Carlsbad, Encinitas schools impose new bike rules for new school year | #schoolsaftey

CARLSBAD, Calif. (KGTV) – Even though school doesn’t start for a few weeks, hundreds of students in Carlsbad and Encinitas have already taken, and passed, one class they’re now required to have.

Both school districts now have mandatory bike safety courses for any student that wants to ride their bike or e-bike to school.

The class is part of identical new policies in the Carlsbad Unified and Encinitas Union School Districts. The policy also requires students to apply for a parking permit for their bikes.

“I thought it was pretty cool,” says Keller Hodge, a Carlsbad 7th grader who says he plans to ride his new e-bike to school this year.

The classes in Carlsbad are taught by police officers and offer a basic overview of bicycle and road safety rules.

“We really want to start at the ground level,” says Carlsbad PD Lieutenant Alonso Develasco. “We’re teaching them how to ride safely in traffic alongside vehicles, and really make them understand that they too have a responsibility to be aware of vehicles around them and follow the rules of the road.”

The rule change comes as e-bikes become more popular among students, particularly teenagers.

Most e-bikes can go more than 20 miles per hour, increasing the likelihood and the severity of crashes with cars.

In Carlsbad, police say they’ve seen a 200% increase in bike and e-bike crashes since 2019. That led the City Council to declare a state of emergency about the issue last year.

The Encinitas City Council did the same thing this summer, following the high-profile death of Brodee Champlain-Kingman in June.

“Sometimes it can worry me,” Hodge says of the threat of accidents. “I hear about a lot of stuff going on down in the village, so I talk to my parents about that.”

To reinforce the message of safety, the Carlsbad Fire Department is giving away bike helmets at some of the classes.

Lt. Develasco says more than 500 kids have already taken the course, and he expects more to sign up before the school year begins. He hopes they all come away with one simple message.

“Sharing the road with a vehicle is very dangerous.”

He adds its up to everyone to follow the rules and stay safe.

For a list of upcoming bike safety classes, click here.

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