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re: Intersection right turn from Ravenswood Ave onto Middlefiled Rd, Menlo Park

From: domainremoved <"rhiannan.williams_at_>
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2016 17:01:34 +0000

Dear Council Members,

I am writing to bring to your attention a serious concern I have as a road user who commutes by bike across the aforementioned Intersection. To be frank, the 'yield' sign on the Ravenswood Ave right lane merge is insufficient, particularly for buses who continue to turn right without checking left for oncoming traffic, or even reduce their speed while turning the corner. Car drivers appear more aware before continuing into the right hand lane on Middlefield road.

As a cyclist, this is incredibly concerning as when in the bike lane, the right hand merge lane to Middlefield Road from Ravenswood Ave cuts directly into the bike path (or you can view it that the bike path cuts across the merge lane). As a conscientious cyclist, I am always cautious at this intersection as several drivers will continue through the 'yield' sign without paying attention to oncoming traffic or bikes. However, cars are much shorter and the stopping distance to prevent a collision if they swing through this merge without seeing you on a bike, is easier to comply with. I won't cross the right hand lane without indicating first and ensuring the car driver is of a clear distance away from me (and has seen me) to make a safe continuation through the cycle lane. However, the distance between the yield sign on the road and when the cyclist must merge is not sufficient if a car/bus does not stop (distance equates to about 1.5 car lengths which is far shorter than a bus), even if the cyclist is ahead as the car/buses will always be moving faster.

Nevertheless, my concern is with buses. Twice in as may months, I have had to emergency brake (I have hydraulic disc brakes luckily which saved me from serious bodily harm) to avoid a serious collision with a bus (one Caltrans, the other a Menlo Park School bus). Due to the size of their vehicle, their speed of travel, and general momentum of a bus, it is near impossible to have sufficient braking distance if you are already about to merge right and the buses travel straight through their right hand merge lane without slowing down. They simply are not looking for cyclists and this is dangerous. In both cases, the driver apologized that they didn't look left/slow down at the yield.

For example, the School bus driver this morning did not even look left when merging from Ravenswood Avenue to Middlefield Road as he was distracted by waving at someone on the pavement. I had to emergency brake out across the left lane to avoid the front wheels of the school bus. The road was wet and luckily there was a break in the car traffic moving southbound along Middlefield Road or the outcome to avoid the bus would have resulted in another serious collision.

* Can you please make the 'yield' notice more visible to drivers in elevated cabs i.e. an actual road sign on the traffic island when the right lane merges?

* Or add road markings between the yield sign and bike lane merge similar to an intersection box so drivers are aware that there is a yield section and oncoming traffic from the left may be merging with them?
I really hope something will be done to improve the safety of this road section immediately as I can see it as only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured.

Best regards,

Rhiannan Williams
Received on Thu Oct 27 2016 - 10:06:51 PDT

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