Category Archives: Southern California

Mandeville Canyon Cycling Video

On July 4, there was a road rage incident in Mandeville Canyon in Los Angeles, where a motorist slammed on his brakes in front of two cyclists, badly injuring one of them:

Given all the public concerns about cycling on that road, fellow CABO board member Dan Gutierrez and I felt some public education was in order. To that end, we have shot video of the Canyon and created a short (3:49) educational video, entitled: Mandeville Canyon – Motorist/Cyclist Cooperation, for cyclists and motorists, showing safe, legal and cooperative behaviors.  In addition, the Rights and Duties of Cyclists video is also helpful in this context.

Update on Coast Highway Bicycle Ban in Dana Point

(Backdated to archive in the CABO blog)

By Dan Gutierrez and Brian DeSousa
California Association of Bicycling Organizations (CABO)


The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) cycling roadway ban ordinance in Dana Point, California (between Palisades and Camino Capistrano in Capistrano Beach) will not be approved.

At about 12:45 this afternoon (September 20, 2006), the Traffic Safety Subcommittee of the Dana Point City Council decided unanimously to recommend to the full Council that they NOT enact the proposed ordinance banning cyclists, pedestrians, and other human powered transportation users from using the roadway and shoulders on PCH. This action was the result of the subcommittee, which included the Dana Point Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem as members, accepting the argument from the cycling community that: a) the roadway design was not the cause of the recent unfortunate injuries and fatalities on PCH. b) forcing fast cyclists onto the narrow pathway was not in the best safety interests of path users and road cyclists.


Pacific Coast Highway between Palisades and Camino Capistrano is a two-lane road with shoulders between a railroad right of way on the ocean side and steep bluffs on the inland side. On April 8, two joggers were severely injured from a hit-and-run driver who had an outstanding warrant for a previous DUI. On May 6, a bicyclist died in a collision with an automobile, for which the bicyclist was found at legal fault.

On May 24, the City Council approved amending the roadway resurfacing project to narrow the travel lanes to 10 feet and the shoulders to 6 feet to make room for a 10-foot wide two-way path on one side of the road separated by K-rail (concrete barriers).

On July 25, another bicyclist died in a crash with an automobile, for which the automobile driver was cited for DUI. As a result of the recent injuries and fatalities, on August 23, the City Council had the first reading of a proposed ordinance to permanently ban cyclists from using the roadway portion of PCH and requiring them to use the sidepath.

Seeing that such a ban, if enacted, could lead to similar bans elsewhere in the state, the California Association of Bicycling Organizations (CABO) worked with local cycling club and advocacy organization leaders to devise a strategy to fight the ban. The second reading of the ban ordinance was scheduled for the September 13 City Council meeting, after which it would have become law. Due to numerous letters, faxes, and emails from the cycling community, the reading of the ordinance was pulled from the City Council agenda, and the matter was deferred to the September 20 meeting of the Traffic Subcommittee.

Traffic Subcommittee Meeting Details

The Dana Point Director of Public Works, with whom Brian and I (Dan) met three weeks ago to gather technical data, was instrumental in pre-arranging with the subcommittee to have CABO give a technical PowerPoint presentation with integral video that was longer than the normal three minutes allotted to public speakers, and by also allowing us to present first (actually second after the Public Works director showed a few still photos of his own).

Unfortunately Brian, our CABO area director, whose territory includes Dana Point, was not able to break free from some important work commitments, so I agreed to give the briefing in his place. Brian did a fantastic job of working with all of us to coordinate meetings, shoot video and put together the briefing for the sub-committee. The ten-minute briefing was very well received by the subcommittee.

Three others also spoke at the meeting, Roger Taylor of the Bicycling Association of South Orange County (BASOC), a private citizen who lived in San Clemente (who opposed the ban and asked that the road be restored to its former configuration), and Rock Kendall (the attorney for the Orange County Bicycle Coalition (OCBC) and a citizen of Dana Point). Roger and Rock both gave testimony that was quite complementary to our presentation and helped to show that the cycling community was unanimous in opposing the ban. I believe this along with the fact that the original road cycling ban was NOT brought before the traffic safety subcommittee, which one member publicly stated to her City Council colleagues, made it easy for the subcommittee as a whole to reconsider the idea of mixing fast road cyclists with slow path users.

The same subcommittee member, upon seeing the public works director’s photos, indicated that she rides a bike and would NOT want to use a path so narrow. I could tell by the disturbed look on her face that she agreed with our contention that fast cyclists should not be on a narrow path even before she had a chance to see the dramatic pathway video showing two groups of cyclists at a closing speed of 50 mph. She also started off the committee discussion of the ordinance by giving a nearly verbatim reading of our conclusion slide by stating that cyclists should be able to choose between the road and the path, and the other members added some standard verbal boilerplate which amounted to “me too”. The subcommittee then quickly made a motion to recommend that the council drop the ordinance, seconded it, and made a unanimous voice call to approve the motion.

Another positive action resulting from the decision to NOT enact the road ban was the Director of Public Works’ announcement to the subcommittee members that he would solicit input from CABO to devise improved signage alerting motorists to the presence of cyclists. In a very brief, private conversation with the City Engineer, he liked my suggestion that standard MUTCD signs such as “Road Narrows”, “Watch for Bicyclists”, and “Share the Road” could be used in combination to alert motorists to the fact that even though bike route signs direct path using cyclists to the sidepath, that motorists still understand that road cyclists can and will use the road/shoulder.

Thanks and Conclusions

Many thanks are in order to the CABO board, and those League Cycling Instructors (LCIs) who helped me and Brian shoot some dramatic pathway video that figured prominently in the presentation. These include LCI Serge Issakov, our CABO San Diego area director, and LCIs Phil Thomas & Michael Plumlee of the Southern California Chapter of the MS Society, all of whom were certified as instructors earlier this year by our CABO President and LCI trainer, Jim Baross! In addition Executive Director Don Harvey and attorney Rock Kendall of the OCBC were excellent team players in our efforts to kill the ban, as was Roger Taylor of the BASOC.

Overall, this was an extremely positive result and a model for future CABO advocacy efforts, since we did not have to resort to direct adversarial pressure at the City Council meeting. Instead were able to use methods of education and influence with city staff to re-direct the issue to the traffic safety subcommittee, and as a result were given an invitation to educate the subcommittee. Of course the many thousands of e-mails to the City Council and OCBC threat of legal action also helped to persuade the city to reconsider the roadway ban internally, instead of creating conflict at a City Council meeting.

Thanks again to everyone that helped CABO reaffirm cyclists’ road rights in California.

Link to Video of Path

Recent newspaper articles

Orange County Register, Thursday, September 21:

Orange County Register, Wednesday, September 20:

Dana Point Bicycling Ban: Request for Assistance

(Backdated to archive in the CABO blog)

We need your help. Clubs and individuals are requested to send your letters and faxes to the Dana Point City Council before the next meeting on September 13. The following is a sample letter. We will also need cyclists to attend the Dana Point City Council meeting. Watch this space for more information on the September 13 City Council meeting.


Mayor Anderson and the City Council

City of Dana Point

33282 Golden Lantern

Dana Point, CA 92629

Sent via facsimile to 949-248-9920

SUBJECT: Restrictions to Bicyclists on Coast Highway


Dear Mayor Anderson and the City Council:

[Insert short paragraph about your club here.]

Recent collisions between motorists and bicyclists or pedestrians on this stretch of Coast Highway have received much attention. We appreciate that the City Council is addressing this issue. But requiring bicyclists to use a 10-foot wide path shared with pedestrians will expose bicyclists to more risk compared to the roadway with a 6’ shoulder. While we do not oppose having a separate path on Coast Highway, its use by bicyclists should be optional and not mandatory.

Furthermore, we support the efforts of the Orange County Bicycle Coalition (OCBC) and the California Association of Bicycling Organizations (CABO), who feel the roadway ban is illegal and have indicated they may take legal action if necessary.

We urge you to amend Chapter 12.18 of the Municipal Code to remove bicyclists from the users prohibited from both the roadway and shoulder portions of Coast Highway between Palisades Drive and Camino Capistrano.

Potential Bicycle Ban on Coast Highway in Dana Point

(Backdated to archive in the CABO blog)

The City of Dana Point is planning to install a two-way shared bicycle/pedestrian path on the west side of Coast Highway in Capistrano Beach between Palisades Drive and Camino Capistrano. Concrete barriers will be used to create a 10-foot wide shared path, with the shoulder width on Coast Highway reduced to make room for the sidepath.

The City of Dana Point has recently enacted a local ordinance prohibiting bicyclists and pedestrians from the travel lanes and the shoulder of this section of Coast Highway – both during the current construction and after the path is completed. (Update on 9/7/06 – The first reading was on 8/23/06, the second reading will be on 9/13/06, after which it would take effect if passed.) Bicyclists are expected to use the shared use path after construction is completed. The California Association of Bicycling Organizations (CABO) considers this an illegal infringement of bicyclists’ right to travel on the part of the city of Dana Point.

Recent collisions between motorists and bicyclists or pedestrians on this stretch of Coast Highway have received much attention in the press. But requiring bicyclists to use a path shared with pedestrians causes more problems than it solves, which is why Caltrans’ design standards recommend against sidepaths in lieu of roadway accommodations for bicyclists. Rather than forcing bicyclists off Coast Highway, the issue of motorist behavior and accountability needs to be addressed.

It is CABO’s position that the travel lane bicycling ban is illegal. The right for bicyclists to use public roads is granted by the state, and the state preempts local regulation unless specifically authorized. State law does allow localities to regulate shoulder use by bicyclists, so that part of the ordinance is valid. Ironically, with the Dana Point ordinance in place, a bicyclist would be allowed to use the travel lanes but prohibited from the shoulder. Such a situation on a two-lane road – even with a shoulder wide enough for a bicyclist to safely use – would legally require bicyclists to ride in the travel lanes thereby unnecessarily delaying motorists. This is apparently an unintended consequence of the city ordinance. (Update on 9/21/06 – CABO has been given a legal opinion that a shoulder ban would also be illegal.)

CABO wants the following actions from the City of Dana Point:

1. The City of Dana Point must repeal the illegal travel lanes bicycling ban and also repeal the unwise (though legal) shoulder bicycling ban.

2. The city must also review the planned road configuration prior to applying new striping. If the new road configuration does not retain adequate space for safe motorist passing of bicyclists, then the facility needs to be redesigned. Otherwise, bicyclists acting according to the law will have to operate in the travel lanes, delaying motor vehicle drivers. (Update on 9/7/06 – After construction, the road will have 10′ travel lanes and 6′ shoulders, which is considered acceptable to bicyclists.)

3. In addition, we suggest that the city work with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, the city’s Public Works Department, and local motoring, bicycling, and pedestrian advocacy groups to explore ways to improve safety on this section of Coast Highway for all legal users.

We urge local bicyclists, especially Dana Point residents, and bicycling clubs to contact the Dana Point city council as soon as possible, urging them to take action based on the three points above.

Written correspondence is the most effective and can be sent to the Mayor and City Council by fax at (949) 248-9920, or mailed to the following address:

City of Dana Point
33282 Golden Lantern
Dana Point, CA 92629

The Mayor and Council Members and e-mail addresses are as follows:

Mayor – Lara Anderson,
Mayor Pro Tem – Russ Chilton,
Council Member – Wayne Rayfield,
Council Member – James V. Lacy,
Council Member – Diane L. Harkey,

More Information

Map with area of ban (Coast Highway between Palisades Dr. and Camino Capistrano):

News articles:

Correspondence from Dana Point Public Works to City Council:

The OCTA bike map shows this section of Coast Highway as having bike lanes:


#1: Looking southeast from end of existing sidepath on west side of Coast Highway. The SUV stopped at the light is on Beach Rd., and the other cars are traveling southbound on Coast Highway. Palisades Dr. is barely visible in the background.

#2: Southbound Coast Highway at Palisades Dr.

#3: Southbound Coast Highway south of Palisades

#4: Southbound Coast Highway, south of Palisades. Note the bike lane sign in the photo, off in the distance.

#5: Northbound Coast Highway at Camino Capistrano. Electric sign says “no bicycles or peds”. Note the bike lane sign in the photo.

#6: Closeup of the signage in photo #5. Electric sign indicates closure dates of 8-14-05 to 9-8-06.

#7: Northbound Coast Highway, same electric sign as photos #5 and #6

#8: Northbound Coast Highway, north of Camino Capistrano. Note the bike lane sign in the photo.

#9: Northbound Coast Highway at Palisades, looking up Palisades Drive (the signed alternate route)