Tell Us: Is Alameda More Perilous for Bicyclists?

A recent post has sparked split comments from readers regarding bicyclists and pedestrians vs. vehicles in Alameda. We want you to weigh in with your thoughts.

Alameda is a city with a relatively high rate of bicycle collisions, according to numbers from the Office of Traffic Safety.

It's even more dangerous for kids riding under the age of 15.

East Bay Bicycle Coalition offered their Urban Cycling 101 class on Thursday as a result of this.

Compared to other California cities its size, Alameda apparently is one of the more perilous for bicyclists.

After being posted on Alameda Patch's Facebook page several readers reponded with the following:

"The only issue I have is kids on bikes on the sidewalk that is barely wide enough for a single pedestrian when there is a wide bike lane like on Grand."

"I was born and raised here and i couldnt disagree more. I've had more problems with cars as a pedestrian than when i would be on a bike. You want perilous look at SF. but then if you are obeying traffic laws as a biker and not assuming anything and expect the worst out of drivers you'll have a much MUCH easier ride anywhere"

"Its the drivers in so much of a hurry they don't give bikes or pedestrians a slow down or right of way and then are pissed when you actually take it"

"I count each time I ride how many attempts are made on my life by autos (and I ride pretty often). Average is about 6 times per ride. My rides average 15 to 25 miles around both Islands. Most of the time by being cut-off by right turning vehicles. People speed up to get in front of you then quickly put their signal on and turn right as I'm going straight."

"It's pretty bad for pedestrians too. Every day I see people crossing the streets anywhere they can because the city fathers didn't bother to take foot traffic into account. Disgraceful."

We want you to weigh in...

Is Alameda really more perilous for bicyclists compared to other California cities of its size?

What areas of Alameda do you feel are most dangerous for bicyclists?

Who do you usually see is at fault — bicycists, pedestrians or drivers?

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Dan Wood January 11, 2013 at 10:46 PM
Not to toot one's own horn (or ding one's own bike bell) but I think it's a heck of a lot better now than it was before BikeAlameda came around.
Tom Schweich January 11, 2013 at 11:34 PM
Places that are dangerous for bicyclists: 1. High Street, narrow and fast, no good alternatives (I usually go around on Fernside or Gibbons/Versailles). 2. Fernside from Encinal to San Jose, because they didn't extend the bicycle lane all the way to Encinal, one is forced to ride against the traffic, or make the wild left turn at Washington. 3. Harbor Bay Parkway, choose between an impossibly rough and bumpy bicycle path or the crazed drivers in the street. 4. Central Avenue, from 9th (where San Antonio ends) to 8th (where you can duck into Washington Park).
Lisbeth Allen January 12, 2013 at 12:49 AM
I see way too many kids without helmets. And many times, it's kids that are doubled up on a bike.
Analisa Harangozo (Editor) January 12, 2013 at 01:32 AM
Thanks for the detailed suggestions, Tom. Have you had any personal experiences in these areas that have caused you to add them to your list?
Producer January 12, 2013 at 03:56 AM
Almost every day I see cyclists of all ages blow through stop signs and traffic lights. I also see pedestrians and drivers completely unaware of each other, and of cyclists.
Jeff Mark January 12, 2013 at 07:28 PM
As an auto driver who takes "share the road" seriously, I want to emphasize that bike safety is, pardon the wordplay, a two-way street. So please let me say to cyclists (and skateboarders, btw): 1. Stay off the sidewalks. Period. I'll cut you some slack if you're like, 11 years old and in your local neighborhood, but really, aren't we talking about the "downtown" areas like Park and Webster, roads like Lincoln and Buena Vista? And like I said, skateboarders, too. 2. Do not ride through crosswalks. This is a corollary to (1); crosswalks are for pedestrians. I've lost count of how many times, proceeding after stopping for a stop sign, some dingleberry races out from behind some storefront, across the sidewalk and through the crosswalk. One day, I'm gonna let him (always a him) hit me. 3. Stop signs are for you, too! If I'm coming, say, south on Oak, I need to know that you're going to stop for the sign on Pacific. That's what traffic control devices are about, managing the expectations of the other drivers. Few of us like surprises while we're diving, I'm pretty sure of that. I would like to see APD do two things. They ought to institute a bicycle patrol for the downtown areas, similar to the kinds of patrols the Berkeley and U.C. police have. I also think the police ought to be a little more assertive regarding cyclists, especially downtown. Not lots of citations, except in egregious cases, but a warning from a person with a badge often does wonders.
Tom Schweich January 13, 2013 at 12:30 AM
Jeff, re: #1 and #3, agreed, altho' I'd like to hear your suggestion for the best way to ride Fernside between Encinal and Washington, to the B. F. bicycle bridge; I ride the sidewalk from Encinal to San Jose. Jeff, re: #2, some bicycle paths in Alameda direct bicycles across the crosswalks, especially on Bay Farm, e.g., Island Drive at Robert Davey, or Harbor Bay Parkway at Maitland. Annalisa, no accident yet, a few close calls, but I ride all four of the places I mentioned several times a week, #1 High Street is the worst. Also, I recommend the free Bicycle Traffic School. See: http://www.ebbc.org/AlamedaPD Car drivers could learn something there, too.
Jeff Mark January 13, 2013 at 06:19 AM
I'm just saying to cyclists, the rules apply to you, too. If the rules say it's OK to ride through one or another particular crosswalk, fine. Let's not be too sophistic about it. We all know what cyclists are and are not supposed to do, especially when it comes to downtown area sidewalks and stop signs. I think the cyclists ought to take some responsibility for the irresponsible members of their community. Trying to pick apart the semiotics of my comment to find obscure exceptions doesn't make the streets safer for anyone.
randy potter January 17, 2013 at 07:09 PM
Alameda is one of the more bike friendly cities of it's size so there is a far larger number of cyclists than most like cities. The new bikeway on Shoreline will help but more "bicycle boulevard" type streets like Berkeley has instituted would help greatly. The more people get our of their cars on the island and start using bikes the safer, healthier and happier we will all be!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jon Spangler March 11, 2013 at 05:33 PM
In 15 years of living in Alameda, I have never been involved in a bike-car collision while walking, driving, or cycling on the island. But I take the lane and make myself super-visible while cycling. And I (mostly) follow the traffic laws and try to pay attention whether i'm walking, driving, or cycling. Paying attention more will help all of us. And thanks, BikeAlameda!


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