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Cycling Sense
- Julie Maxey-Allison | 10th Street

Intersection of Highway 101 and Carmel Valley Road.
Photo Virginia Lawrence.
Click to enlarge.

Each month more than 25,000 cyclists ride from, to and through Del Mar. A few of our streets are marked with green bike lanes and signage to safely guide cyclists and alert drivers, but the other miles of our narrow roads can be tricky and dangerous. Risks exist. Too often, drivers in cars view bike riders—and pedestrians—as nuisances rather than fellow travelers.

Coexisting safely on our city streets requires courteous behaviors by all. To untangle confusions: bike riders, though unlicensed, have the same rights as drivers in cars and have the right to share the road according to the “Rules of the Road for Bicyclists” from the California Driver Handbook. They also have the same responsibilities. Cyclists are required to ride with traffic, obey traffic signs, and signal with their arms to change lanes or turn. Cyclists, allowed to ride two to a lane, should use bike lanes when available and otherwise take to the road. Front and rear lights, and reflectors on wheels and pedals are required for night riding. Cyclists under the age of 18 are required to wear helmets (a good idea for all cyclists). Drivers are required to maintain a 3-foot clearance away from cyclists at all times. Drivers and cyclists always yield to pedestrians. Pedestrians, hopefully, use crosswalks.

To help pave the way for better choreography on our roads, the policy of “Complete Streets,” in place in the City of San Diego since 2014, was adopted by our City Council last October. The concept: streets are more than thoroughfares for cars. Streets are for cars and cyclists and pedestrians.

When streets are safe, the benefits of riding a bike or walking are good for the body and good for the environment. Muscles get exercised. Carbon dioxide emissions and noise pollution vanish. Even the E bike, with an electric assist, is still the most energy-efficient form of motorized transport today, using the electricity equivalent of 1000 miles per gallon of gas. Bike riders who want more assist can park a bike in the folding racks on the front of public buses, and on a train. The Coaster car has space for four bikes, Amtrak space for six bikes per train but the rack must be reserved.

FYI for bike riders: The new custom bike store Summer Cycles opened in October at 915 Camino Del Mar. They would like to sell you a new bike but they also have a small section stocked with snacks, water, tubes and such.

 

 

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