The recent death of a Cal Poly Pomona bicyclist has brought renewed attention to traffic and roadway hazards routinely faced by cyclists who use the public roads to commute or for recreation.
According to news reports Ivan Arturo Aguilar, 21, was struck by a car around 1 p.m. on February 28, 2013, while bicycling on Kellogg Drive near South Campus Drive. He died later that day at Pomona Valley Medical Center. Students and local cyclists reported that the area has been the subject of repeated pleas for additional safety measures, most of which have reportedly been ignored by the university’s administration. Students and cycling advocates have called for bike lanes and “other traffic calming strategies” to reduce the impact of excessive speed by motorists with whom cyclists were forced to share the road. According to some, “Near collisions are a regular occurrence [on Kellogg Drive, and the speeds attained by cars on the road] … understandably deter people from bicycling on these roads, despite the fact that they are the most convenient routes to the main campus.” Worse yet, Aguilar wasn’t the first student to be killed on Kellogg Drive. Several years earlier a runner Matt Myers was struck and killed while crossing the same roadway.
The dangers which led to the tragic death of Mr. Aguilar are not exclusive to the Cal Poly Campus. Cyclists here in New Jersey are all too familiar with narrow roadways, poor shoulders, blind curves, speeding motorists and other roadway issues which create hazardous situations. But the real tragedy is that deaths and injuries connected to hazardous roadways can be avoided or mitigated with traffic features and infrastructure improvements. Examples of such improvements and facilities to make the road safer for cyclists, include adding bike lanes on roads and separate bike paths or “sharrows” (markings which specifically advise motorists that a lane on a roadway is intended for the joint use of cars and bicycles). We can only hope that community efforts, like those in Cal Poly, bring enough attention to this issue to inspire politicians and planning boards to take action.
Do the facts or circumstances in this story resonate with your personal experience? If so, speak up about it. Make yourself heard. Demand action of your local municipality. The life you save may just be your own!