According to AAA, more than 43.6 million Americans will travel 50 miles from home or farther during this Thanksgiving holiday weekend. About 90 percent of those travelers–39 million people–plan to travel by automobile.
In a related note, Doug Irving of the OC Register reports on results of a study that found more drugged than drunk drivers on California roadways like the drivers that killed Donald Murphy and Candace Tift; killed while riding their bikes in Newport by drivers impaired by prescription drugs.
In the most medicated nation on the planet, this study should really come as no surprise, but it’s encouraging to see the recognition, and quantification of the issue.
When drugged drivers are combined with poor road design, construction zones, lax local enforcement, and lenient courts, it is people riding their bikes on the same roadways that pay the highest price.
One such roadway is the Pacific Coast Highway which also goes by various other names depending which city or county it happens to pass through. Sadly bikes riders are typically an afterthought in the consideration of construction, road maintenance, or even public transportation along this roadway.
To illustrate; in Huntington Beach a short section of the northbound roadway’s shoulder was closed to accomplish the construction of a guardrail which forces riders into the high speed traffic lane. After the work was completed, the obstructions remain without making allowances for safe cycle travel between the k-rail and guardrail.
In Seal Beach; a public transit bus parks in the bike lane causing risky merges and poor sight lines for bike riders and drivers alike.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that the k-rails on PCH will be removed this coming Sunday morning, a week ahead of when Caltrans emphatically said they wouldn’t be removed until 12/1. While we also requested the a temporary path for safe travel through the construction zone, at this time we don’t know if the maintenance crew was able to get that done. Your report is welcomed!
With the holiday traffic and condition of drivers as noted above, please exercise greater care when traveling this roadway, especially through Newport Beach as seen below:
We’ll have an update on the Seal Beach bus parking issue when we receive an update from the responsible agency.
Have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday weekend!
Safety never sleeps.