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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is regarding the T-intersection between Sand Hill Rd and Portola Rd in Woodside. Both roads are single lane one direction. Cyclists coming down Sand Hill Rd normally like to make a left into Portola Rd so they can head into Woodside. I find it dangerous that cyclists stop in the middle of the road on Sand Hill until on-coming traffic is clear so they can make a left into Portola Rd. It's dangerous because a car going the same direction on Sand Hill Rd may not see the cyclist waiting for traffic to clear. Usually the first driver will avoid it by cutting into the bike lane on the right, but normally its the drivers behind him/her that couldn't see what's in front of them because of the vehicle in front. Yes, it's legal to take the lane to make a left hand turn. But I don't find it practical because someday some distracted driver will run someone over like that. Almost every single time riding through that intersection, I see cyclists waiting in the middle of the road like sitting ducks. If there's traffic, I normally stop on the bike lane and wait until both directions on Sand Hill Rd are cleared before I make the left into Portola Rd.

I strongly think this is one case where the city ought to have a three way stop intersection because so many cyclist are behaving this way. I know as cyclists we are legal to take the lane, but sometimes it's almost an accident waiting to happen.
 

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I usually go the other way around that loop, but on the few occasions I do go the other way AND there are cars coming towards me when I want to go left on Sand Hill, I just keep going past the intersection and do a U turn when the coast is clear. Works for me...
 

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I think you're describing the intersection incorrectly.
Click here to see a map:<a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=portola+rd+%26+sand+hill+rd+94062">http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=portola+rd+%26+sand+hill+rd+94062</a>
I assume you are talking about people heading north on Portola Road and trying to turn left to stay on Portola Road.

Stopping in the bike lane can be dangerous, too, since you block the path of bicyclists that are heading straight. They may try to pass you on your left, just as you are about to turn left from the far right side of the road.

The U-turn, while probably illegal, may be the safest maneuver if you cannot make the left turn normally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That's correct. I didn't know Sand Hill Rd becomes Portola Rd after the intersection, I though it was further south. I go by Sand Hill Rd because that's what the road sign says at that intersection. Of course, stopping in the bike lane to make a left assumes one is not blocking other cyclists from passing.
 

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tjjm36m3 said:
That's correct. I didn't know Sand Hill Rd becomes Portola Rd after the intersection, I though it was further south. I go by Sand Hill Rd because that's what the road sign says at that intersection. Of course, stopping in the bike lane to make a left assumes one is not blocking other cyclists from passing.
How do you not block other cyclists if you are stopped in the bike lane? If you are stopped for more than a few seconds, there is a good chance that someone will come by. Do you make room to your right and wave them past?
 

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I go through there all the time and rarely see a cyclist waiting to turn left onto Portola. I agree that's not very smart. When I go that way I plan my left turn early enough that I can get over and make my turn without stopping.

Stopping on the shoulder is not a good solution either. In fact it's worse. Cyclists wanting to continue straight onto Sand Hill would have to pass to turning cyclist's left and risk running into them if they turn without looking. The passing cyclist would also have to go out into the traffic lane to get around the turning cyclist. Some inexperienced cyclists do that (stop in the bike lane to make a left turn) and when passing them I have to take a very wide path around them because they are likely to blunder into my path. At least with the standing in the left part of the lane technique its obvious to everyone what they are trying to do. Predictability is important.

If the turning cyclist stops to the left of the bike lane to allow passing cyclists to go straight, they'd be out in the traffic lane. That's no better than being on the left side of the lane. And it's not clear what they're trying to do.

Obviously the only solution is a dedicated flyover bike lane.

Until we get that, perhaps slowing down a little when you are driving through during peak cycling times (sunny weekend afternoons) would be a good idea for drivers. Cyclists wanting to make the left should try to plan their turns far enough in advance that they can move over in between cars and make a left turn without hanging out in the traffic lane.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So a simple warning about a possibly dangerous intersection that I may want other fellow cyclists to be aware of went going through that intersection or any others that may be like it. Apparently, I may have been the only one here to have seen other cyclists stopping and waiting in the middle of the road to make a left. I thought this was a very dumb idea by these cyclists and I emphasized that we, as cyclists, are entitled to take the lane and share the road with large moving vehicles. However, practically this is a bad idea and a few may get seriously injured from distracted drivers.

Now, you [johnny99] decided it is a better idea to ridicule me of stopping on the bike lane and putting potential cyclist in harms way. Thanks for making me feel bad for informing other cyclists of a potential road hazard and that as cyclist sometimes it is not in the best interest to take the lane. Yes, I happen to sometimes stop on the bike lane and wait for cross traffic to clear and proceed with the left. But before I stop I make sure that are no cyclist behind me that would affect them being "blocked". Now granted I may stop for a long period of time depending if there are continous vehicles coming and going, but with me stopped oncoming cyclists would have had plenty of time to adjust with me on the bike lane. And it's not like that bike lane is that small. Next time, I'll keep these things to myself so I don't encounter people like you... even if it's only on a msg board.
 

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Now, you [johnny99] decided it is a better idea to ridicule me of stopping on the bike lane and putting potential cyclist in harms way.
Am I missing something? I don't see how johnny99 ridiculed you at all and thought he was very polite. He merely stated that stopping in the bike lane there could be dangerous to other cyclists, which I entirely agree with. It's bad enough having to worry about cars from behind, cars from ahead, and cars from the side without having people stopping in the bike lane there too.

It is a dangerous intersection for cyclists from almost any direction. Maybe a three-way stop would be the best solution. It would certainly help with the left from Portola onto Portola, but would diminish the fun of flying down Sandhill and head straight on Portola. I usually try to handle it like ericm979 mentioned.
 

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Yeah that is a dicey intersection and has been for a long time. But I doubt we will see a 3-way stop there even though it's probably warranted there more so than the stupid stop sign coming the opposite direction on Portola (at the rise, where Mountain Home joins on the left).

In the meantime, the right thing to do is to behave as a left-turning vehicle in the same situation would do; signal, slow, and safely but deliberately move toward the center line and wait to complete your turn. Moving closer to the centerline will buy you a little breathing room for any overly obnoxious cars approaching from the rear. It can be a little scary there because even though the speed limit is only like 35-40, vehicular traffic is frequently traveling well in excess of 50 through that area.

I certainly don't mean to ridicule or pile on, but definitely, stopping on the right side is a really bad idea. The bike lane (I think it's actually "shoulder", not legal bike lane there) is not really very wide there. It's less than 2 bike widths and someone approaching from the rear needs a lot more than that when passing someone who's totally stopped.

If you really can't manage the left turn there, continuing straight (on Sand Hill) and doing a U-turn idea is probably the next best plan (it is legal to do a U-turn, even across a double yellow line, in some situations though I am not certain whether that situation qualifies...you need 200 feet of unobstructed view in both directions).

But please don't stop in the bike lane/shoulder at that or any other intersection. Even for a mechanical. If you *must* stop, be sure to pull completely off of the pavement.
 

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Tripp

I agree, that left turn is tricky. If there are too many cars on Portola / Woodside, I just keep going towards Sand Hill and stay in the bike lane. Best to let drivers think you are simply going straight. Then, u-turn when it is safe.

There are several tricky turns on the Noon Ride loop. Another sketchy one is the left onto Tripp from Portola. It's partially blind and always dodgy in a pack since an oncoming car can come around the corner at any time.
 

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Rojo Neck said:
the right thing to do is to behave as a left-turning vehicle in the same situation would do; signal, slow, and safely but deliberately move toward the center line and wait to complete your turn. Moving closer to the centerline will buy you a little breathing room for any overly obnoxious cars approaching from the rear.
That’s what the California Vehicle Code pretty much states for automobiles and cyclists. If the motorists have a problem with it, then it’s quite obvious they’ve never read the DMV Handbook nor the California Vehicle Code (I’m a road safety enthusiast, and that’s how I know).
 
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