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2014 is turning into a watershed year for Orange County cyclists, at least regarding the opportunities to participate in infrastructure planning that might affect riding.

The Orange County Transportation Authority invited input into transportation designs for Districts 1,2 and 4 (roughly the west and north areas of the OC, from Seal Beach to Corona del Mar and points inland from Costa Mesa to Fullerton. You can see OCTA's interactive map here.

The south and east districts (3, 4 and 5) are on the planning and construction agenda for later this year and 2015.

More recently, the Newport Beach Bicycle Master Plan Draft was open for public commentary via an on-line forum, which ended March 17. The cities of Irvine, Garden Grove and Santa also have had surveys and open discussions about cycling in those communities.

This coming Thursday, April 3, the Orange County Wheelmen's monthly general meeting's speaker is Sandy Boyle, Manager of Customer Engagement with OCTA. For those interested, details are here.

And the OCTA and the City of Irvine are combining in a "Bike Safety Workshop" presentation and discussion at Irvine City Hall on April 14, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. It's expected to be:

"…an important discussion about cultivating a cycle-safe community in Orange County.

A group discussion will follow comments by OCTA, cities, and agencies regarding plans to make cycling a viable and safe choice for commuting and recreational travel. During the open discussion, your input is essential to developing workable solutions that will move cycling safely forward for the entire community."

If you'd like to attend, please RSVP on-line.

The reasons behind this "culture of solicitation" (not to be confused with business along Beach Blvd. adjacent to "The Happiest Place on Earth," but it's too good a term not to use: maybe "culture of solicitation of input" is better…maybe not) is due to the tireless efforts of people and organizations¬¬— like April Morris and Pete van Nuys (top of mind among many other), and OCW, the Orange County Bicycle Coalition (OCBC), and the Bicycle Club of Irvine (BCI).

Unfortunately, it's likely also attributable to the recent rash of cycling fatalities. The perception among cyclists that the death of a cyclist is not taken with appropriate concern when it comes to criminal prosecution is fulminating, and the avenues for venting this are few and far between.

About the most well-known one is the annual "Ride of Silence," that takes place nationally on May 21: locally, there will be a rides in Irvine, San Clemente and Fullerton. But this event arguably does more to assuage anger and do some team building among cyclists than usher in reform from local government entities. Maybe more participants would create more impact?

As this article is being written, the Orange County District Attorney has announced charges filed in the February hit-and-run death of Joey Robinson. In an article published today, March 31, LA Cycling Examiner Ed Rubinstein posted the details he received from the DA regarding the case.

It's a jarring list of accusations, including:

"…one felony count each of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated, driving under the influence of drugs causing bodily injury, hit and run with death, possession of a controlled substance, one misdemeanor count of use and under the influence of a controlled substance, one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance paraphernalia, and sentencing enhancement allegations for inflicting great bodily injury, and fleeing the scene of a crime.
The defendant is being held on $100,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Tuesday, April 1, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-57, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana."

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