Picture by Andrew Bowen
One of many few optimistic issues to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic has been a renaissance in cycling. Quieter streets with fewer vehicles, together with a want to flee the isolation of working from residence, have prompted many San Diegans to discover the town by bike.
Knowledge launched by the San Diego Affiliation of Governments (SANDAG) this month present a 42% increase in bike trips all through the county. The information in contrast journeys from mid-March to mid-August in 2020 to the identical interval in 2019.
As well as, knowledge offered to KPBS by the San Diego Police Division confirmed a roughly 19% drop in bike owner accidents from collisions over the identical time interval, going from 162 to 131.
Bike advocates are hoping the pattern sticks post-pandemic, notably with newer cyclists similar to older adults and households with youngsters who do not match the stereotype of city cyclists.
Oscar Tavera, a board member of BikeSD, helped set up a small group bike journey this month alongside the not too long ago created Black, Indigenous and People of Color History Ride. The self-guided tour, launched as a part of San Diego Design Week, consists of stops in Balboa Park, College Heights, North Park and Metropolis Heights.
“This might be a easy factor that you could possibly begin doing on the weekend, and it isn’t a 20-mile commute however perhaps simply beginning round your block within the neighborhood,” Tavera mentioned.
County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher mentioned he sees a window of alternative proper now, with the potential to make lasting cuts to site visitors congestion and greenhouse gasoline emissions.
Final week, Fletcher’s workplace launched Pedal Forward, a program to offer away as much as 400 electrical bikes to county residents. Individuals conform to journey a mean of 5 miles per day over two years and to trace their rides with an app. In the event that they do that for 2 years, the electrical bike is theirs.
Fletcher mentioned e-bikes are particularly promising in San Diego, which is unfold out and has a number of hills.
“This program is an ideal complement to return on the proper time to inject electrical bikes in there, that are a lot simpler to make use of (for) commuting than a standard bicycle,” Fletcher mentioned. “So I feel we actually want to consider, as we come out of this, how will we keep and broaden the progress that we have seen on this space.”
Maybe the largest lacking piece stopping many county residents from biking is protected infrastructure. That’s slowly altering — final week SANDAG opened its eighth roundabout included in two bike tasks that traverse North Park, Regular Heights and Metropolis Heights. The roundabouts are supposed to decelerate vehicles and improve the visibility of cyclists.
SANDAG Govt Director Hasan Ikhrata mentioned whereas the roundabouts are an enchancment on the established order, extra needs to be executed.
“Finally we’ve to get to a spot the place we work out how you can separate bikes from site visitors,” Ikhrata mentioned. “And I feel our long run imaginative and prescient for (the) San Diego area will envision a motorcycle community that may present San Diegans the power to journey with out having a worry of (being) hit by a automobile.”
Ikhrata additionally acknowledged lots of SANDAG’s bike projects have been delayed, usually due to opposition from residents who do not wish to sacrifice any street house at present devoted to vehicles.
“We’d like our communities to be prepared to surrender one thing they obtained used to,” Ikhrata mentioned.
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