Any unattended bag or backpack spotted by law enforcement during the Amgen Tour of California stage finish in Avila Beach on May 16 will be removed, according to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office hosted a meeting Wednesday with other public safety agencies to further discuss safety efforts for the professional cycling race, which starts May 12 in Escondido and ends May 19 in Santa Rosa.
Some of the updates to the safety plan were spurred in part by the deadly Boston Marathon bombings on April 15.
Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Cipolla said State Parks will provide K-9 units trained in bomb detection, though he declined to specify how many will be on site. The Sheriff’s Office will also set up a mobile command center in Avila Beach, where thousands of people are expected to watch the 128 riders sprint to a stage finish.
The agencies will also restrict parking along some of the route through Arroyo Grande and Avila Beach, including along East Branch Street in the Village of Arroyo Grande, on San Luis Bay Drive and Avila Beach Drive.
Any vehicles parked along those parts of the route after 7 a.m. on May 16 will be towed, Cipolla said. Normal parking restrictions will be enforced on other roads.
“Some of those roads are narrow, and so we’re just trying to protect the riders,” he said. Spectators will still be able to line the route and watch the 128 riders pedal past.
Attendees are encouraged to keep their personal belongings with them at all times and to attach a tag with contact information to their bags and backpacks.
Other agencies involved in the safety planning include the CHP; the Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach, and San Luis Obispo police departments; State Parks; Port San Luis Harbor District; FBI; PG&E; Cal Fire and the Five Cities Fire Authority.
For more information, go to www.visitavilabeach.com/Amgen-Tour.htm. To view a map of the stage, go to www.amgentourofcalifornia.com/Route/stages/stage5.html.