Students and local residents will get the chance to win a new bicycle and learn how to stay safe while riding it, at a town hall meeting hosted by local law enforcement officers, politicians and professors in Embarcadero Hall tonight.
The meeting, which begins at 7 p.m., will feature discussions about bicycle and public safety in Isla Vista. UC Police Dept. spokesman Mark Signa said a new bike, donated by Associated Students and gift certificates to the UCSB Bookstore and Central Service and Supply – located on Pardall Road – will be raffled off at the meeting. UCSB Community Service Officers (CSOs) will also be present to register people’s bikes.
Signa said the event will be led by a panel of local community officials, including 3rd District Supervisor Brooks Firestone, UCSB Professors Walter Yuen and Harry Nelson and representatives from the California Highway Patrol and I.V. Foot Patrol. Members of the Associated Students Bicycle Improvements Keep Everyone Safe Committee (BIKES) will also sit on the panel.
Signa, as sub-chair of the I.V. Town Hall Meeting Committee, will moderate the event.
Because bicycles are such a central form of transportation in Isla Vista, Signa said, the committee decided to host an official discussion regarding bike safety.
“The topic of bike safety was discussed last December as a suggested topic, due to the huge impact of bikes on our community and some of the concerns that have been brought up about how to help create an environment in which the bikes, pedestrians and vehicles can interact safely,” Signa said.
Signa said he hopes this meeting attracts more people than the Halloween-themed town hall meeting held in October.
“We were disappointed about the attendance for Halloween and we’re hoping for more community involvement,” Signa said. “People will hopefully realize that this is the chance to influence I.V.’s future. After all, this is not our Town Hall – it belongs to the community and it needs to focus on what is important to the community.” A.S. President Chaz Whatley, a member of the Town Hall committee, said approximately 50 people attended the meeting in October but she hopes to see many more people at tonight’s event.
“Everyone in I.V. should be there because bike safety pertains to everyone,” Whatley, a senior sociology major, said. “I hope everyone comes out.” Firestone said he thinks the meeting will provide a forum for locals to share their opinions and ideas about specific issues facing Isla Vista.
“These meetings are really important, not just to have the people who always come out to these meetings, but to have people who are interested,” Firestone said. “It is integral and valuable to have an interchange of ideas [between] members of the community.”