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Hiker injured in crash with cyclist on trail near Danville

Original post made on Jun 18, 2015

A hiker in the Las Trampas Regional Wilderness near Danville was injured Wednesday morning in a collision with a bicyclist, according to an East Bay Regional Parks spokeswoman.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 17, 2015, 9:26 PM

Comments (36)

Posted by Michele Hennigan
a resident of Danville
on Jun 18, 2015 at 6:53 am

I was with the hiker, and I was also hit by one of the two biker that were invollved in this accident. And your story is completely inaccurrate. The bikers were going far too fast. As hikers we see this all the time, this accident could have been completely avoided, If they werent going too fast then why did I first watch my friends body get completely "cold cocked", thrown into the air, and land on the side of the hill. I was hit by the second biker and have a busted knee, swollen arm and soar back. Nothing compared to my friend, yet not in good shape.

Let me finish the story for you. SHe was taken to San Remon Regional, only to be transfered to John Muir Trama, ICU. This mother of 5 will be laid up for the next 8 weeks with a neck brace, cancelled vacation plans, and as an independent contractor, lost wages. Accident? Yes. Avoidable, COMPLETELY!

Posted by JJ
a resident of Danville
on Jun 18, 2015 at 7:30 am

Michele, feel very badly for you and your friend. I'm an avid hiker and have had a few near misses, so my heart goes out to you both for a quick and thorough recovery.
Hope to see you back on the trails again soon.

Posted by Carolyn Gwynn
a resident of Alamo
on Jun 18, 2015 at 8:37 am

As a mom and full time independent contractor myself I often think about how awful it would be to be "laid up" by just this sort of thing. I feel terrible for all involved. Of course it was an accident but we all know how heavily used these trails are - slowing down just a little bit can make a bit difference!

Posted by Louise
a resident of Danville
on Jun 18, 2015 at 8:38 am

I hike on the local trails often and last time a biker came swooping down a hill and both myself and a friend had to jump out of the way to avoid getting hit. Cyclists are often arrogant bullies and don't care that they have to share the trails. They need to watch out for hikers and learn to be more careful. Accidents aren't caused by hikers running into cyclists it's the other way around everyone!

Posted by Bill
a resident of Danville
on Jun 18, 2015 at 8:43 am

This happens all the time on the trails and even on Mt Diablo when riding horse. Bicyclists have a sense of entitlement that is huge. They routinely flip you off if you ask them to slow down, think they own the trails. The only surprise here is that it doesn't happen more often. Also when riding together they will concoct a story and have a group lie abut what really happened.

Posted by mloliver
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 18, 2015 at 9:11 am

Anyone who has hiked or ridden horses on the narrow Las Trampas Ridge trail know how incredible the view is from there. It is also off limits to bicycles. A friend of mine was riding his horse along the ridge line when a mountain bicyclist came over a rise "getting air," hitting the horse in the shoulder, knocking the horse and rider over the edge where they slid down the slope and into the remnants of an old barbed wire fence. The bicyclist watched them fall and struggle to get to their feet, then got back on his bike and disappeared. The horse and rider made their way back to the stables covered in blood from barbed wire cuts and abrasions from sliding down the steep slope. We called the park police and they took a report but acted as if it was not very important or serious. It was a terrifying experience for both the horse and my friend.


Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Jun 18, 2015 at 10:29 am

We haven't hiked much on the west trails for the last year or so, but on many occasions in the past we have been nearly mowed down by these wankers. Authorities don't have the time or manpower to patrol trails looking for errant mountain bikers, so I'm not sure what the solution is.
It sounds like Carolyn Jones & her bosses reached their conclusion without talking to the hikers at all. Hopefully Michelle and her friend will take legal action against those who caused their injuries.

Posted by JT
a resident of Danville
on Jun 18, 2015 at 11:29 am

Michelle, sorry to hear about you and your friends unfortunate incident. I hope for the best in your return to the trails. Since the details in the article are completely missing, can you fill some of them in. What trail did this happen on, The Del Amigo Fire Road, the Virgil Williams trail? The del amigo fire road is very steep. Who were the bikers?

Posted by Michele Heathorn
a resident of Danville
on Jun 18, 2015 at 11:42 am

I was the 3rd hiker in this group and the only one not taken out by a cyclist. I dove left while my friends dove right. It all happened so fast and I totally agree with Michele that it was completely avoidable!! Both cyclists could have prevented this by slowing down before rounding the blind turn. To be fair to the story and shed some light on the character of one of these 'wankers' as Derek put it. He is a firefighter and he went right into action helping us. He was able to assess injuries and keep our friend calm and immobile as we waited for the emergency vehicle to arrive. He was very sorry and continued to apologise. He stayed with us until we all were on our way down the mountain. I'm in no way saying he didn't ride irresponsibly! I just need to put that out there. it would be good to focus on how to better get the word out to all cyclists to slow down and ride responsibly. Hopefully avoiding future accidents.

Posted by David
a resident of Danville
on Jun 18, 2015 at 2:31 pm

Hope everyone heals well and I'm glad you're ok Michele. I'm quite sure the cyclists feel horrible.

Legal action? Wankers ? Come on dude. How many speeding tickets have you ever received? Stop watching so much Judge Judy.

Posted by Noway
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 18, 2015 at 5:35 pm

How could the Bay Cities News Service get this story so-o-o wrong? Great reporting - NOT!

Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Jun 18, 2015 at 7:12 pm

How many speeding tickets have I received David? Well, zero in the last 12 or 13 years; a small handful before that. But that is an irrelevant question. A relevant one would be perhaps "how often do I drive recklessly?" At my age, pretty much never. When I was 16, 17, yeah, maybe. So did you. But I am not 16 anymore and neither are most riders we encounter around Los Trampas. Nor are many of them friendly, helpful, apologetic firemen.

"Wankers" are, among other definitions, self-absorbed people who don't care how their actions effect others around them. And when I've had my kid with me at a younger age, and she was almost hit due to oblivious riders not paying attention at blind corners (or in one case a solo biker not slowing down even when he had seen us WAY ahead of time), yes David, I am going to pronounce them wankers. I really don't care even the tiniest bit what you think of my choice of adjectives. I have about five decades of (road) bike miles and I have managed not to cause injury to myself or others in all that time. I ain't perfect, but I can at least say that with confidence.

My hope is that the two ladies heel quickly from their injuries.

Posted by Hiker
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 18, 2015 at 10:00 pm

I feel for all those involved and I've had experiences with bikers going too fast as well. One note to us hikers... If you round a blind turn it is equally our responsibility to clear to one side in case of oncoming bikers/runners/hikers. When you span two or three across around a blind turn you are equally responsible for an accident. Even the slowest rider may not be able to stop heading downhill on a gravel/dirt trail. Be safe!!

Posted by W anchor
a resident of Danville
on Jun 19, 2015 at 12:15 am

I'm so happy were using the phrase 'wanker' in 'Merica. God bless. Maybe if the area sorted out sane access for bikers, hikers and horse riders this could be avoided.

Posted by Anne
a resident of Danville
on Jun 19, 2015 at 8:25 am

Conclusion? Taking a walk in the beautiful hills isn't safe.


Posted by I love here
a resident of Danville
on Jun 19, 2015 at 10:01 am

Some. cyclists around our area , whether on trails or on our streets. have no consideration for others .
If they would just slow down, not ride in big packs ,and follow the rules of the road , everyone would be safer.
Want to race ?
Go on a track away from everyone .

Posted by FanDanville
a resident of Danville
on Jun 19, 2015 at 11:14 am

This is NOT an "accident" in legal terms.

A hiker needs to be in control of their body movements on the trail in a reasonable manner at all times. These hikers were.

A biker needs to be in control of their bike and its movements at all times. They were not. In some manner (speed, visibility ), he (however nice he was and however helpful he was afterwards) did not stop in time and did not avoid hitting a hiker. He should have been going at a speed that allowed him to stop in the distance of his visibility. On a blind corner, that means "very slow". The hiker did not jump out in front of him or do anything unreasonable. That puts him at fault.

Therefore, the biker should pay for the consequences (damages, harm) that he caused. It is only right and legal.
Often this is the only way (a lawsuit with money consequences) that a person learns how to modify their behavior.
This is why lawsuits should never be curtailed.

Unfortunately, money compensation to this victim for her injuries will never really be enough to warrant the experience involved. The victim will NOT come out ahead. There are often long-term, life-time effects of such injuries that go uncompensated for and that don't show up for years.
So the bold, intentional, poor-judgment act of the biker will probably never be fully compensated for, no full justice.

Sometimes you wish for true eye-for-an-eye. Stand him up on the trial and let a biker mow him down.
But we've seen what that revenge concept has done for the Middle East.

God has a different way of helping people resolve these types of issues. But it involves a change of heart and behavior.

Posted by Gregory
a resident of Danville
on Jun 19, 2015 at 12:06 pm

'I love here'...Give me a break. I've seen 2 instance in last 3 months when a car literally swerved INTO the bike lane to hit a cyclist. They drove off. Was that you by chance??? What did the police do? NOTHING. So get off your high horse about obeying laws and simply say SHARE THE ROAD. Your comments fuel some hatred out there which unfortunately cause fatalities by angry drivers and well, negligent drivers in the case of the young lady who killed a cyclist on Crow Canyon Road a few months back. You talk about cyclists like their the Hells Angels or something. Get some perspective already.

We simply need to share the road. Cyclists and cars both must obey the rules of the road. And KNOW the rules of the road ! Cyclists have every right to be on the road as a driver. Period. They can be outside the bike lane if there are dangers within the bike lane (pot holes, glass, branches, pedestrians, etc). If you think they are breaking a law, call the police immediately.

Unfortunately, in this area there are malicious drivers out there who simply don't believe cyclists should share the road with cars...AT ALL. They 'Send Messages' by swerving into the lane or getting as close to 1 inch while driving 40mph. This will kill the cyclist. Not the driver. So how bout preaching some tolerance to angry and uneducated drivers. You may help save a life. Or I'm affraid...take one.

Posted by Catherine
a resident of Danville
on Jun 19, 2015 at 12:13 pm

I just find it interesting that in the last six months there have been accidents involving bikes/cars and bikes/hikers. What is the common denominator here? BIKES!!!! Cyclists are the problem as they think they own everything....

Posted by David
a resident of Danville
on Jun 19, 2015 at 12:23 pm

'Fan of Danville':

Were you on Crow Canyon Road a few months ago when a teenager, while text messaging killed the bike rider observing his right of way, accidently? Have you seen the memorial? Would you sue the teenage girl and her parents? Ruin her life? Public flogging? Jail time? What would 'eye for an eye' mean here? Execution ? Run her over with a car? Explain please.

Posted by LocalRider
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Jun 19, 2015 at 12:45 pm

I'm a local rider, been riding las trampas for 25+ years. Hikers, horses and bikers sharing trails is a undoubtably a problem. But what do you want to do, prohibit bikers everywhere, including the best trails which happen to be the singletracks, which also hikers and horseback riders also gravitate towards. Action sports are increasingly popular and drive people towards the hills and healthier activities. And this should be promoted versus a society where people are consumed by watching TV, spending hours in front of the computer/video games, using drugs/alcohol, cigarettes, etc. There is plenty of land for everyone to share and the options should be expanded rather than contracted and prohibitory. Santa Cruz has dedicated and invested in bike trails, recenty the same was done in Crockett. This has significantly reduced conflict in these areas. Untill there is local investment - Mt. Diablo, Las Trampas, Pleasanton Ridge - these problems will persist and become increasingly frequent to the betterment of no one. And all parties have the same objective: to simply enjoy the outdoors and particpate in good, clean, healthy fun.
The last thing I want to do is to run into someone and hurt them, or for that matter even scare or suprise hikers or horses. But I want to enjoy the outdoors, keep in good health and have some fun doing so. I feel for the hikers who were involved in a very unfortunate and scary incident and hope for a quick return to health and to get back out hiking safely again. And its true that some renegade riders give us a bad rap, but we're not all bad.

Posted by jsandresen1
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 19, 2015 at 2:21 pm

Over the years I have spent a lot of time mountain biking in the hills here in the East Bay as well as Biking on the streets and the Iron Horse Trail. I have seen cyclists on the road and in the hills ride recklessly. These riders are a clear minority.

The seldom told story is the fact that many pedestrians, joggers, runners talk to much with their friends and are distracted because they are in deep conversations and walk three abreast or more.. Some have their headsets plugged in with music blaring and do not hear the warnings of cyclists who are only trying to share the road or trail with them.

In most cases its not as simple as the cyclist was riding to fast. When people get startled they may have not noticed the cyclist coming and then it appears they are riding to fast. On the other hand its possible the cyclist was riding to fast.
All of us have to be responsible and aware of our surroundings and respect each others rights to enjoy the beautiful hiking and the roads of the east bay. Responsible runners, hikers walkers, and cyclists seldom have accidents because they are always aware of their surroundings. If your expectations are that you take a walk or ride on a trail today and not pay attention to what is going then you should expect that an accident may happen. Next time it might be a cow.

I do not know what happened in this specific case because I was not there but I wish everyone a speedy recovery.

Posted by fanDanville
a resident of Danville
on Jun 19, 2015 at 6:30 pm


I don't personally advocate for an "eye for an eye", but I can understand when people would like it to happen. I understand the desire.

As for the teenage girl, to the extent that her texting actually caused or contributed to the accident, then yes I'd advocate that she be sued and pay for her consequences, even if that would supposedly "ruin" her life.
I think having her not be held accountable and not getting sued might lead her to have a more ruined life in the long run.

What are you advocating for her? A slap on the wrist? A talking to? Another driver's ed course?

Let's let the victim decide!

Posted by David
a resident of Danville
on Jun 19, 2015 at 9:33 pm


Unfortunately the victim in the fatality in Danville cannot decide what the punishment should be. He's a casket 6 feet under the ground as I type this message.

In this case the The District Attorney will decide.

Posted by Sponge Bob Roundpants
a resident of Danville
on Jun 21, 2015 at 8:46 pm

Not sure why this is such a complex problem set. Simply set speed limits for bicyclists on the trails and make them clear at trailheads (etc), post one of the rangers in the high speed areas with a radar gun for a few hours/days/weeks, and start issuing very expensive tickets. Word will get out real quick.

Posted by FanDanville
a resident of Danville
on Jun 22, 2015 at 12:32 am

Sponge Bob Roundpants,

FYI, somewhere in the details I read that the speed limit was 15 mph and the bicyclists claimed to be going that speed (and the initial investigations thought that they were going the speed limit).

However, there was a blind turn, so 15 mph was still dangerous and unacceptable. They still hit and injured people while going the speed limit. (Although other witnesses think they were going faster).

Your solution wouldn't have cured the problem (assuming the bikers were going 15 mph).
Not as simple as you thought, perhaps!?!

Posted by Sponge Bob Roundpants
a resident of Danville
on Jun 22, 2015 at 9:48 am

uh, seriously? I would expect that if the speed limit is too high, try lowering it!! And make it even lower on blind curves as is necessary (like they do on roads). It's still pretty simple, you just don't know how to think outside the box - creative thinking is not your strong suit.

Posted by Mike Vandeman
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 9, 2015 at 8:45 am

This only shows that humans are incapable of rational thought. Mountain bikers are required to yield right of way to hikers. They didn't, so they are 100% liable, and should be cited. The EBRPD police were wrong.

Really, there is only one solution: ban bikes from trails. Restrict bikes to paved roads, where they belong. The EBRPD board are cowards for not doing this.

Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1996: Web Link . It's dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don't have access to trails closed to bikes. They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else -- ON FOOT! Why isn't that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking....

A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it's not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see Web Link ). I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

Those were all experimental studies. Two other studies (by White et al and by Jeff Marion) used a survey design, which is inherently incapable of answering that question (comparing hiking with mountain biking). I only mention them because mountain bikers often cite them, but scientifically, they are worthless.

Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it's NOT!). What's good about THAT?

To see exactly what harm mountain biking does to the land, watch this 5-minute video: Web Link

In addition to all of this, it is extremely dangerous: Web Link .

For more information: Web Link .

The common thread among those who want more recreation in our parks is total ignorance about and disinterest in the wildlife whose homes these parks are. Yes, if humans are the only beings that matter, it is simply a conflict among humans (but even then, allowing bikes on trails harms the MAJORITY of park users -- hikers and equestrians -- who can no longer safely and peacefully enjoy their parks).

The parks aren't gymnasiums or racetracks or even human playgrounds. They are WILDLIFE HABITAT, which is precisely why they are attractive to humans. Activities such as mountain biking, that destroy habitat, violate the charter of the parks.

Even kayaking and rafting, which give humans access to the entirety of a water body, prevent the wildlife that live there from making full use of their habitat, and should not be allowed. Of course those who think that only humans matter won't understand what I am talking about -- an indication of the sad state of our culture and educational system.

Posted by FanDanville
a resident of Danville
on Aug 10, 2015 at 11:52 am

How about an update on this story?

How are the injured victims doing?
What has happened to the injuring bicyclists? Were they cited? Were they sued? Have they accepted or been held responsible for the injuries caused?

It would be nice to know the outcome of this.

As far as banning mountain bikes on trails, I'm not in favor of that at all. Biking is a great way to great around in mountains.
I am in favor of bicyclists being in 100% control of their bikes and not causing any physical injury....and going as slow as is necessary around any blind corner such that they will not hit someone and cause significant injury.

Posted by Mike Vandeman
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 10, 2015 at 12:06 pm

We've been having this same discussion ever since the mountain bike was invented. Obviously, there is only on solution: restrict bikes to paved roads. Why do you think that bikes are banned from sidewalks, whicQnWuth are far safer than trails?! Fast-moving MACHINES are incompatible with pedestrians. Mountain bikers claim to favor responsible riding, but they never lift a finger to make it happen.

Posted by oh!Riley
a resident of Danville
on Aug 10, 2015 at 4:35 pm

Some of the responses calling for a ban on mountain biking seem extreme to me to say the least. Given the number of mountain bikers on the trails in Las Trampas and Mt. Diablo, I would suggest the number of incidents of out of control bikers is very small. How about we focus the efforts on citing out of control bikers (on the roads and on the trails) rather than punish those who enjoy our beautiful area responsibly. (That also includes hikers who leave trash, dog walkers who don't clean up after their animals, etc.)

Posted by Mike Vandeman
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 10, 2015 at 7:03 pm

What's "extreme" is expecting parks designed for hiking to be able to withstand large fast-moving pieces of MACHINERY around pedestrians of a ages. We don't allow that on our sidewalks, and there is no good reason to allow that on trails, especially since all mountain bikers are capable of walking. Mountain bikers have had 30+ years to prove that it can be done safely, and have consistently FAILED. If you really wanted to solve the problem, the first thing you would do is LICENSE all bikes, just like cars, so everyone can identify the law-breakers.

Even so-called "responsible" mountain biking erodes trails, kills small animals and plants, and drives other trail users off the trails. None of that is acceptable. The only solution is to restrict bikes to paved roads, where they belong.

Posted by Riderdad
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Aug 12, 2015 at 1:06 pm

This accident is most unfortunate, and I wish a speedy recovery to the injured parties.

I don't like how some posters seem to seize the incident to paint all cyclists with a negative brush though. I've been mountain biking all over the east bay for 15+ years and never had a problem. All groups have their bad apples. I've encountered a few rude hikers who block the trail or hike in large groups (6 abreast on a fireroad...), but I realize that a minority of users doesn't define the group as a whole. Fact is that most folks just want to go out to enjoy the outdoors for a a few hours and have a good time, regardless of their mode of transportation.

Be nice, be courteous, be safe. Enjoy the parks.

Posted by Chris Gubera
a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Aug 12, 2015 at 1:10 pm

Guest blogger Peter Frick Wright is a writer and mountain biker who has been blogging about a unique case involving Mike Vandeman, a man accused of attacking mountain bikers with a saw on trails near the UC Berkeley campus.

There's always been a subtle tension between hikers and bikers when passing each other on forest trails, but this week, in Oakland, that tension gets a whole lot less subtle.

Anti mountain bike advocate Mike Vandeman is on trial for assault, battery and vandalism. There are six counts stemming from altercations with four victims over nearly a year. In the most recent incident, which lead to his arrest, he's accused of hitting a rider in the chest with a pruning saw as the biker went by.

Vandeman has long been a scourge on mountain biking forums—he has a Ph.D. in psychology and is particularly good at eliciting responses—but in the past he engaged only through comments and academic papers that he posted on his website.

Now it seems, his crusade is no longer strictly virtual.

Posted by Colin
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 12, 2015 at 1:30 pm

[Post removed because it add no value to the conversation.]

Posted by c5
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Aug 12, 2015 at 3:04 pm

c5 is a registered user.

Wow, I guess the vitriol is to be expected in the bay area when something like this happens. First and foremost, my thoughts go out to those who were injured, I hope for a quick and full recovery. Second, as an avid hiker and mountain biker who has never had a problem, here are my thoughts on these situations.

It sounds like the cyclists were likely going faster than they should have. That is unfortunate, but in the bay area where trail usage is high and trail access is unfairly apportioned, there are going to be the rare accidents...and to be clear, it is very rare when someone gets hurt. IMO all trail users have the responsibility to safely use and share the trails--this means hikers should not walk in a way that takes up the entire trail and should not ever be wearing headphones. Horses need to be in complete control over their horses at all times and they have to be acclimated to other horses, hikers, dogs and bikes. Cyclists, as the second largest user group and the fastest growing, and fastest traveling, have a special responsibility to try their best to avoid accidents, to be communicative to other trail users (in a friendly way), and to use common sense in spots such as this. As far as some silly comments about a sense of 'entitlement', while I understand the comment IMO I've seen that sense of entitlement a lot more from hikers and equestrians than cyclists, but YMMV.

For me the biggest issue is the lack of trail access. Where land managers give thought to accommodating all trail user groups things tend to work well. Trails designed more for bikes in some cases (Crockett Hills comes to mind), some older narrow trails where bikes are not permitted, but at the end of the day, more new trails that are built with all user groups in mind. We need more multi-user trails to take some of the 'pressure' off certain areas. Cylists want and deserve more access to existing and to new narrow trails. We all pay taxes, we all deserve fair access. I never see or hear about trail conflict like there exists in the bay area anywhere else. It is not that cyclists are different here, it is that the trails and access are IMO. Fix that and it would end most of the conflict we hear about...but at the end of the day, there may still be the rare accident.

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