Shotgun Bend claims another victim

Be aware of this nasty rut at Shotgun Bend, Page Mill Road.

Be aware of this nasty rut at Shotgun Bend, Page Mill Road.


As we all know, Shotgun Bend on Page Mill Road can be a tricky right-hand corner when descending. It has a shallow bank, so cyclists tend to take it wide.

Shotgun Bend is the last turn before the really steep descending, 14 percent at least.

It doesn’t help matters that there’s a nasty seam in the pavement in the middle of the double-yellow striping. It’s easily missed.

My friend broke his collarbone here recently. A veteran rider who knows his stuff, there’s no doubt in my mind his wheel caught the seam.

Should the seam be repaired by Santa Clara County? I think so, but it’s one of those road repairs that will probably go unnoticed until a lot more cyclists crash here.

(P.S. Does anyone know why there’s a ghost bike on Page Mill Road, 100 yards down from Skyline Boulevard?)

10 Responses to “Shotgun Bend claims another victim”

  1. Sourav Says:

    I had a scary moment descending Page Mill Rd a couple years back at the steep 180 degree bend. I usually apply brakes well in advance and take the turn slow. But that day I was dazed after an extremely tiring ride and forgot. I was forced to take the turn wide, crossed the double yellow and narrowly missed an oncoming car.

    I stopped and apologized profusely. It was a wake-up call. I have become a cautious descender since (sometimes a bit overly so).

  2. Murali Says:

    I have never noticed that because I almost always cut my speed before shotgun bend. Because of the drop afterwards, I like to slow down so that I can shake out my hands to prepare for the upcoming braking.

    Of course, I am a slow descender in general so it is unlikely I would hit that sketchy patch, which I have never noticed in my dozens of descents of that road.

  3. Alex Says:

    The ghost bike is a memorial for a teen named Harry Lee who passed away last January. He was not killed there, however it seemed a fitting place to put the bike as he always loved that area.

  4. xbr976 Says:

    Alex,

    With all due respect to your late friend who you are trying to honor, I don’t agree with your decision to place a ghost bike on the upper reaches of PMR.

    I’m living out of the area now but was in the valley yesterday and rented a bike and rode up W. Alpine and down PM. I was startled when I saw the white bike; despite living in the northwest now I closely follow valley news and hadn’t heard about a cyclist dying on PMR.

    When I returned the bike at Menlo Velo the workers there were as perplexed as I was about it. To me such a bike means that “someone died here–please everyone be careful”. But in this case the unfortunate Mr. Lee didn’t die on PMR, nor did he even die while riding a bike.

    So, the message behind a ghost bike is in my view being diluted here. I’m certain you mean well, and that this is a very painful experience you’ll never forget, but my hope is still that you can find another way to honor your late friend–a park bench perhaps?

    Ray, any opinion yourself?

  5. Ray Hosler Says:

    I was mystified, so that’s why I asked. The ghost bike has a specific purpose. I think it’s a great way to recognize someone who loved cycling. Locate it at Gunn HS where it will be seen by those who knew Harry Lee and serve as a reminder.

    • xbr976 Says:

      Ray, that’s a diplomatic compromise you suggest. It’s just that the bike on upper PM is frankly very distracting if nothing else…

      BTW, despite riding PMR hundreds of times, I hadn’t heard of “shotgun bend” earlier and I’m struggling to figure out where it is. Is it right before the vista points? That’s when things get really steep IMO, however, I still don’t quite grasp why someone would have to be so close to the center.

      • Ray Hosler Says:

        Shotgun bend is about halfway down Page Mill Road. While descending it’s a big right turn before the steep stuff. It’s an open area without any bushes or trees.

  6. Dave Says:

    This section of Page Mill Rd is within the City of Palo Alto. Contact the Palo Alto Public Works Dept to get it fixed.

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