ENCINITAS, Calif. — The bustling streets of a popular North County coastal town may soon be safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and bus riders.
This comes as the number of crashes involving bicycles and e-bikes has tripled in Encinitas over the last three years, with a more recent incident turning fatal.
Back in June, 15-year-old Brodee Champlain-Kingman died after he collided with a van near San Dieguito Academy High School.
The tragedy prompted the city to move more urgently to address the growing problems with e-bike safety. The Encinitas City Council voted to declare a local state of emergency.
This week, the city is set to receive $3.09 million from the state of California for the Santa Fe Drive Corridor Improvements Project.
State Sen. Catherine Blakespear, who joined FOX 5 in-studio Thursday morning, says she has been working hard to ensure this project made it into the state budget.
“It’s just critically important that we do everything we can to make our streets safer, and particularly with protected bike lanes where bicyclists are separated from cars,” Blakespear explained.
Some of the enhancements included in this improvement project include separating bicyclists from vehicles with a barrier, making sure the roads are narrower, lowering regulated speeds, adding bulb-outs that require vehicles to slow down, and the way parking is organized.
“This project is incredibly important. This can’t happen to another family. What my family is suffering and going through right now is really unimaginable to most people. These improvements need to be made,” Clare Champlain, Brodee’s mother, told FOX 5.
The improvement project, which is slated to begin next month, is expected to take between 6-9 months to be completed.
“E-bikes aren’t going away. The accidents are tripling and globally sales of e-bikes are skyrocketing, so we have to create immunity where everyone can get to their destinations safe.” said Champlain.