Yesterday a young female cyclist was killed here in Newport Beach. She was on a corner I am frequently on when she was knocked off her bike and run over by a truck. She was killed instantly. I didn't know her, but even still my heart aches for losing yet another member of our cycling community. This has been far too common of late. What's the cause? More cyclists on the road? Distracted drivers texting? All of those things and more. We like to think of our community as "bike friendly" but in reality, this is far from the truth. Our roads are too narrow with too many cars. Full of tourists looking at the sights and residents impatiently trying to get around them. I know, for I am guilty of this myself.
One of the solution cyclists want is the painting of "sharrows" on our busiest roadways. I am torn on this. As a roadie I know I have the right to ride on any road. But that doesn't mean I do it. Truth be told, if there is a back way on a less traveled road or a bike path to take me there, I typically am on it. Sometimes this isn't the most challenging route, and I have to deal with dogs and runners and HORSES (in Newport!). But I still feel safest there. When I do venture out to PCH, the fact that I am riding my bike on a freeway is not lost on me, no matter how perfect the view.
Sharrows may work, and may help to prevent some of the tragic accidents seen lately, but is it a vicious cycle? Is frustrating impatient drivers the solution to to problem? And will this help or hurt the position of cyclists in our community? That remains to be seen.