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Effort to tighten e-bike rules in Encinitas following 15-year-old's death

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e-bike
Posted at 6:56 PM, Sep 18, 2023

ENCINITAS, Calif. (KGTV) — Brodee Champlain-Kingman should be in his sophomore year at San Dieguito Academy.

Instead, a memorial sits in his honor just down the street from the school where he was a well-respected student, athlete, and friend.

The 15-year-old died in June after getting hit by a work vanwhile riding his e-bike. Today signs all over Encinitas remind people to drive and bike safely.

Kelsey Lasch lives and works in downtown Encinitas. She sees firsthand the potential dangers of e-bikes.

"It's the thing for them; it's the thing for their generation, but it is a little out of hand. Some aren't wearing helmets, and it's just not safe," said Lasch.

Brodee was wearing a helmet and following the rules of the road when he tried to make a left turn from South El Camino Real onto Santa Fe.

Shortly after his death, the city declared a local emergency over e-bikes. The city is considering several changes, including adding more bike lanes, sharrow markings, and lowering the speed limit on the 101 in downtown Encinitas from 35 to 25 mph.

"Collisions between cars and pedestrians and bicyclists is much more fatal the higher the speed the car is driving," said Encinitas Mayor Tony Kranz.

"This is a famous local spot for tourists, so a lot of people are here from all over the city, riding bikes, walking, visiting family, so I think it would be really good to lower the speed," said Holli Wright.

"They can do that, I obviously want kids to be safe, but I really think they need to start addressing where they're putting their money before telling us to lower our speed," said Lasch, who believes the city should've been addressing the concerns over e-bikes much sooner.

The city is also looking into so-called bike boxes. Green-painted areas that are supposed to make it easier for cyclists to turn left at busy intersections like the spot where Brodee was trying to cross.

"It makes it safer for everyone, myself included. I've tried to cross three lanes, and I've found it to be a pretty hairy move, so I think it's important that cyclists are more aware of alternatives to crossing all those lanes," said Mayor Kranz.

The city printed 300 safety signs and residents are encouraged to pick one up at City Hall and place it in their yard.