One of the most popular biking destinations in the Bay Area is quickly earning infamy as one of the most dangerous.
Certain that it is only a matter of time before someone is killed on Mount Diablo, bicyclists and lawmakers have been pressing the State Parks Department to make the trail safer. It is taking too long, though, they say.
Advocates are pushing for double yellow striping along the 17-mile windy road in Walnut Creek as can already be found on Mount Tam in Marin and in the Berkeley Hills.
"We are just talking about putting paint on the ground," bicyclist Al Kalin said.
Fellow biking enthusiast Greg Sorenson echoed the sentiment, saying, "We feel there is a fatality in the offing and that’s why we all got together."
Bicyclist Victor Lorenc said that the absence of the striping to keep drivers in their lanes almost cost him his life.
"I remember coming around and seeing the car, and not even having time to put my hands on my brakes," he recalled. "I knew that it was going to hurt."
Lorenc "broke some ribs" and "bruised a lung" in the head-on collision before "[flipping] over the back of the car."
Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda), whose district contains Mount Diablo, says the state was supposed to complete a design study two months ago. That is a critical step, he said, because the safety improvements cannot even begin until the study is complete.
"They’ve given us a timeline and that they were going to complete the study that would lead to double stripping," Glazer noted. "They are way behind."
Gloria Sandoval from the State Parks Department, however, said that public comments on the study have slowed things down.
"We definitely want to put something in place because we do not want any more accidents to take place," she said.
Lorenc said that the hundreds of cyclists who flock to Mount Diablo every week remain at risk until the state takes action.
"Someone is going to die if you don’t do something – somebody will die," he stressed. "There will be a fatality on Mount Diablo."