Recently, Saratoga, California chair Brigitte Ballingall was quoted in the Mercury News making statements that appeared anti-cycling.
She responded on this blog and in emails that her quote was taken out of context, and offered her explanation and an apology to cyclists who ride on Saratoga roads. As a member of the city’s advisory committee for transportation issues, she has worked to promote cycling and walking as transportation. In particular, she founded the Saratoga School Transportation Task Force to address safety issues related to all of the driving around local schools. “The foundation to our plan was to do anything to encourage alternatives to driving kids to school, namely biking and walking,” writes Ms Ballinger. “We wrote extensive marketing ideas promoting bikes as the ‘better vehicle’,” which I think rocks. She also worked with the city to secure Safe Routes to School funding for bike lanes and sidewalks around Saratoga schools.
Ms. Ballinger does express concern about Pierce Road in Saratoga, which is a curvy, hilly and narrow road with high traffic, poor sightlines, and steep banks off of the edge of the road. I’ve heard experienced cyclists tell other cyclists that they’re “insane” for riding on this road, and Ms. Ballinger explains that her remark was made in that kind of informal context of talking to her cycling friends. She regrets making that kind statement in a public meeting and retracts her ‘idiotic and insane’ statement.