I would like to thank Dan Wolter for his letter that appeared in the Napa Valley Register on Aug. 19, regarding cyclists and walkers (“Cyclists and motorists share responsibilities while on Napa streets”).

I do wear both hats (motorist and cyclist). It is my experience that the cyclists are the nuisance. They place people and cars in harms way every day.

When I wear my cyclist hat, I:

• stay in and on the roads with real bike lanes, or on roads that can safely accommodate a car in the right and left lane, with room for a bike (as it is my responsibility to be a prudent/safe cyclist);

• stop at stop signs;

• I give the right of way to the walkers;

• I give a loud warning when passing on the left;

• never give unwelcome hand gestures to passing cars;

• do not drop litter (broken sunglasses, water bottles, rolled up bike routes from Napa Valley Bike Tours, Eagle Cycling Club, or Santa Rosa Cycling Club, etc.) in residents’ yards;

• do not force cars to cross double-yellow lines; and

• never ride two- or three-abreast, etc.

I happen to live on a county road. On a Sunday earlier this month, it was difficult to drive into town for church due to the steady stream of cyclists speeding way too fast past my driveway. In the evening, they practically run you off the road if you are walking. Cars are always slowing down; the cyclists never do.

We are all blessed to live in this beautiful Napa area, but Napa streets and county roads have become an amusement park ride for the Spandex-wearing cyclist groups.

Oh, by the way, how many of them are paying property taxes, or picking up the litter?

Yes, the roads are open to the public and you may be in the right (car or cyclist), but sometimes things happen. In certain areas, a deer might run out in front of a car or bike, then a tire blows out and there’s a chance you might hit the edge of the pavement and land on your head.

Let’s try to keep everyone safe; stop the influx of cyclists into these areas.

Linda Harvey / Napa

(24) comments


I agree with publiusa! As a physician and commuter of Silverado Trail on a daily basis I have driven through this road at least 2,500 times. It am speechless how the cyclists treat themselves and behave on the road. No one is perfect but riding a bicycle on Silverado trail especially on the weekend when many drivers are half drunk (not buzzed) is just not wise!
I often see a large group of cyclists coming from SF to enjoy a "healthy exercise in Napa County". Well, this is certainly not the healthiest choice they have made! Several times a year we see car accidents involving cyclists. The mortality of cyclists in a motor vehicle accident is several times higher. In a parking garage you don't let your little children to run freely as there are potential cars, which may run over them, so why take a chance on a road that does not have a designated path for bicycles?!


Just had this discussion today about cyclist as we traveled on Hwy 1 up the north coast. I don't mind cyclist at all but it's like everthing in life... Follow the Golden Rule! What's legal and what's smart are not always the same. What legal and what's realistic are not always the same. The potential outcome to prove your right... definately not worth it! Many drivers are impatient jerks and many cyclist are self ritcheous jerks who ride to prove they don't have to move. You may be right but as someone earlier put it, is it worth being dead right? It's unreasonable to expect drivers of automobiles to foresee or even drive cauteously enough to anticipate or be prepared for every possible scenario involving cyclist they are often times surprised by. By sheer numbers the roads are dominated by vehicles and so while cyclists have a right and should be treated respectfully, Don't Be Stupid how you ride... You're not the first thing on a drivers mind!


Anyone who rides a bicycle on Silverado Trail or any narrow county road with cars and trucks passing at 60 MPH, is crazy.

Bystander 1

I should add that i am working on the rolling dismount to try to shoot my bike, with me no longer on it, right in front of the next persons car who intentionally tries to kill me in a crosswalk

Bystander 1

Maybe a list of polite driving tips would also be in order. Do you always stop for pedestrians who walk right in front of you without a word. Never give unwelcomed gestures to other motorists. The hypocrisy and double standard of this article is laughable. Maybe this person is picture of ultimate politeness, or submissiveness. Such a standard needs to apply to both cyclist and motorist. Instead the pretense seems to be this is how all cyclists should behave, and that cyclists somehow bear a different burden of responsibility than motorists. I think one read of these comments is simply to intimidate cyclists. Either conform to a standard of courtesy beyond that of the average motorist, or face consequences. I was crossing the bike crosswalk on Lincoln at the train track and after the I had the green I proceeded into the first lane and then stopped and watched a motorist go at least 50 feet full speed through the red light just a few feet from where I had stopped in the crosswalk

Bike To Work

A complete rant against cyclists. Motorists are always right becasue they pay taxes, do not litter, move out of the way and let slower traffic pass. And I forgot motorists are so polite. I going to stop riding my bike and be like you guys.

Bystander 1

After my somewhat provactive comments I will add that I do agree a lot of the super professional type cyclists on mountain and very narrow roads do need to pull over. and that the large riding groups are often borderline in their behavior. But as far as the stuff about them not following the rules of the road to a tee, get a life. Does evey pedestrian who jaywalks safely make your blood boil? How about all the drivers who cross double yellows to make left turns?. Yes illegal, but if done safely WGAF


The comments about 'dangerous' cyclists may make sense when a person in a 4000 lb car is killed by a collision with a person riding 20 lb bicycle. In the meantime, let's try to come to terms with the 5 second delay we may have to endure until it is safe to pass a bike rider.

a teacher
a teacher

I remember the time I nearly ran over a bicyclist who ran a stop sign and flipped me off. I remember wishing I'd been there a second earlier (just kidding).

Many cyclist seem to forget that if they are in the street they have to follow traffic laws like us motorists. I realize it would be a tremendous pain in the butt, but I wish that cyclist who misbehave got traffic tickets.


The Freudian slips of teachers are very telling and frightening.


I am constantly amazed to hear this kind of argument against cyclists. 99% of the week I drive a 7000 pound truck. 5-6 hours a week, I cycle. Cyclists have every right to be on any road. It is legal to ride in California, 2 abreast or more on a road. Not smart, but legal. I have had things thrown at me, insults hailed, and recently almost run over on purpose by a co-worker of all people. She is a self proclaimed cyclist hater. When I saw her at work on Monday, I gave her the number of my wife and my daughter's school's phone number so she could personally inform them that she had killed me. All because I was riding my bike. Slow down, give us some space, and make sure you are abiding by every vehicle code you are demanding of us. Peace.


This is not a joke. There are many cyclists that really are causing dangerous situations especially on Sage Canyon Rd. No shoulder, curvy road, narrow and heavily traveled with vehicles towing boats going to/from the lake. There is no way to safely pass the cyclists, often you come around a corner to have 2 - 3 wide of cyclist in the road or worse an oncoming car who was trying to go around cyclists on the other side of the road. They veer back and forth into the lane and never have the decency to pull over in a safe area to let cars who are trying not to cause an accident and who have been stuck behind the cyclist for a long time EVER. I ride too and I would never put myself or any of my friends/loved ones on a road that does not have a reasonable shoulder.

In my experience, cyclists around here are just rude & dangerous and not exactly a welcome sight from this local driver, walker, jogger and cyclist.


I confess not to know the exact web of laws that dictate cyclists' requirements in Napa specifically or in California in general, but the truck driver commenter below us says it is legal to ride two abreast in CA. So three abreast is illegal and you have a valid argument.

Whether you think riding abreast is courteous or not, or whether a cyclist should pull over to let cars pass or anything else not prescribed by law is not at issue, and neither is your opinion of where I should or should not ride. Your opinions about behavior and courtesy are yours, and obviously shared by most commenters on this piece so far.

The fact though, is that cyclists have a legal right to the road, and that right should be respected, just as you wish to be respected in your car by other drivers.


They shouldn't shouldn't have a right on highways that don't have bike lanes unless they can keep up with traffic....and I ride motor and peddle bikes...128 and 121 are death traps for rider and driver avoiding riders who think they own the road. Someone pulling a boat or load of grapes coming around a turn hitting the brakes can take the on coming traffic and the bikes .....


I actually came upon bikers three abreast on Oak Knoll between the Trail and Big ranch heading West. They almost became splatter. I was furious. All on rented bikes with rented helmets. Idiots.


Is this a joke? Cyclists are the ones putting drivers in danger? How exactly would an exposed individual riding a human-powered machine at no more than 25 miles per hour put a driver safely enclosed in a two thousand pound steel cage capable of 100 miles per hour in danger?

You may be the perfect cyclist, at least from a driver's perspective, so good for you. Where your focus should be is not on the transgressions of the cyclists around you, but rather on your fellow drivers. Check how often you see drivers speed, roll through stop signs, gun it on yellow, fail to signal, pass dangerously or drive without proper attention to the road. I believe you do not consider this to be relevant to your narrative because as with most drivers, breaking the law is normalized. Cyclists however, represent to you a distinct minority of road users and because they are perceived as being on 'your roads,' you hold cyclists to a standard higher than your fellow drivers.

This is a ridiculous column.


Easy. When you cross the yellow line to avoid a cyclist you put yourself in danger of a head on collusion. Cyclists who ride side by side are putting themselves in extreme danger regardless of what the law says. You can't expect that every driver will see you. Ride accordingly.


Excellent....I've notice in the Coombsville area the many teams training don't even bother to try to get out of the traffic flow....only a matter of time they'll be looking for replacements if they keep that up.


Try to find out what particular event they are training for, then complain to the event organizer or promoter. Or to the agency responsible for the permit...


I thought about that Kevin....then I thought it might make more of an impression when they have to find a replacement rider or scrap one of their own up....one or the other.

Back in the day we use ride all over out here...wouldn't today...the law of averages.


Unfortunately bad driving habits as a motorist seem to carry over when cycling.


People on bikes should be extra careful and stay off country roads and other roads that don't have designated bike lanes. It's one thing to think your right but its just plain stupid to be dead right.


I have to agree, having once been a cyclist and having managed a large tour (for the 1970's) in another state. I was, and still am, amazed by how discourteous (hence unsafe) cyclists can be and how if it weren't for the motorist, we would have many more injuries. This situation seems to be true regardless of the age and "maturity" of the cyclists. And now that we have bicycle rental companies in the valley with their occasional cyclists, I'm seeing more and more really scary situations. I bet these companies provide basic info on safety an operation of the bike, but with our narrow roads, fast traffic, few if any bike lanes, and "amateur" riders, we're brewing a potentially nasty combination of ingredients.


I agree with much of what is said regarding the thoughtless road sense of many cyclists on our county roads. I drive tours for a living and spend much time viewing often foolish behaviour. Sadly we all see the results in the paper. I cut a lot of slack for kids on bikes or skateboards on sidewalks as well because I was also a kid here in Napa. Sadly again, many adults today behave no better. But here I differ with the writer. I have cycled all over Napa for close to fifty years. My family here goes back a hundred. Yes I pay taxes. I have also cycled across the Alps, the Sierra Nevada and several times along Hwy 1 all the way to Mexico. Our county needs to continue to improve its roads for both cars and bicycles if it is going to continue proclaiming itself as a world class destination for wine and leisure. The occasional presence of well timed law enforcement would not hurt either. I sympathize with the writers frustration.Maybe a dialogue with the various bike groups here could help.

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