Opinion: Reckless motorists on Mount Diablo endanger cyclists

Al Kalin, center, and other members of Mount Diablo Cyclists, get ready to resume their ride after a short break at the junction ranger station at Mount Diablo State Park near Walnut Creek, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016. (Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group)

Mount Diablo: majestic, mysterious, amazing. Visitors from around the world come to our gem of a State Park. But, for cyclists and motorists, is it worth the risk?

Traffic on the roads of Mount Diablo has increased significantly. On a typical weekend day, up to 500 motorists share the roads with approximately 700 cyclists. Drivers striking cyclists in head-on collisions on blind curves pose a serious risk that California State Parks is refusing to adequately address.

In 2016, pressure applied by state Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, Assemblywoman Baker, R-Dublin, and the media forced State Parks to accept Caltrans engineering recommendations to paint a double-yellow centerline and install advisory signs. These improvements have decreased unlawful passing and speeding on the mountain.

Al Kalin, center standing, on Mount Diablo (Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group)

However, near-miss collisions continue to occur frequently at blind curves, of which there are over 300. Uphill-bound motorists still cross the centerline to pass cyclists, thereby entering the lane of downhill cars and bikes, unseen because of the curve. The next head-on collision may be imminent, and the result will be a serious injury or a fatality.

For over a year State Parks has been presented with two additional solutions to this dangerous situation, but they will not respond: First, bike turnouts would allow cars to safely pass bicycles when traveling uphill, without crossing the center line. Second, providing a verbal safety advisory to all motorists entering the park would inform them of the bike turnouts, the dangers of passing on blind curves and how to safely pass cyclists while ascending the long, slow, winding road with little or no shoulder.

A park ranger attends to cyclist Victor Lorenc Aug. 22, 2015, after he was hit head-on by a car passing in the opposite direction around …read more

Source:: The Mercury News

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