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City of Carlsbad declares state of emergency for bike traffic safety

Carlsbad bike rider
Posted at 1:03 PM, Aug 23, 2022

CARLSBAD, Calif. (KGTV) — The City of Carlsbad has issued a state of emergency regarding bike and traffic safety after seeing a more than 233% increase in crashes involving bikes and e-bikes since 2019.

The city's press release says the state of emergency will allow officials to increase attention and resources to address the issue, including infrastructure, safety, enforcement and educating drivers.

City Manager Scott Chadwick has reallocated resources from the city's police, fire, transportation and community education departments to create immediate actions to show the City Council on Aug. 30. Additionally, Chadwick will present a comprehensive plan to the council on Sept. 27.

“The exponential increase in ridership, especially among young people, has significantly changed how people are using Carlsbad’s roads,” said Chadwick. “In addition to adding miles of new bike lanes, we’ve passed new laws, promoted awareness and ramped up enforcement. Despite these efforts, we continue to see collisions, including two tragic fatalities within the past 17 days.”

The press release says in 2019, there were 30 bike and e-bike crashes in Carlsbad. That number rose to 62 in 2020, then to 100 in 2021.

So far in 2022, 57 crashes involving a bike or e-bike were reported in Carlsbad.

The city says the official declaration covers the safety of bicycles, e-bikes and other motorized devices, including electric scooters and motorized skateboards.

According to the press release, Carlsbad saw a large increase in bike and e-bike riders during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Dec. 2020, the city council approved a plan to add and expand sidewalks and bike lanes, with a goal of slowing down cars on streets throughout Carlsbad.

The city's traffic engineers have complete several projects and have more in the planning stages. In June, the council decided to expedite street projects in the current fiscal year's budget. City officials say those projects will still take years to finish.