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Bike Safety Committee Hopes to Shift Gears

Mayor Nancy Gardner wants the group to focus on bike safety near schools.

The Newport Beach bike safety committee met Monday and discussed the need to continue working to make roads safer for bicyclists, and placing a special emphasis on the young riders.

"We've been focusing a lot on the roads, biking and people that are riding a lot and I want to focus more on the schools and parents so they can feel that it will be safer for kids to ride their bikes," Gardner said. "We need to create a road map, there are areas we can plan on, look on to the future like road diets."

At the meeting, committee members watched a video highlighting safety measures - including road diets - which some cities use to help ensure bicyclists and motorists share the roads by decreasing the number of travel lanes for  motorists and using the leftover space to widen lanes for cyclists and walkways for pedestrians. 

Resident Matt O'Toole also spoke at the meeting and shared his concerns regarding traffic near Newport Harbor High School in light of the recent that seriously injured 17-year-old Crystal Morales.

"You have that crosswalk and you'll have a car stopped waiting for a pedestrian, then you have some hotshot who doesn't realize the car is stopped for a pedestrian and they decide to go racing around the right lane," O'Toole explained. "That's how we have accidents and serious ones lately."

Other business

  • Sgt. Damon Psaros, of the Newport Beach Police Department, reported there were 13 bicycle-related collisions in December. Psaros said two incidents were related to cyclists falling down, one on West Coast Highway and Dover occurred when a vehicle failed to yield to a bicycle and on East Coast Highway a bicyclist hit an open car door. 
  • Other discussions included reducing speed limits in Newport Coast around schools, and increasing bike parking at the Newport Beach Library for the new remodel.

Tonight at 7 p.m. the Newport Beach City Council will hear a report from the committee detailing its work during 2011 and will decide whether to extend its term until Jan. 10, 2013.

David Huntsman January 10, 2012 at 10:04 PM
According to Sergeant Psaros, one of the collisions in Corona del Mar was a "dooring" on the Coast Highway. A dooring occurs where a cyclist rides adjacent to parallel-parked cars and a parked motorist opens his door without checking for traffic (in violation of California Vehicle Code section 22517). This is exactly the kind of incident sharrows prevent, by positioning a cyclist outside of the "door zone" and this is a textbook and obviously real-world example of why sharrows are absolutely required on the Coast Highway through Corona del Mar.

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