Tonight’s City Council Meeting

City Seal for Newport Beach, CaliforniaCity Manager Dave Kiff sends out an Insider’s Guide prior to every City Council meeting. Dave manages to make the subjects to be discussed at these meetings not only readable, but enjoyable. The Insider’s Guide to tonight’s meeting (7:00 PM at 3300 Newport Boulevard) is no exception.

 

Last weekend was a tough weekend in our community. We lost two cyclists, on two separate days in two separate accidents with as-yet uncertain causes. Both women were enjoying the same Friday and Saturday mornings that each of us were, expecting to finish a nice ride and arrive at work, at home, or wherever just like any other day. I can’t imagine what their families, friends, and co-workers must have felt when that didn’t happen.  Our thoughts and prayers are with them.


Bikes and cars have a hard time sharing the streets. But one can’t push the other out.  With more bikes, and more distractions to cyclists and drivers, the likelihood of accidents increases. We’ve had a bike safety committee meeting for more than a year now, and they’ve made some progress in a variety of things – improving striping at key intersections, improving awareness, and improving enforcement of the law. The Police Department’s aggressive stance to improve bike safety since Chief Johnson has been here has been very impressive to me, with data to back it up. 

I am a cyclist and a driver and I know firsthand that both cyclists and drivers misbehave.  I could go on about all of the drivers I still see texting and talking on their phones (cyclists can see this SO easily from their vantage point), but there are also too many cyclists who ride on the wrong side of the road, ride distractedly (coffee cups, iPods, etc), ride without the right safety gear, and think stop signs and lights don’t apply to two-wheeled vehicles.

I write all of this not to preach, but to note that I expect a number of cyclists to attend Tuesday’s meeting asking that something be done by the City about Dr. Campion’s and Ms. Leaf’s deaths. More than 150 cyclists showed up on a Monday afternoon to the Bike Safety Committee. It was a very impressive and impassioned showing. It’s appropriate that they come to the Council meeting, too. City government can never make everyone 100% safe, but together we have to figure out how to bend the curve the other way – towards more safety, more awareness, and more respect for each other and for the rules.

 

If anyone you know would like to be on the list, pass their contact information to Shirley Oborny at soborny@newportbeachca.gov with “Put me on the Insider’s Guide” as the subject line.

 

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