Cycling Safety

posted: August 13th, 2011 09:18 am | 12Comments

By Frank Peters

This week a photo potpourri.

I found a new constituency while riding the Balboa Island ferry this week.

Hey, move over and share the road!

I’m sure he has unique safety requirements. Notice, no helmet.

In other news, cyclists gather to re-enact the Portland version of the final scene in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Of course, they’re doing it with their preferred mode of transportation. Actually, it’s a shot from a prior Bridge Pedal, planned for tomorrow, when cars are excluded from the Providence Bridge. They’ve been doing this ride for 16 years; people seem to like it. (Photo credit goes to Jonathan Maus of BikePortland.)

Is this even legal?

Meanwhile, closer to home, this sign at the top of Fernleaf Ave has been up almost a year. I remember because I came home from a summer getaway, aghast! One lawyer friend wonders if this is even legal – David asks: check out section 21 of the Vehicle Code. Another reader, Jim, wonders:

“What’s changed in NB? Certainly not this street for the past 70 years… If you’re a kid on a beach cruiser, you may choose to walk it on the sidewalk. If you’re out for a ride on any other bike, the 50 yard climb/descend at Fernleaf is just part of the normal route through CdM and has been for decades. It would appear the only thing to change is NB’s attitude toward cyclists using the road.

What’s next”

If the sign has been there so long, why does it bug me now?

Well, I was taking this shot, on the hill down to Big Corona, when the next car to come down the hill is a NBPD SUV. The officer sees me poised to shoot as he rides over the Botts’ dots, so he stops to ask why. I tell him that a few of my bike advocate pals are working up a Top 10 List, like on David Letterman, but focused on cycling safety issues; ten things maybe the Bike Safety Committee could act on quickly.

This officer agreed, the dots are useless when it comes to getting motorists to slow down; instead the dots make a lot of noise and present a hazard to cyclists. I said, “I know there are more dots on Bayside Drive; where else can you think of?” He thought for a moment. “None in China Cove, what about Fernleaf?” I said I knew there weren’t any on Fernleaf because I ride it almost every day. “You mean you walk your bike down it.” Uh, no.

If you’ve got a bike safety suggestion why not join our intrepid band of bicycling advocates, 2 p.m. Wednesday at Starbucks on Balboa Island. Details at; come by bike, of course.

A member of the Newport Beach Task Force on Cycling Safety, Corona del Mar resident Frank Peters writes about cycling safety at cdmCyclist.

12 Responses to “Cycling Safety”



August 13th, 2011

Peter, Thanks for what you do...But, Fernleaf hill is dangerous even for the experienced rider.....1st numerous times bikes pick up speed and can't stop or make the turn at the bottom and have to go straight into traffic. 2nd At the top it is blind curve bikes have a habit of losing there chain at the curve and are laying in the street as cars are coming up hill. I could go on and on of what I have seen on this hill. For SAFETY I would leave it has is and restrict the hill more. Someone will get hurt or killed....It is a dangerous place not meant for bikes. The neighborhood watch thru Nancy Gardener where instrumental for these signs....Thank you Nancy I believe you have saved some lives.....Always Safety first it is common sense!!!


August 13th, 2011

I swore that I would not participate on this site anymore, but the sheer ignorance of this discussion of Fernleaf has to be addressed. You newcomers to CDM need to learn the history a bit. Fernleaf had "No Bike" signs for MANY years since the 1970's, they were removed a few years ago during some construction on the hillside. Nobody bothered to replace them until I, and I guess some other nearby residents brought the dangerous situation to the city and Nancy Gardener's attention. You bike activists are going to get someone killed. A bike in the middle of the Fernleaf ramp going 2mph uphill in a blind curve where cars are driving 15 MPH is stupid and deadly. The downhill ride is dangerous and difficult for some riders to stop or avoid the median at the bottom. I know,because as a kid one of my friends ended up head over tea kettle in the planter. It is not a sign of shame to get off and walk your bikes. And I don't hate bikes, I was riding them before half of you were born, but there is a time and place, and taking over a lane of PCH or riding the Fernleaf ramp is dangerous for all involved.


August 13th, 2011

Agreed. Walk your bikes on Fernleaf. All this bike activist nonsense is getting annoying. I suspect these are probably the same group of bikers who while advocating safety, blow through stop signs and crosswalks all over town...just because they're on bikes. I've had numerous close calls with bikers who do not obey the rules of the road. Stop signs mean stop. The sign on Fernleaf means walk your bike (and yes, it is legal- get yourself a new lawyer). When there are people in the crosswalk and the lights are flashing for cars to stop, this means for bikers to stop as well.

David Huntsman

August 15th, 2011

The California Vehicle Code regulates cycling on public roads and bars local authorities from enacting or enforcing rules on the same matters unless expressly authorized.


August 15th, 2011

Anyone who drives a vehicle up or down Fernleaf at the location in question and possesses common sense understands why it is unsafe for bicycles to ride the hill in an automobile traffic lane on a blind curve of this extreme. I drive it nearly every day and, because I've seen it, I think of the danger to me as an automobile driver of "what if" there were a cyclist stopped in the lane in the blind spot. As a vehicle driver, I'm pretty sure I would be at fault if I hit a cyclist who for whatever reason had come to a halt in the traffic lane so I appreciate this small, minimally inconvenient regulation for protecting me as a driver from a hazard that would impact me immensely for the rest of my life were a collision to occur.


August 15th, 2011

Ashley, why not simply park your car at the bottom of the hill? You can walk down, like you're asking cyclists to do. You'll have nothing to worry about...

David Huntsman

August 15th, 2011

Ashley, isn't the speed limit 15 mph there? That's approaching parking-lot speeds. I just can't imagine anyone not being able to stop for something they saw on the road - be it a dog, a cyclist or a stalled car - at that low speed.

John Tzinberg

August 15th, 2011

I use Fearnleaf all the time to walk and run down pushing my child in the jogger. I am a fit person with some strength. There is no room to walk a bike down that sidewalk and do it safely. Going up the hill would be easier but the sidewalk makes it unsafe for other pedestrians to pass without leaving the sidewalk. Here is a suggestion to all those drivers that have made comments. Come and borrow my beach cruiser and let me see if you can safely walk it up or down that hill.


August 15th, 2011

I ride down Fernleaf Ave several times a week. It is perfectly safe for skilled riders with good bikes. I am much happier on my bike than I used to be when caged in an automobile. I used to be grumpy like the caged drivers posting mean comments here. But now I am happy, happy, happy while I ride down Fernleaf. Hooray for happy bicyclers!


August 16th, 2011

I routinely walk, run, or walk my beach cruiser bike both up and down that section of Fernleaf's sidewalk. If I feel too tired to surmount the hill, I take a different route to the bluff side of Bayside drive. Very simple.

Ted Johnson

August 16th, 2011

If a street is so dangerous that one type of user (motorists) needs to be privileged over another (cyclists), then shouldn't the street just be closed to all traffic? The sign--and much of the commentary--stem from a common mindset that streets generally are for cars--and also other users as long as it doesn't inconvenience motorists. If a street can't be used safely by motorists and cyclists both, then to hell with cyclists. What makes this street dangerous to cyclists? The answer seems to be cars. Perhaps a caution to cyclists--and all users--may be warranted. There are yellow, diamond-shaped signs used for "caution." You may have seen them. Rather than treat cyclists like second-class users of the road, what if cyclists were to be warned at the top of this hill that they were at an increased risk of a dangerous encounter with a car? Would that be too adult?

Richard Masoner

August 17th, 2011

If Fernleaf is as dangerous as so many claim, why do you drive on it? If you're so in fear of killing somebody, perhaps it's time to drive something a little less deadly. Seems like basic common sense to me.

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