How safe is it to bike in Sonoma County?

24 May 2021

The theme for this month “Play at Home,” combined with the anticipation of warm summer weather and the continued sense of comfort with the pandemic seemingly in retreat, made me envision all the ways we can “play” on our bicycles. I have written a few columns now celebrating all the wonderful ways cycling in Sonoma County can be enjoyable. And May was “Bike to Wherever” month with lots of activities promoting all forms of cycling.

However, I was just recently reminded that fun cycling and safe cycling in our community are at odds. On May 19th, the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition, along with other cycling organizations, organized a “Ride of Silence” to acknowledge the nine cyclists that were killed on Sonoma County streets and roads from 2018 to 2020. I am sure many of you may have seen these white “ghost bikes” around the county marking places where cyclists have died. And then just a day later we learned that another cyclist, hit by a drunk driver on May 12th, had died. I would be remiss if I did not talk about this issue. Many might try to categorize this recent death differently, as it was the caused by a suspected drunk driver, whereas some of the other recent deaths were either distracted or unsafe drivers. But that does not tell the whole story.

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