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Two Women Dead

Many replied to the blizzard of tweets and Facebook posts,

I thought this was a duplicate, a re-posting.

It was and it wasn’t.

The second cycling fatality in 24 hours, this time a hit and run on Newport Coast Drive

Two women cyclists have been killed in Newport Beach in a single 24-hour period this weekend. The latest, a hit and run on Newport Coast Drive.

I could scream, but I’m afraid such a release would bring tears that wouldn’t stop. I can only think of one thing: we must come to the Special Meeting of the Bicycle Safety Committee tomorrow, Monday September 17th at 4:30pm in the Friends Room at the Central Library on Avocado.

Little good can come from such a loss of life, but maybe we can squeeze a drop of Call-to-Action from our elected officials. The pace of our bike safety committee is woefully slow; it’s like a no-drop ride for rookies. No longer can we play along with public outreach efforts that pander to the doubters and whiners within the motoring public. Don’t let these two women die in vain.

One concrete step: let’s paint the Sharrows on Coast Hwy through CdM, as recommended by the Committee and approved by the City Council. There’s no time to wait for public outreach; the obituaries of the past few days have alerted everyone in the community to the problem. Let’s show some leadership; paint the Sharrows then let’s fast-track solutions for other high-collision intersections, too. Thanks to the Police, we now know where these intersections are — whether it’s paint or signage, bike lanes or enforcement, it’s time to do more than continue the slow pace the Committee has been operating at.

Pete Van Nuys, Executive Director of the Orange County Bicycle Coalition, reminds me:

Unless something changes at the top, there’s nothing to prevent two more cyclists dying next weekend.

I can’t bear the thought, but our elected officials respond best when confronted with an outcry from their constituents. If you stay home tomorrow night we’ll have lost a major opportunity to change the pace of cycling safety in our community.

Like many of you, I’ve been reading the blogs; keen to find details that could make sense of these terrible events. Then I found this comment,

Hate to put it like this, but it’s an honest question: What action is there to take in regards to hit and run fatalities like the one on Newport Coast today?

It’s a good question and it points to part of the problem: we’re immersed in an automobile-saturated society that takes for granted a certain amount of loss of life in exchange for zipping across town in our cars. There’s a lot to be done; look at other nearby cities, many are actively working on projects to make cycling safer.

Join me at this Special Meeting of the Newport Beach Citizens Bicycle Safety Committee at 4:30pm Monday September 17th in the Friends Room at the Central Library on Avocado. Have your concerns heard.

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