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Triathlete killed in car-bike collision

Original post made on Jul 1, 2009

A financial manager on a training ride for an upcoming triathalon is dead after being struck by a car on Camino Tassajara at the southern end of Contra Costa County.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, June 30, 2009, 8:30 PM

Comments (38)

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Posted by Robert
a resident of Danville
on Jul 1, 2009 at 9:04 am

This is a very sad and tragic story. I think the Danville Times should rethink placing an advertisement for a financial services company adjacent to it for obvious reasons.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of Danville
on Jul 1, 2009 at 9:05 am

I am pleased to find out that the advertisement rotates and is randomly placed adjacent to the story. My apologies to Danville Times.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of Blackhawk
on Jul 1, 2009 at 10:12 am

He shouldn't have been riding in that dangerous road. I feel sorry for the family and the drivers of the cars!


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Posted by Lydia Sugarman
a resident of another community
on Jul 1, 2009 at 11:56 am

This person had just as much right to travel this stretch of roadd on a bicycle as the idiot driving the car that killed him. I am sick and tired of the standard knee-jerk reaction that cyclists don't have the same rights as anyone operating any other sort of vehicle.

People need to get some perspective and adopt some tolerance toward others on the roadways.

I wonder if the reaction would be the same for a pedestrian using approximately the same amount of lateral space to walk along the side of the road?


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Posted by Barbara
a resident of Danville
on Jul 1, 2009 at 11:59 am

This is horrible and my prayers go to the family. Camino Tassajara is a major road used by cyclists to get to the less travelled roads such as Highland Rd. Camino Tassajara is not a highway - freeway - or speedway. Yet drivers typically go as fast as they can out there. Also, there is plenty of land on that end of Camino Tassajara to create a shoulder for cyclists and/or cars to pull over.

The unfortunate other option is the share the road with cars - how many more lives have to be taken on Camino Tassajara before the local community gets it - and decides they want to do something about it.


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Posted by Barbara
a resident of Danville
on Jul 1, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Robert - you are a jerk! I hope you don't drive that stretch - I can't imagine you would have any tolerance for anything along the side of the road!


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Posted by Jack
a resident of Blackhawk
on Jul 1, 2009 at 12:01 pm

You feel sorry for the drivers of the cars? Right...not to worry about the dead guy, let's worry about the guy who killed him, or the poor Range Rover driver who got hit by the same guy. Robert, your reasoning defies logic. How about driving more carefully? Not losing control? Any of those occur to you?


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Posted by Tom Cushing
a resident of Danville
on Jul 1, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Sometimes I regret that this Board is anonymous.

If folks had to sign their rants, then what we'd lose in candor would be mostly made-up in forethought and civility.

Rave on....


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Posted by Alex
a resident of Danville
on Jul 1, 2009 at 2:07 pm

I don't think Cyclists should have the same rights as drivers. They certainly don't have the same obligations, so their rights should be limited. In particular, there should be some limits for their own protection. There are some roads that are closed to 5+ ton trucks (Livorna exit at i680?), why not some to be blocked for cyclists?

So cyclists should not be allowed, say, on I-680, specially on the fast lane. Crazy? Well, theoretically they could if it's true they have the same rights. Which is absurd. So I think they also should not be allowed on roads with no shoulder. They can occupy the road proper, but a shoulder should be there for their own safety.

At Camino Tassajara, cars frequently cross double yellow lines (wrongly) to give more room to the cyclist. But should they stay behind him at 10-15mph? That seems unreasonable, given the posted speed limit (40?). It's not like Mt. Diablo summit road, where the speed limits (and actual speeds) are much lower (like 15-20mph). However, if the bike is a vehicle with the same rights, they have the right to the road, and the law says you cannot get past it when double yellow lines are present.

Maybe the drivers slow down, wait until the cyclist realizes there's upcoming traffic and then go to the shoulder? That, IMHO, is a better option. Provided there is a safe shoulder by the side of the road. But with no such space, that stretch of Camino Tassajara should be out of bounds for cyclists.


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Posted by Engelburtis
a resident of Blackhawk
on Jul 1, 2009 at 3:24 pm

Alex, if you had educated yourself on the VC, you would know that driving is not a right, it is a priviledge, unique among road users because of the potential for death and mayhem inherent with motor vehicles. Don't believe me? Although difficult, you can have your priviledge to drive removed for life, something which cannot happen with cycling, walking, or other uses of our public throughfares. Unfortunately your attitude is all too common, resulting in the deplorable state of driver behaviour we see daily around here.


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Posted by Tragedy
a resident of Danville
on Jul 1, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Alex -

Excellent points.

Couple a winding road with a car traveling at 40 mph and a bicyclist traveling at 10 - 15 mph and it's possible for a car to overtake a bicyclist before the driver even realizes the bicyclist is there.

Some roads are simply not safe for bicyclists, joggers, or walkers.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Diablo
on Jul 1, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Put some blame on the county for allowing growth and not improving the roads to make them safer. There are many more examples of this, especially in east county.


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Posted by Brad
a resident of Diablo
on Jul 1, 2009 at 3:42 pm

ROBERT.....my hat is off to you!!!!! They act like they own the roads....they don't even bother to move over when they hear a car behind them. I agree they should only be allowed on bike lanes and trails, then this type of accident would not happen. That driver has to live withis on his mind the rest of his life! The ones that ride in flocks are about as obnoxious as you can get....thats why nobody respects them. 680 would be a safer place to ride than the road he was on!!!!


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Posted by Sam
a resident of Danville
on Jul 1, 2009 at 3:47 pm

Alex your right..........you don' see people walking or jogging on that road.........I think it is disrespectful to drivers for a biker to even ride on a road like that. There are pleanty of bike lanes out there why should the county have to spend more money on bike lanes...........STAY WHERE YOU BELONG!!!!!!


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Posted by Patrick
a resident of another community
on Jul 1, 2009 at 4:03 pm

Yes, survival of the fittest. Eventually we will limit the road to all but the 5+ ton extra wide trucks. What is with those cyclists anyway - in most third world countries you would never see a weak and vulnerable individual attempt to assert themselves in a way that requires the stronger one to show respect. Why can't we be like them. Get the weak ones off the road and let those of us who are tough enough to drive "real" vehicles take back control of the roadways!


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Posted by Alex
a resident of Danville
on Jul 1, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Before I forget again, RIP Mr. Greaves. Hope the driver of the Honda also gets better soon. It was a terrible accident, but IMHO, avoidable.

Engelburtis, I didn't say driving is a natural right, but the smaller claim that, once you got your licence, you have the right to drive on the road.
Also, the right to walk can be limited: try walking on the Interstate, if you cause an accident, you'll be jailed for jaywalking.

All I'm saying is that the City or County should forbid cyclists to use that part of the road. For their own safety. Is that an unreasonable limitation?


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Diablo
on Jul 2, 2009 at 6:42 am

"All I'm saying is that the City or County should forbid cyclists to use that part of the road. For their own safety. Is that an unreasonable limitation?"

Yes it is unreasonable. If that were allowed, cyclists wouldn't be able to ride anywhere.

You morons ought to read the text of the article. It says "...the driver apparently lost control of the vehicle and struck the cyclist." Translation: the driver lost control of the vehicle BEFORE hitting the cyclist. The unfortunate cyclist just happened to be in the way.

Get used to seeing more cyclists on the roads. It is inevitable as the price of gasoline goes up. Expect to see that once the economy improves. It's already up to $3.00/gal. We need to make the roads safer for bicyclists, not take away their rights.



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Posted by Bruno
a resident of Blackhawk
on Jul 2, 2009 at 7:41 am

"Some roads are simply not safe for bicyclists, joggers, or walkers."

Sounds like you are building a case for banning cars.


DON'T DO THAT!!!!!


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Posted by Tim
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 2, 2009 at 10:03 am

A cyclist dies due to a car driver apparently losing control. The responsible driver was injured and two cars were damaged. Yet people are BLAMING THE CYCLIST. How sad. How very very sad. The people saying such things should be ashamed of yourselves for posting such unmitigated vileness.

The basic problem is that this section of Camino Tassajara has not been maintained and expanded to handle the traffic on it as growth has expanded around it. There isn't enough room for the vehicles, man or gas powered. And feeding onto Camino Tassajara from three directions or more are wide bike paths that encourage cyclists commuting or seeking to go long distances to ride there.

In the end, the County is also responsible for this death, along with that driver who lost control. This section of road should have a broad shoulder/bike land for use by cyclists. In emergencies that lane could be used by broken down cars or emergency vehicles. In other words, it would enhance everyone's use of that stretch of road.

With today's gas prices, more and more people are riding bikes just to get where they need to go. Whether you choose to drive everywhere, there are more teens and adults who use bikes to get to and fro. These people need to be accomodated on the roads, whether in specialty lanes or as a normal part of the traffic flow. If you come upon a cyclist, take a second and pass when it is safe.


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Posted by Alex
a resident of Danville
on Jul 3, 2009 at 9:08 am

I didn't see anybody blaming the cyclist here. If you're hit from behind, it's hard to claim it's your own fault.

However, if the laws were such that he would not be allowed to ride there (40mph winding road with no shoulder), he wouldn't be there in the first place.

Now you can't automatically blame the driver either. It's not reasonable to suppose he was set out to kill someone that day. Maybe a tire blew, or maybe he wasn't familiar with the road, who knows. Maybe he just didn't see the cyclist. He should have, but didn't expect someone riding 30-35 mph per hour slower. If it is where I think it was, where there are some police markers on the side of the road, it was right on a very sharp turn. Maybe there was no time to react.

The thing is, if the County allows bikers there, and if he was hit from behind, the poor cyclist is the only one without any fault, IMHO. Now I say let's prevent this from happening again, and block that road for bikers. A 40mph winding road without any shoulder is not safe for bikers or joggers.

PS: the other day I saw 3 joggers running in line coming from a turn making hand signals for me to basically cross the yellow lines. I practically stopped the car, and people stopped behind me, until they were through. They seemed upset as if I apparently over reacted ("we were just signaling we were here"), but what if I hit them?


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Posted by Sam
a resident of Danville
on Jul 3, 2009 at 9:18 am

I talked to ca CHP officer yesterday about the situation and he AGREED that that road is UNSAFE for cyclists.........RIDE AT YOUR OWN RISK! There are pleanty of other roads to ride on!


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Posted by mandt
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 6, 2009 at 1:05 am

I am a cyclist myself but i will agree most enthusiast are a pain in the ass on the road and believe they are invincible. Its not just survival of the fittest but survival of the smartest. Really guys use your brains, its not even safe in a vehicle on that hacked up stretch of road!


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Posted by Desiree
a resident of Alamo
on Jul 8, 2009 at 8:30 am

It's a pity that people are making any assumptions about what happened in this case. The investigation is not even complete. Where are the comments about the tragedy of this event? The sorrow that each family must be feeling, especially the two children of the deceased!

Shame on the people placing blame on either party at this point! I hope the families involved don't read your callous comments. I wish I hadn't!


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Posted by Jane Doe
a resident of Danville
on Jul 8, 2009 at 8:50 am

Losing a life is extremely sad regardless who is at falt. People make mistakes, they take their eyes away for a second and unfortunately it leads to tragedy. I don't know who is at falt it doesn't matter. I've seen some crazy driving around town but I've also seen a ridiculous amount of bad habits by cyclists. Almost on a daily basis I see many who feel they just don't need to follow the rules of the road and drive right through stop signs or even lights among other things. It makes me wonder who they think they are. I'm a cyclist myself and am VERY clear on the rules of the road both in a car and on a bike. I have a squeeky clean record after 35+ years of driving to prove it. I just wish some of my fellow cyclists would be more responsible at times. R.I.P.


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Posted by Sam
a resident of Danville
on Jul 8, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Nobody is placing blame on anyone! People are just saying that it is not safe to walk or run on that road, let alone bike. There are many bike lanes and trails to ride on. I feel for everyone involved!
Think about it!


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Posted by Shocked
a resident of another community
on Jul 13, 2009 at 3:37 pm

If you are unable to react to things in the roadway in front of you then you are obviously driving too fast. It appalls me that these country roads are treated like highways and drivers expect to be able to go highway speeds on them. You see it all over the tri valley. Take the highway if you want to drive fast. Tassajara road is a link to many other roads that is not that easy to avoid depending on where you are going by bicycle. These roads like Tassajara have always been travelled by bike; it's only as the population has grown that more cars have started using them. Some of you are acting like bicyclists have invaded your roads; its really the other way around. These roads weren't built to be commute corridors. Cyclists have just as much right to be on the road (except for freeways) as a car. Granted they should and need to ride courteously, single file and to the right. Slow down, and deal with it. If you can't control your motor vehicle well enough to avoid other users then maybe you shouldn't be driving.


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Posted by MyTwoCents
a resident of Danville
on Jul 14, 2009 at 9:45 am

Shocked: I think what people are saying is that several thousand lbs. of moving metal trumps "rights" in terms of the practical outcomes.

Don't you think that it's a good idea to consider whether the view is worth the climb before exercising your "rights?" Now, maybe this guy thought it all through, weighed the odds and accepted the objective risk associated with his activity. Some people climb mountains and jump-off buildings, for example, fully cognizant of the risks. In this case, he paid a terrible price for losing his bet. He got just about the worst outcome imaginable.

I have the 'right' to walk down a street during a gun fight. But as the great popular philosopher Christopher Rock has opined: "Just because you 'can' do something, that doesn't make it a good idea."

Before I'd put my life and the present/future happiness of my family at-risk on that stretch of road, I would surely want to consider whether there were other, safer alternatives.


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Posted by Shocked
a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2009 at 10:23 pm

I know the Greaves family. I am shocked by these comments. How smug you are, how you know it all. How much more powerful cars are than bicycles. How you have your "rights". Why couldn't the driver have slowed down a little bit, taken more time to pass the cyclist cleanly or not at all. Why not just WAIT until it is safe to pass, or will that add a few more seconds to your commute? Just a little more time and care spent to ensure that he was safe and this wonderful, vibrant man would still be alive.


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Posted by MyTwoCents
a resident of Danville
on Jul 15, 2009 at 8:34 am

Dear shocked: As I reread this thread, I would note that I am not the one who was on his high bike, pontificating about his "rights," demanding that the world adjust to his preferences and now assuming that this tragedy was somehow caused intentionally.

My point was that "rights" are practically meaningless in this situation, and if you use those as your basis for deciding where to ride, you better have also decided that the possible consequences are worth it.

There are risks in everything, but the objective probability of getting hurt on that section of that road is very high, relative to other riding options. That's not smug -- that's just rational. The grim reaper is out there for all of us -- why thumb your nose at him?

This incident has tragic consequences for a lot of people. I regret that you lost your friend -- but do you also think that gives you the "right" to lash out at others, because they counsel caution?


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Posted by nevermind
a resident of Diablo
on Jul 16, 2009 at 7:23 pm

what a bunch of cycling-hating, intolerant and arrogant car drivers here ... you'll earn what you seed.


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Posted by Nick
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jul 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm

What is done is done. If we don't learn from history, the history will repeat itself.


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Posted by Daneil
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jul 21, 2009 at 9:54 am

Ever considered the cyclist was not aware that road turned into a narrow section.


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Posted by Daneil
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Feb 24, 2010 at 1:20 pm

The car that hit the cyclist was found to have been illegally passing a car on the right. The cyclist had a car directly behind him "sharing the road" and Hong Guo's car overtook the car directly behind the cyclist and struck the cyclist not once but twice, dragging him 150 feet under her car and only coming to a stop because she hit another car. I don't know about any of you, but I don't want drivers like this on the road. By the way, she is being charged with a felony vehicular manslaughter....As she should!


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2010 at 2:52 am

"CHP officers said the driver apparently lost control of the vehicle ..."


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Posted by Wednesday
a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2010 at 7:23 am

Daneil,

This is terrible! Should not be done by a experienced driver.


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Posted by Dingle
a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2010 at 7:12 am

It will be just yet another tragedy if there is no reasonable regulation of road sharing.

1. I am always afraid of driving along with cyclists. The assumption of what an experienced driver should/can do doesn't hold here. You can't disallow inexperienced drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, can you?

2. It's better to protect yourself than to blame other ppl. What about some common sense such as no dangerous jay-walking? This also applies everyone on the road including bicyclists. Simply too often I saw bicyclists bypassed a queue of cars and crossed the road at RED traffic light.

3. My experience is that road-sharing only causes a higher rate of accidents. Too many lives have already been lost. If you don't believe it, just go to the hospital's emergency department, and you can see how often an accident involves bicyclists and motorists.

Regardless of what was the cause of this accident, there must be regulations. If you don't agree (maybe you are a bicyclist yourself), think about other analogies: bicyclist-pedestrian, bicyclist-motorist, pedestrian-motorist, motorist-car driver, and so on.


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Posted by Kuy
a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Daneil,

I am shocked by your complete lack of sympathy. Yes, the driver made a terrible mistake, which unfortunately led to a grave tragedy. But it does not mean that she was necessarily anymore deserving it than any of us here. There are things in the world that simply happen, and we should not rush to a judgment simply on the basis of the outcome. Let's pray for those who suffered.


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Posted by Paul Seligman
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Aug 28, 2010 at 6:52 pm

This case is taking place in my city and I am shocked it's being tried in the press. I'm retired and go to court all the time to watch trials and have seen the crowds coming to court for this case. It's like a circus with about 50 people coming in for every court day against the Chinese lady who is accused of killing the Mr. Greaves (a horrible tragedy). But from what I heard the entire accident happened in the blink of an eye so I wonder how everyone here has such good knowledge about the case (especially the lady who claims the Chinese lady was passing other traffic in the dirt). I drive Camino Tassajara all the time and NO ONE passes in the dirt. For the most part it's not level (although I don't know where the accident happened). I'm looking forward to the trial because it should be very interesting. The lady had a Public Defender represeting her and I have seen her in trial before and she's very good.


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