OCEANSIDE — Dozens of south Oceanside neighbors gathered at The Cup coffee shop on Nov. 24 to strategize steps to bring about safe bike routes to schools.
The meeting was prompted by the tragic collision that killed middle school student Logan Lipton while he was riding his bike to school a month ago.
Mindy Martin, Regis Farr and Bess Singleton, who are close friends and neighbors to the Lipton family, led the group discussion.
Martin shared an overview of what could be done to ensure a safe bike route between north and south Oceanside. The long-term goal is to add protected bike lanes to Coast Highway 101.
Martin said the Coastal Rail Trail also needs to be completed. A key section is undeveloped between Oceanside Boulevard and Morse Street.
She said the city plans to finish the bike and pedestrian trail, but residents need to push City Council to make it a priority.
Martin also listed safety improvements that need to be made, which include painted-in bike lanes, lane dividers between bikes and traffic and posted safety signs that remind drivers to share the road.
Martin said she will be meeting with Councilwoman Esther Sanchez and city engineers next week to determine what can be done.
She said the group also needs to push for speed enforcement along Coast Highway 101, and a possible speed reduction.
“We’re desperate for a way to prevent this from happening again,” Martin said.
The spirit of the group was supportive and optimistic.
“We will make things happen for one of the nicest little guys I met in my life,” Oceanside resident Seth Aichle said.
Fundraising plans to further efforts were shared.
Farr said planning is underway to launch the first fundraising event in February. Donations of food and drink are needed, and artists and entertainers are being sought.
The long-term goal is to have an annual Live for Logan 5k run and surf contest to support bike route improvements indefinitely.
Singleton shared the group’s marketing strategies, which include recruiting volunteers, and a letter writing campaign to City Council.
“There are small things we can do right now,” Singleton said.
Postcards that explain the cause were available at the meeting to sign and send to City Council members. There was also a volunteer signup sheet.
Martin said volunteers are needed to persuade businesses with driveways to Coast Highway to put in stop signs and mirrors.
“We may need to offer to pay for that,” Martin said. “It’s difficult, but not unachievable.”
Martin said volunteers are also needed to build business alliances, which would display posters and be pickups spot for cause postcards.
She said another goal is to have a teacher and parent liaison at every school site to promote safe bike routes and involve students.
Sanchez and Councilman Chuck Lowery attended the community meeting.
Sanchez has been a longtime proponent of narrowing Coast Highway 101 and adding protected bike lanes.
“You have two council members here because we care,” Sanchez said.
Lowery said if things are expedited city bike lanes could be painted-in within three months.
He added a bigger problem is there currently are no bikes lanes along Coast Highway.
More information on the group can be found on the The Logan Lipton Bike Path Initiative Facebook page.