MARK ENMEIER, Candidate for San Clemente City Council
Almost everyone in the city has an “almost” incident with an e-bike, whether that be, “I almost hit one,” or, “I almost got hit.” For more and more residents, that “almost” is becoming a reality.
It is time for our city to take a more comprehensive approach before more incidents occur. While the city has taken some positive steps toward a safer cohabitation between riders and motorists, there is still a lot of room for improvement.
Our city has implemented some e-bike safety education opportunities. This includes creating PSAs, a bicycle rodeo, and elementary school outreach. As well-intentioned as they may be, the information is not being received by those who need to hear it most.
When I asked my students (I teach at SCHS) about the city-provided education opportunities, they looked at me in bewilderment. We need to find a better way of communication to make sure that every young rider knows the rules of the road.
Creating a permit program that works in collaboration with our schools and youth groups is one option. What we can’t afford to do, though, is wait and hope that our youth will want to become responsible riders on their own.
Carlsbad is an example of a city that has taken some practical steps that we could model. When two cyclists died in August, coupled with a 233% increase in bike vehicle collisions since 2019, they decided to ratify $2 million in emergency funds to address traffic safety.
They also received a $5 million grant in federal funding for the construction of traffic circles, pedestrian crossings, streetlights, bike lanes, and other safety improvements. We should be following their example to bring some much-needed, quality-of-life improvements to our town.
San Clemente has an incredible opportunity to address this growing issue with common-sense solutions. Sheriffs, parents, riders, vendors, schools, and government officials need to find a path forward together. We work best when we work together.