Encinitas to explore partnering with schools to provide e-bike safety training

The downtown Encinitas sign.
(Charlie Neuman / San Diego Union-Tribune/Zuma Pre)

Council also adds another year to bike-share company BCycle’s rental program agreement


In an effort to curb dangerous electric bike-riding behavior, the city of Encinitas may partner with area schools to provide on-campus safety classes this fall.

“Getting this going sooner, rather than later, I think will be a great benefit to the city,” said Councilmember Kellie Hinze, who along with Mayor Tony Kranz brought the proposal forward Wednesday, March 8.

The first step will be to assess how many instructors will be needed and how much it’s going to cost the city to obtain training for those instructors. The council directed the city manager to look into that issue.

A partnership agreement with the schools also will need to be put together and that proposed arrangement will need to come before the council for approval at a later date.

Ultimately, Hinze and Kranz said, the goal will be to create a program where students are trained at their school sites and the schools then provide them with an e-bike parking permit, similar to the ones that allow high schoolers to park on their cars in school parking lots.

Hinze and Kranz said the proposal was the result of joint meetings they recently had with area school district officials about e-bike safety concerns, including helmet wearing, passengers riding on the back of e-bikes and speeding.

Encinitas already offers three-hour, bike safety classes on a monthly basis through a partnership with the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. (The next class is March 18, see for signup information).

But, those classes are held at the Encinitas Community & Senior Center, and area school officials said they would like to have on-campus events to make it easy for students to attend, Hinze said.

Kranz said he wants Encinitas to duplicate some of the measures that neighboring Carlsbad is doing to improve e-bike safety. It’s logical for Encinitas to step in and assist with the training program for e-bike safety instructors because the city has to deal with the consequences when kids don’t ride safely on area roads, he said.

In other action Wednesday, March 8, the council unanimously agreed to continue its pilot program with the bike-share company BCycle, adding another year to an agreement that began early last year.

Under the program, BCycle provides rentable e-bikes at 20 docking stations in the city, with many of them along Coast Highway 101. People use a mobile ap to check out the bikes. The typical cost is $7 for 30 minutes, but it can be less if the renter belongs to the company’s membership program.

In the last year, there have been 3,215 individual riders and more than 10,000 bike rentals, Crystal Najera, the city’s sustainability manager, said.

Through the program, Encinitas aims to promote alternatives to car travel, reduce traffic congestion and cut greenhouse gas emissions. They’d like to add more rental locations, increase program promotion and encourage participation by low-income people in the coming year, Najera said.