I’ve often heard that Newport Beach is a dangerous place to ride a bike.
That was driven home when two cyclists were killed less than 24 hours apart last month, as nutritionist Sarah Leaf was killed by a right-turning truck, and Dr. Catherine Campion-Ritz died in a hit-an-run as she was riding in a bike lane with her husband; a suspect has been charged in her death.
That’s why I’ve been following reports that the city was planning a memorial ride for the two cyclists later this month.
And more importantly, raising funds for safety improvements, with Newport Beach matching any money raised on a 3-to-1 basis — and our friend Frank Peters of cdmCyclist pledging the first $10,000.
I’ve been waiting for full details, which entered my inbox tonight in an email from April Morris, who gave me permission to share it with you.
I am one of the volunteers (and a cyclist) helping organize the Newport Beach-sponsored Memorial Ride on October 28, 2012. The ride starts at 8 am and it is open to riders of all levels, since it is only 1.2 miles. It will be a processional-paced ride to honor those who have fallen as well as those who survived collisions. As you probably know, in September 2012 within 24 hours two cyclists (women) were killed on the streets of Newport Beach from automobile collisions. A third woman (within a 3 day period) was critically injured. Three incidents in three days is just too much for our cycling community to sit still for.
The cycling community is up in arms and wants change. We want to be viewed as a cohesive group and part of the solution to the problem. I, and Joan Littauer, volunteered on behalf of all of our cycling brethren to help the city organize this Memorial Ride. A large attendance at this ride is important. We want the city to see how large our numbers are (the Mayor and several councilmen will be present).
Subsequent to these three collisions, we have pressed the City to start making advancements in bicycle lane improvements – since cyclists from all around So. Cal use the Newport Beach streets on their routes. We are pleased to report that as of last night, at the City Council Meeting, the City of Newport Beach agreed to match all of our funds raised, $3 to $1, up to $450,000 specifically for Bicycle Safety Improvements. This means if we raise $150,000, the City will put in $450,000 giving us $600,000 in the fund.
A special fund has been established by the City so that any donations are tax deductible. Can you help us spread the word about the ride and the need to generate $150,000 so that we can get ALL of the $450,000 matching funds for bicycle improvements? We have a website established for the ride with information on our fund raising activities: www.NewportBeachMemorialRide.com
Thank you so much for any help you can give us in publicizing the Memorial Ride and giving information on the fund raising element.
If you live or ride in Orange County, I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday morning; you can go to brunch, catch the game or attend church to repent your failings afterwards.
Or a better cause to donate to, since the life you save may be your own or someone you love.
It’s definitely worth a few bucks if you’re on a tight budget, or more if you’re not. And maybe it’s time for bike-friendly businesses and wealthier riders to step up and make a donation big enough to make a difference.
Update: I’m told an unofficial ride with follow the official memorial ride, taking a longer route to visit the sites of local collisions that have left riders dead or seriously injured, as well as the site of the upcoming CdM sharrows on PCH.
One other quick note.
I’ve been busy curating LA Streetsblog this week, which has kept me too busy to ride as I’ve done my best to keep up with two busy blogs. And Thursday is my last day as guest editor for new father Damien Newton, since I have a prior commitment on Friday.
But there’s one more project waiting in the wings. Or actually, in the corner of my office where the bikes sleep.
Sometime in the next week or two, I’ll be writing a review at the request of Critical Cycles, makers of a solid and surprising affordable single-speed/fixed gear bike.
And no, I won’t be riding brakeless.