Sorry for the shameless plug, but in my just-published book, enCYCLEpedia Southern California - The Best Easy Scenic Bike Rides, I recommend riding the Back Bay Loop in a clockwise direction to maximize the scenic vistas, ie always being closest to the bay, however I do warn readers about the dangers of the oncoming traffic. I think the biggest danger is from inconsiderate trail users -- if everyone used the trail properly it would be much safer. Last week I was riding in the bike lane in the section against traffic and faced a gauntlet of moms with strollers, three abreast, unyielding in both the bike lane and sticking out into the traffic lane, forcing me to come to a screeching halt to avoid riding head on into an oncoming car. Actually I have found where peds and bikes are not separated on trails, which is the vast majority of the time, it creates a dangerous situation due mostly to inconsiderate peds. The most dangerous stretch is obviously the steep hill down from Eastbluff where you are riding full speed against peds and oncoming auto traffic. You've probably heard that they ended up banning bikes northbound down the steep hill on the access road out of the Torrey Pines Preserve in San Diego, but in that case it's the only vehicle entrance, whereas northbound bikes can use Torrey Pines Rd, not as safe for them, but the only solution.
I can't see them banning cars in the Back Bay because it provides access to the disabled and school field trips, but perhaps they can do what's done in other areas that restrict vehicles (like Grand Canyon W Rim in peak season) and limit it to permit holders, with instructions to yield to peds and bikes. And Newport Beach is surprisingly bike friendly, with lots of designated bike sidewalks and the designated Back Bay loop, so I can't see them banning bikes. As others have predicted the most likely outcome will be to make bikes and cars go the same direction, which I agree would make it much safer, but it really messes up the regional trail system, including the Mountains to the Sea Trail and the link to the San Diego Creek Trail, not to mention my ride instructions! I think they should somehow re-stripe and figure out a way to separate the peds from the opposite direction bikes. While they are at it they should separate the bikes from the peds on the beach promenade!
Last edited by penderguide; 04-22-14 at 10:53 AM.