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Bicyclists’ Demise

Kearny Villa Road between Ruffin Road to the south and Miramar Road to the north is the only north-south route for bicyclists along the I-15 corridor. It is a decommissioned freeway with a 65 mph speed limit, although drivers have been clocked traveling in excess of 90 mph by SDPD radar.

In May 2001, 71-year-old cyclist Larry Mahr was hit from behind, killed by a distracted driver who drifted into the bike lane. In August 2005, USMC captain Patrick Klokow, a decorated veteran of the Middle East conflict, was hit from behind and killed by a driver who fled the scene. In February 2010, a cyclist was hospitalized after her front wheel caught a rut in the broken pavement in the bike lane and she was thrown to the ground.

The two lanes for motorized traffic were repaved in 2007; the eroded bike lanes were not. After the latest accident, city crews tried to patch the pavement irregularities but ended up making the bike lane unrideable by leaving raised humps of cold-patch asphalt blocking the lane on the southbound side near Miramar Way.

Southbound cyclists now have to ride on the new pavement on the far right side of lane 2, which puts them directly adjacent to speeding traffic. After the high-profile killing of Capt. Klokow, the city stonewalled further complaints by the public. Promises were made previously to resurface the bike lanes and to bring southbound traffic to a controlled 90-degree turn, replacing the high-speed transition ramp to SR-163 where Capt. Klokow was killed.

To date, no safe accommodations have been provided to the hundreds of bicycle commuters who use this road daily.

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Kearny Villa Road between Ruffin Road to the south and Miramar Road to the north is the only north-south route for bicyclists along the I-15 corridor. It is a decommissioned freeway with a 65 mph speed limit, although drivers have been clocked traveling in excess of 90 mph by SDPD radar.

In May 2001, 71-year-old cyclist Larry Mahr was hit from behind, killed by a distracted driver who drifted into the bike lane. In August 2005, USMC captain Patrick Klokow, a decorated veteran of the Middle East conflict, was hit from behind and killed by a driver who fled the scene. In February 2010, a cyclist was hospitalized after her front wheel caught a rut in the broken pavement in the bike lane and she was thrown to the ground.

The two lanes for motorized traffic were repaved in 2007; the eroded bike lanes were not. After the latest accident, city crews tried to patch the pavement irregularities but ended up making the bike lane unrideable by leaving raised humps of cold-patch asphalt blocking the lane on the southbound side near Miramar Way.

Southbound cyclists now have to ride on the new pavement on the far right side of lane 2, which puts them directly adjacent to speeding traffic. After the high-profile killing of Capt. Klokow, the city stonewalled further complaints by the public. Promises were made previously to resurface the bike lanes and to bring southbound traffic to a controlled 90-degree turn, replacing the high-speed transition ramp to SR-163 where Capt. Klokow was killed.

To date, no safe accommodations have been provided to the hundreds of bicycle commuters who use this road daily.

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Comments
6

I ride a bicycle, I don't have a car. And I've ridden motorcycles since age 9, and ridden on the street shortly thereafter. I've driven custom touring buses cross country. I've sold cars for Chevrolet. The point is, I know how to drive, and I know how to ride.

Traffic throughput is supposedly helped by bicyclists riding on the right side. But when a car hits you from behind, you're done, and you don't see it. Riding on the opposite side, you have a chance, but its an obvious distraction for drivers.

My rule of thumb is this- stay on the sidewalk, and if you can't, either ride the wrong side of the road, or, if you are on the shoulder going with traffic, go the speed of trtaffic or as close as you can. On many roads, its doable, although it introduces a new set of challenges.

The stretch of road you're talking about is unsafe for bicyclists overall. Period.

The fact that it is the only connector in that area only emphasizes the short shrift given to bicyclists by governments.

In SoCal, its about the cars.

However, when I'm riding my bicycle from A to B I'm concentrating on what I'm doing, I forget about my other problems, and I'm free.

Freedom is in very short supply in SoCal. You find it where you can. I think that's why the U.S. gov't has contrived to get people to kick my bicycle when I cross the border.

March 27, 2010

"My rule of thumb is this- stay on the sidewalk..."

I understand why you would do this, because it is so dangerous on the road for the cyclist, but riding on the sidewalk poses just as great a danger to pedestrians as cars do to bicycles, and as a cyclist your blind spots at corners cause accidents just as surely.

We all know that the three--pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers-- don't mix well except in high traffic areas that are also areas of high concentration and skill--boardwalks.

Let's dedicate more spaces for the two who receive the least (Let's try to grow into a bigger city a little more gracefully, yet are the two modes of transportation causing the least amount of pollution...

March 30, 2010

Woopsy: @2 should read:

Let's dedicate more spaces for the two who receive the least, and let's try to grow into a bigger city a little more gracefully, by rewarding the two modes of transportation causing the least amount of pollution.

March 30, 2010

"My rule of thumb is this- stay on the sidewalk..."

I absolutely do this as well. Unlike many cyclists (who seem to think they're invincible with their little helmets that apparently aren't protecting much on the inside), I'm aware that I'm just a squishy little thing that it doesn't take much to kill. Bicycles are not cars. They don't accelerate like cars, they slow down auto traffic, and they don't offer their riders protection as a car does. A little common sense recognition of simple facts like this would go a long way in California.

Sidewalk cycling certainly doesn't work in areas of high density pedestrian traffic, but in most cases, it's perfectly possible to simply move all the way to one side to pass the occasional pedestrian. As for even rarer blind spots, I slow to a crawl and hug the inside.

Agree completely with #3. Bike lanes are great and should be a priority. But where there's not one, cyclists should stay out of the street and stop creating a hazard to themselves and others by trying to mingle with cars.

March 30, 2010

diegonomics wrote: "My rule of thumb is this- stay on the sidewalk, and if you can't, either ride the wrong side of the road, or, if you are on the shoulder going with traffic, go the speed of traffic or as close as you can."

  1. Riding on the sidewalk is even more dangerous because a cyclist will still have to cross intersections and driveways. Motorists who fail to notice cyclists have even more difficulty seeing them on the sidewalk. Cyclists also come into conflict with pedestrians there. In San Diego it is illegal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk in business districts. And imagine how long it would take to get to work on a bicycle if one's speed was limited by riding on sidewalks. There are no sidewalks on Kearny Villa Rd. anyway, so it's really a moot point here.

  2. It is illegal and VERY DANGEROUS to ride contraflow or against traffic on a bicycle. Drivers are looking to their right before entering an intersection; they are not expecting traffic, including bicycles, to be coming from their left. Cyclists have been seriously injured and killed by hitting wrong way bicycles head on. There is a very good reason why this "bike salmoning" is against the law.

Antigeekess wrote: "cyclists should stay out of the street and stop creating a hazard to themselves and others by trying to mingle with cars."

According to laws in every state of the union cyclists have the same rights and duties as motorized road users. In most other countries of the world there is little conflict between motorized and non-motorized road users. Only in the U.S. do drivers of motor vehicles exert the kind of hegemony that states "do not use the road because we will kill you if you do."

And about bicycles: "they slow down auto traffic..." Automobile traffic NEEDS to be slowed down when in proximity to non-motorized road users. Municipalities need to employ traffic calming methods where the potential for conflict exists. Freeways provide intentionally isolated opportunities for motorists to travel at speed. There are no bicycles or pedestrians to watch out for. Kearny Villa Rd. is a good case in point. Traffic needs to be calmed there to protect non-motorized road users.

As we leave the bad dreams of the 20th Century behind, we need to rethink our transportation methods. U.S. transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in D.C. on March 11: "Today, I want to announce a sea change. People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning. This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized."

I'll end with my favorite recent quote: "Referring to bicycling and walking as 'alternative' transportation is like calling women alternative men."

--- Harriet Tregoning, Washington DC Office of Planning

April 5, 2010

Correction: I stated above that drivers are accustomed to looking to their right before entering an intersection. I must be dyslexic. What I should have written is this: Drivers are looking to their left before entering an intersection; they are not expecting traffic, including bicycles, to be coming from their right. Sorry about that, Chief!

April 5, 2010

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