HESPERIA • Progress on the area’s longest bicycle trail system is advancing with some unforeseen consequences. Motor vehicle collisions have increased markedly at one intersection following traffic-control changes that are part of the city’s bike-lane plan.
Stop signs were changed from east-west to north-south in September along Sequoia Avenue at Locust, Fifth and Second avenues as part of a plan to make bicycling along the city’s northern border safer, Hesperia spokeswoman Rachel Molina said.
“The reason for the change in alignment was to facilitate our Non-motorized Traffic Plan for that corridor,” she said. The new routing offers an alternate, safer route for bicyclists who previously chose to ride along busy Bear Valley Road, Molina said.
“The bike lanes are a great part of the (area-wide) Healthy Communities initiative,” Molina said. The city contains 35 miles of bike paths, the most of any city in the Victor Valley.
Residents at Sequoia and Locust thought city workers were enhancing the intersection’s traffic control to a four-way stop, Jennifer Williams said. But since then the sound of squealing tires is jangling their nerves.
“It’s a daily thing,” Williams said.
Since the stop-sign change, the Sequoia-Locust intersection has seen a major increase in vehicle collisions. There were two incidents in the year before the change. There have been 12 collisions since the change on Sept. 1, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
The Sequoia-Second Avenue Intersection has also seen collisions rise, with one crash in the year before the changes and six in the eight months since.
Williams said if the frequent collisions don’t involve two vehicles, they involve a vehicle and a fence or wall at the four corners.
“Honestly, we never see people riding bikes along the street,” she said, adding that she and her neighbors would like to see a four-way stop at the intersection or something like flashing red lights to draw more attention to the change.
“Although the intersections are clearly marked, it is feasible that some of the collisions are as a result of the change in the direction of the stop signs,” Sheriff’s Hesperia Station spokeswoman Susan Rose said. “We tend to be creatures of habit and may have traveled these routes for years. Even on what we consider familiar roadways, it is important for drivers to pay attention.”
Gary Brodeur may be contacted at 760-951-6245 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DP_gbrodeur.