The city of Irvine is planning to test a proposed cycle track with a “separated bikeway” concept along Yale Ave., on Saturday, Aug. 26, and is inviting the community to share feedback on the potential design.

As a part of Irvine’s South Yale Corridor Improvement Project, the cycle track demonstration will be open between 11 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Yale Avenue, between Michelson Drive and Royce Road.

Irvine residents are encouraged to ride, walk or drive along the temporary cycle track to experience the proposed improvements, which aim to reduce traffic congestion and enhance the access to the city’s trail network. Irvine will be displaying informational signage to explain the proposed changes to residents.

Currently, the portion of South Yale Ave. features on-street bike lanes, and a sidewalk on both sides of two traffic lanes from motor vehicles. At 64-feet-wide, the road is “much larger than needed to serve current traffic volumes,” according to a project fact sheet.

Located on South Yale Ave, the project aims to make improvements between the University Ave. and the I-405 Freeway, near Rancho San Joaquin Middle School, and was approved as part of Irvine’s 2020 Strategic Active Transportation Plan.

Introduced via the Irvine Shares the Way program, upgrades within the South Yale Corridor Improvement Projects, like the separated bikeway concept, are being developed to improve safety, and educate riders on traffic laws.

In July, the Irvine City Council approved a new E-bike ordinance after the Irvine Police Department reported a steep increase in collisions involving electric bicycles.

Lieutenant Matthew McLaughlin from Irvine Police Department’s Traffic and Events Bureau, explained that traffic collisions involving bicycles in Irvine have increased nearly 200% since 2019.

More specifically, according to McLaughlin, e-bike collisions in Irvine have jumped nearly 25% between 2021 and 2022.

“Last year, there were 83 traffic collisions involving bicycles in Irvine, that total is 172% higher when compared to 2021 and nearly 200% higher when compared to 2020,” he said. “Thirty-four percent of the bicycle collisions in 2022 involved an e-bicycle, as compared to only 10% in 2021. Fifty-nine percent of the bicycle collisions in 2022 involved a juvenile, and 86% of the bicycle collisions in 2022 occurred less than 1,000 yards or less from a school.”

The new ordinance limits the number of riders an e-bike can transport, based on seating. The new ordinance also regulates the direction in which electric bicycles can travel in Irvine.

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