Over the past year, there has been a significant increase in outdoor activity as residents seek options to get outdoors for exercise and enjoyment. With limited entertainment options, gyms being required to close and the need for safe social activities, the local trails, sidewalks, parks, and shared use spaces have become increasingly used over the past year.
As hikers, runners, walkers, and those riding a variety of personal transportation vehicles – bicycles, skateboards, Segway, scooters and eBikes – often share narrow spaces, safety has become the concern of parents, community leaders and residents.
The most urgent and compelling concern is for inexperienced kids on eBikes. Many residents have shared their first-hand experiences of almost being hit by oncoming eBikes while using the sidewalk, and riders darting out into traffic, allowing vehicle drivers little time to react. Some residents have even captured nail biting video footage from dash cameras of kids suddenly riding out in front of their car without warning. Too often these kids are not wearing protective helmets, have someone riding on the handlebars and are moving at unsafe speeds, or in the wrong direction.
One parent said, “we don’t need any more ribbons on trees.” Something needs to be done, but what? eBikes and personal transportation safety was a topic of discussion at the January Ladera Ranch Civic Council meeting where a panel of cycling and law enforcement experts held an open discussion with the community and Supervisor Lisa Bartlett to explore the issues surrounding eBike safety. Below are some of the main points and references that came from the meeting.
Safety training when a child receives an eBike
Its good advice for parents to take the time to review safety and discuss the ‘rules of the road’ as well as trail, sidewalk, and riding etiquette.
Sense of urgency and expectation to wear a helmet
Safety starts at home with setting the expectation to wear a helmet. Protect your child from a life-altering head injury and brain damage.
County and other laws
Educate yourself and your child – the vast majority of sidewalks and streets are under county jurisdiction and patrolled by the California Highway Patrol.
Change the perception that eBikes are in essence, ‘toys’
Since eBikes can now be purchased online, the transfer of knowledge and the discussion between bike shop owner and customer is lost. Instill the fact that a bike is a vehicle and should be handled accordingly.
Open spaces and common areas owned by the Ladera Ranch Maintenance Corporation, (LARMAC) are separate from the County. LARMAC is currently evaluating the use of eBikes in the community (currently dirt bikes are not allowed on the trails or LARMAC property including parks)
LARMAC Community Guidelines and use of eBikes on LARMAC property:
LARMAC is currently drafting proposed revisions to the community guidelines to address eBikes on LARMAC property.
Community guidelines specifically prohibit motorized vehicles (i.e. dirt bikes/motorcycles) on LARMAC trails.
Damage to LARMAC property has occurred from eBikes/motorized vehicles driving on grass areas, slopes and sports fields which leads to repair costs that all homeowners pay for through HOA assessments.
Visit the eBike safety and resource page at LaderaLife.com/ebikes