Foto Friday: San Diego’s Bike Train

San Diego can be a tough place to ride when one has to share road space with big trucks. Photo: Veronica Medina
San Diego can be a tough place to ride when one has to share road space with big trucks. Photo: Veronica Medina

Mid-City now has a bike train thanks to the pioneering efforts of two women, Veronica Medina and Sandra Pimentel, who were recently featured in the Uptown News.

Uptown News’ Morgan Hurley writes,

As a main corridor of Uptown, University Avenue runs approximately 10 miles from La Mesa in East County to Mission Hills, and has long been deemed an unsafe roadway for bicyclists. Until the proposed changes regarding bicycle infrastructure along University Avenue take place, commuters either tough it out or find alternative routes to make their way across town.

With Bike Train, an alternative now exists.

“There is a need for people to feel safe when they are commuting,” Medina said. “We’ve been asked, ‘Why University? Can we go on Howard … or Orange?’ We made a decision; we want to be visible and we want to have the most direct route to get to wherever we need to go instead of going out of our way and feel safe doing so.”

Safety in numbers is the concept that the San Diego Bike Train is implementing, and this is a relationship first articulated in 1949 by Reuben Jacob Smeed. This relationship is now known as Smeed’s Law, now a truism. In 2003, this truism was further detailed in the British Medical Journal in a paper titled “Safety in numbers: more walkers and bicyclists, safer walking and bicycling” which concluded,

A motorist is less likely to collide with a person walking and bicycling if more people walk or bicycle. Policies that increase the numbers of people walking and bicycling appear to be an effective route to improving the safety of people walking and bicycling.

Today the Netherlands is exalted for their high percentage of bicycling rates. But the road to a safer and more livable communities came at the cost of many lives lost and a long hard fight to obtain and created dedicated safe spaces for people.

While we work to transform San Diego into a city that allows us all to travel on our roads without fear of bodily harm or death, two women are creating temporary safe places to travel on two wheels along University Avenue. Below is a video that will give you an idea of what to expect and the amount of work needed to change our city’s streescape. For more information or to just jump aboard the train, visit their Facebook page to learn more.