Bicycling safety advocates and law enforcement officials in San Diego County are focusing on cycling safety after two cyclists were killed in the area last week. Representatives from the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition are calling for stricter distracted driving laws in an effort to protect the safety of cyclists. The safety advocacy group is also suggesting that state legislators pass a law requiring motorists to allow bicycle riders at least three-feet of space when passing them to in an effort to prevent the accidents that often result when a cyclists, unseen by a motorist alters his or her course to avoid an obstacle such as a pothole. The safety group is also advocating for an increased number of bicycle racks in the region’s business districts.
San Diego County Bicycle Coalition offers a seven-hour bicycle safety class that includes a lesson on maintaining a sense of security while cycling in traffic by following all traffic laws including proper signaling when turning or changing lanes and obeying the requirement to remain in the furthest lane to the right in busy traffic.
Less than one out of every five traffic accidents involve a motor vehicle and a bicycle, the class teaches cyclists, and the majority of those collisions occur at intersections, most commonly, when a motor vehicle makes a right turn in front of a bicycle. Approximately 50 percent of all cyclist injuries occur when a rider falls off his or her bicycle
In the city of La Jolla, the safety concerns regarding cyclists sharing the road with motor vehicles are even greater, because the area — full of narrow, hill-filled streets and tourists and student cyclists unfamiliar with the region riding rental bicycles — lacks designated bike lanes. The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, however, adds that recent speed limit reductions on some streets have reduced the dangers posed to bicyclists in the area.
The only city in the San Diego County area to receive a “bike friendly” designation from the coalition is Oceanside. The coalition recommends that motorists avoid colliding with bicyclists by remaining vigilant behind the wheel and aware that a bicyclists could appear on a given road at any moment. Cyclists can avoid becoming involved in an accident by avoiding the use of distracting devices such as mp3 players or handheld communication devices while riding, avoiding parked cars; riding single file; obeying all traffic rules, signs and lights; occupying an entire lane of traffic when needed; and remaining alert to changing road surfaces, uneven pavement, and other obstacles that may cause an accident.