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Carlsbad to continue new initiatives to curb collisions involving bikes, e-bikes

Published September 28, 2022

CARLSBAD, Calif. (BRAIN) — The City Council here on Tuesday night voted to continue more new initiatives in addition to seeking community and government input on potential additional action to reduce the rise in collisions involving bikes and e-bikes.

Action the council took included:

  • Expanding public education to include partnerships with schools, businesses, mobility organizations and community groups.
  • Upgrading traffic signals at intersections with high pedestrian traffic.
  • Working with local school districts to explore developing a permit program requiring students to take a bike safety class to park their bicycles on campus.
  • Working with the city's lobbyists to build upon recent state legislation addressing e-bike safety.
  • Accelerating plans to repave and restripe city streets to create more space for walkers and bicyclists while slowing down vehicle traffic.
  • Conducting a citywide review of speed limits.

The council also asked city staff to return with a resolution to adopt Vision Zero for consideration. Vision Zero, first implemented in Sweden in the 1990s, is a strategy to eliminate traffic fatalities and injuries. If the council adopts a Vision Zero resolution, a plan for implementation could take up to one year.

City Manager Scott Chadwick declared a state of emergency on Aug. 23 and the city ratified it a week later in response to a 233% rise in collisions involving bikes and e-bikes in the past three years. When the City Council ratified the emergency proclamation Aug. 30, it also approved spending $2 million for immediate traffic safety efforts.

Over the past month, the city has:

  • Reached more than 500,000 people on social media with safety messages.
  • Installed 22 traffic safety banners at various locations, including in school zones.
  • Added green paint to bike lanes in 18 new locations.
  • Installed 17 speed feedback signs.
  • Displayed 12 digital boards with safety messages.
  • Issued 557 citations and 253 warnings to motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
  • Added two new e-bikes to increase bike patrol.

In 2019, of the 30 bike collisions, two involved e-bikes; in 2020, of the 62 bike collisions, eight involved e-bikes; in 2021, of the 100 bike collisions, 33 involved e-bikes; and so far in 2022 through July 31, of the 57 bike collisions, 32 involved e-bikes.

When BRAIN contacted two area bike shops and an e-bike wholesaler based in Carlsbad recently, all said kids riding e-bikes are the primary problem. On Tuesday, Carlsbad Unified Schools and the San Diego Bike Coalition will hold a Bicycle/E-Bicycle Safety and Education clinic for all ages at the Pine Avenue Community Center in Carlsbad.

Topics associated with this article: Electric bike

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