El Camino is a major thoroughfare that connects the towns through Northern California. However, in our part of town, there isn’t a designated bike lane. I noticed a woman trying to get to work on her bike last week, and cars had to slow to wait to pass into the next lane to get around the biker’s slower speed. The bikers are allowed to share the road and cars are to share the road too, however I don’t find this practice very safe. I keep dreaming of enjoying grocery shopping with my bakfiets when it arrives, but I don’t want to be hit by a car!
On another nearby road, the city pretends to have a designated bike lane, but the lane is marked within the car lane, saying “share the road.” If a biker is in the car lane sharing the road, really they are consuming the entire lane despite the painted stripes, because a car cannot safely pass as there isn’t any room to pass.
Tonight Jeff and I were on a date and we saw a bunch of cyclists congregating in Sunnyvale near the Sports Authority parking lot. On our way home from dinner, we saw throngs of cyclists riding up El Camino towards Palo Alto. Some had helmets, most did not. There were kids on the road, as well as Burley Bike trailers towed behind parents. Some bikes had lights yet most did not. The police were out nearly every block, some protecting and others writing tickets.
Tonight was unusual, as cyclists don’t ride in packs down El Camino, as it isn’t a bike friendly route. When I got home, I looked up what was happening tonight and learned there was a biking group sponsoring a Jungle Ride from San Jose to Palo Alto, trying to build and strengthen the biking community. The bikers took over the far right lane. Traffic was slow for the cars and it felt chaotic after 8 pm, when the planned Jungle Ride took place. It’s a pity that they even have to plan such a ride to raise bicycle awareness.
Tonight I really missed Holland. They might not be as good at customer service, and offering enough places to go out to eat without a reservation, but they are really good at facilitating a biking culture that is serious business. California has something to learn from Holland, and I sure miss riding there.