Bikes are Bad News on Boardwalk

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The scenic three mile stretch of boardwalk between E. Street to 36th Street on Balboa Peninsula is beloved by pedestrians, but cyclists like it too. The hotly contested issue of bike traffic on the boardwalk has local residents fired up.

“This is something that everyone cares about,” councilwoman Diane Dixon pointed out at her District 1 town hall meeting on Monday night.

At the meeting, peninsula residents said speeding bicycles and the sheer number of them present an incredible danger to pedestrians.

The issue of speeding bikes has been going on for years noted Newport Beach Deputy Police Chief Dennis Birch. Police presence has been increased and speed limit signs have been posted up and down the boardwalk.

The city manager’s office, which is working on an ordinance to present to city council in June or July to clarify the municipal code on boardwalk safety, proposed several options to the audience.

Only one option elicited wild applause from the crowd, which was shouted out by a resident: Ban bikes on the boardwalk. All bikes. All the time.

Neither the city nor residents from the Balboa Peninsula Point Association would comment on the possibility of banning bikes altogether, saying that more study was needed.

None of the many bike rental businesses on the peninsula spoke publicly at the town hall.

Police plan to conduct a boardwalk safety education and enforcement program in May, Birch said, and more public meetings will be held in coming months.

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