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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
:mad:

I was riding up cannon road in Saratoga or is it Los Gatos? Well at the top of the hill some dude in a car stops me and tells me this is a private road and bicycles are not allowed. A car passes and I ask him " Are cars allowed?" he says "Yes , but no bicycles". He tells me he is going to call police and I will be sent to jail for trespassing , I tell him go ahead as I'm on the road not bothering anyone property and ride off. Has anyone else been harassed on this road? I have rode it for year without a problem. There is a sign that reads "No Cycling permitted" but does not look legal. Is this true that they can stop cyclist?
Thanks
Dave
 

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I've ridden up there in the past, but not lately. Those are some steep ass roads! I've never seen any signs or gotten any flack. I found this link:
http://lists.live555.com/pipermail/romp/2007-June/004949.html

There are a lot of "private" roads in the hills, but usually that means they are privately maintained, but still publicly accessible. Unless there is a gate, you usually have every right to be there.

I suspect the signs are illegal and therefore unenforceable. I would ignore them and ride there if you want. If anyone threatens to call the police, tell them to go ahead. Personally, I would whip out my cell phone and offer to do myself. Nothing will happen.
 

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Slowuphill said:
Thanks for the reply, I'm going to keep riding on canon and point out the Vehicle Code about posting illegal signs to the unfriendly residents
I'm sure that will make them like cyclists.

I don't know about this road, but generally, private roads in the mountains are really private roads, gate or not. If it's posted private, no tresspassing, etc, you should respect that (unless you know for sure that it's really a public road). Saying that it's ok to ride a road posted private if there's no gate is like me saying that it's ok for me to park my car on your lawn because there's no fence. There's plenty of roads whose legality is not in question, go ride them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't know about this road, but generally, private roads in the mountains are really private roads, gate or not. If it's posted private, no tresspassing, etc, you should respect that (unless you know for sure that it's really a public road).

What you are saying is not true according to Lawdictionary.COM "A private road can be used by the general public and is open to all who wish to use it, but it primarily benefits those at whose request it was established. Unlike highways that are cared for by the public at large, private roads are maintained at the expense of the private individuals who requested the road".

Saying that it's ok to ride a road posted private if there's no gate is like me saying that it's ok for me to park my car on your lawn because there's no fence
Actually it is legal to park in some yard depending on distance from street, zoning , etc.

You sound like a Woodside resident !

Saying that it's ok to ride a road posted private if there's no gate is like me saying that it's ok for me to park my car on your lawn because there's no fence
 

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Canon Drive?

If you mean Canon Drive, which I'm guessing you do, here's more info on the topic from bikeforums. No idea when it was posted:

Here's a bit from the mailing list discussion, which originally came from ACTC's newsletter as I understand it:

The good news is: A cyclist won’t be cited for bicycling on a
private road.

Note: Areas marked “private property” or “no
trespassing” are off-limits; I’m talking specifically about
a “private road.”

Canon Dr/Hidden Dr are in unincorporated Santa Clara
County, so I contacted the SCC Dept of Roads and Highways
for information. The county maintains the first ~3/4 mile of
Canon (from the intersection with Glen Una). The rest of
the road is privately maintained - i.e., not maintained by the
county. This includes the rest of Canon and Hidden; Hidden
ends at Redberry, and the county does maintain Redberry.

Next, I visited the local sheriff’s office:
West Valley Division
1601 S. De Anza Boulevard
Cupertino, CA 95014
Phone: (408) 868-6600
Fax: (408) 868-6641.
I met with deputy Kim Morganthaler. I told him about the
intimidating motorist we’ve been encountering along Canon
Dr, explained that we want to make sure we’re not doing
anything that is wrong, and showed him the pertinent sections
of the California Vehicle Code (see below). He agreed that the
code restricts the general public from driving vehicles on a
private road, but does not restrict the public from biking or
walking on it. If the motorist contacts the sheriff’s office, they
will explain this to him.
http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-359575.html

Regardless, I'd probably just ride elsewhere. Wasn't there some nut recently in the Santa Cruz mountains stringing fishing line across a private road to keep motorcyclists out?
 

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Dr_John said:
If you mean Canon Drive, which I'm guessing you do, here's more info on the topic from bikeforums. No idea when it was posted:

http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-359575.html
[snip...]
The text is from the thread below started in late 2007.
Private Roads - Closed to cyclists

Keep in mind that a great many of private roads are on easements. The land the road is on may be in no way public at all. In other words, parcels that do not adjoin a public thoroughfare may have rights to pass across their neighbor's property.

Lest we make people who consider private or privately-maintained roads bad people, I can recall total chaos in Boston following snow days. People staking out PUBLIC parking places in front of their homes as their own (traffic cones, garbage cans, etc.). It was especially true wrt the act of shoveling clear a space thus created ownership of that space. A lot of people consider the spaces in front of their homes to belong to them as well.

My experience with people "guarding" private roads, or public roads, or public space they consider to be for residents only, etc., etc., is that they cannot be reasoned with at all.** I usually smile and wave and say as little as possible.


** I know such a person well. :eek:
 

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My first encounter with hostile residents

I've been riding there 3x per week for years and have only met friendly residents until this morning. At the top of Cañon, I passed a Boxster, whose driver wagged her finger at me and verbally accosted my riding partner following behind. He was flustered by her anger, intrigued by her hotness, but unable to engage her in witty repartee.

On the way down Hidden, a fallen tree was blocking the road and as we went around, another resident stated that I shouldn't be there. I replied, "prescriptive easement," as I rolled by. My riding partner, unfortunately, received another tongue lashing. She was probably something before electricity.

Moral of my story: Get faster, ride through first. :D
 

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I've been researching this issue for a while, and I think I've come up with the answer - we can ride.

I went to the Santa Clara County Planning Department with the issue. We retrieved a Parcel Map from one of the houses on Overlook, abutting Canon Drive. The Parcel Map includes a bunch of certifications, including the following "Owner's Certificate":
We hereby certify that we are the owners of or have some right, title, or interest in and to the real property included within the subdivision shown upon the herein map; that we are the only persons whose consents are necessary to pass clear title to said real property; that we hereby consent to the preparation and recordation of said map and subdivision as shown within the distinctive border line.
We hereby dedicate to public use and offer to dedicate to the County of Santa Clara all streets and portions of streets heretofore existing and designated as Littlebrook Dr. and Canon Dr. as shown upon this map; said dedications and offers of dedication are for any and all public uses under, upon, and over said streets and portions thereof.
We hereby dedicate to public use and offer to dedicate the the County of Santa Clara storm drainage easement in, under, over, upon, and across those certain strips of land delineated and designated as "S.D.E." (Storm Drainage Easement) All of the herein described streets and easements shall be kept free of buildings, except lawful unsupported roof overhangs, and obstructions that impair the use of or are inconsistant with the purposes of the street or easement.
The herein described offers of dedication to the County of Santa Clara are to be accepted only when the Board of Supervisors or its successor agency adopts and records in the Office of the Recorders of Santa Clara County a resolution accepting said streets or easements. Until said resolution are recorded, all streets and easements encompassed within such offers of dedication shall be maintained by the developer during any required warranty period and thereafter by the owners of the lots or parcels in the subdivision.
The County of Santa Clara shall not be responsible for maintenance and shall incur no liability with respect to such offered streets and easements or any improvements thereon. All dedicated rights of way and easements not accepted for maintenance by the County or other public agency shall be maintained by the owners of the lots or parcels in the subdivision.

It was signed by Thomas and Margaret Cohn, in July 1980. I believe the address is 20800 Canon Drive, the parcel number is 510-27-001. (You can look it up in Zillow.com)

The second paragraph states "We hereby dedicate to public use ... all streets and portions of streets not heretofore existing and designated as Littlebrook Dr. and Canon Dr. as shown on this map; said dedications ... are for any and all public uses under, upon, and over said streets and portions thereof."

I spoke with Deputy Sheriff Greg Taylor at the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department, West Valley Station. He agreed that we have the right to cycle on Canon, and suggested that, if we get hassled, we invite the other party to contact the Sheriff at (408)868-6600.
 

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Hi,

Thanks for the response. I was told by the County Civil Engineer that the grant of public access is permanent and cannot be revoked. I believe that the residents can post a "no cycling" sign if they want. It is incorrect, and they could be sued for trying to deprive the public of their rights, but we don't have a legal right to post anything on their property. We could stand there and pass out copies of our documents ...

Regards,
Nick
 

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nshain said:
Hi,

Thanks for the response. I was told by the County Civil Engineer that the grant of public access is permanent and cannot be revoked. I believe that the residents can post a "no cycling" sign if they want. It is incorrect, and they could be sued for trying to deprive the public of their rights, but we don't have a legal right to post anything on their property. We could stand there and pass out copies of our documents ...

Regards,
Nick
Nick,

Thanks for establishing our legal rights. Any info on Hidden Drive?

Richard
 

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Richard,

I didn't try to pull up any documents on Hidden Drive, as I felt I took enough time from the folks at the Planning Department. Just as it would make no sense for only a few of the Canon properties to offer the road for public use (why would the county consider maintaining noncontiguous sections of Canon?), I think it would be logical that Hidden owners made the same offer. Maybe someday I'll check into it, but I'm happy with what I found.

Nick
 

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Awesome... nshain did a great job of research. I was just going to generally state that it was likely a public access easement which is usually not revokable even with a sale. And actual research can be done via the county's planning department. again, thanks Nick!

Again, this is definately not the same as if a private driveway had a "Private Road, No Tresspassing" sign that was legit.

I like the idea of (illegally) posting that public easement certificate on the no bike sign. hahaha.

Also, next time have a friendly discussion how what they already had done is illegal and they can be sued.
 

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I had one encounter riding in that area of Los Gatos/Saratoga. Similar to slowuphill and rj2's experiences, local residents were very protective of their self-proclaimed "private roads".

Coming back down (it was a dead-end street), we stopped and had a discussion with the homeowner. We explained that we intended no malice and were only taking advantage of the steep hills. After a lengthy discussion, the homeowner had a better outlook and was a lot less aggro. Taking the time out to stop and listen to the concerns of the homeowner went a long way towards diffusing future nasty encounters between the locals and cyclists who just want to be outside riding.
 
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