I came across this scene while on a bike ride along the CA State Route 56 freeway during the evening rush hour commute on Friday. The car in the picture went off the road, through a fence and came to rest on the bike path that parallels the freeway. The accident happened about 5 minutes before I arrived on scene. The scary part is that my bike ride was delayed by about 5 minutes when I returned home to retrieve my cycling gloves. If we had met, I would have been hit head on (I took the picture after passing the car).
A few years ago, one cyclist was killed by a motorist running off the road and onto this same bike path. This tragic incident, hearing stories about other “near-misses” and seeing numerous holes in the fence over the years makes me think this path is nothing more than a bike lane on a freeway.
While the concept of a walk/jog/bike path along this east-west corridor is commendable, the design is severely flawed. Simply put, distracted drivers in speeding cars and cyclists do not mix. I use the bike path about three times a week and more often during the summer. Seniors, parents and their young children; people of all ages enjoy this trail. I preferred the path because it appeared safer than the surface streets for riding my bike. I have serious doubts now.
As we celebrate Bike to Work Day this Friday, May 17, let’s do all that we can to ensure the safety of those who choose alternative transportation or cycle for exercise, relaxation or for pure enjoyment.