Bicycle safety improvements in the works

A green lane, which signals to drivers there might be bicyclists present, was painted on Soledad Mountain Road Sept. 23. Ashley Mackin
A green lane, which signals to drivers there might be bicyclists present, was painted on Soledad Mountain Road Sept. 23. Ashley Mackin

By Ashley Mackin

In an effort to create a safer car/ bike culture, several developments to foster cycling safety were started recently in California.

1) In La Jolla

DecoBike, the bike-sharing program with which the City of San Diego recently entered into a corporate agreement, is still accepting suggestions for La Jolla locations where bike-share stations could be installed.

At the Sept. 23 La Jolla Parks and Beaches meeting, District 1 City Councilmember Sherri Lightner’s representative Greg Parkington explained the stations would be “phased in,” once all the suggestions were collected, DecoBike will determine whether the locations are safe and meet established criteria. Suggestions are being collected at DecoBikeSanDiego.com and organizers hope to have a map completed by Nov. 1.

Parkington said the plan is to have the proposed locations come before community planning groups, and would update the board when more details are available.

DecoBike operates as a bike-sharing program through which users, either with a membership card (recommended for frequent riders) or a credit card (recommended for sporadic riders), rent a bike from a station for 30, 60 or 120 minutes. Riders approach the station and insert a card to start the rental. When done, they can return the bike to any DecoBike station.

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A green lane, which signals to drivers there might be bicyclists present, was painted on Soledad Mountain Road Sept. 23. Ashley Mackin

2) In San Diego

On Sept. 23, a “green lane” was painted at the base of Soledad Mountain Road where it ends at Garnet Avenue. A green lane, said La Jolla resident and bicycling enthusiast Ed Clancy, signals to drivers that there might be a bicyclist sharing the road.

Even if there isn’t always a bicyclist present, Clancy said, “People driving would be more intuitive to the fact that if they see a green lane, they know there might be a cyclist.”

The green lane acts as a continuation of the bike lane already in place along Soledad Mountain.

A few days later, Sept. 27, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) approved a $200 million investment in high priority bike projects over the next 10 years, as part of the “2050 Regional Transportation Plan.”

Some projects include the North Park – Mid-City bike corridor, the Uptown bicycle corridor, several Coastal Rail Trail San Diego bikeways, San Diego River Trail bikeways, additional Bayshore Bikeway connections and some downtown to southeast San Diego connections.

3) In California

On Sept. 23, Governor Jerry Brown signed bill, AB 1317, into law. It requires drivers give three feet of passing space between their cars and the bicyclists with whom they share the road.

The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition supports this new state law, which takes effect Sept. 16, 2014.

Andy Hanshaw, executive director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition said, “At least 22 states and the District of Columbia define a safe passing distance as at least three feet to protect bicyclists from aggressive drivers. If three feet of space isn’t available, (AB 1317) also states that drivers must slow and pass only when it will not endanger the person riding.”

   
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