‘I think that the most dangerous thing that I do every day is bike home. In particular, I don’t know how I should navigate the combination of the security area, the Omega Bridge, and the lights on Diamond at Trinity and at Canyon.’ I wrote that in May of 2010, a little more than five years before I was struck by a truck at the intersection of West Road and Diamond Drive.
As I was being knocked on to the pavement in the middle of Diamond, I realized what was happening and understood that my life depended on the driver stopping immediately. He did stop, and I escaped with bruises and a rib that still aches. It’s remarkable and disturbing that I had written to a safety committee at LANL forecasting the accident.
Five years ago, LANL took no concrete action. I only got a sympathetic email that said in part “riding across on the sidepath [. . .] there’s just no good place to get back onto the roadway.”
To address the danger now before there is a worse accident, LANL and the County should cooperate and engage a consultant who is an expert on tracking safety with special knowledge about bicycle issues. The consultant should analyze all trails in the County and recommend changes to protect bicyclists.
While I don’t have such expertise, I believe that the following areas need particular attention:
The Omega Bridge:
The consultant should determine the safest way to get from TA-3 to the north bound bike lane near the Los Alamos Medical Center on Diamond. I believe that some construction will be necessary. Signs should direct bike traffic to that safest route.
Route 4 from Tsankawi to White Rock:
On weekends, I enjoy riding the loop. I take Pajarito from TA-3 to White Rock and then take Route 4 up past Bandelier to 502. I thought of inviting friends from out of town to join me and test rode the section from Tsankawi to White Rock a couple of times. It is simply too dangerous. If that section were fixed, it would make biking by tourists and other visitors to the county much more attractive.
I like biking in Los Alamos County. There are many safe pleasant routes and trails. Cleaning up a few bad spots would make a big difference to me, other cycling residents and perhaps draw others to the County. After fixing the few dangerous spots, we could apply for a Bicycle Friendly America award from the League of American Bicyclists.