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Share The Road, It’s Bike To Work Day

Audio

Aired 5/20/10

Friday, May 21 is Bike to Work Day in San Diego County. We'll discuss commuting by bicycle and learn safety tips for novice cyclists. What would it take to get you to bike to work?

Logo for Bike to Work Day, occurring on Friday, May 21, 2010.

Above: Logo for Bike to Work Day, occurring on Friday, May 21, 2010.

Public Info

bike map southern region

bike map northern region

pit stop locations

trip tracker

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH (Host): Helmets and knee guards are what the trendiest San Diegans will be wearing tomorrow. Friday is annual Bike to Work Day. Last year more than 5,000 people around the county officially signed up to participate and more are expected this year. In honor of the event, a new San Diego Regional Bike Plan is being released. This morning we'll be talking about Bike To Work Day and also the larger issue: How bicycle friendly is San Diego? I’d like to welcome my guests. Colleen Windsor is communications director at SANDAG and spokesperson for Bike to Work Day. Colleen, good morning.

COLLEEN WINDSOR (Communications Director, SANDAG): Good morning.

CAVANAUGH: Chris Kluth, associate regional planner with SANDAG. Chris, good morning and…

CHRIS KLUTH (Associate Regional Planner, SANDAG): Good morning.

CAVANAUGH: …welcome. And Kathy Keehan is executive director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. Kathy, welcome to These Days.

KATHY KEEHAN (Executive Director, San Diego County Bicycle Coalition): Thank you.

CAVANAUGH: Now we invite our listeners to join the conversation. What would it take to get you to bike to work? Or if you do bike around San Diego, what do you like about it? What would make it easier? Call us with your questions and your comments. Our number is 1-888-895-5727, that’s 1-888-895-KPBS. Colleen, what is the goal of Bike to Work Day?

WINDSOR: Well, the goal is to provide a day set aside in a whole year to have folks who normally wouldn’t ride their bike to work to dust it off, get it out of the garage, maybe fill up those tires, and take the opportunity to ride to work and to see how easy it is and to see how much they might like it and, hopefully, get those people to do that maybe once a week or once a month. But to just make a change in their commute habit so they leave the car at home and bring – get on their bike.

CAVANAUGH: Now I said that 5,000 people last year signed up. You are expecting more people this year?

WINDSOR: We are expecting more.

CAVANAUGH: And you have a new thing, a new incentive this year, it’s the corporate challenge. Tell us about that.

WINDSOR: Exactly. We are asking corporations to encourage their employees to participate in Bike to Work Day. They need to register in order to participate in this challenge. And whoever gets the most riders from a particular corporation will win, at the end—and to make it fair, we’re doing this the small business, the medium sized organization and then the larger companies so that they’ll be competing against each other.

CAVANAUGH: And are there incentives for individuals to sign up and participate?

WINDSOR: Most definitely. We have a lot of giveaways. One thing, one incentive just on Bike to Work Day itself is the pit stops. There are over 65 pit stops throughout the region where people can stop and get free refreshments, a lot of encouragement. You get your Bike to Work Day shirt at that time, and then, again, going on the rest of the way to your ride to work. But folks who register early, and it’s not too late, you can register all the way up until midnight tonight to participate, you are entered into a contest to win a number of prizes, including an electric bike from Green Cruiser, a day – a spa day, if you like that. And so we have a number of giveaways that people can win.

CAVANAUGH: Now I’m going to be asking you more about those pit stops and about Bike to Work Day itself. I want to let everyone know, once again, we are taking your questions about bicycling around San Diego. What would make it easier? What would it take to make you get on your bicycle and get out of your car, get on the bike and get to work? 1-888-895-5727. Kathy, I want to ask you, though, some bike safety tips for people who perhaps are not used to getting their bike out and making that kind of a commute to work. What are things people should know tomorrow if, indeed, they’re going to dust off their bicycle and get it out and try to make that trip?

KEEHAN: Well, there are a couple of things that they want to make sure that they have going. The first thing, check the bike. Make sure – We tell everybody to do ABC quick check. Check the air in your tires, check the brakes, check the chain. Make sure that that’s all working. And then when you’re out there, follow the rules of the road. Ride on the righthand side of the street, stop at stop signs and stop lights, use lights and reflectors at night if you’re going to be out late, the really basic stuff.

CAVANAUGH: And what are some of the common mistakes maybe that a cyclist might make as they try, they attempt, to commute tomorrow?

KEEHAN: I think people tend to – they do the two big common mistakes. One is they pick the same route to ride their bike as they do to drive their car. It may be easier for you to pick some streets that maybe have less traffic, are less direct, better, more pleasant. And then the second thing is, is that they tend to feel like they have to stay out of the way of traffic and they ride too close to parked cars or they ride on the sidewalk and get themselves in trouble at intersections and other places. So be confident out there when you ride.

CAVANAUGH: Now, Chris Kluth, you’re associate regional planner with SANDAG but you didn’t dress for success today. You dressed for…

KLUTH: Hey, wait a minute.

CAVANAUGH: You dressed for riding your bicycle. And tell us what your commute was like today.

KLUTH: Oh, it was great. Usually, well, I ride to work every day anyway. It’s good to get that perspective. I think it’s been almost eight years since I drove to work so I get a lot of good experience riding out there. But riding out to San Diego State today was a little longer than usual so it’s really great. You get out and you see the neighborhood, you see people, you saw the kids walking to school. It’s really, you know, it’s really a nice way to get into work.

CAVANAUGH: That’s one of the things that people may not realize. They may realize that this is good for their health or it’s good for the environment but, Kathy, what do you notice when you commute by bicycle that perhaps you don’t ever see when you’re in the car?

KEEHAN: Oh, it’s a whole different experience and there’s a joy to riding the bike that you do not get behind the wheel of your car. There is the connection to community. You see things, you hear things, you smell things. Right now is a really wonderful time to be riding around San Diego because everything is blooming and it just smells wonderful when you’re out there. And it builds community, too. I find that when – in my neighborhood when I ride around, neighbors who wouldn’t wave to me if I’m in my car, wave to me and say hi, chat. It’s a whole different experience. You get to work in a much different mood as well if you’re commuting by bike. It’s – you’re often in a much better mood when you get to work.

CAVANAUGH: That’s a plus right there.

KEEHAN: Absolutely.

CAVANAUGH: We’re taking your calls at 1-888-895-5727 about your bicycling experiences around San Diego and what it would take to get you to bike to work. Let’s take a call right now. Tony is calling from Ocean Beach. Good morning, Tony, and welcome to These Days.

TONY (Caller, Ocean Beach): Good morning.

CAVANAUGH: Hi.

TONY: I just wanted to agree, first off, with the zen aspects of taking your bike to work. I did it for about a year and a half. I worked in La Jolla and I would take the Gilman route but I found that I had so many near misses with automobiles that it shook me enough to where I just – the safety tradeoff just, it wasn’t there. I mean, the right hook, as it’s called in the bicyclists’ world, where you’re in the right lane, you’re going the direction you’re supposed to be going and so is the car that’s coming up to an intersection. When they turn right, they don’t see you, and that’s one of the spots where I was almost hit. Another situation is just that people are going so fast and I feel like if I wanted to ride my bike again, what it would take for me personally would be some more dedicated bike only lanes, maybe some stiffer fines for people that didn’t come to a complete stop at those intersections and, I don’t know, just something that would give the cyclists some assurance that they’re not putting their life on the line out there.

CAVANAUGH: Tony, thanks for the call. Some great observations and I’m going to sort of open it up to my guests here. Colleen, let me go to you first. He’s had some near misses and that took him off the bike and back into the car. Tell us about that. What is it that motorists are doing wrong?

WINDSOR: Well, I think that that is very key. I think that’s a true statement for a lot of folks who do try the biking but the fear level is there. I guess it’s to the motorist making sure that they understand that, as Kathy said earlier, the bicyclist has a right to be in those lanes. They – If you go to the California law, it says that bicyclists are supposed to adhere to all of the same regulations and rules that a car does, and so motorists themselves, if we could ask and encourage them to be more aware of bicyclists and allow for them, if you are going to take that right turn, to make sure there is no bicyclist. And I would ask that especially on Bike to Work Day, because we do have some novices out there who are biking who may not be as aware of motorists coming by so – But we have some, in our regional plan, which I’ll let Chris talk about…

CAVANAUGH: Sure.

WINDSOR: …there are some things that we are looking at as far as bike only lanes. But I’ll let Chris answer.

CAVANAUGH: Sure, Chris, tell us about that.

KLUTH: Sure. You know, San Diego region is huge, so there’s lots of different situations, lots of different communities that have different problems or the challenges that we need to solve. So there’s a few different ways that we’re going to try to do that. And we have bike lanes, which are what people are most familiar with, the painted line on the street. Then bike paths, which are a separate facility from the roadway, similar to the facility that we’re building around the San Diego Bay, the Bayshore Bikeway. And in our course of developing the regional plan, we got a huge response from people that they really do prefer those types of facilities, at least to have that option.

CAVANAUGH: The bike path.

KLUTH: The bike path. And then also, because we can’t put those everywhere…

CAVANAUGH: Right.

KLUTH: …because they’re expensive and they’re hard to fit in, but there’s another concept called the bike boulevard, which really uses neighborhood streets, maybe one or two blocks off the main thoroughfare and kind of gives priority to bikes on those streets. Cars can still use them but it’s a shared facility. Traffic is slowed down a little bit. And in places where those have been implemented, people really, really like those in the community. So we’re going to really try and push that concept here in San Diego because I think it has a lot of good applications.

CAVANAUGH: And, Kathy, I’m wondering, is it a possible – you know, I asked the question, what are motorists doing wrong?

KEEHAN: Umm-hmm.

CAVANAUGH: Maybe drivers aren’t really doing anything wrong as much as we haven’t reached a sort of tipping point with the number of people on bicycles so that there’s this overall awareness that we are actually sharing the road. What do you think about that?

KEEHAN: I think there is something to that. I mean, certainly, we see in studies that the more cyclists there are on the road, the safer it becomes for everyone because people are more aware that cyclists are going to be on the street, so that’s definitely key. I think it’s important to note, too, that in the data that we see for car/bike crashes, about half of those crashes are the fault of the cyclist, half are the fault of the motorist. We do a lot of training of cyclists, and if you look on our website, there’s materials and options for taking classes to help cyclists be more comfortable in traffic, understand the dangers, and learn skills and techniques to deal with them to be more confident in traffic. I think just one more thing that’s really important to understand is the relative risk. You feel vulnerable on the bike but, really, we kill about – I think the number – in 2008, 263 people died on the streets in San Diego County. Most of them were automobile drivers, 7 were cyclists.

CAVANAUGH: I see. And so…

KEEHAN: So I think it’s important to remember the relative risk and to understand when you’re making the choice between getting behind the wheel of the car or getting on the bike, your risk is about the same.

CAVANAUGH: Let’s take another call. Matt is calling us from Encinitas. Good morning, Matt. Welcome to These Days.

MATT (Caller, Encinitas): Morning.

CAVANAUGH: Yes, hi.

MATT: So I’m a seasoned cyclist and ride around San Diego a lot, mostly for recreation. Unfortunately, I can’t actually ride to work. But one thing that really shows up is the stop signals that don’t have a cyclist’s switch leap so you can spend a long, long time waiting at a red light.

CAVANAUGH: Ahh, yes, hadn’t even thought of that one. What about that? Are…? Chris?

KLUTH: Yeah, the – there’s actually new legislation…

KEEHAN: There is.

KLUTH: …that says that signals need to be able to detect bikes. And they all, even now, they all should be. And sometimes it’s a matter of knowing where to position your bike. We give grants and the City of San Diego, for example, applied for a grant where they’ll be going out and marking on the roadway where like the sweet spot is for your bike, where you should pull up to the intersection on your bike where it’s going to trigger the signal.

CAVANAUGH: I understand. We have to take a short break. When we return, we’ll continue to talk about Bike to Work Day and how to make it easier to get around San Diego on your bicycle, and taking your calls at 1-888-895-5727. You can also comment online at KPBS.org/thesedays. These Days will continue in just a few moments here on KPBS.

CAVANAUGH: I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. You're listening to These Days on KPBS. We’re talking about Bike to Work Day, which is tomorrow, and talking about the larger question of how bicycle friendly is San Diego? My guests are Colleen Windsor. She is spokesperson for Bike to Work Day for SANDAG. Chris Kluth is associate regional planner with SANDAG, and Kathy Keehan is executive director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. We are asking you what it would take to get you to bike to work. Our number is 1-888-895-5727, or you can post your comments online at KPBS.org/thesedays. An awful lot of people want to tell us how it would be easier to bike to work in San Diego but since we’ve referenced this new regional bike study that the San Diego Association of Governments has put out, Chris, I want to just talk to you a little bit about that. Why was – What is the aim of this new report?

KLUTH: Well, the plan really, in a nutshell, is really about giving people more options for mobility and kind of mapping out the course to get there for bikes, to make it safer, to develop the policies that will support that and develop our regional bicycle network . And really the one thing about this plan that, I think, sets it apart is the programs and policies that we’re proposing dedicated funding sources for education, awareness, collecting data so we can really understand where we need to put our resources.

CAVANAUGH: You talked about the fact that people really like this concept of bike paths even though we can’t put them everywhere. What other things sort of leap out of this report that would really enhance the ability to bicycle around San Diego?

KLUTH: Well, I think the one thing I mentioned before was the bike boulevard.

CAVANAUGH: Oh, bike boulevard, yes.

KLUTH: Yeah, the bike boulevard is a great concept and one of the other things about the network is really promoting the concept of connectivity. We’re connecting to transit, we’re connecting to neighborhood activity centers, parks, schools, we’re incorporating safe routes to school. Really, all of these things to give you other options to get around your community, so this is really taking a comprehensive approach to those ideas and putting them all together…

CAVANAUGH: Be – be…

KLUTH: …so we can work a little better.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you. Colleen, I wanted to really emphasize that point because I know that’s one thing that you’re – really want people to know, is they don’t have to make the whole trip every day to work on their bicycle. They could use it as one step in the journey.

WINDSOR: Exactly, they can use it as the first mile and the last mile of their journey. If they live in Oceanside and they work downtown San Diego, ride your bike to the Coaster, take the Coaster down to downtown, and then ride the rest of the way. On Bike to Work Day, you can ride the Coaster or any MTS Transit Agency vehicle for free. So the MTS trolley, MTS buses are all free tomorrow if you had – have your bicycle. And the Coaster is free tomorrow if you have your bicycle. So if you want to try it—and I’ve heard a couple people say, oh, I can’t ride to work, and maybe there are reasons but I hope that the length of the ride is not the reason because they can incorporate transit into that.

CAVANAUGH: Very good. Let’s take a phone call. There are a lot of people who want to join the conversation. Lisa is calling from Cardiff. Good morning, Lisa, and welcome to These Days.

LISA (Caller, Cardiff-By-the-Sea): Hi, thanks. Speaking right to options and connectivity, the problems often with the buses and with the trains is difficulty getting your bicycle onto the vehicle. For example, in an area like between North County and going up to the university, you’re likely to be competing with kids on bikes so you try to get on the bus but there’s only room for two buses on – or two bikes, and there’s already two bikes on it, so you have to wait another half hour to get on the bus? Bad enough that it’s only every half hour for a bus but now you gotta wait another half hour. Worse, is the trains. I used to commute up to San Juan Capistrano. You struggle to get on amongst all the passengers onto the train only to find that someone has literally ripped the bike racks off the train and there’s no place to put your bike for the hour commute. So those sorts of things in terms of somebody getting on these…

CAVANAUGH: Right.

LISA: …these pieces of equipment and figuring out what the hassles are would be very helpful.

CAVANAUGH: Lisa, thank you. We asked and the audience is answering about how to make San Diego more bike friendly. Let’s take another call. John is calling us from Del Mar. Good morning, John. Welcome to These Days.

JOHN (Caller, Del Mar): Good morning. The question here is when we’re trying to cross a highway and we’re getting to the on ramp, there’s no way to do that because the cars come really fast onto on ramps, for instance Genesee Avenue traveling east from Torrey Pines Road, there’s just no way to cross onto UTC so that’s something that precludes me from biking to work.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you, John. I have seen that. I’ve seen a cyclist basically trying to dart between cars that are – really want to get on that freeway as quickly as possible. Any tips, Kathy?

KEEHAN: Yeah, the – it’s important for cyclists and motorists both to understand we’ve all got to get through that interchange. Cyclists are allowed to be there. That’s oftentimes the only route across freeways. Freeways are giant rivers of cars that we have to get across somehow. We are working with Caltrans to redesign some of those interchanges to make them better for cyclists and pedestrians. But in our classes, we teach cyclists how to merge into those traffic situations and get through safely. Usually the best advice is to claim your place early. It’s okay to slow traffic down behind you a little bit rather than wait until the very end and try and dart across that faster-moving traffic.

CAVANAUGH: Do you know how – what kind of solutions they’re trying to come up with? Because how would they make it safer for both pedestrians and cyclists to cross those freeway entrances?

KEEHAN: They’re really talking about tightening up the interchanges and so instead of having the city streets become more like freeways at the freeway interchanges, they’re having the freeways become more like city streets as they come up to the streets to really encourage motorists when you’re in the city, you drive like you’re in the city. When you get on the freeway, that’s when you drive like you’re on the freeway.

CAVANAUGH: Interesting. We’re taking your calls. 1-888-895-5727 or you can comment online at KPBS.org/thesedays. Let’s hear from Stephen in Ocean Beach. Good morning, Stephen. Welcome to These Days.

STEPHEN (Caller, Ocean Beach): Hi. Good morning. I just moved here in October. I’m from the northeast. And what I’ve found is biking around in the northeast, first of all, your public transportation is much better. It just runs longer and more efficiently so it’s more acceptable to be a pedestrian or on a bike. So even though in the northeast I find it’s a lot tighter in the city to bike around, people just tend to be more aware. Whereas in San Diego, I’ve found that even though we have the facilities like the bike paths and all that that we don’t have in the northeast, the motorists just aren’t very aware. Like I passed my driving test without studying with a perfect score the first week I moved here.

KEEHAN: He’s been a bicyclist.

STEPHEN: And are we going to do anything to tighten that up or – or – That’s all.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you, Stephen.

STEPHEN: Thank you.

CAVANAUGH: Thanks. Any idea about making drivers more aware perhaps, Colleen, on our driver education? Any way to augment that and make it safer for cyclists that way?

WINDSOR: Well, I think it’s just the awareness that needs to be recalled, if you will. I mean, once you take your driver’s test, how many years ago was it that I took my driver’s test and I certainly don’t probably remember every law exactly. But we do have some campaigns like the City of San Diego just launched a campaign with a grant through SANDAG. It’s called “Lose the Road-atude.” And it’s an awareness campaign for both motorists and bicyclists as to what they should be doing. Be aware of bicyclists, be aware of cars, and not getting frustrated because I know there are some motorists who get very frustrated with bicyclists and why are you here? And this is the road, and – But, again, California law says that bicyclists have a right to be there. So it’s a fun campaign and it’s growing in its popularity as far as where it’s located. It’s on billboards and on bus stops and so as people, again, be reminded so it’s top of the mind awareness that they need to share the road.

CAVANAUGH: Right. Chris, our caller Stephen said that he just moved here from the northeast and I’m wondering, do we know how many people here in San Diego commute to work on bicycle and how that might compare to other areas of the country?

KLUTH: That’s kind of a tough question and we have different data, so it’s hard to know what the – That’s one of the things that we’re going to be finding out in the next few years. We’ll be doing more research on that. It ranges anywhere from like .6%, which isn’t – doesn’t seem like very many, up to 2 or 3%. So it’s kind of hard to say. And as far as how we compare to other places, we’re pretty middle of the pack for a metropolitan region of our size. You have your areas that are known for bicycling, you know, Portland and Seattle, for example. They’re kind of in a separate category. But we have a little ways to catch up but, you know, we’re doing everything we can to make things better.

CAVANAUGH: Got it. Okay. Let’s go to the phones again. Andy’s calling us from Kearny Mesa. Good morning, Andy. Welcome to These Days.

ANDY (Caller, Kearny Mesa): Hi. Thank you for taking my call.

CAVANAUGH: Yes.

ANDY: I just wanted to remind people that there are many opportunities in San Diego for commuting via trails through a lot of our local canyons. We estimate that there are hundreds of people commuting through Penasquitos Canyon to get to Torrey Pines, Sorrento Mesa and Sorrento Valley, so they may have a, say, a ten-mile commute with a lot of traffic on the roads but they might have only a three-mile commute on a fantastic trail, so keep that in mind.

CAVANAUGH: Well, thank you, Andy. Thank you for the call. We’ve talked a lot about, you know, seeing the sights and smelling the smells around San Diego but, you know, one of the major reasons people choose to bike is because they want to help the environment. And I’m wondering, Chris, what impact can riding your bike have on the environment?

KLUTH: Well, it’s definitely one of the components that we’ll be including in our strategies for reducing greenhouse gases. We do have some statistics. I think Colleen has some. On Bike to Work Day, we…

WINDSOR: If one person were to bike…

KLUTH: Yeah, that’s…

WINDSOR: …an average of ten miles?

CAVANAUGH: Umm-hmm.

WINDSOR: On Bike to Work Day or any day, they would save 7 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.

CAVANAUGH: Oh, really?

WINDSOR: Yes, so…

CAVANAUGH: Just one person?

WINDSOR: One person, 10 miles. So if you multiply that by 5,000 people, you’re making a big impact. So, again, we aren’t asking or hoping—well, hoping maybe so—but maybe not asking people to ride their bike every day but if they ride it once a week, they can make a big difference in our environment.

CAVANAUGH: And there’s actually a way that people can determine their own particular environmental impact of riding their bike versus driving by going to icommutesan – sd?

WINDSOR: …sd. Icommutesd.com, and we have a commute cost calculator that will not only calculate how much your trip is costing you but also how much savings in greenhouse gases that you can also save if you were to change your commute choice.

CAVANAUGH: Great. Donna’s calling us from North Park. Good morning, Donna, and welcome to These Days.

DONNA (Caller, North Park): Hi. Thank you for taking my call. And the comment I want to make, I am a driver, not a biker. I drive through Hillcrest, which has narrow streets and there are many bikers there. And my problem with them is that they very casually follow the rules of the road, taking a pedestrian crossing instead of waiting for the light, etcetera. And when I – fifty years ago when I learned how to drive, the first rule that was taught to me is never do anything someone else doesn’t expect. And I see them changing lanes, turning left, all kinds of things without signals particularly. And I don’t think it’s deliberately being hostile or anything, it’s just thoughtlessness. And the more education we can give the bikers, the better.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you for the call. Let’s take another caller. Bob is calling from El Cajon. Good morning, Bob. Welcome to These Days.

BOB (Caller, El Cajon): Yeah, okay, I’m going to go along with her comment. I’m a recreational bike rider and I’m down at Mission Bay a lot. And I’m going to tell you a story. Last weekend, me and a bike rider – this guy went through the light there at Sea World and Mission Bay Drive onto Morena.

CAVANAUGH: Uh-huh.

BOB: And he blew right through that light, and almost caused a couple wrecks. Well, I yelled at the bike rider, I said, I’m going to go up there and catch him. And this bike rider came with me. And I – We caught him up there and just up there, people know, on Morena, there’s a Highway Patrol place there?

CAVANAUGH: Yeah, uh-huh.

BOB: We stopped him. And, well, I was trying to run him off the road. And the bike rider went up – the bike rider went up and got the police, the Highway Patrol, came back and we told the story. Anyway…

CAVANAUGH: Well…

BOB: …so he got told. Now, wait a minute.

CAVANAUGH: Yeah.

BOB: Now what I called about – that was the story.

CAVANAUGH: Yeah.

BOB: But what I called about, okay, what I called about, you got to realize you people drive cars and this and that, now when you’re driving a car, it’s even – not see a motorcycle rider with a light on. Okay, bike riders do not have a light on the front of their car. You may be coming up, and I’ve done it myself, I’ve come up and I’ve looked and I haven’t seen that bike rider because there’s nothing really but a bike rider and you’re not paying any attention to that.

CAVANAUGH: I know, Bob. I know. Thank you. Thank you for that, and thank you for that story. And I think we found the definition of road-atude.

WINDSOR: Exactly. Right there.

KEEHAN: We did. There is – You know, it’s funny that as soon as we change from one mode to another, we immediately see all the things that the other people are doing wrong. And we have to educate everyone about – we have to educate bicyclists about what they’re supposed to be doing out there, we have to educate motorists about what to expect for a bicyclist and what cyclists should be doing out there and how to drive around them. We have a long way to go. That’s why we’re, at the Coalition, we’re so excited about the Regional Bike Plan is because it’s going to offer an opportunity to fund some of those education programs for motorists, for bicyclists so we can, hopefully, change some of that behavior.

CAVANAUGH: I want to end our conversation, because we’re in our last minutes, by talking about Bike to Work Day because it’s tomorrow. And if someone has heard us talking about it and say, you know, I’m going to give this a try. Is there an easy way for them to find out how they might be able to get to either the trolley or a bus or their work? Is there a place online or kind of a map or resource that they could go to, Colleen?

WINDSOR: Yes. In fact, if you go to icommutesd.com, we have our brand new bike map that is online that you can download and you can map out exactly the route that you should probably take, the safest place for you to get to work. It has all the information about registering for Bike to Work Day, it has the safety tips that Kathy had talked about, and if you have a question that has not been answered on that webpage, call 511 and say ‘I commute,’ and you will get a real live person who can answer your question.

CAVANAUGH: That’s fabulous. And how do they find out about where they might go for those pit stops? Is that on the…?

WINDSOR: The 65 pit stops are also all named on the website, so if you’re in the North County or the South Bay, you can find out where you can stop and get those free refreshments. And if you need a little encouragement or just want to take a break, all those pit stops are located there as well.

CAVANAUGH: That’s interesting. So dust off the bike, obey the rules of the road, and just go for it tomorrow on Bike to Work Day.

WINDSOR: Exactly. Wear your helmet.

CAVANAUGH: Wear your helmet. I want to thank my guests Colleen Windsor, Chris Kluth and Kathy Keehan. Thank you so much for speaking with us.

WINDSOR: Thanks so much.

KLUTH: Thank you.

KEEHAN: Thank you.

CAVANAUGH: And if we didn’t get a chance to answer your question or your comment on the phone, please go online, KPBS.org/thesedays. Coming up, the splendor of San Diego’s gemstones as These Days continues here on KPBS.

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ematus | May 20, 2010 at 9:35 a.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

I motorcycle and don't bike. I tried it once and it was too intimidating. To make Bicycling safer their needs to be significant progress on all fronts!:
Driver awareness
Cyclist awareness
Infrastructure that doesn't put motorists and cyclists into difficult, dangerous situations.

Many Cyclist don't know that they are bound by the same rules that cars are.
Many Drivers have no idea that the bike lane is not an additional car lane.
Road Engineers seem bent on putting cyclists and drivers into impossible situations.

We definitely need a county-wide bike boulevard!!!! One, north to south and two, east to west minimum.

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Avatar for user 'Groucho'

Groucho | May 20, 2010 at 9:36 a.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

Maureen,
How come there are no UCSD representatives on the show? What problems do UCSD people have biking to UCSD?
How do I bike from University Heights to UCSD?
Groucho

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Avatar for user 'Utilisateur'

Utilisateur | May 20, 2010 at 9:42 a.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

As a long-time biker in San Diego, I have a few suggestions for my fellowr BIKERS,

(1) NEVER ride without a HELMET!. Nor at night without bright LIGHTS! (both front and back)
(2) ALWAYS Keep your right eye peeled on the parked cars to be sure a driver is not about to open the door. This is most important when riding into bright sunlight.
(3) In general, remember that bike riders, too, must also observe all the RULES OF THE ROAD!

ZACH (MISSION HILLS)

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Avatar for user 'MissCarmela'

MissCarmela | May 20, 2010 at 9:47 a.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

Hi Maureen,

I live in PB and people ride their bikes a lot there. I do not ride very much because it can be kind of dangerous...but I noticed too that most PB riders have no idea that they are required to stop at stop signs. I wish cops would enforce that more - I have friends who have been cited for J walking, which at first I felt was crazy, but now I see it is really for their protection. I think enforcement should be the same with people riding bikes and not stopping at stop signs. However, I have never actually seen any signage stating that you must stop at stop signs when riding a bike so I assume most people do not know. Are there signs? Will there be? It would definitely make it safer in PB if drivers and cyclists alike knew the law!

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Avatar for user 'smiller'

smiller | May 20, 2010 at 10:02 a.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

I want to reinforce Zach and Carmela's comment to implore my fellow cyclists to obey the rules of the road, especially at intersections. Furthermore, while accidents caused by motorists retaliating against cyclists are rare, road rage instigated by inconsiderate cyclists is avoidable and can prevent injuries to innocent cyclists as well.

Groucho, from University Heights you can either go Texas-->Camino del Rio Norte-->Fashion Valley-->Friars--> either Morena or the Mission Bay path. You can also take Washington through Hillcrest and Mission Hills and take the hill down by Presidio Park to either Morena or Mission Bay. Use either of these routes to get to Santa Fe (along the railroad, behind the IN-N-OUT at the 5 and Balboa), which will lead to the bike path that ends at the bottom of the Gilman hill that gets you to UCSD.

Hope to see you out there tomorrow, be safe and aware everyone!

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Avatar for user 'bparent'

bparent | May 20, 2010 at 10:19 a.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

Any activity we undertake has inherent risks (including sitting on the couch). We choose the activities we like, and we do our best to minimize our risks. Unfortunately, not many people are aware of a few key ways they can improve their odds when cycling. As one example, when a lane is too narrow to safely allow for a motorist to pass a cyclist within the lane, it is safest, and legal for the cyclist to use the full width of the lane.
A related example is the "door zone" situation where cars are parked parallel along the road. The "door zone" is the area which car doors might be opened into, and cyclists would do well to avoid it completely. Novice cyclists ride so close to the cars such that if a door were opened in their path, their odds of a serious injury are much higher than need be. While one may attempt to look
into each car for a potential conflict, it is more important to focus your attention on the roadway, plus tinted windows can impair your ability to accurately judge for occupancy. If there is insufficient width remaining for
in-lane passing, then the safest move for the cyclist is to position themselves in the center of the lane, to communicate to oncoming motorists that it is too narrow to pass in the lane.
Unfortunately, uneducated motorists don't recognize the door zone as a dangerous place for cyclists, and may get upset when they see what appears to them to be a perfectly wide enough road, and a cyclist in front of them, preventing an in-lane pass. So an awareness campaign needs to be launched. In the mean time, keep you cool, recognize you're doing what is safe, legal and appropriate, and that the horn-honkers are communicating both that they see you (a good thing!), and that they are simply not aware of the danger that you are avoiding by riding outside the door zone.

Obviously, care must be taken when changing positions
from the right hand edge, to the center of the lane, including planning ahead,
checking for a gap, signaling, and checking for cooperation. These skills, and others are taught in a hands-on fashion by a number of trained instructors in the San Diego region. To find out times and locations of these classes, visit the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition website at sdcbc.org, click on "classes". Invest some of your time to learn what you can about improving your odds, and the dividends will continue for a lifetime of cycling. You'll enjoy more competence, improve your confidence, and do so courteously.

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Avatar for user 'bix'

bix | May 20, 2010 at 11:51 a.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

agree with zach, carmella, & smiller!

I started riding my bicycle to work a few times a week (about a 14 mile round trip) after making the decision to move closer to my downtown job. If I'm going to spend 40 minutes getting to work...why not get some exercise and fresh air instead of getting ragey in a car? Cycling on the road has made me a more cautious driver - there are things you just cannot see when you're driving a car, and now I'm always checking my blind spots and much more aware of the area around my car. It's also made me aware of how hard it can be to see cyclists in too bright or too dark conditions. Sometimes everyone just needs to slow down.

There are some careless cyclists out there (just as there are careless drivers), but please don't let that ruin your perception of people on bicycles. Most of us (mostly, the ones with helmets and lights, using signals) are just trying to get to or from work. Thank you for covering this on These Days - there are a lot of improvements that need to be made to accomodate cyclists if San Diego really would like to have more bicycle commuters and less auto traffic; I think the guests on the show and the callers brought up a lot of good points and hope to see some of the improvements happen.

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