The Newport Beach Bicycle Safety Committee brainstormed ideas for a May event that could include a bike rodeo, stunt performances and a family-friendly ride that ends up with a community picnic.
“Let’s make it fun,” said Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Gardner. “Just a real fun day, not a big deal, not having to close roads, not having to spend a lot of money…”
The committee this spring discussed whether they could organize a ciclovia event, possibly co-hosting it with Costa Mesa, that would close 17th Street for several hours to create a car-free zone for cyclists. But Costa Mesa leaders were not receptive, so the Bicycle Committee members decided to create a smaller, scaled-down event.
Gardner said she was working with the Restaurant Association’s Business Improvement District to create a Bike To Eat event, also likely in May, that would offer special deals to customers who biked to restaurants.
Most of the committee’s September meeting will be focused on planning the May events, the group decided.
Newport Beach Police Department Traffic Officer Spencer Arnold also attended the meeting, held Monday in the Central Library’s Friends Room. He said that in July, there were 16 reported bicycle accidents in Newport Beach. Those accidents resulted in 15 injuries, although none serious, he said. Twelve of the 16 crashes were the bicyclists’ fault, he said. The crashes occurred throughout the city, including in Corona del Mar.
Committee members asked what increased the accident figures from six crashes in June to 16 last month. Arnold said he believed it was partly due to summer crowds, which bring an extra 100,000 people a day to Newport Beach.
Committee members also discussed a citywide bike map, which will be posted online for cyclist feedback before it is printed.
Newport Beach Senior Engineer Brad Sommers also told the group that implementing changes to improve cyclists safety at some of the city’s most dangerous intersections could be ready to go as early as October. The group decided to prepare a report for a City Council Study Session before any changes are made. After the meeting, City Manager Dave Kiff said the report likely would be on a September Study Session agenda.