Q: As a driver of a commercial vehicle in Oakland, Emeryville and Berkeley for 21 years, here are my thoughts on Idaho Stops where bicyclists treat stop signs as yield signs.
I lost count of the number of near misses I have had. My experience is that bike riders blow through red lights and stop signs like it is their right to do so. They don't realize a truck does not stop like a car.
The scariest times are when trying to make a right-hand turn. You're completely stopped at the corner scanning the intersection and all of a sudden a bike rider blows through without stopping. They never realize you started to accelerate and just how close they come to a horrific end.
Greg Scott, Newark
A: I understand. Right turns are a leading cause of bicycle injuries.
Q: A couple of people propagated the idea that bicyclists routinely do not stop at stop signs while implying that automobile drivers do. This is a common misconception. In reality, all road users (whether on two wheels or four) commonly proceed at stop signs without stopping when there is no other traffic. Saying bicycles don't stop at stop signs is not fair because many bicyclists do, and many car drivers also don't.
Murali Krishnan, Sunnyvale
A: Including in San Jose.
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Q: The problem is not bicyclists making Idaho Stops. It's cars making Idaho Stops on Willow Glen Way at Creek Drive, and Willow Glen Way at Bird Avenue, and Pine Avenue at Creek Drive, and I suspect, throughout all of San Jose.
Bob Prots, San Jose
A: And I suspect throughout the state.
Q: People create litter, and the amount is directly related to the population of any given area. Heavily populated metropolitan areas have more litter than rural areas. The Bay Area has approximately the same number of people as the entire state of Arizona. Of course, Arizona will have less litter because the same amount will be spread out over a far greater area. You don't see a lot of litter off Interstate 5 because far fewer people live there. Drive up to Mendocino County (population about 100,000) and you will see very little litter -- because there are far fewer people.
Yes, we have a litter problem, but we can't clean every mile of the freeway. I've driven sections of highway around San Jose that are clean and there are also hotspots and eyesores. Some areas have narrow shoulders, steep sides or dense vegetation, all of which means Caltrans has to block a lane so it's safe for workers to do the cleaning. I invite anyone who is really disgusted to find an Adopt-A-Highway team and volunteer.
Loui Tucker, San Jose
A: On Thursday, possible solutions.