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Vids for Kids, and Adults; and Bicycle Infrastructure

Contact Mari for an update on completed improvements.

Appreciate bike paths, lanes, and routes in Monterey County?  Express appreciation to local city councils, board of supervisors, and the Transportation Agency for every bicycling infrastructure improvement! 

Examples:  Below you’ll see new Camino Aguajito bike lanes, along with information about upcoming Mark Thomas Drive improvements.

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Not every child has a knowledgeable parent or other grown-up able to teach them bike skills, as do the fortunate  kids in this post.

And even adults often need tips on safely making their way through streets shared with motor vehicles.  That’s why Ecology Action and Bike Smart created the videos displayed in this post.

Life skills:  Learning to navigate the bike lanes

Teaching kids bike skills, of course, happens in steps.  This father had apparently helped his daughter master many steps with confidence, for she was quite at ease in biking along Garden Road on Sunday morning.

Dad was watching that precious daughter like a hawk though, and he was grateful for the painted bike lanes on Garden.  His daughter’s bike skills clearly made her an appropriate candidate for venturing off the Class I bikeways (dedicated bike lanes, with no cars or other motor vehicles allowed) and onto the Class II (painted bike lanes on roads shared with motor vehicles).  It’s also clear though, that Dad was unlikely to take her onto a Class III bikeway yet (signed bike route on road shared with motor vehicles, without any painted bike lanes).

When they graciously agreed to pull over out of the bike lane and into the parking lane to pause for this photo, Dad emphasized,  “We’d love to see more bike lanes!”

“Dad, I love biking!” 
“Me too, Sweetie. I’m just looking forward to the day
when there are more and better bikeways everywhere!”
Dad’s dream:  better bike infrastructure
Dreams coming true:   Camino Aguajito

On August 12, 2011, new bike lanes were added in the City of Monterey on Camino Aguajito.  Visitors:  This well-traveled street runs alongside the El Estero Lake park complex. Camino Aguajito connects Fremont (this is the Fremont that is the Highway 1 exit dropping into the City of Monterey at the Monterey Peninsula College/MPC intersection) with Del Monte Avenue (which runs alongside Window on the Bay Waterfront Park).

Thank you to the City for adding these important bike lanes!  They are especially helpful for everyone going between the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail and Monterey Peninsula College, or to other destinations in those areas–like the Hilton Garden Inn, or the Hyatt Regency.

New bike lanes on Camino Aguajito! Pictured below, heading toward MPC.

Mark Thomas Drive

As of November 2011, the bike lanes on Mark Thomas Drive have been repainted/re-striped.  These bike  lanes are well traveled by many people, including by Del Rey Oaks resident Susan Ragsdale-Cronin for bike commuting her children to school at San Carlos, by Santa Catalina School students (whose school entrance is off Mark Thomas), by folks heading to the Naval Postgraduate School (just off Mark Thomas at Sloat), and many others. 

Thanks to the City for the fresh paint, reminding drivers that these are bike lanes–so stay in your lane, buddy!

Cyclists in the City of Monterey are fortunate to have a very bike-friendly traffic engineer, Rich Deal.  (See  “Bikes at Traffic Signals,” which includes his direct contact info.)  Rich is mindful that the bike lanes are too narrow on Mark Thomas Drive,  and he continues to pursue widening those bike lanes.  The recent Mark Thomas re-striping was only a required maintenance activity and is not part of the widening project the traffic engineer is working on.

The bike lanes will be widened.  Unfortunately, the travel lanes are constrained as are the bike lanes, and the road needs to be widened in order to fit standard widths for both bike lanes and travel lanes.  Without a street widening, there is limited room for both bikes and cars. 

The first segment of the widening project between Sloat and Aguajito is scheduled to begin in February/March 2012.  The project will construct 6′ wide bike lanes (1′ wider than the minimum standard width) on both sides, and a sidewalk on the north side. 

At present, available funding does not permit reconstructing the segment between Sloat and Fairground.  In time, that is planned too.

Please express your appreciation to the Monterey City Council for these new bike lanes on Camino Aguajito, for repainting and working on widening the Mark Thomas lanes, and for everything they do to make Monterey a more bike-friendly city for residents and visitors.

For more updates on this site regarding what’s happening to make Dad’s dream come true, see Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail and links in that post.  Also see Making Downtown More Bike Friendly and related posts on this site.  (Most infrastructure posts will be found in the “Local Bike News” section, such as this one about bicycling between the Monterey Peninsula and Salinas.

Life skills:  Learning to choose the route right for your skill level

A former North Carolina mom is teaching her young son how to safely navigate the bikeways of Monterey, their new home.

This mom is clearly bike savvy–and shopping-by-bike savvy too!  She had just taken her children by bike to the Del Monte Shopping Center.  They are shown here on the Monterey Peninsula College campus, en route to their present home in La Mesa Village.

Wondering how to bike to the Del Monte Center? Check bike-there tips in the Lalla Grill HER Helmet Thursdays listing (a charter participant in HHT), or the California Pizza Kitchen or P.F. Chang’s listings.    Not sure where to park your bike once you reach the Del Monte Center?  Bike rack locations are listed in shopping-by-bike.

More about teaching kids bike skills

See the “Children and Teens” subheader on the CA Bike Laws and Personal Safety page of this site for age-specific and other tips for kids.

See a Monterey County family that bikes to school regularly, and get tips for biking  with children–in “Bicycling Carmel:  Children growing up streetwise.”

You may also be interested in this article from the U.K. (some info won’t apply to the U.S.) on “How to get children cycling to school.”

See the “Children and Teens” section of this site for lots more of interest to kids and parents.

Learn by seeing:  bike skills videos

Thanks to our Santa Cruz neighbors at Ecology Action and BikeSmart.org for the videos below.

Taking the lane…

When it’s necessary to ride outside a painted bike lane–in a lane that motor vehicles are traveling in–is that okay?  You bet!  With the exception of freeways, bicyclists can know:  “Same roads, same rules, same rights.”

Sometimes it’s appropriate to “take the lane,” as Becky is doing in the video.  Check it out!

She  is biking in my old Santa Cruz neighborhoods, where she shares the road with vehicles on East Cliff, before exiting onto the path along the San Lorenzo River.

Making a left turn…

Although I love biking, I do not live a car-free life.  And I’ve been at the wheel of a car when a man on a bike not only failed to signal his intention to turn, he also came from the right-hand lane and suddenly biked in front of me to make a left turn.  Scary!–and dangerous.  Thankfully, I’m especially alert to the presence of people on bikes, and also had the necessary time to brake for him.

The video below shows how to safely make a left turn on your bike.

(Another option, of course–especially for young children–is to hop off your bike and temporarily be a pedestrian:  walk through the crosswalk of the intersection.)

Disclaimer:  Normally I can post a video and have the option of not offering other videos to watch afterward. For some reason, that option wasn’t available when posting these videos.  Please note that I am not necessarily recommending the other videos–for example,  “Urban Cycling,” which shows jumping one’s bike against the trunk of a tree. (Hey! Hug a tree, don’t jump its trunk.)

Avoiding the door zone

Watch this three-minute video on Youtube, “Why you should avoid the door zone.”

To see some of our Santa Cruz County neighbors…

bicycling in Monterey County, click here.

 

Previous updates include 8/10/11, 8/1/12.

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