Our heart goes out to all those involved and related to the fatal collision on July 5 along the County of Santa Barbara’s portion of the California Coastal Bike Route. This is a tragic occurrence for the friends and family of the deceased as well as the driver and passengers in the SUV that hit the bicyclist. It’s too early to know what happened or how specifically this tragic incident could have been prevented, but I would like to pledge my commitment to seeing that important process through. SBBIKE is dedicated to a Vision Zero approach to roadway injuries and deaths. No one should have to pay with their lives for any road user’s mistake. What is especially sad is that this incident occurred on the county’s main bicycle route in the early morning hours after a major holiday.
A significant infrastructure project, the Modoc Class 1 Connector, is planned and paid for to make this stretch of road safer for all road users, people biking, walking, and driving. None of this is any consolation, however, to those involved in Friday night’s tragedy. This collision happened just yards from the Obern Bicycle Path, set to be extended, but it was on a dark section of a high-speed, shared roadway that is known to be a gap in the California Coastal Trail. The County Board of Supervisors has also adopted the Local Road Safety Program, a step toward a Vision Zero program, and we look forward to working with county transportation staff, County Sheriff, and public health and safety professionals to learn from and address this tragedy.
The Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition is dedicated to making bicycling safe and accessible for transportation and recreation. No one should have to pay the ultimate price for mistakes made on our shared roadways. Bicyclists bear the brunt of impact from collisions with motor vehicles. Recent data shows bicyclists or pedestrians are involved in 7 percent of all collisions but account for 21 percent of all fatalities and 26 percent of all serious injuries. While we do not yet know the details of the fatal collision, we look forward to working with the County of Santa Barbara to ensure that incidents like this do not occur in the future.
Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, and active community work to make our streets safer.