This is more of a letter to the residents of Brentwood than a letter to the editor. I’m annoyed – no, let’s say I’m p*ssed and I’m a p*ssed-off cyclist.
Brentwood has signs up all over town that advertise its bike friendliness. True, there are clearly marked bike lanes on all the major streets, which supports a cyclist-friendly attitude. But – that’s as far as it goes. This is not a bike-friendly town. There are two major reasons: the residents, for one, and the second: the joggers using the bike lanes.
I’m a cyclist and a runner. When I ride, it’s early in the morning to avoid the heat, to avoid traffic and to avoid the runners, who choose to run in the bike lanes instead of on the sidewalk.
There is a reason there is a large cyclist painted in white in a small lane between two very distinct white lines on all the major streets in Brentwood. It’s not just Brentwood, but in California. There is no little running person painted in white in those lanes. These are bike lanes, not the lane to park in, not the lane for driving your big SUV up my rear end and honking at me, not to run in, forcing me (the cyclist) into traffic. The runners for some odd reason think it’s their personal domain. It is for bikes. This is the ordinance that reads in the DMV handbook:
VC Section 21966. “No pedestrian shall proceed along a bicycle path or lane where there is an adjacent adequate pedestrian facility.” Translation, if there is a sidewalk, the runner has to use it.
When I run, it’s on the sidewalk with little problems. We have a wonderful path along Marsh Creek. It is perfect for a nice early-morning run.
The other problem: the residents who seem to think cyclists have no place on public streets at all. I’ve had more close calls due to someone driving in the bike lane to make a right turn. I’m in the bike lane; that is where I belong. I wear bright colors. It’s broad daylight, and still, I get honked at or have a driver come dangerously close to me.
VC Section 21209. “(a) No person shall drive a motor vehicle in a bicycle lane established on a roadway pursuant to Section 21207 except as follows: (1) To park where parking is permitted. (2) To enter or leave the roadway. (3) To prepare for a turn within a distance of 200 feet from the intersection.” Translation, 200 feet from a cyclist.
On our city streets there are three things that happen. There is the car lane, obviously for cars. There is bike lane, obviously for cyclists. Last, but not least, the sidewalk for pedestrians. If we all stay in our prospective lanes, it would be a lot safer and hopefully we’ll get where we want to go a lot happier.