Cyclists, Drivers Debate Canyon Protocols

Shepherd Canyon has always been a challenging place shared by homeowners, bicyclists, drivers, walkers, soccer players, dogs – you name it.

Lately there’s been plenty of discussion about the appropriate protocols among the two-wheelers and four-wheelers who share the canyon road.  The terrain translates into few shoulders, many blind spots and no easy answers.

Shepherd Canyon Road, Oakland

The debates are lengthy, and depend on behaviors of rogues and law-abiding citizens.  We think it all boils down to these five perceptions:

  1. If rider is pedaling down the road, then that’s considered legal and appropriate behavior.
  2. If cautious driver follows rider, then driver needs to take heed and not surprise ’em.
  3. If rider gets angry at driver, then it might mean rider is concerned about life and limb.
  4. If driver is barreling down the road, then driver might put the rider ahead at risk.
  5. If rider uses railroad path, then walkers with and without dogs pose mutual risks.

We believe in using a little common sense and following the rules of the road.  We live in the hills, where terrain challenges are part of the bargain.  Are we missing anything here?

4 thoughts on “Cyclists, Drivers Debate Canyon Protocols

  1. I first experienced Montclair riding down Shepherd Canyon in the early 90s. It was fun to ride down then, and still is today. Up, not so much.

  2. When cyclists are riding down, they’re generally going fast enough that there’s not a problem. Riding up, even with the e-bike, I’m going slowly enough that cars have to pass me. Some do it correctly, waiting for a break in oncoming traffic and giving plenty of room. Some don’t. The problems come from people not obeying the traffic laws, both drivers and cyclists.

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  4. I use the old train trestle. It’s never crowded, totally free from vehicular traffic, and if you go slowly around dog owners and walkers, you get to say hello to fellow Montclair folks.

    I would like to see a path connecting the trestle to Shepherd Canyon Park, with a small foot bridge like the one that crosses over Snake. There really isn’t enough room on the road for slow moving bicycles and fast moving cars; 35mph is a little too swift to keep up with on the uphill on a bike.

    Several years ago, my family was struck from behind by a motorist who was not as careful as they ought to have been, heading down towards Montclair, where the road takes a sharp rise before passing alongside the Park. I would never ride a bicycle on that stretch of Shepherd Canyon. It’s just a bad idea, especially when there is a completely safe alternative running parallel to the road.

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