Motor cars do not make bicyclists go their own way in San Diego. Bicycling roads narrowed by the paths cars take going in and out of work at high speeds has not made the southern California town a crazed place for commuters who ride on two wheels. The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition keeps the bicyclists going on by teaching them not to go too far.
"Roads are for people, not just for people in cars," says Jim Baross, the coalition's spokesperson, and effective cycling instructor who taught bicyclists and instructors for the League of American Bicyclists since 1986. Through big experience riding in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Tijuana, he has learned how to make a town one built for bicycles, without a match. And let nothing stop the locals from staying active outdoors, and healthy.
Handling the roads, both those with dedicated bike lanes and those bicyclists must share lanes with drivers, always is a goal for bicyclists who take the coalition's urban bicycling courses.
Safe moves, even clutch moves, make riding to work easy.
Skills and techniques are learned in a classroom. After the basics, and the rules of the road, get learned, the students head to the streets to practice maneuvers. Maybe fix a flat.
There is even a seminar for learning how to commute to work. Effectively.
Bicyclists are encouraged to "bicycle on the road with the rights and duties of drivers of vehicles." Fans of spinning the wheels on the road, such as a members of Rainbow Bicyclists and Knickerbikers, take interest in the coalition's work, and join.
Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Swamis morning riders dress to learn from a 22 mile pre-work leg burner ride, keeping time starting at 6:30 am at La Costa and El Camino Real, and ending at Vons shopping Center for La Costa coffee after a north south loop that runs through downtown Carlsbad and around Buena Vita Lagoon. Inexperienced riders can join in on exploration rides.
Off and on bicycle routes are a reality, Baross, chairman of SANDAG's bicycle pedestrian working group, thinks does not have to make bicyclists take a back seat to drivers. Fellow board member, Stephen Vance, a transportation and land use planner, has taken to heart a plan to end the tie ups that stop bicycling from being an everyday means to get from one place to another. Bicycling is not a fad to the members. It is a dependable kind of transportation locals can not accept trade offs on. A little caution, and the latest on the laws from the coalition that keeps pace with the laws that often have again changed, prevents defeats during attempts to ride effectively.
The coalition is working together with the city to make San Diego's first bicycle share program that will station 1800 bicycles in 180 locations the best in the nation. The program run by the Miami Based DECOBIKE, LLC will put wheels at the disposal of tourists who shop in town and student commuters. Just another plan for making bicycling better in San Diego. And, for adding 30 to 50 jobs.
The plan to make the local streets complete streets any local, or visitor, can travel on is unfinished. The coalition will ask the new mayor, Bob Filner, to keep up the work on the city's bicycle plan. The striped riding lane distance still falls short.
Car troubles will not make the members retreat on their mission. They continue to put an end to the worries that bother inexperienced bicyclists.
Idle San Diegans are not forgotten. Even locals who have never rode a bike can get up on a bike the coalition lends and take a beginners class.
The instructors remain San Diegans the roads are for "everyone."
The line continues next week.
To read earlier articles in Citizen Agenda Action Line on Tuesdays, read
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