Spindrift April 6, 2023


Ken DuFour opened the Spouses’ Meeting. Roger Summers prayed for Dr. Bob Wood to recover from his illness and for our members. He gave thanks for our club, the meal, and our first responders. Dave Schapiro led the pledge.


Gary Tewinkle stated next year’s candidates: President – Shirley Lashmett, President Elect – Cynthia Strasmann, Programs - Mitch Mitchell, Secretary -Roy Shlemon, Board 1 Year Term - Leo Fracalosy, George Lesley, and Ross Stewart, Board 2 Year Term - Joe Brown, David Schapiro, and Richard Swinney. Joe stated Rabbi Mintz is willing to arrange to show us Holocaust Museum artifacts. Gina Lesley offered to organize a tour of Bowers Museum. Lynda Wood shared a joke. A doctor asked a husband about his sex life. The husband called to his wife, “Do we have sex?” She replied, “No, an HMO with Blue Cross.” George asked what four states have the same first letter in the state’s and capital’s name. The answer was Oklahoma, Hawaii, Delaware, and Indiana. Mike Gertner introduced his new bride, Jan Gertner. Other couples attending, in ascending order of years together, included Leo and his son Jeff Fracalosy, 40, George and Gina, 49, Shirley and Ron Lashmett, 50, Richard and Jody Swinney, 53, Gary and Marj Tewinkle, 60, and Ross and Kathy Stewart, 63. Ken’s time with Lorrie DuFour has been so magical it feels like they married yesterday. Ed and Mary Romeo have a remarkable 72 years together, but sadly Mary couldn’t attend.


Diane Daruty introduced Police Lieutenant Eric Little and Traffic Engineer Brad Sommers from the City of Newport Beach. Eric joined the City in 2004 and worked his way through ten roles landing in his current position as Traffic Services Commander. Brad began as an intern and has twenty years as a Transportation Engineer. Eric and Brad joined us to address e-bikes in the City.

Eric, Ken , & Brad

Bicycling has always been a convenient and enjoyable way to traverse the City, from casual cycling along the boardwalk to cycling to work or for sport. However, it has always presented challenges that have increased with the onset of e-bikes. California defines an e-bike as a bicycle equipped with fully
operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts. There are three classes: (1) pedal assist with a maximum speed of 20 mph; (2) pedal assist and throttle with a maximum of 20 mph; and (3) pedal assist with a maximum of 28 mph. California does not consider e-bikes motorized vehicles and grants them rights akin to traditional bicycles. It requires those under 18 to wear helmets on traditional and e-bikes, as well as riders on class three e-bikes. It prohibits riding under the influence and mandates e-bikes to be single passenger unless designed for more. The City prohibits e-bikes on sidewalks (with a few exceptions) and has an Oceanfront Boardwalk Safety Program that imposes an 8-mph speed limit and prohibits “unsafe operation.”

These regulations, however, aren’t eliminating the risks. Many riders are unfamiliar with e-bike regulations, lack education, judgment, and experience with the rules of the road, and/or deliberately break the rules. We’ve all witnessed kids without helmets, pairing up on an e-bike, whizzing by on the sidewalk, and violating the rules of the road. Some adjust their e-bikes to enable them to exceed the intended speed limit. Citizens frequently seek stricter e-bike enforcement. State and local authorities are scrambling to better regulate e-bikes while balancing the riders’ enjoyment. Although Newport Beach leads the country in addressing e-bike issues, technology is always ahead of regulation and the City’s authority is limited by state law.

The popularity and impact of e-bikes is on the rise. When the pandemic hit in 2020, people were anxious to get outside. With the availability of traditional bikes restricted, they bought e-bikes instead. E-bikes might be more dangerous than traditional bikes. Since 2019, the number of bike crashes has remained constant but the percentage of those involving e-bikes is increasing: 10%, 30%, 43%, and almost 60%, in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022, respectively.

The City has a three-pronged approach for e-bikes, Engineering, Education, and Enforcement (the “Three E’s”). As part of their role to encourage safe and efficient movement throughout the City, Brad’s team handles Engineering. Their Bicycle Master Plan sets forth the infrastructure and rules for shared use paths, bike lanes, designated sidewalks for bikes, etc. Brad’s team also uses signs and markings to help guide cyclists in properly using biking areas. They are always considering improvements. An example was painting bike lanes green for better visibility.

Eric’s seven full time motor officers and three hybrid traffic investigators/motor officers enforce e-bike regulations. Their time is limited, however, as they are also responsible for traffic enforcement, school safety, traffic collisions, and more. The City added Boardwalk Ambassadors to assist them near
the oceanfront. Also, Eric’s officers periodically conduct e-bike enforcement operations where many of them will patrol and issue tickets in e-bike problem areas.

Brad and Eric collaborate on Education. They work with parents, teachers, principals, school district administrators and board members, and PTAs to educate students. At Ensign Middle School, where more than 700 students bike to school, a motor officer teaches e-bike rules and safety. He discusses how to wear a helmet, the prohibition of e-bikes on sidewalks, the importance of following the rules of the road such as riding with traffic, obeying stop signs and lights, etc. After-wards, students take a written test and those who pass it are allowed to park their bikes on campus. The City has also presented about e-bikes at Mariners Elementary. Brad and Eric also speak before community organizations like Speak Up Newport. They partner with the Newport Beach Sunrise Rotary Club to conduct demonstrations on the proper use of helmets and other relevant matters.

Eric noted e-bikes can be registered with Project 529. Cynthia advised Harbor Council PTA is working on a Project 529 app to be available to students at next year’s school registration.

Eric concluded by highlighting the benefits of e-bikes such as relative affordability, positive environmental impact, reduced traffic congestion, and ease of parking.



Apr 6  -  Joe Stapleton

Pres. Ken DuFour

Apr 13  -  Planned, to be announced

Apr 20  -  Nancy Gardner, Incorporating State Housing Element in Newport Beach’s General Plan

Apr 27  -  Business Meeting

We will meet at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club. You will be emailed an invitation two days before the meeting. Please notify Richard Swinney by Wed 2 PM if you are planning on attending.

Diane Daruty, Editor

Diane Daruty, Editor