Recently painted symbols indicating bicycle activity are on our public streets; the legal significance of these symbols has not been provided to the general public, at least that information has not been encountered or conveyed to my knowledge. If they are to indicate a warning to vehicular traffic that bicycles may be encountered on these marked streets, that was not necessary. A normal yellow caution sign would have sufficed. If, however, these symbols are, in effect, informing drivers of vehicles of the legality of a bicycle to use the entire lane of traffic for their use, instead of ceding it to a vehicle by moving to the right side of the traffic lane, I believe it to be a foolish and dangerous move by our city. Already I am sharing sidewalks in my community with skateboarders, bicycles, and extra-wide baby carriages (sometimes two abreast). Those skateboarders and bicyclists also are increasingly using the streets as well, and never pay heed to vehicle laws in the process of doing so, i.e., stopping at a stop sign. Drivers no longer come to a complete stop at stop signs either and never behind the white line there for that purpose.

To grant the right to occupy the full lane of traffic to a bicyclist, I believe, will progress to a belligerency on their part that will impede traffic flow and incite confrontation. These painted symbols, whose meaning is uncertain, are simply a cheap response by the city to meet a need for bicycle lanes. A better response would be to make every other street into a one-way traffic flow, thus creating two lanes of traffic that are not in opposition; lowering the possibility of collision and offering more opportunity to the bicyclist (and skate boarder) to flow with the traffic with less hazard. It might also cause greater regard for stop signs and crosswalks. People are afraid to step off a curb anymore!

Clifford Beck lives in Ocean Beach.

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Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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