Bike Safe! Drive Safe!

Bike Safe Everyday

While you should always bike and drive safe, on Thursday October 5th, 2017 the San Luis Obispo Police Department will step up bicycle safety enforcement operations with focused enforcement on collision-causing factors involving both people driving cars and people riding bicycles. Special patrols will be deployed to crack down on all people who violate traffic laws meant to protect all roadway users.

The SLO Police department has mapped out locations from over the past 3 years where bicycle involved collisions have occurred and noted the violations that led to those crashes. SLOPD officers will be looking for violations made by people driving automobiles and people riding bikes that can lead to life changing injuries.

The following safety tips can save lives and traffic citations:

People who drive Motor Vehicle Drivers:

– ‘Share the road’ with people on bicycles
– Be courteous; California law now mandates at least three feet of clearance when passing a bike rider
– Look for people riding bicycles before opening a car door or pulling out from a parking space
– Yield to people riding bicycles at intersections and as directed by signs and signals
– Be especially watchful for bicycle riders when making turns, either left or right

People who drive bicycles:

– Wear properly fitted bicycle helmets every time they ride. If under 18 years of age, it’s the law
– A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash
– People riding bicycles are considered vehicle operators; they are required to obey the same rules of the road as other people driving motor vehicles, including obeying traffic signs, signals, and lane markings.
– When cycling in the street, people riding bikes must ride in the same direction as traffic.
– People riding bikes should increase their visibility to drivers by wearing fluorescent or brightly colored clothing during the day, and at dawn and dusk
– To be noticed when riding at night, the law requires a front light and a red reflector to the rear
– For additional safety, use a flashing rear light, and use retro-reflective tape or markings on equipment or clothing

Advocacy Alert

SLO City Alert! ACT TODAY!

Tell SLO City Council

Keep bike projects moving forward

Tonight SLO City Council will be reviewing staff budget recommendations that put the brakes on bike projects which were deemed high priorities in the budget priority process two years ago. It is important to reach out to City Council before 11 a.m. TODAY, or to attend the second part of the SLO City Council meeting this evening starting at 8 p.m. to comment directly to City Council to make sure that these projects don’t stall.

Whether you are sending email or commenting in person, please always remember to be respectful and to thank the City Council for the previous work to connect and expand the city’s bicycle transportation network.

Talking points:

  • I am part of the 20 percent dedicated to helping the city meet its 20 percent trips-by-bike goal.
  • In the last budget cycle, the City Council funded feasibility studies for three projects: 1) Safe Routes to School for Pacheco and Bishop’s Peak Elementary Schools, 2) a bicycle/pedestrian crossing on Foothill Boulevard at Ferrini Road and 3) the Broad Street Bicycle Boulevard. Please follow through and allocate funding for improvements recommended in the studies. Finish what has been started to provide a more safe and convenient connection for people living on the north side of the city to downtown.
  • Please delay the Penny Lane bridge over the Union Pacific RR tracks project and allocate the funding to the Safe Routes to Schools, Foothill/Ferrini crossing and Broad Street Bicycle Boulevard projects. This project is a temporary fix and the funds are better spent on shovel ready projects.
  • Thank you for securing the grant for the Railroad Safety Trail segment from Taft Street to Pepper Street, including the bridge over the railroad tracks behind California Highway Patrol headquarters. Support staff’s recommendation for a feasibility study for the next segment from Pepper Street to the Amtrak station. Complete the Railroad Safety Trail to provide a complete network for people on bikes and pedestrians between Cal Poly and downtown and eventually Orcutt Road.
  • Support staff’s recommendation to place a higher priority on the Bob Jones Trail segment between Oceanaire and Calle Joaquin over the segment from LOVR to the Octagon Barn because of limited funds. But please insist that the next budget cycle must fund the segment from Los Osos Valley Road to the Octagon Barn in anticipation of the opening of the Octagon Barn for public use, pending approval of the Avila Ranch and San Luis Ranch developments and extension of the county’s segment of the trail from the Octagon Barn to the Ontario Road staging area.
  • Please fund a feasibility study of a Highway 101 at Marsh Street Crossing to determine the best fix to the gap in the bicycle transportation network between downtown San Luis Obispo and the Laguna Lake area. Without this vital connection in the City’s bicycle transportation network, more people will choose to travel between downtown and the Laguna Lake area by personal motor vehicle for safety reasons even though the distance is easily covered by bicycle or on foot. The existing crossing to the Madonna bike path is so perilous that experienced bicyclists avoid it, and Laguna Middle School students rarely consider it as a viable option for safe travel to school. The proposed San Luis Ranch development is only responsible for its fair share of transportation improvements, and fixing this gap is not included.
  • Support continuation of $100,000 annually for miscellaneous bike projects and $60,000 annually for maintenance of bike/pedestrian facilities.

If you cannot attend the hearing, please e-mail the Mayor and City Council at:, preferably before 11 a.m. today. Address your e-mails to Mayor Harmon and City Council Members Christianson, Gomez, Pease and Rivoire.

Or you can send e-mails to each member individually:

Mayor Heidi Harmon:
Carlyn Christianson:
Aaron Gomez:
Andy Pease:
Dan Rivoire:

Remember, public comments on SLO City staff’s recommendations on the 2017-19 budget cycle will not be accepted until approximately 8 p.m. or later. The 4 p.m. session is for the staff presentation only. If you really want to attend and comment in person, a good strategy is to watch the meeting live from home on Charter Cable Government Access Channel 20 or streamed online via the City Council website at: Time your appearance on when the discussion on a petition to repeal or replace the rental housing inspection program is coming to a close.

Thank You!

Bicycle in Bike Lane on Santa Rosa St

SLO PD to focus on Bike Safety

Bike and Drive Smart on Thursday, February 4th (and every other day of the year…)

The San Luis Obispo Police Department will step up their bike safety enforcement operations on Thursday, February 4th, with focused enforcement on collision-causing factors bike safety stop signinvolving motorists and bicycle riders. Special patrols will be deployed to crack down on drivers and bicyclists who violate traffic laws meant to protect all roadway users.

The Police Department has mapped out locations from over the past three years where bicycle-involved collisions have occurred and noted the violations that led to those crashes. Officers will be looking for violations made by car drivers and bike riders alike that can lead to life changing injuries.

The following safety tips can save lives and should be practiced every day, not just on days of increased police enforcement, and not just in the City of San Luis Obispo:

Car Drivers:

  • Yield to cyclists at intersections and as directed by signs and signals. Failure to yield is the #1 reason for accidents when cars are at fault
  • ‘Share the road’ with bicyclists
  • Be courteous; California law now mandates at least three feet of clearance when passing bike riders
  • Look for cyclists before opening a car door or pulling out from a driveway or parking space
  • Be especially watchful for riders when making turns, either left or right
  • Be predictable, use turn signals
  • Obey traffic signals, speed limits and stop signs

Bicycle Drivers:

  • When cycling in the street, cyclists must drive in the same direction as traffic. Wrong way cycling is the #1 reason for accidents when bicycles are at fault
  • Don’t ride on sidewalks. People and cars aren’t looking for you there (and it’s illegal in the City of SLO)
  • Be predictable, signal turns and stops with your hands
  • When possible, make eye contact with drivers
  • Bicycle Drivers are considered vehicle operators; you are required to obey the same rules of the road as other vehicle operators, including obeying traffic signs, stop signs, signals, and lane markings
  • Bicyclists can increase their visibility to drivers by wearing fluorescent or brightly colored clothing during the day, and at dawn and dusk
  • To be noticed when riding at night, the law requires a front light and a red reflector to the rear
  • For additional safety, use a flashing rear light, and use retro-reflective tape or markings on equipment or clothing

Bike safety, and road safety in general, is something to strive for 24/7, 365. Let’s make the roads safer for everyone.

Like bikes? Join us! It’s free!

SLO Bike Rodeo

Back in the Saddle: SLO BIKE RODEO

The City of San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation Department once again will partner with the SLO Police Department to host their annual Bike Rodeo. The Bike Rodeo promotes the joy of riding with an emphasis on safety education.

bike_rodeo_2015_600Children from age 4-14 are instructed in bike safety techniques before taking a ride through our “Safety Town” learning and practice course. Bike tune-ups are also conducted by local bike shop mechanics and helmets are checked for proper fit.

Join the Bike Safety Parade around Hawthorne School during the event, allowing participants to put their safety skills into action. End the day with a BMX stunt show and prize giveaway. Goody bags and lunch are provided to each participant.

Please remember that each child will need a bicycle, helmet and a signed Permission Slip (available at the Bike Rodeo) signed by guardian or parent.

Light Up SLO County

The San Luis Obispo Bicycle Club (SLOBC) and the San Luis Obispo County Bicycle Coalition are using Rideshare’s Bike Month and the region’s bicycle and pedestrian safety campaign, #LetsGetVisible, to kick-off a unique bike safety program, Light Up San Luis Obispo County!

The SLOBC and the Bicycle Coalition have partnered to purchase a supply of bicycle lights that have been provided, LightUpSLOCountyLaw440without cost, to all of our local law enforcement agencies. Patrol officers will have the opportunity to give a free set of lights to any person riding a bicycle at night without the legally required lighting equipment. SLOBC President Will Benedict said, “This effort will help cyclists be lawful and more visible at night and greatly improve safety for all users of our roadways.”

Cal Poly Chief of Police George Hughes said, “This program will give our police officers a positive way to encourage students to comply with bicycle lighting requirements on and around our campus.”

“The community support for Bike Month is overwhelming”, said Stephanie Hicks, Program Manager for SLO Regional Ride Share. “Light Up San Luis Obispo County”, in conjunction with Bike Month activities and the region’s new bicycle and pedestrian safety campaign #LetsGetVisible underscores our region’s commitment to safe roadways for all users.

Participating agencies include the Police Departments of Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, CHP, Cal Poly PD, Cuesta College PD, Grover Beach, Morro Bay, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo and the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department.

The SLOBC, founded in 1971, is a non-profit organization that promotes safe and legal bicycle riding for recreation and transportation. For more information about the club and our activities, please visit our website at and our Facebook page at

Let’s Get Visible and Light Up SLO County!

Like Bikes?

Become a member of The Bike Coalition – it’s free to sign-up and we’ll keep you informed every month about bike events and issues in SLO County. Click this link to join: I Like Bikes!

Higuera Street Traffic Alert

Southern California Gas Excavating Higuera Street

Beginning in early November, SoCalGas will be excavating parts of Higuera Street in order to replace one of their natural gas pipelines with new pipe. Excavation and pipe installation on Higuera Street will be done in small sections, from Bridge Street down to south of LOVR. During this process, which is expected to last between 14 – 16 weeks, bicyclists and motorists may experience lane closures and even possible delays in areas where traffic is reduced to one lane controlled by flaggers.

higuera_gas_map_logoThe excavation and pipeline installation work will be conducted in a series of sections, one-at-a-time. Lane reductions will be in effect during working hours, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., marked with traffic cones and signs.

While each section north of Los Osos Valley Road is being worked on, Higuera Street will be reduced to one lane in each direction for the length of the section, plus a safe distance before and beyond the section.

South of Los Osos Valley Road, Higuera Street will be reduced to one lane and traffic will alternate between directions as controlled by flaggers.

Bike Smart

In light of these upcoming traffic disruptions, we’d like to take this chance to remind you of some smart and simple rules of the road to help you safely reach your destination:

  • Follow the law. You have the same rights and obligations as drivers. Obey traffic signals and stop signs. Ride with traffic.
  • Be predictable.  Make your intentions clear to everyone on the road. Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve. Signal turns and check behind you well before making a turn or changing lanes.
  • Be conspicuous. Ride where people can see you. At night use a front white light, rear red light and/or reflectors. Make eye contact with other road users whenever possible.
  • Think ahead. Anticipate what drivers, pedestrians and other people on bikes will do next. Watch for turning vehicles and ride outside the door zone of parked cars. Look out for debris, potholes and other road hazards.
  • Ride ready. Before you ride, make sure your tires have enough air, that your brakes are working, your chain runs smoothly and that your quick release levers are closed.
Advocacy Alert

3 Feet for Safety Law goes live!

On September 16th The San Luis Obispo Bicycle Coalition held an event to inform the press and general public about California’s new bicycle-passing law, “Three Feet for Safety”. P1010551The law states that motorists must maintain a distance of at least three feet when passing a bicyclist.

California joins 24 other states with similar laws. According to Dan Rivoire, Executive Director of The SLO County Bicycle Coalition, “Bicyclists have a legal right to be on the road in California, even on streets that don’t have bike lanes. More and more people of all ages are discovering that bicycles are an easy, healthy, economical and fun way to get around, especially for short trips. Bike riders are vulnerable when motorists pass too closely. This new law is a reminder that sometimes motorists will need to slow down and wait to pass a bicyclist until it is safe to do so.”

Helping Rivoire spread the word were members of the San Luis Obispo Police Department and the California Highway Patrol. After officers discussed the law with local media, a SLOPD patrol car demonstrated the correct distance to give to bikes by driving past Vanessa Amerson,  3ft2pass_300the Bicycle Coalition’s Interim Education Director, as she rode her bike down Pacific Street in front of Bicycle Coalition headquarters in San Luis Obispo.

Some things to remember:

  • To help estimate what three feet is, motorists can think of how much room they give when parking in order to fully open their door without hitting another parked car or a wall.
  • The law applies on all roads: those with bike lanes as well as those with no bike lane.

If you would like more information or have questions about the new law, please contact the Bicycle Coalition at 805-547-2055.


Preventing Collisions by Addressing Distracted Driving

With summer fast approaching and more bicycle riders than ever on our roadways, we have been hearing of multiple avoidable collisions between bicycle riders and motorists. In response to a personal experience one of our members wrote an incredible letter to the editor in this week’s Tribune.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Lea for letting us publish it here and wish a speedy recovery for anyone who has been in an crash recently. If you or someone you know has been in a crash, the Bicycle Coalition has resources available for you to assist in asserting your rights on a bicycle. Contact us at

The following originally appeared in the May 22, 2013 issue of the SLO Tribune.

Plea from an injured cyclist’s wife: Drivers, pay attention
By Lea Brooks

Anxiously waiting outside the emergency room at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, I tried not to speculate about my husband’s injuries. All I knew is that he had been hit by a car while bicycling on Highway 1 in Morro Bay and that the trauma team was still evaluating the damage.

California Highway Patrol Officer C.L. Hawkins, who was investigating the crash, emerged from the trauma center’s closed doors carrying a black plastic garbage bag containing the tattered clothes and other belongings of my husband, Myron “Skip” Amerine. She also handed me his cracked, blood-stained helmet.

The driver, she said, was a 23-year-old woman from Cayucos who was running late to her job in Morro Bay. The driver didn’t see Skip until she collided with him from behind at approximately 65 mph. Officer Hawkins said the driver told her she “must not have been paying good enough attention” — a statement included in the official CHP traffic collision report.

The crash occurred on the tricky southbound stretch of Highway 1 between the Highway 41 onramp and Main Street onramp. Bike riders are supposed to follow the dashed white line to the right of the through slow lane and avoid weaving across the on- and off-ramps.

An image captured by Myron ‘Skip’ Amerine’s helmet camera as he was struck by a car.

An image captured by Myron ‘Skip’ Amerine’s helmet camera as he was struck by a car.

A digital video camera image of Skip and his bicycle flying horizontally over the dashed white line where he was supposed to be riding provided solid evidence the driver was at fault. The camera had been mounted on his helmet, but popped off on impact and kept recording until it was turned off by the investigating officers.

The video image is a chilling reminder of the risks people who ride bikes, pedestrians and other motorists face from distracted drivers. An appalling number of drivers are texting, talking on the phone, impaired by alcohol or drugs, or generally not paying attention while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.

The driver was cited for violation of California Vehicle Code 21658(a), which states a vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from the lane until such movement can be made with reasonable safety.

Skip’s injuries included a concussion, compound fracture of a lower vertebra and nasty bruises and abrasions from head to foot. I’m relieved he wasn’t killed or more seriously hurt, but am angry he was the victim of a crash that was 100 percent preventable. Distracted drivers need to realize the consequences of their actions.

In Skip’s situation, he faces weeks of painful healing and reliance on me and others for assistance with daily living. His activities will be hampered by a back brace for two months. Resumption of daily bicycle rides is a distant goal. Our plans for the rest of the year, including a bicycle tour, have been cast aside to focus on Skip’s recovery.

What a paradox that the crash occurred on May 1, the first day of Bike Month. This local and national celebration encourages people to bicycle to work, school, to run errands and for fun and exercise. As bicycle advocates for many years, Skip and I support Bike Month’s role in motivating people to try cycling, and were looking forward to participating in the myriad activities scheduled in San Luis Obispo.

So, how do you encourage people to bicycle when you are the victim of a distracted driver? Many people don’t ride because they are afraid of being hit by a motorist, especially from behind. While statistics show rear-end collisions are not common, they do happen.

My response is that there is risk in almost everything we do, including driving a car. The risk of bicycling is more than offset by its health benefits. Other benefits include reducing greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, relieving traffic congestion, no gasoline or parking expenses and saving time by combining exercise and transportation. Plus, bicycling is downright fun.

Bike Month provides a platform to remind bike riders about steps they can take to improve their safety, including wearing a helmet and brightly colored clothing, signaling turns and obeying traffic signals and other rules of the road. For more information about bicycle safety and gaining confidence to ride in traffic, enroll in a bicycle education workshop offered by the San Luis Obispo County Bicycle Coalition at Joining the Bicycle Coalition by going to is a constructive way to support efforts to improve the quality of life on the Central Coast through bicycling advocacy, education and inspiration.

Bike Month activities are posted on the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments’ website at It’s not too late to dust off that bike in the garage and participate.

My plea to motorists: Pay attention! Put down that smartphone and other devices, avoid distractions and be alert for people who ride bikes on the road, especially before opening your car door or in blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic. Bicycles are a legitimate form of transportation and cyclists deserve your respect. And remember that distracted driving crashes are preventable.

Lea Brooks is a journalism graduate of Cal Poly. She recently returned to San Luis Obispo after living and working in Northern California for 30 years. She and her husband have been active in bicycle advocacy and advisory groups.