Chloe Lauer became executive director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition on July 5, 2023. Fittingly, I hopped on my bike to go chat with her about the new job.
I traversed two relatively new bike paths to get to the coalition’s East Village office. First, south on the relatively new Sixth Avenue protected path. Then east onto the intersecting J Street path.
Bike paths can be a sore subject. Supporters like Lauer’s predecessor, Andy Hanshaw, have been advocating for them for years. Some residents and business owners decry the fact that they’re pricey to build and supplant parking spaces.
My beef was with a dangerous delay before final completion of the Fifth Avenue Bikeway. And, a general lack of communication about bike lanes’ existence, and the rules of the road.
Example: There are separate Bike/Don’t Bike lightboxes along paths. Those lightboxes are timed differently than the Walk/Don’t Walk lights. It doesn’t take a degree in rocket science to figure it out. A wider awareness campaign would have been welcomed, though.
San Diego Sun readers previously had a chance to meet Lauer through her “Living In The City” profile. She’s a Harvard-educated urban planner and mobility advocate. Here are her takes on the state of biking in San Diego:
The mission. “Advocacy, education and celebration of life by bike.”
Top priority. “A new campaign that will unite various advocacy groups. And connect the disparate elements of our bicycle infrastructure, which will improve safety.”
Quality of investment in bike lanes. “It’s a long-term investment and extremely valuable. They’re designed to move traffic efficiently. No matter how many people you see in the bike lanes, that number of people are not on the road in cars. They’re getting healthy benefits of exercise. And they’re not spreading the toxic materials that come from cars.”
Her bike. “Right now, I have a cruiser-style bike with seven speeds. I used to ride all over San Francisco on a specialty Dolce Elite. It’s designed for women, with a narrow frame and shorter distance from seat to handlebars.”
Walk n Roll SD. “It’s a nonprofit created by Manny Rodriguez and me. We tell stories in short videos about intersections that should be designed better for mobility of all types. Like 15th and F streets.”
Special events. The Bike Coalition sponsors a number of special events. There were themed rides for Pride Week and Comic-Con. Also look for:
- Bike The Bay on August 27, a 25-mile ride that includes passage over the San Diego-Coronado Bridge.
- Women+ On Wheels on September 24, includes a family friendly 5-mile ride from Quartyard to Broadway Pier, and a 20-mile road ride for more experienced bikers.
- CicloSDiaS on November 5, an internationally inspired open-streets project that temporarily closes downtown roads so people may bike them. Details TBA.
- Holiday Joy Ride on December 7, a nighttime event celebrating the holiday season.
Vision Zero. “It’s a nationwide movement started in 2015 aimed at reducing traffic injuries to zero. We’re far from that goal right now. We need to see improvement. Unfortunately, fatalities in San Diego last year were the highest in the nine years since Vision Zero policies were implemented.”
Post-COVID rides. “The number of people biking did go up during COVID. Afterward, it’s been going down to 2019 levels. We need to safely rebuild that enthusiasm.”
Membership: “It’s free to become a member of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. Please join or donate.” SDSun