CARLSBAD — The city continues its effort to make the streets of Carlsbad safer for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers by teaming up with a local cycling group to offer free bike-safety classes.
The city has partnered with the San Diego County Bike Coalition to host the classes on March 25 and April 22 at Pine Avenue Community Center. The classes run from 9 a.m. to noon focusing on proper riding techniques, safety tips, laws of the road and more with a certified instructor, according to Nikki Matosian, the city’s community relations manager.
Matosian said the classes are part of a broader campaign — Safer Streets Together — which resulted from a state of emergency declared by the City Council in August after two fatal collisions involving cyclists. Each class is limited to 20-30 people, but if more register than capacity allows, the city will add more classes.
Kevin Baross of the San Diego County Bike Coalition said these classes are growing in popularity, and the courses in Carlsbad will have three one-hour sessions, including a one-hour lecture, one-hour riding practice and a one-hour ride throughout the Village and Barrio neighborhoods.
“There is information here for everybody,” Baross said. “It’s on all sides where this change has to occur. We all use the same streets, and sharing the road goes both ways.”
Baross and Matosian said the final ride would also include stops to point out how road infrastructure, vehicles and bike meet, also known as conflict areas, along with navigating things like busy intersections and traffic circles. For example, green paint along bike paths or separated green paint allows for both a bike and a vehicle in the same lane.
Baross said he has three goals for the class: predictability, visibility and sound decisions. He said that for cyclists and motorists, paying attention and looking ahead can help predict an action.
As for visibility, he said both vehicles and cyclists must ensure they have the proper gear and lights to ensure each can see the other. And good decisions come with understanding the rules of the road, how to read road and street signs, and being aware of the surroundings.
“There’s definitely been a good interest in these classes,” Matosian said. “We’re telling you the rules of the road but also providing hands-on experience to get out there with your own bike.”
As for other goals with the coalition, Baross said those include increasing the number of people using bikes for recreation and transportation and reducing collisions. Matosian said the current program is part of an educational component for the city regarding its latest campaign. She said it takes everyone to ensure safer streets for motorists and cyclists.
Baross said the coalition had seen success with its partnership with the city and Carlsbad Unified School District through public outreach, such as passing out fliers at schools, hosting assemblies and reaching adults through the Parent University. In addition, the coalition, city, CUSD and Circulate San Diego are hosting a one-hour webinar at 6 p.m. on March 16.
The webinar will cover causes and prevention of collisions, talking to kids about safety, e-bike rules and how to motivate teens to follow traffic rules, to name a few.