The sun was shining on Merrimac Way in Costa Mesa on Saturday as the Go Human campaign set up a what they call a pop-up bike lane for their Explore Merrimac event.
The event was intended to inform the public of how a possible change to the road structure could help with public safety should the city decide to implement it.
These changes include repurposing one of the two lanes on either side of the Merrimac Way to become wider, dedicated bike lanes.
The Southern California Association for Governments (SCAG) started Go Human as a community outreach and advertising campaign that is attempting to reduce traffic collisions in Southern California.
Hannah Brunelle, an event organizer with SCAG said teaming up with schools like Orange Coast College as well as the city of Costa Mesa for these events helps the city gain crucial information as to whether these types of changes should be implemented.
“We really encourage people to provide their feedback to us. The city takes it into consideration quite a bit,” said Brunelle.
The Costa Mesa Police Department were at the event teaching advanced cycling courses for kids attending. A small caution cone course had been set up in the parking lot with loaner bikes for children to follow an officer winding along the track.
Food trucks were cooking away for community members and bike shops, and cycling clubs were signing up members and giving out safety tips.
“Events like this are a chance for us to interface with communities that are trying to make improvements,” Bill Sellin of the Orange Coast Bicycle Coalition said.
OCBC are a group focused on similar goals as Go Human, often advocating to various Orange County city councils to improve the road cycling experience without harming or endangering cyclists or motorists.
“Our position is to try to address whatever we can, to show up and give our input. We offer our experience and sometimes give a bit of a reality check to what’s being marketed to the community,” Sellin said.
Community members ranging in age, from infants to the elderly, were in attendance during the event. Parents with baby seats and OCC students could be seen riding around testing the proposed new bike lane.
Lorna Wimberley and Michael Bare are community members and frequent cyclists who heard about the event through social media. They were excited to hear about the possibility of making it safer to ride around Costa Mesa.
“It feels safer to ride with a protective area and a legitimate bike lane to begin with,” said Wimberley.
Bare said they often ride in Long Beach where there are dedicated bike light signals as well as separate pedestrian and cycling paths on beachfronts. He said he hopes Orange County can do something similar.
“It’s beginning now but they need to keep going a little further and advertise that they want public opinion more so the people come,” Bare said.