RIP John Greaves - Bicyclist safety compromised by development

New subdivisions line Camino TassajaraMost new development is accompanied by new roads that fully reflect modern design standards, taking into account all users of the road. Sadly, this was not the situation encountered by John Greaves on June 26, 2009.

John Greaves (44) was killed in a horrific collision attributable to the lack of traffic improvements by Contra Costa County to accompany sprawling subdivision development. Many of us can recall enjoyable rides on Tassajara when it was a rarely-traveled county road. Now it is “lost bicyclist habitat,” forsaken to a steady stream of cut-through commuter traffic. The safety risk to bicyclists is especially pronounced where the patchwork of shoulder widening, bike lanes, and bike paths end, leaving a shoulderless pinch-point for about 1/2-mile as one enters Contra Costa County.

The crash that killed John Greaves as he rode south on Camino Tassajara in Contra Costa County occurred at 5:10pm on Friday afternoon. The crash site was at the curve immediately north of the county line. While development encroaches from either county, there have been no substantial safety improvements to the narrow rural road at the fatal crash site where it lacks even a paved shoulder.

The speed limit at this curve is posted at 30 mph and botts dots warn drivers to slow down. Perhaps some do slow, but my own anxiety while riding through this curve on a weekend is that traffic is traveling much faster. I can only imagine the difficulty of negotiating with impatient commuter traffic that John Greaves encountered on Friday afternoon. Motorists’ impatience was underscored by the CoCo Times report quoting a witness who observed “some people, anxious to get through the crash site, kicked pieces of the victim’s bicycle out of the way as they passed.”

Another CoCo Times report discusses John Greave’s solid character at work and his wife and two children he leaves behind. We mourn for his family and friends over their loss as we share the needless loss of a triathletic who was filled with life. John Greaves would likely still be with us if the bikeway improvements called for in the adopted CoCo County Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan and Regional Bike Plan had been implemented on this entire route.

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