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TONY HAYS, San Clemente
In San Clemente, it is currently legal to ride a bicycle on sidewalks, so it’s OK to ride an e-bike down the sidewalk on Avenida Del Mar on a Saturday afternoon.
The current ordinance relating to bicycle use is much too permissive. For the health of both residents and the climate, the city should be doing everything possible to get people out of their cars and riding bikes, but not when they endanger pedestrians, as is increasingly the case.
The city should consider prohibiting bicycles from being ridden on any sidewalks adjacent to retail zoning, although enforcement may turn out to be impracticable. Bicycles should also be banned on any sidewalk where there is a dedicated bike lane on the adjacent pavement.
In January 2021, Fred Swegles interviewed the then-chief of police services in San Clemente, Capt. Ed Manhart. In giving advice to bike riders, Capt. Manhart said, “Where bicycle lanes exist, use them.”
It appears that the majority of riders ignore that advice, so it needs to be codified. For additional safety, the addition of rumble strips or physical barriers to deter cars from drifting into the bike lanes should be considered.
We should all have some serious discussions about where bike riding should be permitted in San Clemente, with the safety of both riders and pedestrians being of paramount importance.