The Road of Cycling is Paved with Good Intentions

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Bike Lane on Genesee Ave in Clairemont. Photo by Daniel Smiechowski

Bicycle Lanes in Clairemont Sorely Underused

by Daniel Smiechowski

Mayor Faulconer’s climate action plan which includes the incremental usage of mass transportation and bicycle usage during the ensuing years is a step in the right direction. However, the recently installed bicycle lanes in Clairemont are virtually deserted at any hour of the day. The community of Clairemont and its current demographic is not culturally suited for pedaling a bicycle.

As a participating triathlete since the Seventies with a second home in France, I am always cognizant of the exceptions to the rule. Having said that, there are just too few cyclists in Clairemont to match the City’s expenditures in promoting self-propelled two wheeled transportation in this provincial community. For the most part, this section of San Diego is a stodgy mix of retired folks, families and others attached to their cars as a baby to mother’s milk. While everyone has a bike in their garage few have a bike under their legs.

Instead of a top down approach to untying our dependency on the automobile, we ought to start by educating those in elementary, middle and high schools on the benefits of riding a bicycle. Cycling clubs and competition should be promoted in our public schools. Every effort should be made in creating a more car free community. The current plan of taking the cart before the horse is futile and frankly just stupid. A recent Grand Jury report has deemed San Diego’s bike sharing system as inefficient. This is obvious. Without the participation of private enterprise, including all or most local bike shops this experiment will fail.

Riding a bicycle takes personal energy. The human condition is such that most people will cut a tangent in regard to how difficult the task. This is natural. It’s just easier to drive a car. As a triathlete and former Ironman, I am witness to how many folks have the discipline and will power to even walk around the block let alone swim, bike and run 140.60 miles at a stretch in one day. If anyone needs more evidence, take a look at the three major shopping hubs in Clairemont. On any given day, there are thousands of cars dutifully parked in these parking lots with only a few bicycles in sight if any at all.

While I applaud the Mayor’s effort and give him an A for intent, the result is just not in the cards.  We need a different approach in promoting the use of bicycles in our community.

Be nice, do good deeds and don’t be a stranger as we at the Clairemont Times value your participation.

Daniel J. Smiechowski has been a resident of Clairemont since 1967 and can be reached at smiechowskid@aol.com or (858) 220-4613

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