A Bicycle Traffic Safety Sign in memory of Doug Higgs was approved by a vote of 5-0 at the Riverbank City Council meeting on Aug. 27. The sign will be placed near California Avenue and Claus Road. There was no cost to the city for the sign.
In April of this year, Higgs was tragically struck by a vehicle and killed while riding his bicycle near the corner of California Avenue and Claus Road. In the following month the President of the Stanislaus Bike Club, RJ Corwin wrote a letter to the city of Riverbank with the request for a memorial safety sign to be placed adjacent to where the accident occurred. The letter noted that the driver was impaired that hit the cyclist and that Higgs was in a designated marked bike lane.
The sign indicates “Give 3 feet it’s the law” and also includes the words “In Memory of Doug Higgs” with a drawing of a bicycle and the sign is blue and white. Corwin added that the new memorial sign is in place of the “Ghost Bike” or white bicycle that had been placed before in memory of cyclist that had been killed by a car, a memorial effort which began in the City of Los Angeles.
“Both the Ghost Bikes and the newer signs from Los Angeles are meant to remind the public of the vulnerability of cyclists and remember the rider lost,” explained Corwin. “The Stanislaus Bicycle Club feels the memorial signs perform the purpose of the Ghost Bikes and educates drivers about the law regarding the required three foot buffer between a car and cyclist.”
Furthermore, Corwin added that through donations the club would be able to cover all costs for the sign including design, manufacture, and installation.
Since the City of Riverbank does not have policy in place for these types of requests, it was brought to the council for approval. According to staff, the Development Services Administration Department reviewed the request and determined that it was consistent with current traffic regulations.
Although the Bike Club offered to incur the costs, City staff requested a quote from Safe T Lite, whom they purchase related traffic items from for the sign. Staff explained that after sharing the reasoning for the sign to Safe T Lite, the company offered to donate the sign and hardware at no cost.
Oakdale resident Krista Smith, a member of the Stanislaus Bike Club, spoke during public comment and began with three thank you’s: to the City Council for their consideration of the sign, a thank you to City Manager Sean Scully, and other public servants at city hall.
“Every time we encountered them (city staff) they were very helpful, professional and supportive of our inquiries, and requests, and thank you to Dave and Scott at Safe T Lite for offering to put this in at no cost,” she said.