Old San Jose resurfaced for safety not Amgen, county says

Dear Street Smarts, Q: Regarding Old San Jose Road, this road was re-paved a couple of years ago and is now glass-smooth and beautifully banked in the curves. As a result, it seems to be attracting all kinds of vehicles that are eager to dangerously push the limits of their driving prowess. This is also, I think, why the bicycle traffic has more than tripled in the past 10 years, especially on the weekends. The combination is deadly. Questions: Was this repaving done to anticipate Lance and the Amgen race a couple of years ago? The one and only straight stretch of that road that permitted passing was eliminated after re-paving. Why? I seems to me that a 'safety valve' is really needed here. Doug Crawford, Santa Cruz Mountains A: "The work was completed based on the fact that the roadway is a major arterial that serves a high level of residents and commuters," John Presleigh, director of county public works. The broken yellow line on the portion of Old San Jose you speak of was replaced by double yellow lines to eliminate the risk of head-on collisions because some people pass unsafely. Smoother paving also makes the ride safer for cyclists as it allows them to move predictably down the road as opposed to zigzag around potholes. Of course, they still must dodge debris from fallen rocks, soil, tree limbs, etc. As for safety valves, we all can create them by leaving out earlier than necessary to allow for such slow downs and reach your destination on time. We also need to practice patience for the other person on the road, although we wish he or she -- whether traveling by bicycle or motor vehicle -- would use one of the several turnouts along the way. Q: I don't see it mentioned often, but one of the reasons for a 3 foot rule when passing bicyclists is that they need some room to make the required arm signals for turning. When I need to signal for a left movement, usually to change lanes to be able to continue straight when a dedicated right turn lane is coming up, my left arm needs room to go out straight. Since my arm measures 32 inches 'tip to pit,' 3 feet is barely enough room to signal safely. Jim Nelson, Scotts Valley A: Thank you for that extra insight into the new law. Learn more from the DMV at https://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21760.htm; CalBike at, https://calbike.org/advocacy/giveme3/give-me-3-faq/; and by watching this YouTube video at, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ju_0AVbsSxA. See also this webinar at http://www.3footcycling.com/.
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