SAN DIEGO — Trash and debris from homeless encampments continue to create safety issues along the Ocean Beach bike path for cyclists going to and from the beach. CBS 8 is working for you to find out what’s being done about it.
“The bike path has been a mess for months, if not years. Encampments, other people using it to do drugs, it’s become a public toilet,” said Wesley Hill, a 25-year resident of Ocean Beach. “Frequently, you see shopping carts all over the place.”
CBS 8’s Brian White rode the bike path with Hill Monday, dodging several encampments and people’s belongings along the way.
“You have to negotiate around people sleeping, dogs, and drug paraphernalia in the middle of the path,” said Hill. “Frequently, I dismount my bike because I’m afraid I will run over somebody or something.”
Last week he did run into something. People hanging out under the Sunset Cliffs Blvd bridge left a skateboard on the narrow path, and Wesley ran right into it.
“I didn’t see it, hit it, flew off my handlebars, and went face first,“ said Hill. “Lots of blood; I was spitting blood all over the place, and yeah, I was angry, upset, and worried.”
Hill’s teeth were cracked, costing him $650 dollars-worth of dental work.
“I hope the city understands that it is a safety issue, not just for people that live in the encampments, but for the people that utilize the bike paths,” said Hill.
The rise in people experiencing homelessness and living along the riverbeds is tied to several factors.
“We have a grave shortage of shelter bed availability,” said Amie Zamudio, founder of the nonprofit Housing 4 the Homeless, and she believes there is a reason why Hill is noticing more encampments along the bike path.
“As we continue to sweep people out of downtown San Diego where we have services available, you then begin to push people into the outskirts and the riverbeds,” said Zamudio. “Everybody is frustrated. The person experiencing homelessness is frustrated. The people biking and running on bike paths are frustrated, and I think it leads back to our lack of leadership in this space in San Diego, and it’s quite unfortunate.”
CBS 8 reached out to City Councilmember Jennifer Campbell’s office, and staff tells us they’re looking into Wesley’s complaints and will follow up with the Environmental Services Department.
“The OB bike path is a major transportation corridor for bicycles to get east from the beach areas,” said Hill. “I think it’s essential that our bike paths are safe and secure, especially in a city that wants us to ride bikes.”
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