Once again, it is bike versus car in the Bay Area. Following in the footsteps of Black Hawk, Colorado and many towns across Texas, the citizens of Diablo, CA are looking to ban bikes from their city limits, citing them as a nuisance and a danger to the resident population.
Mount Diablo is a popular cycling destination in the East Bay, where riders come to test themselves on the climb to the 3,848 ft summit. As Diablo Road is a narrow, traffic heavy street, many cyclists opt to take the backroads through town, riding through affluent neighborhoods and past the Diablo Country Club on marked Private Roads. Citing the cyclists as a nuisance to residents, the city is now looking to ban them from the streets altogether, unless they can prove they are a local resident.
By definition, “Private Road” means a privately owned and maintained road, allowing access to more than 1 residence or place of business, which is open to the public and upon which persons other than the owners located thereon may also travel. Around my house are many private roads, where maintenance and upkeep are the responsibility of all the homeowners that live on the street, not the county. Never once has anyone thought about banning bike traffic through our streets and I can’t imagine doing so.
It frustrates me that instead of looking at the root of the problem and figuring out a way that bikes, pedestrians, and cars can all peacefully coexist, the first thing that comes to mind is ban the bikes. Some Danville and Diablo residents, however, have said the solution to the safety dilemma is for Danville and Contra Costa County to join forces to widen about 1.5 miles of Diablo Road and add bike lanes, but it is not clear who would pay and if it is even feasible.
In the meantime, this is a great reminder to all cyclists, myself included, to please set a good example when out on the bike. Obey traffic signals, stop signs, and don’t ride two abreast, so you don’t ruin it for everyone else. We all need to learn how to get along.