1234 Vista Dr
San Diego, CA 92042
November 15, 2009
Councilmember Marti Emerald
City Administration Bldg.
202 C Street, MS #10A
San Diego, CA 92101
Attn. Marti Emerald:
The city of San Diego is a safe neighborhood filled with young families, a high concentration of senior citizens, and people of all ages in between; however, when it comes to riding bicycles San Diego is completely the opposite. Riding a bicycle in areas that have no bike lanes can be a nightmare. As a former bike commuter in San Diego, I wanted to bring to your attention that many unreported bike accidents have occurred close to San Diego State University. While riding my bicycle to school, I have seen other bicyclists get hit by cars. I also heard in a meeting that two international students had been involved in bike car accidents. Afraid that I might be the next victim hit by a car, I stopped bicycling. Additional bike lanes are needed for all bicyclists to feel safe. Bike lanes work as simple traffic calming devices that reduce the risk of accident and increase the number of bike riders to promote public health.
Just two weeks ago, my roommate was a victim of a bike car accident. He was hit by an SUV truck that turned right in front of him. The driver was talking on her cell phone while driving and did not carefully look. The driver only made sure that cars were not in her way. The accident occurred on El Cajon Blvd during daytime, a street with no bike lanes. The injuries he received from the impact of the SUV truck caused him to stay in the hospital for one month. My roommate ended up with a broken tooth, nose, and shoulder. This semester was supposed to be his last year in school. Now he is unable to attend school for the whole semester, prolonging his graduation date. If El Cajon Blvd had bike lanes, I believe this accident could have been avoided.
El Cajon Blvd is the same street that I took to school when I used to ride my bicycle for transportation. There were many cases when cars did not see me and almost hit my bicycle. Because motorists dislike sharing the road, bicyclists are harassed by some motorists who get desperate and start yelling, honking, and insulting riders. Some motorists believe that bike riders, when there are no bike lanes, should ride on the sidewalks and that the roads belong to vehicles. According to the Los Angeles Times newspaper, road rage is a common experience among motorists and especially when on congested streets. Just two weeks ago, in the LA Times, “a physician was accused of deliberately injuring two cyclists by slamming on his car's brakes on a narrow Brentwood road and was convicted Monday of mayhem, assault with a deadly weapon and other serious criminal charges.” It is shocking how a physician whose job it is to take care of people can have road rage against bicyclists. Scared of the same violence, some of the international students at SDSU told me they now ride their bikes on the sidewalk. To their surprise, some received a fine of $250 for doing so. Most of these students were aware that what they were doing was illegal, but said they were too afraid to ride in the street. They also did not expect an expensive fine. I have to admit, I was also shocked. Motorists usually receive lesser fines for moving violations that are far more dangerous.
To help create more bike lanes, I decided to join with San Diego County Bicycle Coalition and create fundraiser that can help raise enough fund to provide painting supplies for the bike lanes. Every three months in a year, we can create special events that can attract bicyclists to join us for the bike lane cause. With the help of San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, I will propose fun events such as Christmas bike ride, where people can be dressed up as Santa Claus riding their bike around city of San Diego. Dress code will be optional since some people are not too comfortable dressing up as Santa Claus. For people to become aware for...
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