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In the photo that local TV stations ran of Josh Alper when he died, he has his arm around his wife, Annette Marines. Tall and lanky, he’s slouching down a bit in the photo, but even still the top of her head only comes to his chin.

Marines found it surreal—she still isn’t sure how they got that photo. Maybe Facebook, she thinks.

Today, sitting in downtown Santa Cruz, Marines still wears her wedding ring on her left hand. On a chain around her neck, she wears his. Along with a lock of his hair, the ring is the only thing she got back from police after her husband was struck by a car and killed while riding his bike along Highway 1 on November 2. He was 40. She still is.

Inside the right-hand pocket of her winter coat, Marines has pinned a small black and white button someone gave to her at the funeral. It says, “Never forget Josh Alper.” As if she could.

“This is a lifetime of thinking about him, and it’s just the beginning of it,” she says.

Alper, a well-known local musician and UCSC librarian, was killed when a 63-year-old man driving on Highway 1 crossed over the yellow dividing lines into oncoming traffic. His car went all the way into the bike lane and crashed into Alper, who was on a ride with a group from the Bike Dojo, a local cycling gym. The other riders were spread out enough that they did not see the collision.

The driver’s name has not been released, and he was not arrested. No alcohol was found in his system. The official story is that the man fell asleep at the wheel. However, in early reports witnesses said they saw him get out of his car while holding onto his cell phone. The District Attorney’s office is currently investigating the case and could still press charges.

As surreal, as horrific as it has been to lose her partner, at this point there is one thing that seems cut and dry to Marines: “I think the bottom line is just personal responsibility for your actions,” she says. “Especially when you kill someone.”

No Protection

Josh Alper is not the only bicyclist who has died this way—in the bike lane, obeying all the rules of the road and wearing a helmet. In November, just 10 days after Alper’s death, a 41-year-old cyclist was hit by a car and killed in Newport Beach. While riding her bicycle in Woodside last September, Joy Covey, the former CFO of Amazon.com, was struck and killed by a van making a left turn. And in August, a 24-year-old woman was run over by a delivery truck in San Francisco. There are many more stories like these.

As Daniel Duane points out in a November New York Times op-ed (“Is It OK To Kill Cyclists?”), drivers who kill or injure bicyclists are almost never cited by local authorities. In cases where they have been, “the penalty’s meagerness defied belief,” writes Duane, citing the 2011 case of a teen near Seattle who drove into 49-year-old cyclist John Przychodze from behind, killing him. After he passed a breathalyzer test, police issued him a $42 ticket for making an unsafe lane change.

Perhaps it’s no wonder that many cyclists say they are treated like second-class citizens on the road. But in Santa Cruz, bicycle advocates are trying to change that.

Last fall, Governor Jerry Brown signed the Three Foot Bill—a new law that requires drivers to give cyclists three feet of space when passing them. Drivers can be fined if they violate the law, with higher rates if they injure a cyclist while violating the law.

While it is definitely a victory for cyclists, the Three Foot Bill is more of an educational tool than something that is expected to be strictly enforced, says Amelia Conlen, the director of Santa Cruz bike advocacy organization People Power. “It’s a way to talk to drivers about how they should be driving around cyclists,” she says.

Drivers, meanwhile, often complain that cyclists get in the way, blow through stop signs or otherwise ride recklessly on the roads.

Ironically, Alper was the type of bike advocate who insisted on fellow cyclists following the letter of the law exactly when using the roads, in order to stay safe and keep peaceful relations with drivers.

“He would stick his head out the window and yell at cyclists who would run stop signs,” says Marines, “Because he was just like, ‘What are you doing? You’re going to get hit, or you’re going to hurt someone.’”

“There’s this frame of thought that cyclists should obey the law so that the wider public will respect us more or acknowledge our right to be on the road more,” says Richard Masoner of local cycling blog Cyclelicious. “If only cyclists were all completely law-abiding, then motorists would respect our right to the road. I don’t think that’s the reason harassment exists. I think the reason harassment exists is because we are identified as a different type of person.”

“People should ride safely, but cyclists aren’t getting hit and killed because of the actions of cyclists. They’re getting hit and killed because of cars,” he says.

Constructing Change

The central issue, says People Power’s Conlen, is creating a genuinely safe space for bicyclists in a system of roads that has evolved over the last century to primarily serve cars.

“We hear a lot about driver/cyclist tensions, but if we have infrastructure that makes it really clear where the cars are supposed to be, where the bikes are supposed to be, and what each of them is supposed to do at an intersection or turn, I think that takes a lot of the conflict away.”

And by infrastructure, Conlen doesn’t just mean bike lanes. There is a huge segment of the population that doesn’t feel safe riding in bike lanes next to traffic, with the possibility of cars swerving or turning into them, she says. And devastating stories like what happened to Alper show that their fears are not unfounded.

“How many people are going to not ride now that that happened?” wonders Dave Snyder, the executive director of the Oakland-based California Bicycle Coalition, a lobbying organization that works to get bike laws passed. “How many people are saying, ‘Fuck that, I’m not going to ride. I don’t want that to happen to me?’”

Snyder, whose organization was key in getting Brown to pass the Three Foot Bill, says driver education is important, but not nearly as important as better infrastructure.

“The Three Foot Bill can go only so far. It’s not going to do anything to prevent someone getting killed because a driver fell asleep at the wheel,” he says. He lowers his voice, already slightly raspy, to a grave sort of rumble: “You don’t think ‘three feet’ in your sleep.”

Rather than simply building more traditional bike lanes, Conlen and Snyder advocate separated bike lanes—barricaded by concrete, plastic buffers, planters or rows of parked cars. If there were more setups like that, Conlen says, more people would feel safe riding. And the more bikes are on the road, the safer it is, and the more aware drivers are.

Santa Cruz has some of these types of bike lanes—there’s the cycle track down by the Boardwalk, and part of High Street is separated with little plastic markers called “bollards.” But there are other areas where bicyclists are more vulnerable. Ocean Street could really use a separated bike lane, Conlen says, and she’d like to see one on Soquel Avenue all the way out to Aptos, too.

There are certainly some victories when it comes to bike awareness in Santa Cruz, says Snyder. Micah Posner, the former head of People Power, got elected to city council last November. “The fact that they would vote him in shows you something about how much they support bicycling in Santa Cruz,” says Snyder. However, Posner has publicly expressed dissatisfaction that he has been kept off transportation-related boards, limiting his ability to enact change.

“You could celebrate the victories and talk about how it’s getting better,” Snyder continues. “Or you could compare yourself to a city like Amsterdam, or a city like Davis. Compare yourself to the potential and recognize that you’re a pitiful, embarrassing, sliver of potential. You’ve done almost nothing.”

A Question Of Identity

In the office for the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission, Senior Transportation Planner Cory Caletti flips through the Monterey Bay Area “Complete Streets Guidebook,” a hefty volume of research and diagrams outlining dozens of options for transforming our streets into more bike- and pedestrian-friendly spaces. “The focus is on shifting the emphasis from moving cars to mobility—mobility of people,” she says.

It’s about expanding the number of choices people have for getting from Point A to Point B. It sounds simple enough.

“It’s not really rocket science,” says Caletti, pointing out the dozens of different options in the book like a wedding planner explaining color combinations. “Having bike lanes that are wide enough so that the cyclist isn’t pinched into the door zone; having green bike lanes; having cycle tracks; having contra-flow bike lanes—that’s basically a separated bike lane that’s going in the opposite direction of traffic on a one-way road. There are a lot of treatments available.”

So why isn’t our supposedly bike-friendly city brimming with them?

“It’s a challenge,” admits Christophe Schneiter, the Assistant Director of Public Works. “Money is always a problem. Money and, ‘Is there room to do these things?’ Do you have to take out a lane of traffic? Do you have to take out parking? While we want to do more separated bike facilities, it’s finding the resources and right of way to do those things. It’s not easy. We’re a built-out city, and an expensive one, so it’s a big challenge.”

There are other California cities with much more innovative and wide-reaching bike infrastructure than Santa Cruz. Take Davis, for example, which was an early leader in innovations like bike-only roundabouts and bike-specific traffic light heads. Or San Francisco, which has a bike share program that extends down the Bay into San Jose. Or Long Beach, which abruptly declared itself “the most bike friendly city in America” a few years ago, and has since implemented a series of bike boulevards and business districts.

“We do a lot of great bike projects; we have some innovative stuff in Santa Cruz,” says People Power’s Conlen. “I just don't think we’ve taken it on as part of our identity and really embraced it. But if people were excited about it, if our city council was excited about it, that could be something that really took off,” she says.

Indeed, one of the major unifying factors among cities with progressive bike facilities is that they have all incorporated biking into their identity. Davis, for example, has a bicycle as the city’s official symbol.

In Long Beach, the city first decided it wanted to be known as a bike-friendly place, then started looking into how to make that a reality. About six years ago, they started looking for grants to facilitate bike programs. They secured $12 million from county, state and federal resources, and then hired a team of specialists to implement three pilot projects within three years. Since then, all three projects have proven to be award-winning safety improvements. Long Beach has built protected bike lanes, created bike business districts with increased signage, and implemented traffic calming features and reduced speed limits. There is also a bike share program currently in the works.

Grandiose as it may sound, Charlie Gandy, mobility coordinator for Long Beach, equates his city’s transformation to President Kennedy deciding to send a U.S. shuttle to the moon.

“It was about deciding that was a worthy endeavor,” he says. “Not knowing all the steps to get there, but saying, ‘Let’s get there in a decade,’ and putting the sense of urgency on it,” he says, with a get-it-done Texas twang. Gandy moved to California from his hometown of Austin, where he worked on the “Keep Austin Weird” branding campaign.

“It’s a conscious political decision that needs to be made and then managed,” says Gandy. And the change in mindset at the top trickles down to residents, he believes. “When the city as the authority figure communicates that bikes belong on the street by painting bike lanes and building infrastructure, that sends a message to motorists that the authority figure expects bikes to be here. The more the authority figure communicates right-use on the street, the more compliance we have between all users, and there’s a reduction in the friction between the two.”

First Steps

Here in Santa Cruz, the issue may be at a crossroads. While there is a lot more that could be done to make things safer, the newly approved Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail could be a harbinger of more bike-friendly times to come.

Just this winter, the Regional Transportation Commission and Congressman Sam Farr secured $5.3 million in federal money to fund the first three stretches of the 32-mile coastal bike/pedestrian trail that will eventually provide safe, separated bike and pedestrian access from Watsonville to Davenport—including the area where the collision that killed Alper took place.

The first portion of the trail, which is being built in stages, will connect Natural Bridges Drive to the Wharf intersection, by the Sanctuary Exploration Center. It is expected to take about three years to complete. A lot of agencies are involved, and there has to be a detailed Environmental Impact Report, and a coastal permit, and then there will be a public review period, says Public Works’ Schneiter, who is a leader on the project.

Bike advocates are excited about the trail, in particular the potential it has to bring out cyclists who have been afraid to ride on unprotected roads along with car traffic. That’s the first step, they say, in fixing a situation that has already led to tragedy too many times.

“I don't think there's a share-the-road mentality across the board,” says Marines. “As much as I want cyclists to be safe on the road, they are vulnerable. Cyclists are vulnerable being that close to a vehicle.”

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2014/01/07/the_failure_of_share_the_road Pedaler

    It seems like the speed of traffic is one of the factors that contributes to the danger of bicycles sharing the road with cars.In areas near schools, the speed limit is lower when school is in session and higher when school is closed. In other words, drivers must slow down when children are present. Couldn’t the same law be applied to the presence of cyclists?

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/the_failure_of_share_the_road.html Pedaler

    It seems like the speed of traffic is one of the factors that contributes to the danger of bicycles sharing the road with cars.In areas near schools, the speed limit is lower when school is in session and higher when school is closed. In other words, drivers must slow down when children are present. Couldn’t the same law be applied to the presence of cyclists?

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2014/01/07/the_failure_of_share_the_road Mike

    Josh, you will be missed. Especially at the Sentinel Cafe where we used to talk about bikes, music and coffee. To Marines, my sincerest for your lose.

    I agree that cyclists are vulnerable as I am constantly “waving” at cars to see me when riding. I try to obey traffic laws and will do better as an advocate for safety. Be safe out there and never assume a car sees you. Josh’s accident was a freak-accident and I have nightmares about out of control vehicles. I am a paranoid rider. Mtn Biking is my ride of choice. But commute on my bike every day. Be safe fellow riders and defensive riding is key.

    Josh was a funny dude. I will miss our conversations. A good Santa Cruzan he was.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/the_failure_of_share_the_road.html Mike

    Josh, you will be missed. Especially at the Sentinel Cafe where we used to talk about bikes, music and coffee. To Marines, my sincerest for your lose.

    I agree that cyclists are vulnerable as I am constantly “waving” at cars to see me when riding. I try to obey traffic laws and will do better as an advocate for safety. Be safe out there and never assume a car sees you. Josh’s accident was a freak-accident and I have nightmares about out of control vehicles. I am a paranoid rider. Mtn Biking is my ride of choice. But commute on my bike every day. Be safe fellow riders and defensive riding is key.

    Josh was a funny dude. I will miss our conversations. A good Santa Cruzan he was.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2014/01/07/the_failure_of_share_the_road Fred Ollinger

    While I am sad about the death and I welcome the infrastructure, I thought that the tone of this article was highly misleading otherwise.

    If I read this, I would be afraid of cycling because cyclists are “vulnerable”. This is proven by the fact that over 30,000 people die in motor vehicle related collisions.

    Oops, I’m sorry, about 30,000 people die, a year, in motor vehicles. Many of them are sober and are children.

    Only around 700 or so cyclists die each year in the US. If this were on a list, it would not be on the top ten killers in the United States.

    In contrast, motor vehicles are the #1 kill of younger people (I mean they are INSIDE the car).

    Thus, motorists are also highly vulnerable.

    But if more people cycled, then there would be more cycling deaths.

    No, if more people cycled there would be LESS cycling deaths and LESS motoring deaths.

    Let’s stick to the facts and stop spouting anti-cycling fear mongering.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/the_failure_of_share_the_road.html Fred Ollinger

    While I am sad about the death and I welcome the infrastructure, I thought that the tone of this article was highly misleading otherwise.

    If I read this, I would be afraid of cycling because cyclists are “vulnerable”. This is proven by the fact that over 30,000 people die in motor vehicle related collisions.

    Oops, I’m sorry, about 30,000 people die, a year, in motor vehicles. Many of them are sober and are children.

    Only around 700 or so cyclists die each year in the US. If this were on a list, it would not be on the top ten killers in the United States.

    In contrast, motor vehicles are the #1 kill of younger people (I mean they are INSIDE the car).

    Thus, motorists are also highly vulnerable.

    But if more people cycled, then there would be more cycling deaths.

    No, if more people cycled there would be LESS cycling deaths and LESS motoring deaths.

    Let’s stick to the facts and stop spouting anti-cycling fear mongering.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2014/01/07/the_failure_of_share_the_road Rebecca Albrecht

    It has puzzled me why the speed limit is reduced to 20 mph in school zones,when children are inside a school building, yet goes back up at the end of the school day when children are back outside in close proximity to the danger of motor vehicles. “20 is plenty” of course should be the limit always in built-up areas.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/the_failure_of_share_the_road.html Rebecca Albrecht

    It has puzzled me why the speed limit is reduced to 20 mph in school zones,when children are inside a school building, yet goes back up at the end of the school day when children are back outside in close proximity to the danger of motor vehicles. “20 is plenty” of course should be the limit always in built-up areas.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2014/01/07/the_failure_of_share_the_road Smorg

    “Bicycles have no real “right” to be on a road they do not pay to maintain, bike lane or no.”

    I’m afraid this is false, Dawzzy and others who may subscribe to the same idea. Our streets are built and maintained mostly by general funding, and most cyclists pay the property & income taxes that contribute to the pot. Your ‘gas tax’ or ‘road tax’ and fees associated with driving are for the freeways, which cyclists, except for rare stretches of them where there is no reasonably surface street alternative, are already aren’t allowed on.

    Considering how much less room cyclists take and how much less damaging to the roads they are compared to cars, it is the cyclists who are paying more than their fair shares and not drivers.

    “That you are allowed on the road at all is something you should be thankful for. But you have an obligation to stay out of the way of people that have to get somewhere that don’t have the luxury of travelling at bicycle speeds.”

    That you are allowed to drive a car on the road at all is something you should be thankful for and take less for granted. Driving is a privilege and not a right. And you would do better to not assume that all cyclists are riding their bike only for recreation. Plenty do it to ‘get somewhere’ and don’t have the luxury of owning a car. Consider what you wrote for a second and perhaps you will still have enough sense of humanity left to realize how much like a bully you sound. Others don’t have the right to travel slower than you do because they might be in your way??? Good grief!

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/the_failure_of_share_the_road.html Smorg

    “Bicycles have no real “right” to be on a road they do not pay to maintain, bike lane or no.”

    I’m afraid this is false, Dawzzy and others who may subscribe to the same idea. Our streets are built and maintained mostly by general funding, and most cyclists pay the property & income taxes that contribute to the pot. Your ‘gas tax’ or ‘road tax’ and fees associated with driving are for the freeways, which cyclists, except for rare stretches of them where there is no reasonably surface street alternative, are already aren’t allowed on.

    Considering how much less room cyclists take and how much less damaging to the roads they are compared to cars, it is the cyclists who are paying more than their fair shares and not drivers.

    “That you are allowed on the road at all is something you should be thankful for. But you have an obligation to stay out of the way of people that have to get somewhere that don’t have the luxury of travelling at bicycle speeds.”

    That you are allowed to drive a car on the road at all is something you should be thankful for and take less for granted. Driving is a privilege and not a right. And you would do better to not assume that all cyclists are riding their bike only for recreation. Plenty do it to ‘get somewhere’ and don’t have the luxury of owning a car. Consider what you wrote for a second and perhaps you will still have enough sense of humanity left to realize how much like a bully you sound. Others don’t have the right to travel slower than you do because they might be in your way??? Good grief!

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2014/01/07/the_failure_of_share_the_road Braider

    “Bicycles have no real “right” to be on a road they do not pay to maintain, bike lane or no.”

    This is a completely bullshit argument. “Cars” do not pay to maintain a road any more than “bicycles” pay.  Taxes maintain roads, and people are the ones who pay those. People who drive cars AND people who ride bikes both pay taxes of all kinds (yes, including gas taxes. 95% of cyclists also drive cars).  Furthermore, the gas tax, which is what everybody thinks about, DOES NOT cover the cost of road construction, repair or upkeep.  Roads are subsidized HEAVILY by government, who we ALL support.

    If you really want to go the “financial support” route, consider that million of dollars of regular road upkeep is required because of the wear and tear that CARS put on the roads.  Bicycles, at 1% or less of the weight of cars, do not contribute to this.  Yet they still pay their share of taxes to contribute to this PUBLIC use.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/the_failure_of_share_the_road.html Braider

    “Bicycles have no real “right” to be on a road they do not pay to maintain, bike lane or no.”

    This is a completely bullshit argument. “Cars” do not pay to maintain a road any more than “bicycles” pay.  Taxes maintain roads, and people are the ones who pay those. People who drive cars AND people who ride bikes both pay taxes of all kinds (yes, including gas taxes. 95% of cyclists also drive cars).  Furthermore, the gas tax, which is what everybody thinks about, DOES NOT cover the cost of road construction, repair or upkeep.  Roads are subsidized HEAVILY by government, who we ALL support.

    If you really want to go the “financial support” route, consider that million of dollars of regular road upkeep is required because of the wear and tear that CARS put on the roads.  Bicycles, at 1% or less of the weight of cars, do not contribute to this.  Yet they still pay their share of taxes to contribute to this PUBLIC use.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2014/01/07/the_failure_of_share_the_road alliwant

    There’s a word for Josh Alper’s death; manslaughter.  The statute generally applies whenever negligent actions cause a death.  Giving drivers a pass for being negligent or incompetent is obscene.  How many cyclists die in accidents that do not involve a motor vehicle?  Very few, if what I have seen over the years is any indication.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/the_failure_of_share_the_road.html alliwant

    There’s a word for Josh Alper’s death; manslaughter.  The statute generally applies whenever negligent actions cause a death.  Giving drivers a pass for being negligent or incompetent is obscene.  How many cyclists die in accidents that do not involve a motor vehicle?  Very few, if what I have seen over the years is any indication.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2014/01/07/the_failure_of_share_the_road Dawzzy

    Why should the entire world have to swim at the speed of the slowest swimmer? Should drivers on highway 1 have to slow down to 10 mph to pass a bike going up a hill against the wind? Or maybe we should just outlaw cars altogether so bicyclists aren’t placed in any harm’s way. Or maybe you accept that riding a bike is inherently dangerous and that is the cost you pay to enjoy your pedal-powered freedom.

    I ride a motorcycle, a big motorcycle. Someone side-swiped me once when I was going 10 mph because she didn’t bother checking if her new lane was clear of vehicles. So now I ride a big AND loud motorcycle and no one has cut me off since. It’s a fact: car drivers don’t see bikers even when they are staring right at them. Pedals or Gas, big or small, biking is dangerous.

    Bicycles have no real “right” to be on a road they do not pay to maintain, bike lane or no. Would you like me taking my half ton motorcycle on the bike trail along the levee, or the paved bike-only roads up to UCSC? Maybe I should be allowed to ride my motorcycle in your bike lane, seeing as I have 2 wheels and don’t like cars getting in my way. Bicycles do not pay for the use of the road the way cars, trucks and motorcycles do. They have no license plates and renewal fees. Roads cost money. Bike lanes cost money. Why do bicycles get a free ride? Even Sailboats with no motors have to pay a license fee to the DMV to sail in California’s coastal waters and they don’t even use the road. If they are on a trailer, the trailer also has a DMV fee. Bicycle riders are not required to have a driver’s license, or even know the rules of the road, and most of them don’t.

    That you are allowed on the road at all is something you should be thankful for. But you have an obligation to stay out of the way of people that have to get somewhere that don’t have the luxury of travelling at bicycle speeds. And suggesting that everyone slow down for your hobby when they are already paying for your bike lanes, really just makes me wonder why more people don’t start demanding licence plates on bicycles.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/the_failure_of_share_the_road.html Dawzzy

    Why should the entire world have to swim at the speed of the slowest swimmer? Should drivers on highway 1 have to slow down to 10 mph to pass a bike going up a hill against the wind? Or maybe we should just outlaw cars altogether so bicyclists aren’t placed in any harm’s way. Or maybe you accept that riding a bike is inherently dangerous and that is the cost you pay to enjoy your pedal-powered freedom.

    I ride a motorcycle, a big motorcycle. Someone side-swiped me once when I was going 10 mph because she didn’t bother checking if her new lane was clear of vehicles. So now I ride a big AND loud motorcycle and no one has cut me off since. It’s a fact: car drivers don’t see bikers even when they are staring right at them. Pedals or Gas, big or small, biking is dangerous.

    Bicycles have no real “right” to be on a road they do not pay to maintain, bike lane or no. Would you like me taking my half ton motorcycle on the bike trail along the levee, or the paved bike-only roads up to UCSC? Maybe I should be allowed to ride my motorcycle in your bike lane, seeing as I have 2 wheels and don’t like cars getting in my way. Bicycles do not pay for the use of the road the way cars, trucks and motorcycles do. They have no license plates and renewal fees. Roads cost money. Bike lanes cost money. Why do bicycles get a free ride? Even Sailboats with no motors have to pay a license fee to the DMV to sail in California’s coastal waters and they don’t even use the road. If they are on a trailer, the trailer also has a DMV fee. Bicycle riders are not required to have a driver’s license, or even know the rules of the road, and most of them don’t.

    That you are allowed on the road at all is something you should be thankful for. But you have an obligation to stay out of the way of people that have to get somewhere that don’t have the luxury of travelling at bicycle speeds. And suggesting that everyone slow down for your hobby when they are already paying for your bike lanes, really just makes me wonder why more people don’t start demanding licence plates on bicycles.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2014/01/07/the_failure_of_share_the_road ted Alper

    I am very aware that motorcyclists are not the safest drivers on the road. They frequently end up in ER’s with head injuries due to unsafe driving tactics such as weaving in and out of traffic. Read the facts about the Josh Alper case and you will see that your comments are wrong and stupid. He was in the bike lane and his killer drove across the median strip to avoid a head on and hit him in the bike lane. People on bikes have a right to ride in bike lanes. In addition people who drive must be vigilant and not fall asleep at the wheel as Josh Alper’s killer did.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/the_failure_of_share_the_road.html ted Alper

    I am very aware that motorcyclists are not the safest drivers on the road. They frequently end up in ER’s with head injuries due to unsafe driving tactics such as weaving in and out of traffic. Read the facts about the Josh Alper case and you will see that your comments are wrong and stupid. He was in the bike lane and his killer drove across the median strip to avoid a head on and hit him in the bike lane. People on bikes have a right to ride in bike lanes. In addition people who drive must be vigilant and not fall asleep at the wheel as Josh Alper’s killer did.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2014/01/07/the_failure_of_share_the_road Adam

    Don’t forget the other ~30,000 people killed by automobile emissions (half of all air pollution deaths) in the US each year!

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/the_failure_of_share_the_road.html Adam

    Don’t forget the other ~30,000 people killed by automobile emissions (half of all air pollution deaths) in the US each year!

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2014/01/07/the_failure_of_share_the_road Bill Davidson

    It is beyond comprehension that a motorist who crosses the center line and hits a bicyclist on the opposite side of the road is not cited for anything.

    It’s quite clear that dangerous irresponsible driving is considered to be a basic right in this country.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/the_failure_of_share_the_road.html Bill Davidson

    It is beyond comprehension that a motorist who crosses the center line and hits a bicyclist on the opposite side of the road is not cited for anything.

    It’s quite clear that dangerous irresponsible driving is considered to be a basic right in this country.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2014/01/07/the_failure_of_share_the_road Roberto

    You are just about brainless. Most cyclists do know the laws of the road, because they also drive cars. Cyclists don’t pay fees, because we don’t damage the road. Drivers in cars and trucks do damage to the surface of the roadway, and that’s why they pay. We have an obligation to stay out of the way, of people that have to get somewhere?. People like you are the problem. You think that road was built for you. But my tax dollars built that road too. Quit acting like a selfish jerk. Anybody that kills a cyclist, and is found to have been negligent, should be on trial for murder. A car is just as deadly of a weapon, as a gun is. And a cyclist is a human being, just like the person driving a car.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/the_failure_of_share_the_road.html Roberto

    You are just about brainless. Most cyclists do know the laws of the road, because they also drive cars. Cyclists don’t pay fees, because we don’t damage the road. Drivers in cars and trucks do damage to the surface of the roadway, and that’s why they pay. We have an obligation to stay out of the way, of people that have to get somewhere?. People like you are the problem. You think that road was built for you. But my tax dollars built that road too. Quit acting like a selfish jerk. Anybody that kills a cyclist, and is found to have been negligent, should be on trial for murder. A car is just as deadly of a weapon, as a gun is. And a cyclist is a human being, just like the person driving a car.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2014/01/07/the_failure_of_share_the_road Jim

    Let’s stick to the facts:
    Approximately 60,000 cyclists are hit by motorists per year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Board.

    A cyclist is no match for a car, weighing on average about 3500 pounds.

    Let’s be logical and stick to the facts: when 60,000 Americans are being struck by something 15 times their size: we have a problem.

    We have a problem Fred.
    Parse the words as you wish.
    Surrender to the facts or the anecdotes… but the gist of the article rings true: cyclist are vulnerable and need infrastructure change.

    No fear mongering needed nor applied.
    Cyclists are vulnerable.
    And we all know it.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/the_failure_of_share_the_road.html Jim

    Let’s stick to the facts:
    Approximately 60,000 cyclists are hit by motorists per year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Board.

    A cyclist is no match for a car, weighing on average about 3500 pounds.

    Let’s be logical and stick to the facts: when 60,000 Americans are being struck by something 15 times their size: we have a problem.

    We have a problem Fred.
    Parse the words as you wish.
    Surrender to the facts or the anecdotes… but the gist of the article rings true: cyclist are vulnerable and need infrastructure change.

    No fear mongering needed nor applied.
    Cyclists are vulnerable.
    And we all know it.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2014/01/07/the_failure_of_share_the_road BF

    Hang in there Annette and the Alper family. Don’t worry about responding to every misinformed idiot on here. It’s never ok for a motorist to fall asleep, swerve across a median into oncoming traffic and kill a law-abiding citizen. We all hope to see justice here.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/the_failure_of_share_the_road.html BF

    Hang in there Annette and the Alper family. Don’t worry about responding to every misinformed idiot on here. It’s never ok for a motorist to fall asleep, swerve across a median into oncoming traffic and kill a law-abiding citizen. We all hope to see justice here.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2014/01/07/the_failure_of_share_the_road Ben Carson

    As was said in another comment, we are subsidizing a car-centered traffic structure with our taxes…and we are doing so as a disproportionately low drain on the resources involved. But it goes beyond that. A much larger portion of our taxes (not gas taxes) goes to tax breaks for oil and gasoline companies, and even larger than that is the share that goes to the Mid-east, Indonesian, and South American foreign policy budgets which are skewed entirely to the service of lowering your fuel prices.

    You also have a strange concept of fairness, inherited from some 19th-century despot. Might doesn’t make right. Democracy consists of enabling a variety of pursuits of happiness to exist side-by-side. The role of government is not to protect the fastest vehicles, nor the majority of vehicles, but to protect the rest of us from the “tyranny of the majority.” (Look it up.) It’s not constitutional to assume that what most of the world does is what the government should promote, to the exclusion of alternatives.

    And by the way, a little unsolicited psychological advice for you. It’s not really the 1.7 seconds you lost by passing us safely that’s upsetting you. You have a bully complex. We’re small, we’re outside your direct sphere of influence, and we’re different, and something about that really bothers you. And it bothered you a long time before you saw one of us run a stop sign.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/the_failure_of_share_the_road.html Ben Carson

    As was said in another comment, we are subsidizing a car-centered traffic structure with our taxes…and we are doing so as a disproportionately low drain on the resources involved. But it goes beyond that. A much larger portion of our taxes (not gas taxes) goes to tax breaks for oil and gasoline companies, and even larger than that is the share that goes to the Mid-east, Indonesian, and South American foreign policy budgets which are skewed entirely to the service of lowering your fuel prices.

    You also have a strange concept of fairness, inherited from some 19th-century despot. Might doesn’t make right. Democracy consists of enabling a variety of pursuits of happiness to exist side-by-side. The role of government is not to protect the fastest vehicles, nor the majority of vehicles, but to protect the rest of us from the “tyranny of the majority.” (Look it up.) It’s not constitutional to assume that what most of the world does is what the government should promote, to the exclusion of alternatives.

    And by the way, a little unsolicited psychological advice for you. It’s not really the 1.7 seconds you lost by passing us safely that’s upsetting you. You have a bully complex. We’re small, we’re outside your direct sphere of influence, and we’re different, and something about that really bothers you. And it bothered you a long time before you saw one of us run a stop sign.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2014/01/07/the_failure_of_share_the_road tt

    This is a very serious issue,
    but i have to say “U.S. Shuttles” never went to the moon
    and didn’t launch until the 80’s

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/the_failure_of_share_the_road.html tt

    This is a very serious issue,
    but i have to say “U.S. Shuttles” never went to the moon
    and didn’t launch until the 80’s

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2014/01/07/the_failure_of_share_the_road chwang

    Let’s be clear that who is involved are not simply motorists and cyclists. It’s real human people with the same capacity to be hurt in very disproportionate vehicles sharing the same space.

    The unfairness that people on bikes feel is that if a driver were to get into an accident passing another vehicle (no matter how slow) it would be taken very seriously. Especially if it resulted in a death. In Josh’s and a many other cases that involve bikes the consequences seem disproportionate to the value of the lives involved. A $42 ticket would never cut it if two cars, property damage and a death were involved.

    Cars are powerful. AND Dangerous. They are convenient and make our lives easier in a lot of respects, but tools need to be responsibly used. The laws and infrastructure that needs to be implemented is not intended to penalize conscientious drivers or give a pass to cyclists that do stupid dangerous things like weaving or not stopping at stop signs. Those laws should be in place to make it safe for all travelers no matter what kind of vehicle they choose.

    Just be conscientious, compassionate, and know that a human life is worth more than any text, or call or rush our stressful world can coerce us into. In the meanwhile, keep working towards a solution and stop fighting.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/the_failure_of_share_the_road.html chwang

    Let’s be clear that who is involved are not simply motorists and cyclists. It’s real human people with the same capacity to be hurt in very disproportionate vehicles sharing the same space.

    The unfairness that people on bikes feel is that if a driver were to get into an accident passing another vehicle (no matter how slow) it would be taken very seriously. Especially if it resulted in a death. In Josh’s and a many other cases that involve bikes the consequences seem disproportionate to the value of the lives involved. A $42 ticket would never cut it if two cars, property damage and a death were involved.

    Cars are powerful. AND Dangerous. They are convenient and make our lives easier in a lot of respects, but tools need to be responsibly used. The laws and infrastructure that needs to be implemented is not intended to penalize conscientious drivers or give a pass to cyclists that do stupid dangerous things like weaving or not stopping at stop signs. Those laws should be in place to make it safe for all travelers no matter what kind of vehicle they choose.

    Just be conscientious, compassionate, and know that a human life is worth more than any text, or call or rush our stressful world can coerce us into. In the meanwhile, keep working towards a solution and stop fighting.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2014/01/07/the_failure_of_share_the_road Don Honda

    Snyder doesn’t realize that Posner got elected by selling his soul to the SEIU and by his many contacts with UCSC.  It is very doubtful that Posner’s priority is cycling safety, as seen by his past actions.  Rather, his agenda is for cycling advocacy, and he will use any means or issue to promote it.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/the_failure_of_share_the_road.html Don Honda

    Snyder doesn’t realize that Posner got elected by selling his soul to the SEIU and by his many contacts with UCSC.  It is very doubtful that Posner’s priority is cycling safety, as seen by his past actions.  Rather, his agenda is for cycling advocacy, and he will use any means or issue to promote it.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2014/01/07/the_failure_of_share_the_road Tim Goncharoff

    This is a tragedy, and posing it as a contest between the rights of bicyclists and drivers will get us nowhere. For the sake of a sustainable society, we do need to transition away from single-driver internal combustion vehicles.  But not everyone can ride a bike, and the public transit alternatives are not sufficient.  We are stuck with cars for some time to come, and we have to learn to coexist safely and respectfully.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/the_failure_of_share_the_road.html Tim Goncharoff

    This is a tragedy, and posing it as a contest between the rights of bicyclists and drivers will get us nowhere. For the sake of a sustainable society, we do need to transition away from single-driver internal combustion vehicles.  But not everyone can ride a bike, and the public transit alternatives are not sufficient.  We are stuck with cars for some time to come, and we have to learn to coexist safely and respectfully.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2014/01/07/the_failure_of_share_the_road Lisa Smith

    What I don’t understand is how someone can drive fast and recklessly, take a human life, and there be no apparent consequences? Was this person powerful? I know he was driving a status car…

    We must find the ability to forgive, but if your loved one was killed by someone who crossed the highway driving in the wrong direction, and no arrests or charges were made, how would you feel?

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/the_failure_of_share_the_road.html Lisa Smith

    What I don’t understand is how someone can drive fast and recklessly, take a human life, and there be no apparent consequences? Was this person powerful? I know he was driving a status car…

    We must find the ability to forgive, but if your loved one was killed by someone who crossed the highway driving in the wrong direction, and no arrests or charges were made, how would you feel?

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2014/01/07/the_failure_of_share_the_road Mark Nockleby

    “Rather than simply building more traditional bike lanes, Conlen and Snyder advocate separated bike lanes—barricaded by concrete, plastic buffers, planters or rows of parked cars. If there were more setups like that, Conlen says, more people would feel safe riding. And the more bikes are on the road, the safer it is, and the more aware drivers are.”

    Feeling safer isn’t the same as being safer.

    Creating barriers between cyclists and motorists prevents cyclists from being seen by motorists until the point of impact. 

    It’s more convenient and safer for cyclists to obey the rules of the road. 

    Cyclists would be better served by a little less fear mongering.

     

     

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/the_failure_of_share_the_road.html Mark Nockleby

    “Rather than simply building more traditional bike lanes, Conlen and Snyder advocate separated bike lanes—barricaded by concrete, plastic buffers, planters or rows of parked cars. If there were more setups like that, Conlen says, more people would feel safe riding. And the more bikes are on the road, the safer it is, and the more aware drivers are.”

    Feeling safer isn’t the same as being safer.

    Creating barriers between cyclists and motorists prevents cyclists from being seen by motorists until the point of impact. 

    It’s more convenient and safer for cyclists to obey the rules of the road. 

    Cyclists would be better served by a little less fear mongering.

     

     

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2014/01/07/the_failure_of_share_the_road Mike McDonnell

    I am an experienced cyclist and travel at an average speed of 25mph.  I obey the laws of the road.  I have a rear light on my bike and use hand signals to indicate when I turn.  I’ll do my part to stay within my bike lane but expect drivers of vehicle’s to stay off their cell phones and avoid weaving in and out of my lane and focus on driving strait ahead please.  I’ve had way to many close calls with drivers texting and talking while driving.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/the_failure_of_share_the_road.html Mike McDonnell

    I am an experienced cyclist and travel at an average speed of 25mph.  I obey the laws of the road.  I have a rear light on my bike and use hand signals to indicate when I turn.  I’ll do my part to stay within my bike lane but expect drivers of vehicle’s to stay off their cell phones and avoid weaving in and out of my lane and focus on driving strait ahead please.  I’ve had way to many close calls with drivers texting and talking while driving.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2014/01/07/the_failure_of_share_the_road Ahmad ali

    great.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/the_failure_of_share_the_road.html Ahmad ali

    great.