California Bicycling Street Smarts

CAStreetsSmartsCalifornia finally has a booklet for bicyclists on safe bicycling techniques on public roads and streets. Produced by the San Diego Bicycle Coalition, the book is modeled after the Florida Bicycling Street Smarts booklet.

El original guide written by John S. Allen was used as the model, but the California booklet contains the laws that are specific to California riders.

The guide is available to all San Diegans at the Bicycle Coalition offices at 740 13th Street, Suite 220 or at any of their events, such as the upcoming Bike the Bay ride.

Editorial: Don't Be a Mass-Hole This Friday

The last Friday of every month is Critical Mass, an event in which thousands of bicyclists in cities around the world demonstrate their right to the roads. San Diego's Mass has grown substantially within the last year or so, typically topping 1,000 riders each month. With so many riders, there are bound to be a few who go off-message, or who show up to do something other than advocate for equal rights to the road. Unfortunately, a small subset of the riders who attend each month have temporarily succeeded in turning our local Critical Mass away from its positive agenda, and into something more like a raucous fratboy booze-cruise.

Perhaps this situation has evolved because there has not been a clear, positive concept of bicycle culture in San Diego to help shape the atmosphere of the ride. Some riders seem to arrive with a chip on their shoulders, angry at cars and drivers, and determined to "fuck things up" for everyone. This is not the goal of Critical Mass. Instead of yelling or laughing at drivers who have been stopped by the Mass, we should be smiling and waving. Instead of trying to intimidate drivers, we should be thanking them for their patience and assuring them that they will be on their way again soon. It's not yielding the important message of bicyclists' rights to be polite to drivers, it's just common decency.

Thuggery by bicyclists is not a valid response to thuggery by drivers. Sure, we all have our laundry list of wrongs done to us by inconsiderate motorists. We've been doored, turned into, pushed over, yelled at, honked at, and flipped off, but if we turn around and repeat these behaviors on the last Friday of every month, we do nothing to increase the positive perception of bicycling in our community. Indeed, acting like a Mass-hole increases the danger for every San Diego bicyclist, who may become the victims of an irate driver's misplaced, Mass-induced rage the next day or the next week. Critical Mass is about activism and advocacy, not animosity and anger. So, be an ambassador for bicycling in San Diego this Friday, and don't be a Mass-hole.

Bicycle Funding

Have you ever wondered how bicycling projects get funded in the San Diego area? Most of the funding for bicycling projects in San Diego come from the TransNet program.

The TransNet program is a state program created by a one-half cent sales tax which funds transportation improvement programs in California. Between 2008-2048, about $14 billion is expected to be distributed among highway, transit, and local road projects to reduce traffic congestion in San Diego County. In San Diego County, SANDAG (comprised of 18 area cities) administers these funds generated by the TransNet program. The program is set to expire in 2048. During the period 2008-2048, $0.28 billion will be spent on Bike and Pedestrian programs. In comparison, major highway & transit projects will get $4.67 billion.

For Fiscal Year 2010, $8.0 million is available for allocation toward non-motorized transportation projects in the San Diego area. Besides various studies that will be conducted to evaluate the feasibility of constructing bicycle and pedestrian facilities, some of the funding will go toward the installation of bicycle loop detectors in Districts 2, 3, 4, 7, and 8.

The California Juggernaut in The Congressional Bike Caucus

Out of the 53 California representatives, 24 belong to The Congressional Bike Caucus.

Founded by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, the Bike Caucus' mission is:

To provide Congressional leadership in complementing the efforts of the millions of cyclists actively working for safer roads, more bikeways, convenient bike parking and increased recognition of the importance of cycling for transportation and recreation.

Closer to home, Rep. Susan Davis representing the 53rd Congressional District, and Rep. Bob Filner representing the 51st Congressional District are both members of the Bike Caucus.

On August 29th, 2009, Rep. Davis will be attending the Green Jobs Forum here in San Diego. The workshop will be held at 3910 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92105. Rep. Davis has been asked to address increasing transportation investment for non-motorized transportation. We hope that she will do so and thus ensure that San Diego becomes a world class city for bicycling.

A Haven for Sporting Goods Manufacturers and Bike Builders

San Diegan entrepreneurs know how to take advantage of the excellent climate and geographical terrain available to them. "Sporting-goods manufacturers employ about 3,400 people in San Diego and Riverside counties, and pay annual wages of $190 million, according to state data."

These manufacturers include San Diego's growing number of bicycle manufacturers who produce between between "2,000 to 100,000 frames per year." Brands include Electra y Ellsworth Handcrafted Bikes.

Read more about San Diego's growing bike manufacturers here.