From gliding down Coast Highway 101 to navigating busy streets in North Park, cyclists are an integral part of San Diego’s vibrant energy and culture. One local artist is striving to make things safer for local riders by partnering with the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition (SDCBC) for the upcoming, Pedals for the People. Happening from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 14, the art exhibition features Kristen Ide’s bike-themed art and limited edition designed cycling jerseys, along with a hosted bar, nibbles and a variety of SDCBC advocacy opportunities. PACIFIC sat down with Kristen and Skii Fleeton, membership and marketing coordination for the SDCBC, to chat about the state of cycling safety in San Diego:
Why did you want to do Pedals for the People?
KRISTEN: I knew I wanted to do a solo show but also to do some good for the community. I am a cyclist, and I want to see my city grow to accommodate more means of transportation like other large metro cities.
What have you experienced being a cyclist in San Diego?
KRISTEN: When I began commuting to work on my bike, I signed up for city updates on bike lanes progress in my area, because El Cajon Boulevard gave me a lot of close calls with vehicles while riding to work. The bike coalition is playing a big part in making more bike lanes and bike paths happen ... and to make it safe.
Skii, how long has the SDCBC been around and what do you do?
SKII: We are a grassroots non-profit around for over 30 years promoting advocacy and education for all ages. We are involved with the bikeways, we are in schools teaching kids to ride bikes, and we go to meetings around the county from the border to the top. We try to get to as many city council and local meetings as possible to advocate for safer streets.
What needs to change about cycling safety in San Diego?
SKII: We need more education, more enforcement, and more awareness of what’s going on the streets. We need to be healthier and make our streets safer. It’s so important that people can bike and walk safely. It opens up people’s world. It’s unconscionable for kids to not have a safe way to get to school, and that you can’t ride your bike to work safely. We need to open the corridors of North Park, we need to connect communities. We know we have to drive, to take a bus, or train too, so it needs to be a broader conversation for everyone, not just for people who drive cars.
What are you hoping for with this event?
KRISTEN: I’m hoping to not only raise money for their advocacy work but to get sign ups for the smart cycling classes. The classes are free and super informative. They’ve given me and my two friends confidence to ride alongside traffic, to know the laws I need to abide by, and how to take care of my bike. I know I’m safer from having taken that class.
Pedals for the People is free, and will be held at Ashton Gallery at Art on 30th, 4434 30th St., North Park. (619) 894-9009 or RSVP here. For more information on future events with the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, visit sdbikecoaliton.org