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The thing that I hear over and over at the Coalition (and in this Café today!) is the need for some sort of education/PR campaign for bicyclists and motorists about sharing the road. It’s long been a dream of many of my board members to figure out a way to do a bicycling campaign like the ‘Stop Smoking ‘ or ‘Got Milk ‘ or ‘Think Blue.’ We’d call it ‘Street Smarts’ and we’d have messages about safe and sane driving, about bicyclists’ rights to the road. We would generally remind people that bicyclists legally have the right to be out there, and it’s not ok to run over us.

I think there’s a lot of merit in doing this kind of campaign, for many different reasons.

1. There are still some drivers who don’t think bicyclists should be allowed on the street. Those folks need to be reminded that roads are for people, not just people in cars.

2. There are still some bicyclists who don’t think any rules apply to them. Bicyclists n you need to follow all the same laws as motorists, including stopping at stop signs and red lights. Yes, even when it is inconvenient.

3. A campaign that gets more people out riding makes it safer for everyone. The more bicyclists there are out on the road, the more likely motorists are to be watching for them and being more careful.

A program that provides those messages would be a really good thing for bicyclists (and other people) in the county. The good news is that a program like this is in the works. It’s modeled after some work done in other parts of California, and there’s even money set aside to do it sometime next year. Why does it take so long, you might ask? That’s a subject for another blog entry about the lack of urgency when it comes to making improvements for bicyclists in San Diego County.

So give me some feedback n what should the campaign actually say? We already have a general idea, and the first round of messages will be taken directly from the messages used in other places, but are there some specific messages we need in San Diego?

—KATHY KEEHAN

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