Officers from the Santa Barbara Area California Highway Patrol (CHP) office respond to Isla Vista several times a year to investigate injury traffic crashes involving bicyclists. Crashes the CHP investigates frequently end with the bicyclist being transported to the hospital; most minor incidents go unreported.

Bike and pedestrian accidents are the No. 3 cause of trauma seen at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. The CHP has been meeting with UCSB faculty, student leaders, Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office, and the University of California Police Department to address ongoing bicycle safety concerns on and around campus in past years.

The community is invited to join local law enforcement, Isla Vista Community Services District, UCSB student leaders, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and local volunteers, 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23 at 6550 Pardall Road (in front of Pardall Center). The CHP will be giving away about 1,000 bike lights, reflectors, bicycle helmets, and providing bike safety information.

The agencies want to take an upbeat, proactive approach to bicycle safety and employ an alternative method rather then writing hundreds of traffic tickets to force compliance.

One of the safety concerns identified in these meetings was the fact that bicyclists ride during the hours of darkness without the required lighting. Santa Barbara California Highway Patrol has acquired about 1,000 removable bike lights, which can easily be mounted to and removed from students’ bike handlebars.

Officers, students and volunteers will provide bicycle safety information and encourage students to take and use the lights on their bicycles. The hope is to make Isla Vista brighter, thus making bicyclists visible during darkness, make the cycling environment safer, reduce injuries, and reduce property damage.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.