RealCitiesClick here to visit other RealCities sites - The mercurynews home page
Help Contact Us Site Index Archives Place an Ad Newspaper Subscriptions News by Email   

Search the Archives

Front Page
Politics & Government
Local News
The Valley
Los Gatos/Saratoga
Los Altos/Palo Alto
The Peninsula & San Francisco
Alameda County
Northern California
Science & Health
Personal Technology
Real Estate
Arts & Entertainment
Family & Religion
Food & Wine
Home & Garden
Special Reports
Want more local news? is your number one local news source.
Local News
Back to Home >  Mercury News >  Local News >

The Peninsula & San FranciscoThe Peninsula & San Francisco

Posted on Sun, May. 26, 2002 story:PUB_DESC
Bikers resent CHP crackdown

Mercury News

Idling between discussions about the relative technical merits of Ducatis and Suzukis, Peer Landa arched an eyebrow — shaved like a broken highway line — and gave a short summary of what he thought about this weekend's California Highway Patrol crackdown on errant motorcyclists.

"A few squid ruin it for us all," Landa said Saturday, standing at the popular biker nexus of highways 35 and 82 across the street from Alice's Restaurant. "Squid" are cyclists who drive on the edge and, too often, over it.

"They go too fast, get into crashes and then you have police everywhere," the 31-year-old from Palo Alto said.

CHP officers would not necessarily disagree, at least about the minority of dangerous bikers making it less fun for everyone else. It was one of the main reasons officers were visibly out in force Saturday in the prime riding areas of San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.

It is the traditional first big weekend of summer and, fueled by statistics that showed an increase in motorcycle fatalities, the CHP fanned out through the roads of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

CHP officer Christian Oliver prowled the blind curves around La Honda and Woodside in his Chevrolet Caprice patrol car, his finger on the lock button of the Stalker radar gun.

Most of his readings were well within the speed limits.

"This is really unusual," Oliver said. "There's hardly anyone out here. I don't like the fact that we keep people away. This is a great area for riding. We don't want to ruin it for everyone. There has to be a median."

Many bikers stayed home or found more obscure places to ride.

Landa pointed to some fresh scars on his wooden knee pucks — outer knee protectors — to show that he had recently been taking some sharp corners on some roads away from all the law enforcement attention.

David Wright was one of those who stayed home. He parked his two Kawasakis in his San Lorenzo garage and played with the kids. He read about the crackdown in the newspaper.

"It's counterproductive," Wright said of the law enforcement strategy. "Everybody thinks rider education is the best way to go."

Landa, Wright and other bikers said that education at clinics and courses could lessen the numbers of inexperienced riders who lose control of their rocket bikes — motorcycles that can go as fast as 200 mph.

"Shoot, a lot of these new bikes are the equivalent of a Ferrari for $9,000," Wright said. "And these kids just buy them, hop on and go without a clue."

That's who the CHP was hunting for. But in the prime fogless hours from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the hills above Silicon Valley, Oliver pulled over exactly one cyclist — way below normal.

Rick Bowers, of San Ramon, crossed the unbroken median on his Honda when a truck braked in front of him. He got a warning.

"I made a mistake, but I'm no squid," Bower said, sheepishly. "Heck, I'm 56."

He said he usually rides in the East Bay. This was his first time riding in the Four Corners.

"It's nice up here, real pretty, but — " He looked over at the patrol car.

Contact Sean Webby at or (650) 688-7577. Fax (650) 688-7555.
 email this | print this | license this | reprint this

Shopping & Services

  Find a Job

  Find a Car

  Find a Home

  Find an Apartment

  Classifieds Ads

  Shop Nearby
Enter symbol/company name

News | Business | Sports | Entertainment | Living | Classifieds