(Victorville)– If you were traveling down Bear Valley Road last evening after 6:00pm you may have seen bicyclists riding in the right lane headed for Apple Valley. This group of cyclists were biking for a cause – they were raising awareness for bicycle safety and the need for bike lanes in the High Desert.
Chuck and Pam Hanson organized the event. They have been attending city council meetings across the Victor Valley to urge city leaders to put in bike lanes. Mrs. Hanson explained, “Periodically at the meetings we will ask them to include a bike lane when they are making street repairs.”
“Bike lanes are so important because there are more and more people on bicycles. When we talk to people in the community they tell us that they would ride a bicycle if it was safe. So that’s the point: more and more people would ride their bicycles IF there were safe areas for them to ride.”
The Hansons started this event about five years ago. “We initiated this ride to kick off National Bicycle Month,” said Mrs. Hanson. “The first year we had 18 riders. Within the last two years we’ve had an average of 200-250 riders.”
About 50 riders came out to make the ride down Bear Valley Road Monday night. They wore helmets and signs that read, “Share the Road”. They rode from the parking lot of Lowe’s in Victorville to the US Bank parking lot in the Jess Ranch Marketplace.
Robert Hanna, a local attorney and bicyclists had come straight from work. In fact, he did the ride his dress shirt and slacks. He said that he and the members of the Victor Valley Bike Club were making the ride to support cycling in the desert and to support bike lanes. The club organizes bike rides on the weekends all over the Victor Valley, even making rides up to Wrightwood or Lake Gregory.
Apple Valley Mayor Barb Stanton was also at the event. “I support the bike ride. I support bike paths throughout the High Desert and I look forward to Apple Valley providing more bike paths for our citizens,” Stanton said. “Each year I come out and help set up, sign people in and have a good time.”
Apple Valley has several bike lanes, as does Hesperia. The problem, according to Pam Hanson, is that those lanes do not connect. “So that’s our next big thing: if the cities are going to give us a bike lane, and we appreciate EVERY mile of bike lane that they’ve given to us, let’s have them connect with one another so that instead of having a two block ride maybe we can have 10 blocks in a row.”
The Hansons are hoping this ride and the work they are doing will cause people to be aware of bicycle safety and be supportive. “We have had some people say, ‘Wait a minute, this is a propaganda issue and the country is trying to get everybody on bicycles and out of their cars.’ That’s not the point. The point is that bicycles have been around a lot longer than automobiles and we have a right to be on the road and we have a right to be safe on the road.”