The second bicyclist in Santa Clara County in less than a week was killed on Thursday evening in the City of Santa Clara. Our condolences go out to the friends and families of the victim, who has been identified by police as Michael Hatch, 49, of Morgan Hill.
Hatch was riding southbound in the bike lane on Great America Parkway around 5:30 pm Thursday crossing the intersection with Bunker Hill Lane during a green light. A person driving a commuter shuttle for ACE trains was making a right turn from Bunker Hill Lane, failed to yield to Hatch, and struck and killed him. Traffic cameras recorded the collision.
By our count, this is at least the fifth person biking killed in Santa Clara County in 2018: two deaths in Sunnyvale, two in San Jose, and one in Santa Clara. All of the collisions occurred on wide arterials or expressways with high speed traffic.
SVBC champions a Vision Zero approach to city mobility, an effort to prevent ALL roadway deaths and major injuries. Often, deadly collisions occur on wide arterials with high speed traffic, as these roads were designed to move cars along quickly but were not designed for much else, including safety. We are trying to change decades of public planning and engineering that has been geared toward one thing only – moving cars – to design for streets that are safe and convenient for all people, no matter how they get around. People biking travel near and far distances to a variety of places. It’s not enough just to have safe residential streets or bike paths that lead to schools and shopping areas. We need safe bike facilities everywhere, including the most direct and fast route somewhere, which are sometimes state highways like El Camino Real and the county expressways.
The death of a 14 year old boy while bicycling in Cupertino in 2014 spurred that city to truly elevate the safety of its most vulnerable users. Since then, Cupertino has put money and staff into creating a safe street network for bikes. We are now challenging the Cities of Santa Clara and Sunnyvale as well as Santa Clara County to do the same.
We have taken the following steps in light of these two recent deaths:
- Contacted city and county staff and elected officials to convey our concern over these collisions and invite them to partake in upcoming infrastructure rides to show how other cities are designing better and safer bike facilities.
- Contacted the shuttle operator involved as well as ACE and VTA, who run the shuttle program, to offer to do our shuttle driver training with this company’s employees.
Similar to our work in City of Sunnyvale, we are working with City of Santa Clara on the bike/ped plan update and the El Camino Real Corridor Plan this year and next. We will continue encouraging them to prioritize safety for people biking and Vision Zero, the goal to have zero traffic deaths and major injuries in these plans. If you are interested in getting more involved in Santa Clara, please contact Emma@bikesiliconvalley.org