterson was killed in August 2020 by a Prius passing another cyclist around a blind curve on Kings Mountain Road. If relatively small vehicles regularly cause these egregiously dangerous threats to cyclists' lives, imagine the devastation forty-foot buses could wreak. Better yet, watch George Burkhard's cyclist video evidence when a bus could not fit within the double yellow lines of this narrow road with tight turns. George was lucky to escape with his life.
We begin with the San Mateo County Sheriff's cruiser incident to demonstrate that CVE's awareness and education campaigns should be required for drivers, cyclists and law enforcement. For drivers, to change their behavior before collisions occur, cyclists to resensitize and recalibrate their awareness of these life-threatening near miss incidents because they have become inured to them, and law enforcement to take traffic violence seriously. Our awareness and education campaigns are critical to ending this self-reinforcing vicious cycle on the part of all three stakeholders, that creates unsafe streets for all vulnerable road users. These actual experienced threats can only be brought to light by cyclists riding with a camera and submitting all of their near miss incidents to our free Incident Managment System, as our member cyclist has for ten of these incidents.
The SMCSO cruiser endangered the cyclist and oncoming traffic, by crossing over the solid yellow lines around a blind turn and entering a blind left curve, just before a highly visible yellow cyclists' turn out sign a few feet ahead that was illuminated by the cyclist's flashing front light. The cruiser approached from a distance, with both driver's side wheels well into the oncoming traffic lane, but retreated when he was finally able to see an oncoming downhill vehicle. The image below shows the cruiser's rear tire on the white line, and the front wheel turned in toward the cyclist, only a few feet from the cyclist. Based on the approach angle, the passenger side mirror was inches from hitting the cyclist when the cruiser was next to the cyclist. If more oncoming cars appeared around the blind turn, it would have been a catastrophe.
Below is our member's actual video evidence.
The second and third incidents occurred on 5/25/23. A full size, double cab, pickup truck passed our member on a blind left curve, followed by an SUV that passed our member on the same blind curve, and could have killed another cyclist who was coming downhill. You can hear the downhill cyclist yell.
The fourth and fifth incidents occurred on 6/2/23. A green Mini passes on a blind left curve, directly into an oncoming car and SUV, barely avoiding a horrible tragedy by inches. You can hear our member yell "look out!" This was followed by a VW sedan passing on the same blind left curve.
The sixth incident occurred on 6/20/23. A sedan passes a cyclist on a blind uphill curve, completely into the oncoming lane, directly into our member coming downhill. Our member's safe cycling technique, braking to an almost complete stop when he saw the first uphill car, barely avoided another horrible tragedy, by inches. You can hear our member yell.
The seventh and eighth incidents occurred on 7/6/23. Two sedans pass our member on blind uphill left curves, almost completely into the oncoming lane. If a car or cyclist were coming downhill, there would have been more horrible tragedies. You can hear our member yell "don't pass on blind corners."
The ninth and tenth incidents occurred on 7/10/23 at and near the entrance to Huddart Park. The first is a large truck owned by VM Utility Tree Service passing far across the double yellow line on a blind left curve. The second is a pickup truck passing far over the double yellow lines, directly into the path of an oncoming car, forcing it to pull off the road and stop.
You can see from these eleven incidents that all of the cyclists completely followed the rules of the road when their lives were endangered by egregiously dangerous drivers. During a recent Woodside Town Council meeting, a speaker called for the repeal of an ordinance banning large buses on Kings Mountain Road. She also argued in an article the day before the meeting, that "there is no objective data to support claims that buses have caused safety hazards." Clearly, our member's video evidence of ten incidents within the past month, all with relatively small vehicles compared to a forty-foot bus, provide exactly that objective evidence. George Burkhard's incident further documents exactly how incredibly dangerous buses are on this road. He barely escaped with his life.
She further cited a quote from a 2018 report by Parisi Transportation Consulting, funded by the Town of Woodside, in which they irresponsibly state: "Cyclists traveling in the downhill direction were observed to ride at speeds equaling or exceeding the speeds of downhill vehicles and did not typically slow down near the curves," and "We also observed that cyclists would travel downhill at speeds equaling or exceeding the speeds of downhill vehicles, would maintain these speeds at the curves, and would turn wide and often encroach into the opposing lane. These cyclists are at increased risk of collisions with uphill traveling vehicles."
Our cyclist's video evidence objectively and irrefutably disproves these statements. All of the cyclists going downhill in these videos exercised the rules of the road, yet Parisi Transportation Consulting made it sound like all cyclists are reckless. In fact, the exact opposite was true: the egregiously dangerous vehicles in this objective video evidence, endangered everyone on the road, cyclists and vehicles alike.
The statements were also highly irresponsible because they made them without sharing their methodology. Exactly how many cyclists did they observe? Did they observe for an hour on one day? What was the date and where exactly did they observe? Did they document their observations with video evidence?
Once again, law enforcement could change the behavior of these dangerous drivers, before collisions occur, by taking traffic violence seriously enough to enforce existing laws. But they refuse to cite drivers, even with objective and irrefutable cyclists' video evidence.
San Mateo County government officials could save lives, and end this Russian roulette of reckless driving, by demanding law enforcement enforce existing laws, specifically: reckless driving, assault, and crossing double yellow lines, by using cyclists' objective and irrefutable video evidence.
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