OCEANSIDE — The ringing of 100 bicycle bells sounded the Live 4 Logan bike coalition pedaling down Coast Highway 101 as part of the Independence Parade on July 3.
The parade announcer shared his surprise at the size of the group. “They’re still coming, it’s an army of bicycles,” he said.
The spirit of the group was celebratory as kids, parents and neighbors, some with dogs in tow, rode in memory of Logan Lipton, and to call for safe streets to bike in Oceanside.
Riders and bikes were decked out in red, white and blue, and met with a roar of applause from spectators.
The Live 4 Logan bike coalition was formed in November 2015, after 12-year-old Logan was struck and killed by a car while riding his bike to school along south Coast Highway.
Bess Singleton, South Oceanside resident and co-organizer of the Live 4 Logan bike coalition, helped carry the group’s “Live 4 Logan” parade banner, which was painted on a surfboard.
Singleton said she and neighbors are pleased with initial steps the city has taken toward improving streets for bicyclists.
A test pilot area is marked with reduced traffic lanes, bike lanes and buffer zones along a portion of south Coast Highway. It provides a north, south link for bicyclists, and safe bike route for kids to get to school.
The city is considering reducing all of the four-lane highway to two lanes, and adding marked bike lanes to the entire road.
Singleton said slowing the speed of traffic benefits bicyclists and businesses. She said more people will bike, and shop, which is good for people’s health, the environment and city economy.
“People ride when they feel safe, when they don’t they won’t,” Singleton said.
Councilman Chuck Lowery also supports reducing Coast Highway to two lanes and adding bike lanes.
He said the Live 4 Logan bike coalition is doing a great job of keeping Logan’s memory relevant, and reminding people bicyclists need a safe space on the road to ride.
Lowery said “as is” the highway provides a cut through for speeding freeway traffic. He said he would like to see the road return to a city main street that serves residents, diners and shoppers.
Oceanside is in the process of conducting environmental studies on three road improvement alternatives for Coast Highway this summer. One alternative is to leave it as a four-lane highway. The other two alternatives reduce the highway to two lanes in some sections, or for most of the 3.2-mile road.
Lowery said even with three alternatives on the table to study, the city is still fine-tuning road plans to best accommodate multi-modal transportation. Parking needs, and state transportation regulations, are also being addressed in plans.
Some residents have suggested sharrows, or no bike lanes on the highway. Lowery said bikes need their own safe lanes on the road.
“We’re addressing concerns of the entire community,” Lowery said. “We’re not going to ban bicycles, cars, or delivery trucks.”
Lowery said he sees lane reductions that serve all modes of transportation as doable and positive.