Our heart goes out to all those involved and related to the
fatal collision on July 5 along the County of Santa Barbara’s portion of the
California Coastal Bike Route. This is a tragic occurrence for the friends and
family of the deceased as well as the driver and passengers in the SUV that hit
the bicyclist. It’s too early to know what happened or how specifically this
tragic incident could have been prevented, but I would like to pledge my
commitment to seeing that important process through. SBBIKE is dedicated to a
Vision Zero approach to roadway injuries and deaths. No one should have to pay with
their lives for any road user’s mistake. What is especially sad is that this
incident occurred on the county’s main bicycle route in the early morning hours
after a major holiday.
A significant infrastructure project, the Modoc Class 1
Connector, is planned and paid for to make this stretch of road safer for all
road users, people biking, walking, and driving. None of this is any
consolation, however, to those involved in Friday night’s tragedy. This
collision happened just yards from the Obern Bicycle Path, set to be extended,
but it was on a dark section of a high-speed, shared roadway that is known to
be a gap in the California Coastal Trail. The County Board of Supervisors has
also adopted the Local Road Safety Program, a step toward a Vision Zero
program, and we look forward to working with county transportation staff,
County Sheriff, and public health and safety professionals to learn from and
address this tragedy.
The Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition is dedicated to making bicycling
safe and accessible for transportation and recreation. No one should have to
pay the ultimate price for mistakes made on our shared roadways. Bicyclists
bear the brunt of impact from collisions with motor vehicles. Recent data shows
bicyclists or pedestrians are involved in 7 percent of all collisions but
account for 21 percent of all fatalities and 26 percent of all serious
injuries. While we do not yet know the details of the fatal collision, we look
forward to working with the County of Santa Barbara to ensure that incidents
like this do not occur in the future.
Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, and active community
work to make our streets safer.