On Saturday, June 6 at about 7:23 a.m., the San Jose Police Department (SJPD) responded to a report of a vehicle vs. pedestrian/wheelchair collision on Story Road and Capitol Expressway. Upon arrival, officers located an adult male lying in the roadway on Story Road. He was transported to a nearby hospital and died two days later.
A preliminary investigation revealed that 81-year-old Elised Cardenas was travelling in his wheelchair, westbound on Story Road when a black Dodge Durango, driven by 42-year-old Joseph Smiley Ramirez, collided with Cardenas in or near the crosswalk. Ramirez remained at the scene and was contacted by the police.
In another known traffic case, 22-year-old Anthony Ramirez Reyes is currently in custody at the Milpitas Elmwood correctional facility M-4, and awaiting sentencing in regards to obstructing a police officer while evading during a routine traffic violation that occurred on Friday, February 13. Reyes refused to recognize a patrolling officer who directed Reyes stop riding his bike the wrong way in traffic, and running his bike through red lights and stop signs without regard to traffic regulations. It was also found that Reyes had a burglary tool on his person, a flattened screwdriver that thieves often use to break into and steal cars or items from inside.
The patrolling SJPD officer watched as Reyes rode through a pedestrian crosswalk at Lucretia and Phelan against the red “hand” light, a violation under CVC 21456 (b). Reyes admitted to riding through the light and apologized for not stopping for police, who had even used their siren and lights to make a general traffic stop of the bicyclist. Reyes was initially arrested for PC 148 (a)(1) resisting arrest, PC 466, possession of burglary tools, and H&S 11550, being under the influence of a controlled substance. It is believed that Reyes also ran because he was on active searchable parole and didn’t want to get caught and taken back to jail for being high on meth.
In a recent City Council Meeting, the City of San Jose’s Transportation and Aviation Services Director of Transportation Hans Larsen spoke of focusing on “share the road” bike lane markings. This includes areas in downtown and beyond where bicycles are often used as transportation. Larsen said, “In an effort to enhance safety for the shared use of motorists and bicyclists, we are taking advantage of that flexibility.” With already set limits for most residential roadways at 25 mph, another 5 mph may be reduced if posted 20 mph signs near bike lane markings are put into place near urban housing centers planned throughout San Jose.
Deputy Chief of Police Dave Knopf of the San Jose Police Department said, with regards to stricter regulation and monitoring of bike lanes throughout the city, it won’t come “until we can address the staffing levels and we can proactively address traffic enforcement at the department level.” The vision is to reduce bicycle and pedestrian fatalities to zero. With regard to reducing the amount of crime and pedestrian fatalities, and reductions in law enforcement staffing Knopf said, “Increasing traffic enforcement is not going to be an easy thing to approach.”