photo of Nicole's touring bike.

Why I Ride - message from our new board president

Inaugural message from Nicole Burgess, new BikeSD board president.

If you know me, you know I love to ride. From near to far, in flips or Uggs, nothing
beats the beauty of pedaling for a cause.

Whether it’s pedaling for my groceries or to advocate for better bike infrastructure,
the best reward is for my mind, body, and soul.

Enjoying morning smiles, head nods, and waves among other riders, walkers, and
friends on the road while feeling gratitude for living in a beautiful city with amazing
views in all directions.

I ride to keep my body moving and in good shape while protecting and embracing our
beautiful environments. I immediately feel the stress being released as I begin to
pedal into the fresh air and can’t imagine a better place to be.

This all happens while going from one place to another. And with my new role as
President of BikeSD, it is my hope that I can inspire and create safe paths for
others to enjoy commuting by bike. Please join me and BikeSD on this adventure to
make San Diego a wonderful place to ride, live, and explore.

Ride more. Ride often. Ride with BikeSD.


Poster of for stolen bike with drawing of a missing bike in black marking pen.

Heartbroken Over a Stolen Bike

Poster of for stolen bike

I know the feeling all too well: that awful, sinking emotion when you realize your bike has been stolen. It's never easy to have your personal belongings stolen, not least when it's your main mode of transportation. It is frustrating. It is a violation. And it is wrong.

There are many things that people that own bikes can do to prevent being a victim of bike theft. Bikes are an easy target for thieves. So it's up to you, the rider, to take extra care of your bike to ensure it is safe and out of reach from these sticky fingers.

Ten tips for bike security:

1. Do this right now: take photo and serial number.

Take a picture of your bike and the serial number. Keep this info on your phone or somewhere safe but make sure you have this info. You can enter this information on the website of the National Bike Registry (529 Garage) as well. You will need the serial number to report a stolen bike. The serial number really is the only way for police to find a bike's owner.

2. Ride your bike often.

The more you ride it, the less time they have to steal it.

3. Always keep your third eye on your bike.

Park where you can see it. Just because bike racks are around the corner does not mean you have to use them. Instead find a pole that is right out front where people can see it.

4. Use a good lock.

A cable lock is easy to cut and one should never rely on a cable lock to prevent a local thief. A u-lock (example: Abus Granite X) or folding lock (example: Abus Bordo) is recommended. Investing in a proper lock is a wise investment.

5. Add plenty of bells and whistles to your bike.

Deck out your bike and give it moxie. Extras on a bike create a paper trail for thieves. Thieves prefer an easy, clean bike and don’t want to deal with all the extras. Give your bike character and the perception that you are right around the corner.

6. Don’t leave your bike unattended for long periods of time.

Store your bike safely at your house. An unlocked bike on the side of a house is an easy target for bike thieves so take your bikes inside. If you are confined to a small space, consider your bike your best piece of wall art and hang it proudly over the couch. If you ride to work, encourage your employer to provide a secure place for bikes.

7. If your bike is stolen, report it to your local police.

This is so important and valuable. Creating a report is simple and can be done online in San Diego. If there is no report, then technically there was no bike stolen. Please make a report if your bike is stolen, otherwise no-one will know, enforcement will be limited, and bikes will continue to be stolen from our community. You will have a better opportunity to get your bike recovered if you can provide serial number. A police report will also be required if you decide to file an insurance claim as many homeowners and renters insurance policies will help cover the cost of stolen bikes.

8. Keep an eye out for your stolen bike.

Often your stolen bike never leaves your community. I have recovered a bike six months after it had been stolen and still check every black beach cruiser as if it could be my lost childhood treasure that went missing a few years ago. Be optimistic and look out for it. It may just come back to you when you least expect it.

9. Use social media to bring awareness.

Neighbors are your best allies. Post on Nextdoor, check Craigslist, and send to your social network. Creating signs stating "Reward for Stolen" work great.  It did help me recover a stolen bicycle in Ocean Beach.

10. Bike share.

If you are still discouraged with bike ownership due to fear of it being stolen, or just haven't got around to replacing a stolen bike, I recommend bike share (such as Jump bikes). With the recent roll out of dockless bikes, there are more opportunities to enjoy our city by bike. With bike sharing, there's no need to worry about having a bike stolen, maintenance, or a lack of space to store a bike. It can be a wonderful transportation option for residents and a way to embrace all the benefits of a bike.

For the unfortunate ones that have been victim of their bike being stolen, I am sorry for your loss and understand the agony. Time will make it easier and realize that there are far worse things that can happen in the world. Hopefully you had some memorable rides on your bike. And that you're able to find it or replace your lost set of wheels to get you back on the road soon.

Keep your bike secure, enjoy the ride, and ride often.

Your Bike Friend,

Nicole BurgessNicole
BikeSD Board Member


Cover slide of the Gilman Drive road diet presentation, November 2018, by Judi Tentor

Is it time to ditch the phrase "Road Diet"?

A four-lane road, Gilman Drive in La Jolla near the Univ. of California San Diego (UCSD), recently had new sewer lines installed. A stretch of this newly-repaved road was three weeks away from getting re-striped when BikeSD mobilized to have the speed limit reduced and buffered bike lanes added.

BikeSD had tentative support for this change of striping from staff at UCSD. But after BikeSD's executive director presented plans for a road diet to the local community advisory group, UCSD was upset. They felt BikeSD had pulled a fast one on them by switching from a “re-striping” to a “road diet.” They weren't sure they could or would support a "road diet" on Gilman Drive.

UCSD's reaction isn't surprising to road safety advocates. Very often, when average people — car drivers — hear the phrase "road diet," they have negative reactions. The word "diet" means reducing and restricting. A traditional diet may reduce carbs; a road diet reduces cars. A traditional diet may squeeze down your waistline; a road diet squeezes the room around your car.

While notions like reducing cars and squeezing the roadway appeal to bike and safety advocates, these phrases have no positive connotation to people on a community boards, traffic engineers, or average folks who depend on driving. Simply put: when advocates use the phrase "road diet" we conjure up the wrong imagery in the ears of our listeners.

On top of that, everyone knows: "Diets don't work."

So maybe it's time to ditch the phrase "road diet." And time to ditch the phrase "traffic calming" as well. ("Traffic calming" sounds like a plan to have drivers just settle in and wait out the slow snarl of traffic while meditating. No driver wants to hear about how a street design will slow down, calm, or involve "traffic.")

It's time to adopt better phrasing for this important work.

I'd like to propose a new framework and term: M.O.S.T.

Mobility-
Oriented
Safety
Treatment

We all want to get the MOST out of our roadways.

Just about every element of a road diet is also a treatment to expand the use and users of a road. A roundabout reduces the need for stop signs, allowing better flow through intersections for both cars and bicycles. Buffered mid-speed lanes (aka bike lanes) increase the capacity of a street by accommodating bikes, scooters, and congestion-reducing methods of getting down the street. Bulbouts and curb ramps make traveling on foot or by wheelchair more pleasant and safe, thereby increasing the likelihood for walking (fewer cars), reducing the need for paratransit vehicles (fewer vans), shortening pedestrian crossing times for people at intersections, etc.

Almost every road diet element is also safety-enhancing step. The problem is that the phrase "road diet" fails to capture any notion of increasing safety. 'Diet' inherently sounds like less rather than more. In reality, we're talking about enhancements, not reductions.

MOST is about getting the most out of our road space. MOST street design focuses on maximizing the number of ways people can use a street. Roads which get the MOST design are safer than traditional road layouts. More importantly, a MOST street serves the greatest amount of people -- not just one type of user (typically cars). When we pitch to audiences about bringing the MOST to a street design, we're talking about expanding the road to its greatest, safest capacity.

MOST, as a phrase and a framework, reminds everyone (car drivers, walkers, folks, bikers, scooter users, the disabled, parents with strollers...) that we share a common goal: getting the most value from our shared street space. Who wouldn't want the MOST for their roads?