ENCINITAS — After the city was unable to host a Cyclovia event last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Encinitas locals and visitors were excited to participate in the car-free event in downtown Encinitas over the weekend.
Cyclovia Encinitas temporarily closed off motor-vehicle access along a portion of Coast Highway 101 to allow cyclists, pedestrians and other non-motorized travelers to enjoy the roadway without cars.
Pierce Lee, an Oceanside resident who only heard of the event from a friend the night before, was happy to dust off his bike to take advantage of the opportunity.
“Oh this is awesome, being able to just come out on a beautiful day here and ride right in the middle of Coast Highway with my son here is a dream,” Lee said. “I wish they could do things like this more often. It would probably get me to use this bike more.”
According to the city, Lee was one of at least 4,000 people who visited Cyclovia Encinitas over the course of the afternoon.
“A lot of people from Encinitas and all over the county enjoyed getting out on 101,” said Nick Buck, the city’s special events and projects supervisor. “(It) was great to see many people from Encinitas and all over San Diego County smiling and enjoying Cyclovia on Coast Highway by bike, on foot, skates and scooters.
The city said the event ran smoothly, despite having to tow a car from the roadway prior to the event, and saw no major incidents involving bikes or pedestrians.
Brandon Kimball, a Leucadia resident, didn’t have a bike to bring out to the event but still loved the opportunity to walk down Coast Highway and see the different kinds of bicycles and other modes of transportation on display.
“There was a group of guys going down earlier with a boom box just cruising and everyone was loving it,” Kimball said. “If they’re doing it again next year I’ll have to remember to get a bike before.”
The outdoor event took place amid a recent surge in the omicron variant of COVID-19 and masks were encouraged for those in attendance. The city also offered a vaccination station operated by AMR Ambulance. The city said the station received almost 60 walkups for a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Which is good for them. They average 30 to 40 at similar clinics,” Buck said.
The city hopes to continue the event, a partnership with the city’s Environmental Commission the Traffic and Public Safety Commission, with support from the local bike coalitions and Encinitas 101 Main Street Association, as an annual affair after skipping last year due to the pandemic.
The city first held the event in January of 2020. Encinitas says the event is intended to promote mobility and the city’s Climate Action Plan.