On May 6 I visited Santa Barbara and was very impressed with the transformation of State Street into a pedestrian mall. However, the early afternoon sun brought crowds to shop and eat, but it also brought cyclists darting among pedestrians, which State Street’s downhill grade encouraged to unsafe bicycling speeds.
At 2:30 several groups of 8-10 bicyclists in black-and-white jerseys sped down State Street. This bicycle group represented the Los Angeles Police Department and was a on a charity ride when one of their bicyclists struck a pedestrian, which threw her on the pavement headfirst. The pedestrian was bleeding from her mouth, had chin and arm gouges, and had a broken tooth, and her fall could have been much more serious.
While the police bicycling group wasn’t alone in risking pedestrian safety, their bicycling as a group limited their ability to maneuver around pedestrians who could not determine how to safely avoid them.
As a bicyclist myself, if the police cyclists cannot safely judge bicycling among pedestrians, it’s clear that combining bicycles and pedestrians on State Street is unsafe.
Blocking bicycling on the closed portion of State Street would attract visitors who are now intimidated by fast cyclists where there have been several accidents.
I am asking the City of Santa Barbara Administration and State Street businesses to make this change immediately.