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COMMENTARY: A 360-degree vision to make San Diego the bicycle mecca it should be

(This post originally appeared HERE in San Diego Uptown News).

Fundamental changes in how our region moves to work, live and play are progressing fast in San Diego. Change like this is hard to come by, but we knew citizens and leaders would eventually stand together, working on solutions to the ailing public health, unstable local economies, and increasing costs of resources.

The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition loves the direction San Diego is heading, with the inclusion of bicycling as one solution to improve the quality of life for all San Diegans.

We envision San Diego as the most bicycle-friendly region in the world. Far to go? Certainly. This vision requires positive adjustments to our culture, neighborhoods, and streets, re-designing them to foster bicycling as an everyday activity for transportation and recreation.

Our region can continue to create a comprehensive approach to transportation policy and design, regarding the bicycle as a genuine mode of transportation, removing obstacles and empowering all people to choose to ride whenever and wherever they like. Our vision simply includes the bicycle as one piece of the comprehensive transportation pie.

With this vision, San Diego County will have a connected network of safe, convenient bike facilities and proper, secure, end-of-trip accommodations for people who ride. Constant encouragement of good roadway behaviors through education programs will also foster understanding and respect for all modes of transportation. Our vision includes all people of ethnic, economic and cultural diversity.

The great news is our vision is on its way to fruition. From fundraising records, to expansion of community advocacy groups, the Bicycle Coalition continued its all-inclusive presence in San Diego this past year, all while moving forward with new initiatives and a new mission: to advocate for and protect the rights of all people who ride bicycles.

Local leaders at all levels and in all communities have stepped up to support cycling initiatives, including the City of San Diego’s new mayor, who pledged to make the city better for cyclists and launched CicloSDias, the city’s first open streets event happening in August.

To continue these great successes, we encourage our businesses, leaders and advocates to continue working hard to support comprehensive transportation progress. It’s well known that active transportation like bicycling contributes to improved public health, local economies and more efficient use of natural resources. All of these are good for a vibrant San Diego for all people.

May 1 saw the start of National Bike Month in San Diego and across the U.S. It’s a perfect opportunity to participate in Bike to Work Day on May 17, or head to South Park and Balboa Park for Bike Local Sunday and CicloSDias Mini on May 19.

Just getting your family or friends together to take a ride along San Diego Bay’s miles of walking and biking paths can help strengthen the movement. So, let’s go for a ride.

San Diego Bicycle Coalition (SDCBC) is a nonprofit organization that advocates for and protects the rights of all people who ride bicycles. They promote bicycling as a mainstream, safe and enjoyable form of transportation and recreation. For more information, go to sdcbc.org.