Pandemic Brings Extra Biking And Fewer Crashes — However Can It Final?
Photograph 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 need to flee the isolation of working from residence, have prompted many San Diegans to discover town by bike.
Information launched by the San Diego Affiliation of Governments (SANDAG) this month present a 42% increase in bike trips all through the county. The info in contrast journeys from mid-March to mid-August in 2020 to the identical interval in 2019.
As well as, knowledge supplied 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, significantly with newer cyclists equivalent 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 trip 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, contains stops in Balboa Park, College Heights, North Park and Metropolis Heights.
“This may very well be a easy factor that you might begin doing on the weekend, and it is not a 20-mile commute however possibly simply beginning round your block within the neighborhood,” Tavera stated.
County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher stated 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 comply with trip a median 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 stated 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 conventional bicycle,” Fletcher stated. “So I feel we actually want to consider, as we come out of this, how can 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 secure infrastructure. That’s slowly altering — final week SANDAG opened its eighth roundabout included in two bike initiatives that traverse North Park, Regular Heights and Metropolis Heights. The roundabouts are supposed to decelerate vehicles and improve the visibility of cyclists.
SANDAG Government Director Hasan Ikhrata stated whereas the roundabouts are an enchancment on the established order, extra must be achieved.
“Finally we now have to get to a spot the place we work out easy methods to separate bikes from site visitors,” Ikhrata stated. “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 flexibility to trip 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 need to sacrifice any street house at the moment devoted to vehicles.
“We want our communities to be prepared to surrender one thing they bought used to,” Ikhrata stated.
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