The Coast News Group

Safety efforts expanded for Bike to Work Day

OCEANSIDE — Plans are underway to celebrate Bike to Work Day in May including free water bottles, bike safety seminars and advice on best routes. The city is going all out in its efforts to promote safe bike riding with the help of a $3,000 I Commute Bike to Work mini-grant.

Howard LaGrange, city bicycle and pedestrian coordinator, said in previous years Oceanside has celebrated the day with a free guided bike tour, safety classes and hosted bike pit stops.

With the help of grant funds numerous events will take place before, during and after this year’s Bike to Work Day on May 17.

The city Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee will promote Bike to Work Day at Thursday Farmers Market and Sunset Market gatherings three weeks prior to the event. Water bottles with the city seal and Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community moniker will be given to the first 1,000 cyclists who sign up to participate in Bike to Work Day.

Free bike safety and route selection seminars and lunch will be provided to attendees at May 14 and May 16 classes at the Oceanside Public Library.

On May 17 Bike to Work Day pit stops will be hosted at City Hall, Mance Buchanon Park and the Rancho del Oro Sprinter station.

Adult bike education classes on safe riding techniques and bike commuting will be offered later in the year.

City long-term efforts to promote safe bike riding have earned Oceanside recognition as a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community from the League of American Bicyclists.

LaGrange said year-round bike friendly efforts include education programs for elementary school students and adults, the annual Bike the Coast Ride, an active city Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and infrastructure improvements.

A bike corral is part of the city’s weekly Sunset Market, and 64 bike racks have been added the downtown area.

The city has also set up bike repair stations at the pier, Visit Oceanside on Coast Highway and Mance Buchanan Park. The stations provide specialized bike tools and an air pump for cyclists to use.

Rider safety has been improved with the addition of buffered bike lanes, shallow markings, the extension of the San Luis Rey Bike Trail from College Boulevard to Santa Fe Avenue and furthering the Coastal Rail Trail from Wisconsin Avenue to Oceanside Boulevard.

LaGrange said the Coastal Rail Trail through the city is nearly completed. SANDAG and city funds have built trail sections stretching from Morse Street to Vista Way, the NCTD transit station to Wisconsin Avenue and a recent addition from Wisconsin Avenue to Oceanside Boulevard.

The missing trail link from Oceanside Boulevard to Morse Street is in its initial stages of development. It is estimated to cost $8 million and requires a bridge across Loma Alta Marsh. The city is in process of pursuing a SANDAG grant to fund the project’s environmental impact report and 30 percent of design costs. A Caltrans grant for project construction will be applied for next year.

LaGrange said once it’s built the Loma Alta Marsh trail extension will complete 95 percent of the Coastal Rail Trail through Oceanside.

The I Commute Bike to Work mini-grant was awarded Feb. 16.