By Ashley Mackin | SDUN Editor
On May 1, the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition (SDCBC), along with local elected officials and representatives from the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) declared May as Bike Month in San Diego.
Encouraging bicycle riders to ride to work or school, SDCBC Executive Director Andy Hanshaw said, “We are excited to have the opportunity to bring greater awareness to the benefits of bicycling and encourage people of all ages and abilities to join the ride.”
Some benefits Hanshaw mentioned include being a source of exercise and a clean, gas-saving mode of transportation.
The SDCBC is sponsoring several events in May. On Saturday, May 12, the SDCBC will offer a bike maintenance class and a skills course for children at Balboa Park. The event will be held at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Laurel Street from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
On May 20, a “street skills” course will be held on how to bicycle safely among vehicle traffic. Other topics include bicycle safety checks, fixing a flat, on-bike skills and crash avoidance techniques. The course will be held outside the Kensington Café at 4141 Adams Ave., from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Additionally, to help encourage bicycle riding to the May 20 North Park Festival of the Arts, volunteers will be on hand to valet park bicycles.
“We must do more to protect our neighbors and friends and [make] bicycling in the community more safe and accessible,” Hanshaw said.
“The San Diego region recently lost two of our own, who were lawfully riding their bikes to work [when they] were tragically hit by distracted motorists,” Hanshaw said, referencing the deaths of Charles Gilbreath on April 18 and David Ortiz on March 22. “We are saddened and troubled by these incidences and are working even harder to protect the rights of our daily commuters,” he said.
SANDAG Chair Jerome Stocks said they recently adopted the 2050 Regional Transportation Plan, which includes $4 billion in active transportation improvements, including bike trails and lanes, to be implemented by 2050.
District Three Councilmember Todd Gloria said in the coming weeks, bike corrals would be installed in Hillcrest. The first of which, and the first one in district three, was installed Thursday, May 10, at the corner of Fifth and University avenues.
Gloria said in an e-newsletter, “The bike corral will allow for safe, street parking of up to 10 bicycles at a time in the same amount of space it takes to park one car. More corrals are planned for district three, which will help address a challenge faced by cyclists. Much work remains to improve the safety and conditions of our active transportation network, but I’m excited about the steps we’re taking.”
On April 18, the Mission Hills Business Improvement District approved a Mission Hills parking budget that includes plans to install a similar bike corral in Mission Hills, with a tentative location on Goldfinch and West Washington streets.
At the May 1 Bike Month kickoff, Gloria cited a report that 40 percent of all vehicle trips are two miles or less. “Can you imagine what we could accomplish if we would simply substitute many of those trips for bicycle rides instead?” he asked. “We could make a significant impact on the quality of life in our neighborhoods…. It would be a tremendous thing.”
Gloria also said as a city councilmember, one of the major complaints he receives is about parking. “If I can just get more folks to ride bikes I could solve the parking problem…” he said, “We don’t need massive parking structures, we just need more bicycles.”
At the Bike Month kickoff, County Supervisor Greg Cox designated May 14 – 18 as Community Bike Week and May 18 as Bike to Work Day in San Diego.
For more information about the month’s events, visit bikesandiego.org.