A message from the mayor on bike safety

Posted on September 6, 2022


Dear Residents and Neighbors,

I am writing to you to share a few recent incidents and observations in our residential neighborhoods and in our bustling downtown. If you don’t ride a bike, I hope you will read on as this is a topic, we can all do something about. I write this from a place of deep concern which I know is shared among many residents that an awful tragedy will happen unless we take steps to educate and be mindful about bike safety practices.

We’re seeing a huge proliferation of e-bikes and e-scooters among our youth. Both my teenagers use e-bikes – they are a wonderful reliable source of transportation (particularly for getting up our steep hills with a heavy backpack on a hot day!). It’s an encouraging and critical shift away from driving which reduces traffic and carbon emissions. And, as some of these vehicles have the capacity to go over 20mph we need to be vigilant about adhering to safety practices. If you have an e-bike or e-scooter at home, please have a serious conversation with all riders inclusive of the following:

Wearing a helmet is not optional. California vehicle code requires that youth 17 and under wear helmets. We’re seeing too many young people, often with 2 on a bike, with helmets hanging from their wrists.

Our sidewalks are narrow, and they are for pedestrians and those who require mobility assistive devices. We have had two collisions recently on the corner of Bolinas and Broadway caused by high-speed biking on the sidewalk. Walking your bike is recommended.

This flier provides excellent information about different types of e-bikes and offers what to consider about the rider’s ability to manage the increased speeds and challenging maneuverability of a heavy e-bike before purchasing one, especially for a child.

For the purpose of genuinely looking out for each other, preventing harm or even a tragic event from taking place I hope we can all take action to support a safe community. If you see a rider without a helmet or riding unsafely, please try to have a friendly conversation with the rider. When Fairfax PD sees riders without a helmet, speeding, or bypassing a stop sign they will stop and offer education about the law(s). This issue is not limited to Fairfax, and we recognize the inconsistency of bike safety laws across the towns and cities. The municipalities all over the county are exploring strategies and policies to make our streets and sidewalks safer.

Thank you for your support educating your kids and making respectful choices sharing the road.

Stephanie Hellman
Mayor, Town of Fairfax

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