SAN DIEGO - San Diegans have a new kind of bicycle lane in the College Area that city officials hope will reduce collisions on Montezuma Road.
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner unveiled the city's first Class 1 bikeway Tuesday. The lane, which starts at Montezuma Road and Collwood Lane, is painted green and separated from car lanes by a 2- to 3-foot buffer on both sides and on the left, a series of vertical markers designed to alert drivers who veer into the bike lane.
A turning lane for four-wheelers runs along the right side of the bike lane for drivers turning onto Collwood Boulevard.
"There's something to make them think, to give a little extra space," said bicyclist James Spellman.
Samantha Ollinger of Bike SD told a media outlet that a bike rider was killed near the intersection about a year ago.
"The bike lane was extremely narrow," Ollinger said. "It was substandard condition. It was not at all inviting for people to ride in -- it was too scary, terrifying."
Filner said the city is looking into adding Class 1 bikeways all over town, creating a complete bike infrastructure "where you can get anywhere in San Diego, to anywhere in San Diego, safely by bicycle."
Spellman said he hopes the bikeways work, but added nothing will stop a bad driver.
"Nothing's going to stop them from coming in if they're ignorant enough," he said.
"Everybody needs to be aware of everyone else," countered Filner.
The City Council two months ago passed a resolution that calls on San Diego officials to make bicycle safety a priority.
Montezuma Road runs up a long slope toward San Diego State University, and cars usually go fast on the downhill side.
City officials said roughly 500 bicyclists have been injured each of the last four years and not every accident could be blamed on a driver.
San Diego doesn't have any active plans to build another bikeway, but they are looking into designs for intersections at 54th and University Avenue, Genesee and Balboa avenues, and Harbor Drive and Park Boulevard.
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