Future of Encinitas e-bike safety in the hands of Gen-Z

ENCINITAS, Calif. (FOX 5) — North County teens are leading the charge to create safer roads for e-bike riders, with students and parents attending a city hall meeting in Encinitas on Monday calling for more to be done to make the roads safe for everyone.

“I would like to see more speakers at city council meetings to advocate for bike safety … Especially because people so young are being hit by cars and are uneducated it being their own fault that things like that are happening,” shared Sofia Gonzalez, a senior at San Dieguito Academy and co-chairman of the Encinitas Youth Commission.

The future of a pedestrian and bike-friendly North County is in the hands of the next generation as their peers fall victim to motor accidents. Encinitas teens are once again taking over the podium at City Hall in a joint session with the city’s Mobility and Traffic Safety Commission.

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“To recap the year, we had 6 deaths, I believe every death was north of Encinitas Boulevard, ” said commissioner James Gross.

It is a sobering statistic, leaving students like Carter Ballow, another San Dieguto Academy senior and co-chair of the Youth Comission, with a message for their peers and parents: “When we’re having to weave between cars because there’s no bike lane … You’re getting almost rammed off the road by these cars, you don’t feel like you’re getting to school safe.”

Last summer, a classmate of his died after being hit by a van while riding his E-Bike on South Camino Real. The victim was only 15 years old. Since then came renewed pressure to take action, along with an Emergency Declaration to direct city resources toward a solution.

“We were all kind of shocked by the fact that like, you can be riding a bike and this can suddenly happen to you just because somebody is being reckless,” Ballow said.

During Monday’s meeting, city engineers recommended to lower speeds to 20 miles per hour at high traffic spots in Encinitas, such as:

  • Schools

  • Senior centers

  • Transit Stops

  • Roadways with sidewalks, crosswalks, and bikeways

  • Roadways with signalized intersections and all-way stop control four-way intersections.

  • Major Employment Centers

  • City parks

  • Medical facilities

The commission is also considering the reduction of speed limits by 5 miles per hour along these 14 roadways:

  • El Camino Real

  • Encinitas Blvd

  • Leucadia Blvd

  • Manchester Ave

  • Melba Rd

  • N Coast Highway 101

  • N Vulcan Ave

  • Olivenhain Rd

  • Piraeus St

  • Rancho Santa Fe Rd

  • S Coast Highway 101

  • San Elijo Ave

  • Santa Fe Dr

  • S Vulcan Ave

There is also action at the state level as well with a new bill in the works that would ban children from under the age of 12 from riding e-bikes. Those 12 and older would have to obtain a state license to ride one after completing an online and written course.

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