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Advocates demand change along Coast Highway 101 following cyclist death

Posted at 6:38 PM, Mar 19, 2024

ENCINITAS, Calif. (KGTV) — The weekend death of a solo cyclist in Encinitas has some cycling advocates demanding changes along that stretch of Coast Highway 101.

It's one of the most scenic rides along the coast. Former Olympic cyclist Shaun Wallace knows it well.

"Now it's a stretch that I know a lot of cyclists avoid altogether because they're aware of how many crashes there have been," said Wallace.

Wallace and others in the cycling community have been tracking the number of accidents since protective wheel stops, and bollards were installed four years ago. They say there have been thirty-two crashes.

Saturday night, just after midnight, Ryan Currie, a 48-year-old Encinitas father, died after crashing in the bike lane on the northbound side of the 101 just south of Cardiff State Beach. Sheriff investigators are still trying to determine what led to the crash, but someone passing by saw his body and called 911. Investigators say Currie was not wearing a helmet.

"It's so tragic, it's so unnecessary the cyclist has died, and it wasn't just predictable, it was predicted," said Wallace.

Proponents of the protected bike lanes say the concrete curbs and plastic posts help shield riders from traffic and encourage less experienced riders to cycle, but Wallace says the barriers actually trap the cyclist.

"Whether it's a dog or a surfboard or a pedestrian, they were trapped inside, and rather than just be able to swing around the obstacle, they ended up hitting the wheel stops and crashing into the ground."

On Tuesday afternoon, many cyclists were riding outside the protected lanes.

Cyclist and surfer Michael Willis says it's just too much to navigate.

"Walkers don't like it, bikers don't like it, drivers don't like it, it's a hazard," said Willis.

Mayor Tony Kranz said he won't comment on the crash until the Sheriff's Department's investigation is complete. He extended his condolences to the victim's family and friends.

According to social media posts, Currie was a widowed father of four.