San Diego County Bicycle Coalition (SDCBC), which “advocates for and protects the rights of all people who ride bicycles,” was welcomed into our community in 2009, when its director began attending meetings of the Coronado Ad-Hoc Bicycle Committee, the precursor to our present Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC). So ingratiated did SDCBC become in Coronado’s biking advocacy that when Coronado’s Ad-Hoc Bicycle Committee unveiled its 2011 Bicycle Master Plan, it retroactively claimed SDCBC’s director (who didn’t live in Coronado) as one of its committee members.

Coronado’s 2011 Bicycle Master Plan, in turn, spawned the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, which held its inaugural meeting in December 2011, and since that time, SDCBC’s executive director has been a frequent contributor, attending BAC meetings and influencing the committee’s actions. From time to time, SDCBC’s executive director also attends City Council meetings to advocate for expanded bike infrastructure in Coronado (and to criticize Council decisions that don’t support SDCBC’s agenda). 

By way of background, San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, despite its lofty-sounding name, is not an official alliance; SDCBC is a self-appointed interloper, intent on invading San Diego communities to impose its cycling agenda on others. Unfortunately, with SDCBC influencing its actions, BAC became a proponent for proposals that would– coincidentally – advance San Diego’s ability to cycle through our community:

• Traffic lights on Third and Fourth Streets: To ease the transition between the Ferry Landing and the Strand’s Bayshore Bikeway, which encircles San Diego Bay, routing cyclists back to San Diego. 

• Bike lanes on residential streets: So out-of-town cyclists could be guided along a “loop” around the city (again, with the Ferry Landing as an anchoring access point).

• A beach bike path as part of the loop: Ostensibly to mitigate the “danger” of riding bikes on Ocean Avenue; in truth, bike accidents on Ocean Avenue have been practically nil, three in the past five years, with two the fault of cyclists.

What else do Coronadans need to know about SDCBC?

• Although SDCBC loves to involve itself in Coronado’s business, it doesn’t like Coronadans in its business: A request to make public SDCBC’s grant sources has been ignored.

• SDCBC, meanwhile (according to its published tax returns), does receive “government grants” (albeit unidentified ones), which means that Coronado taxpayer money helps pay for SDCBC’s uninvited, self-serving, and disruptive advocacy in our community.

• Despite this, SDCBC can probably be credited with the September 2015 KPBS television report that ridiculed residents’ opposition to painted bike markings on every street. One only has to google “San Diego County Bicycle Coalition and KPBS” to uncover SDCBC’s entrenched collaboration with San Diego’s public television/radio affiliate; and an SDCBC insider revealed that a KPBS representative regularly attends SDCBC meetings.

• According to this SDCBC insider, it was at one of these meetings that KPBS and SDCBC proposed taking the Coronado story to the national level via the LA market. There it found a home on CBS’s Late Late Show in a monologue that mockingly vilified Coronado citizens and even our mayor.  

• Soon after, on Oct. 17, 2015, SDCBC organized a “two-wheel posse” protest ride in Coronado, orchestrated “to demand forward progress with the city’s Bike Master Plan” and to “make bike safety a priority.” This, from a group that has no investment in Coronado whatsoever and advocates against a mandatory helmet law for adults (as the executive director proclaimed: “There’s no proof that mandatory helmet use causes a reduction in trauma and injury). In addition, Coronado residents captured in videos the SDCBC “posse” repeatedly blowing through stop signs (so much for safety!).

• If you doubt SDCBC’s advocacy for non-Coronadans, just look to SDCBC’s executive director’s Oct. 7, 2015, letter to the editor in the Eagle & Journal in which he expressed his concern for “the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to the city [Coronado] and ride their bikes,” along with SDCBC’s commitment to a plan [in Coronado] that “seeks to increase ridership.” If you think the “hundreds of thousands” of bike riders arrive in Coronado via the Strand or ferry – not likely. Check out Strand parking on weekends, where vehicles are frequently unloading bicycles. Heck, even on my out-of-the-way block, it’s not uncommon to see cyclists taking bikes from the back of cars or pickup trucks (so much for cycling in Coronado as a way to reduce traffic).

• Beyond that, SDCBC, in interviews and via its own press releases, has flagrantly inflated Coronado bike accident statistics for its own ends, repeatedly reporting (and with implied authority) that “between 2005 and 2013, there were 803 collisions between bicycles and cars, motorcycles, or trucks [in Coronado].” Perhaps, not surprisingly, KPBS is in lockstep with this deceptive assessment, per StreetsblogUSA/September 24, 2015: “According to KPBS, from 2005 to 2013, bicyclists were struck by motor vehicle drivers more than 800 times in Coronado.” In truth, according to Coronado’s annual traffic reports, there was a total of 146 bike-related accidents in that 9-year period (roughly 16 per year). In addition, in 2013, according to the Coronado Police Department, of the 23 bike accidents that year, 16 were the cyclists’ fault (about 70 percent, very in keeping with the Ocean Avenue numbers mentioned above).

• Despite all this, SDCBC is “partnering” in Coronado’s “Safe Routes to School Program,” being paid to teach our kids bike safety, this from an organization that has an open contempt for Coronadans, a disregard for stop signs during its organized rides in our community, and a shameful stance on the merits of bike helmets.

In conclusion: There is $180,000 waiting in the wings to develop a new Coronado Bicycle Master Plan ($90,000 in a grant from SANDAG; $90,000 in Coronado matching funds). Please know that San Diego County Bicycle Coalition will take an active interest in this process, and its priorities will, no doubt, be re-proposed: More street striping; expanded bike infrastructure along the beach; and traffic lights on Third and Fourth streets.

Stay tuned!

(5) comments

sdurban

This might be the most provincial piece I've ever read. Quite a feat for San Diego - congratulations Ms. Donovan!

SDCBC isn't "imposing its will", it's simply trying to make conditions safer for people on bikes. Ms. Donovan suggests they are safe enough, but that certainly hasn't been my experience in Coronado (I bike in via the ferry or Bayshore Bikeway, no car required). Perhaps she could describe her biking experiences, if she has any?

The absolutely ridiculous statements against bike lanes by residents deserved to be vilified. Coronado has rightfully earned its status as a national laughingstock. Ms Donovan's article is just the latest example of the incredible selfishness of some Coronado residents, who put unfounded property value concerns over the safety of their own children who bike to school.

SDGIS

I just can't take this seriously.

Funisnumberone

I don't live n Coronado and have no dog in this fight, but it seems to me that the large disparity in the accident statistics provided by SDCBC and the actual numbers diminishes the legitimacy and integrity of that organization. That alone would be enough for me to ask them to politely leave any city policy-making to the residents and elected officials.

In general, I feel that bicyclists have developed a strong sense of entitlement to our roads while routinely disobeying the accompanying laws and common courtesies. They routinely run stop signs and travel in unsafe packs that cross over the lines designed to protect them.

TheHauntedMan

How dare those, those, those COMMON people intrude into our idyllic playground. So bourgeois. I think we should limit access to only those with a proven income in excess of $5Million (USD of course).

Tomash

Here we go. Those of us who pay property taxes to live in a nice area are TERRIBLE people because we want a say in how much trash we have to clean up after our friendly visitors from the east leave. Take a glance at our beaches any late-afternoon Sunday and see how big a welcome mat would be out if it were your neighborhood. Suggestion: SDCBC should stripe up their own neighborhoods, and let us decide what to do with ours.

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