Commentary: Keep cyclists safe from traffic lanes

Don’t making cycling more dangerous.

“The recent deaths of two women cyclists have shocked the entire community”, stated the Newport Beach Citizens Bicycle Safety Committee in the fall edition of the Corona del Mar Residents Assn. Newsletter. “We all mourn this tragic loss, but the planned solution will increase danger to cyclists rather than making them safer.”

The newsletter says parked cars represent a hazard to cyclists — explaining that if someone opens a car door without looking, the cyclist gets “doored.”

Their solution is to move the bicyclists out into traffic lanes on Coast Highway and others, among and between two-ton-plus cars and trucks. The cyclists recently killed were not “doored.” They were hit by trucks on Coast Highway and Newport Coast Drive, both main thoroughfares.

While most people pay attention while driving, of the many thousands of cars using Coast Highway, the law of averages says that some will be texting, arguing on a cell phone, applying makeup, eating, dealing with spilled hot coffee, or otherwise not looking where they’re going.

If the cyclists and their supporters have their way, the cyclists will have a right to ride in traffic lanes, using sharrows (i.e. Share the Road lanes). No matter who has the right-of-way, when an auto or truck and bicycle collide, the cyclist always loses! Allowing cyclists to operate as, and with, cars and trucks is contrary to bicycle safety.

To address the “dooring” problem, look at ways to warn cyclists and the parallel-parkers along Coast Highway and other busy thoroughfares about that problem, but don’t move the cyclists out into traffic! Common sense dictates that moving cyclists into these busy thoroughfares increases the danger to cyclists and the chance of more of them will be severely injured, or killed.

MALCOLM READ lives in Corona del Mar.