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This commentary originally appeared as a comment on “Morning Report: Plaza de Panama Vote Nears.

Randy,

Your post on June 18 on cycling rights in San Diego is not news or even informed opinion. Rather, it is a bit of vaguely ominous commentary with a truly terrible story (from another city) tacked on for added drama. I recently signed up as a contributor to VOSD, but I’ll tell you now: this isn’t the kind of “reporting” that I care to support. You can do better.

Regarding your personal experience with “lawless bicyclists,” I understand your frustration. In fact, there are many of us who ride bikes in this city who feel the same way. But perhaps a little perspective might be helpful…

I ride my bike for long distances around San Diego county several times every week. When I ride, I wear a chain around my neck with emergency contact information on it. This is because I understand that in San Diego every time I roll onto the street, I am quite literally risking my life. I have been yelled at and honked at for no particular reason. I have had drivers intentionally “zoom me,” crossing the white line in an apparent attempt to scare me into the ditch.

And those aren’t the drivers who really frighten me.

In my experience, it’s the deadly combination of distracted driver/cell phone user and no shelter for cyclists (bike lane or other) that gives me nightmares and causes me to ride looking over my shoulder on streets like University Avenue and Garnet Avenue.

And even when there is provision for cyclists, it’s hard to believe we are really protected. Just try riding a little slower than the traffic on a street marked with “sharrows.” Trying to use the perfectly legal right to take the lane is likely to get you knocked off your bike.

I’m a careful and law-abiding cyclist, but in a city where I am clearly not welcome on the streets and illegal on the sidewalk, I can understand why some riders don’t see themselves as subject to the rules. On many of the streets in this city, there is no place for a bike and the system is clearly antagonistic to the rider. In an environment like this, is it any wonder that the rules don’t seem to apply?

Which brings me, finally, back to your comments. Have you considered the possibility that, as we honor and care for the needs of EVERYONE who uses the streets of this city, we just might be creating a safer and more efficient place for all, a place where the riders stop for red lights and the drivers no longer kill the riders. It’s a good trade, I think, and it’s worth a shot.

Peter Schrock lives in Golden Hill.


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