Hwy 84 closure part of effort to make Niles Canyon safe for cyclists

FREMONT, Calif. (KGO) -- A big traffic closure is coming up next weekend in the East Bay between Fremont and Sunol. Highway 84 through Niles Canyon will close for much of the day on Oct. 11. It's one of the most scenic stretches of highway in the East Bay. But it can also be one of the most dangerous, especially for cyclists.

"It's very narrow in some stretches, it's wide in others, it's a state highway," said Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle. "It's maintained by Caltrans, but there are a lot of tight areas for bicyclists, where people have to share the road."

In August, a man died after he was hit by a car while riding through Niles Canyon.

"My wife had a harrowing experience," said Crank2 Bike Shop owner Brian Price.

According to Price, his wife was struck two months ago from behind while riding on Niles Canyon Road. She survived, but was seriously hurt.

"The driver saw her, said they saw her signal, but still managed to run into the back of her and toss her off her bike," said Price.

But now, there is an effort underway to put in a recreation path, one separate from the highway, a safe way for cylists, hikers, and others to enjoy the canyon.

"We really need a protected bikeway on places like Niles Canyon, which means giving motorists their own pathway, so motorists aren't inconvenienced and bicyclists can be safe, every day," said Jim Van Dyke with Bike East Bay.

On Oct. 11, Highway 84 through Niles Canyon will be closed completely to cars and trucks from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. It's a test ride of sorts for what it could be like to ride this road, without fear.
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