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L.A. to study ways to protect bicyclists, considers 'bill of rights'

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L.A. city officials are vowing to look at ways to protect bicyclists on city streets.

Cyclists have been demanding more attention from government around the country, saying they have the right to share the road with cars.

The bike rights campaign has been galvanized by the case of an L.A. doctor convicted a few weeks ago of purposely hitting bikers in Brentwood.

More people are turning to two wheels for commuting and recreation. Cyclists are asserting their rights as never before. In Los Angeles, advocates are pushing for more bike lanes and other road improvements, a cyclists' bill of rights and more protection from police.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted to study ways to protect cyclists.

"There are anti-harassment laws protecting us in the workplace, but cyclists don't have the same protections when they are on the road," said Aurisha Smolarski, communications director for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, told the Daily Breeze.  "Los Angeles has a chance to make sure we have the protections and the equal rights to use the roads."

Among the ideas being consider: creating bike sharing lanes in certain areas, improving training for police and creating a cyclist "Bill of Rights."

--Shelby Grad

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times

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Comments () | Archives (99)

Gaahhh, I hate bicyclists on the road. Grow a pair and learn to dodge traffic better, that's what we all went through... in third grade.

Sounds like another opportunity for lawyers, lawsuits and higher risks and costs to the city. How about, just once, keeping out of people's business.

Long time coming. Share the road.

Thank God... So many don't realize how stressful biking 5 blocks can be. It's especially irritating when out of nowhere a car will honk and scream to ride on the sidewalk. I'm trying to help motorists out by keeping one more car off the road, reducing polution, and opening up more parking spots. I'd appreciate it if more drivers would be courteous and spend 2 extra seconds to switch lanes and go around. It makes more sense and sometimes it's way faster to bike a mile rather than to drive and spend 5 min looking for a parking spot.

More bike lanes and overall improvement of the roads, please.
And that's job creation!

Can we have the police start by enforcing traffic rules on bikers? for instance, riding a bike in the pedestrian cross walk... if you are on a bike, use the road, cars do not have to stop for a bicycle rider wanting to cross the road. Also bikes need to stop on the red lights and the stop signs.

There is no need to create a Cyclists' Bill of Rights.

It already exists as a 12 point document written by the Bike Writers Collective (http://www.bikewriterscollective.com/index.html) and endorsed by the full city council, as well as a number of neighborhood councils and the city's Bicycle Advisory Committee.

The challenge now is to incorporate that Bill of Rights into the LAPD's police training, as well as the city's new bike plan and transportation planning.

Long overdue, but great news nevertheless. Let's just hope they follow through on this and not let it fall by the bureaucratic wayside.

They already have one, its called the California Vehicle Code, and what we need is some maximum enforcement on cyclists for about 6 months. Cites for Riding 3 across, riding without identification, illegal lane changes, running stops signs and red lights, failure to yield to pedestrians.. etc.

I think thats agreat idea to protect cyclists but the wanna be Lance Armstrongs need to understand to ride single file on a busy street

As cyclists, I strongly support a movement for more bike lanes. We hardly have any in the city of San Fernando and it would wonderful to have more routes available. That would only encourage more cyclists on the road, which is not a bad thing! Also, their needs to more a heavier police presence and tougher penalties for motors that think they can run over cyclists. I feel that my life is at risk whenever I decide to ride my bike, instead of driving. L.A. drivers unfortunately do not respect cyclist.

Best protection is a tax on bikes. This way no one could say cyclists are not full participants in the building of new roads, or the repair and maintenance of existing ones.

So who's going to pay for this "study"? The City is half a BILLION dollars in the red, yet bicycle safety is a priority?! A bicyclists "bill of rights"? How about telling bicyclists to be careful and look both ways. Cars are fast and dangerous. Didn't they learn anything as children? Such silliness in the face of unemployment, foreclosures and fewer City services is mind boggling.

Bikers rights sounds like a cop-out to me, how about requiring drivers to know traffic laws before they get behind the wheel ? I ride a bicycle as my only form of transportation. Taking a bike on the street is suicidal, and sidewalks are loaded with people staggering every which way, never looking where they go. Drivers lurch their cars towards bikes at intersections as if it is first come first served. They cut close to bikes, swerve around them, and make quick turns cutting bicyclists off rather than yield the right of way. Don't get me started about crossing streets cuz bicyclists AND pedestrians put their lives at stake negotiating intersections.
Cars and the people that cannot drive safely are the biggest problem facing bicyclists on the road today.


bikers rifgts sound good to me

yes, protect the cyclists, bicycle lanes essential

Fine with me if the police enforce the requirements for licensing, not riding on side walks and having to ride with the flow and direction as the autos. Also they should be required to have reflective gear or clothing as many wear dark (to blak) clothing and no head lights or tail lights at night. You can't have your cake and eat it to!

I think this is a good idea, but I also think bicyclists have to remember the laws as well. They are vehicles, and as such are supposed to be riding in the street with the flow of traffic.

Perhaps the L.A. Times should do a story about how these laws are rarely, if ever, enforced. I have almost been hit by bicyclists on sidewalks a dozen or more times and have witnessed a number of accidents where they have hit pedestrians.

An article about this, please?

Absolutely bikers have rights to be on the streets! The car drivers need to be aware of the limitations of the bikers and possible quick movements. They need to be alert to avoid dangerous situations and when passing a biker give the biker room to navigate safely.
The bikers ALSO need to be aware that riding in the middle of a traffic lane impeds traffic flow that moves at a higher speed than they do causing possible trouble. Also they are subject to the same traffic laws as cars are. That means stopping at red lights and not running the lights. When riding in groups they should ride in tandem and not spread out into the traffic lanes.

I'm all for bicyclists being able to share the road... but, how about if they obey the traffic laws too! I can't tell you how many times I've seen them ignore stop signs, weave in front of cars, ride side by side on bike paths so one bike is off the designated bike area and in the road.

California at least has designated lanes on many roads for bikes.

I am all for protection for bicycle riders. I rode a motorcycle in L.A. for many years and am well aware that car drivers are often not aware of two wheeled vehicles around them. However, the bike riders cause is being hurt by the actions of some cyclists. Specifically the ones that run through red lights in convoys of 200-300 riders, with some of them rolling up to the crosswalks and acting as a barrier to any cars that try to cross on the green light.Tactics like this are eventually going to lead to more incidents like the recent one in Mandeville Canyon. This does'nt excuse the actions of that doctor(he should go to prison!) but these types of actions will lead to more tragedies of this nature. IMO the cycling community needs to do a better job of policing itself, and drivers need to do a much better job of being aware of two wheeled vehicles around them.

I agree that bicyclists, like motorcyclists need to be respected on the road. And, like motorcyclists, too often bicyclists believe that the rules of the road do not apply to them. Specifically, how many times does one see bicyclists blow through stop signs or red lights? I have been verbally assaulted by bicyclists who, on one occasion as I was making a right turn, as they were approaching on my right rear, believed that it was not their responsibility to slow down as I turned, even though they were well behind me as I started into the turn. It seems that the total responsibility of road safety applies only to cars and their drivers. This attitude does need to change.

How about you make cyclists obey basic traffic laws first? Such as stopping at stop signs in residential neighborhoods.

It's very nice, but how about reminding cyclists of their duties too? Namely, respecting the law by not running red lights and stop signs, for example, or avoiding to take wrong turns on one-way streets. And that it's not a very good idea to wear all black at night while riding a bike, especially if it's not equipped with a light.

you know what this comes down to a little personal responsability on the bikers. i am a biker and i respect other people on the road, mainly CARS! share the road, we/bikers think we own the road. so i am going against my friends and saying "personal responsadility" as much as you can control

Let's hope this begins with cyclists stopping at red lights, obeying the speed limit and staying out of the middle of the road.

Yeah, I know. I'm obese and I drive a mini van....sure.

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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