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This Latest Fatality

A Facebook friend wrote this on my timeline; I’ve been pondering a response…

I am pretty sure the Bicycle Safety Committee has failed. A 22 year old girl killed on her bike at an intersection already identified by the committee as being dangerous. I know you guys have been trying but this is so tragic words can’t describe. What can we do to change this?

I’ve been on the Bike Safety Committee 2 out of the past 3 years; my friend for one. He asks a good question: What good does it do to identify the most dangerous conditions when progress is so slow. Now a life is lost. I understand his frustration.

It’s worthy of some reflection: as a committee our results are too slowly gained; our objectives, too timid; our ambitions, perhaps carefully modulated so as not to rock the boat.

There’s little good that can come from today’s tragedy; a renewed resolve to do more, and do it faster, is what I hope for.

For example, we’ve spent months discussing public outreach regarding Sharrows on Coast Hwy through Corona del Mar. It’s as if there’s some virtue in coddling the doubters and naysayers, some benefit to proceeding slowly; meanwhile a valuable safety benefit languishes. Everyone on the Bike Safety Committee knows how Long Beach proceeded: they painted the Sharrows and dealt with community outreach afterwards. They acted to realize the safety benefits as fast as possible.

Ambiguous sentiment doesn’t improve safety

Meanwhile we debate which lamppost banner message we’ll adopt.

As of today I have no use for pretty banners with their ambiguous platitudes — “Share the Road” and “Same Road, Same Rules”, both carefully worded so as not to offend the motoring public. These are misguided sentiments while cyclists ride at risk everyday.

Need more outreach ideas? Let’s publicize the time and place of this young woman’s funeral.

Understand this: we have the attention of everyone in the City right now; let’s tell them tomorrow what we’re prepared to do.

Let’s galvanize our grief over this senseless loss and double our efforts to realize the safety features we’ve worked so hard to achieve.

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