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Making L.A. better for bicyclists: what should the city do?

With a backdrop of City Hall, cyclists cruise along Spring Street during the car-free CicLAvia.

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday is expected to approve an ambitious bicycle master plan that would add bike lanes to major arteries and call for 200 miles of new bicycle routes every five years.

Talk back LAThe plan, reported in The Times by Kate Linthicum, lays out a long-term goal of 1,680 miles of interconnected bikeways. Figueroa Street, Wilshire Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard would all get bike lanes in the near future.

The plan won the support of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who became an advocate for the city's bicycling community after a turning taxicab jolted him off his bike. He convened a bicycle summit, launched a safety campaign and supported the city's first CicLAvia, which closed 7.5 miles of city streets to traffic for most of the day.

What do you think of the city's bike plan? Should the council approve it? Do you have any recommendations to make Los Angeles more bike-friendly? Tell us your thoughts below.

DOCUMENT: City of Los Angeles, "2010 Bicycle Plan"

Photo: With a backdrop of City Hall, cyclists cruise along Spring Street during the car-free CicLAvia. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (42)

He fell off his bike because he is not very bright. He also has Attention Deficit Disorder. I guess you can run a city (barely) but you can't ride a bike when you don't pay attention.

Go ahead i have no problem with it, as long as LAPD enforce the laws against bike riders to.

The city needs dedicated bike right of way areas in places where people actually travel to, not just recreational areas. This is the only way bicycling can be made safe and more popular as a regular form of transportation in Los Angeles. At the same time, bicyclists need to obey traffic laws. It is frustrating driving with bicyclists who may or may not heed traffic laws. Once upon a time I used to use my bicycle to get around, but I don't feel safe today.

Absolutely, the council should approve it.
As time goes by more and more people will no longer be able to afford to drive a car. Besides that there is an epidemic of diabetes and obesity in this country.

If we are going to have motorists and bicyclists sharing the roads, all road users will have to equally respect the Vehicle Code and it will have to be enforced equally. I've noticed that a lot of cyclists seem to have a sense of entitlement; in other words, that using pedal power instead of gasoline exempts them from traffic laws. That will have to stop. Cyclists will have to be responsible road users.

For example, just this morning I observed a cyclist blowing through two stop signs. On Friday I saw a different cyclist failing to stop at a stop sign. Some time ago a cyclist changing lanes touched my car for no good reason. Such conduct is not only uncivilized and rude, it is also dangerous.

Bicycling is environmentally friendly and a lot of fun, but it also requires responsibility and courtesy on the part of bicycle drivers as well as automobile drivers

Where there is plenty of room this would be great, however Santa Monica and Wilshire Blvd's??? With the traffic that they have now not only isn't there room, but it seems unsafe. Trust me, in LA very few people would ever use them. I listened to someone on a talk radio show who had a major grant to encourage people in LA to use bicycles and despite all of his efforts it failed...Things are just too far apart so this has become the automobile capital of the world...This sounds like another government project wasting our money for something that they think should be used, but won't be.

I believe the city should implement this asap. It is something that is a "win" for everybody. More people would visit LA if they knew it was safe to ride the city on a bicycle. That generates more revenue for local business and more tax revenue for the city.

With our weather, its a shame one cannot ride from the beach to downtown LA on wilshire blvd without taking their life into their own hands. I urge the use of "Botts Dots" maybe green ones to better seperate autos from bikes.

There will always be accidents, but if we look to other cities around the world that make bicycling work, the responsibilities fall to the driver of a car to be better aware, then after time it becomes cultural. Good for everybody.

Please make this happen in time for summer!

If this provides safer places to ride, then I'm all for it. There's no reason why Fountain Ave in Eastern Hollywood should be marked as a cycling route. It's a tiny street, and very dangerous.

The L.A. version of a bike lane is a busy road full of angry motorists all driving over asphalt with a picture of a bicycle on it. That's not a bike lane, that's an invitation to become a quadriplegic. Thanks, but no thanks.

Bike paths should be completely separate from traffic, or, at the very least, motorists should be prohibited from driving in them unless they are turning across them at an intersection.

I am a cyclist myself and I can definitely say having more bicycle lanes will help out the bike community. When riding on the street, every now and then, I get drivers that are total jerks and start tail gaiting, honking, shouting, "GET OFF THE STREET!"and even go as far as throwing objects at me just because they think cyclist shouldn't be riding on the street. Having more bicycle lanes is one step closer to avoiding many of the dangerous obstacles cyclist deal with on a daily basis.

the people of Losw Angeles are lucky that they have this fun transporation alternative available most of the year. It's a great way to stay healthy while saving some money and helping the environment.

Any step is a step in the right direction, but bike co-ops, where tools and used parts are available really help keep costs down in an arena where prices have gotten too high already.

Another ridculous, LA pipe dream. Next, they'll want us to live in tents and wear buckskin.

With gas at $4 a gallon and projected at $5 by years end, they need to approve it today and start implementing it tomorrow. Inevitably more people will start using their bikes more and using their cars less. It happened in the 70's during the gas embargo and recently in 2008 when gas hovered near the $4 mark. The time to start making our infrastructure more user friendly for people needs to begin now. The 20th century thinking that roads are for moving cars and not for people using different modes of transportation, whether it's biking, walking or taking public transit, has to change.

1. The city's street standards should be changed so that all streets have dedicated lanes for biking, transit and cars. In some cases transit and cars will have to share lanes. Streets and sidewalks should also have good design and amenities for pedestrians.
2. In many places, bike lanes should be separated from car/ transit lanes so more people feel comfortable biking.
3. car lanes should be a maximum of ten feet wide because wider lanes encourage car driver to drive fast, resulting in more deaths.
4. speed limits should be lower

Turn Council St into a bicycle boulevard!

Recommend apartment buildings have a sheltered bike rack somewhere. If you have a tiny little apartment, there is no real space for a couple of bikes in it. I'd love to have one if there was any space...

More bike lanes in complete corridors. More bike racks on Metro buses. More traffic diets. More lawsuits against hostile drivers. More taxes on gas. More tax breaks for cyclists.

When people say "equal enforcement," do they forget all the bad drivers who run stop signs and red lights and never get busted for it? I see it almost daily. You can't treat bikes and cars the same way. Car vs. bike? Bike loses. Make the city safer for bikes by all means necessary. That cyclist is someone's father, mother, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew.

Train bus drivers to be kinder and not almost run people over all the time.

This will be a great thing for us bicyclists but not unless they re-pave the streets... As we all know, from driving them, the Los Angeles streets are in horrible condition and this affects all of the cyclists as well. One of the main reasons why we have to ride towards the middle of the street is because of all of the potholes.I hope this will be addressed in this process and not just painting white lines and pictures of bicycles on the side of the streets.

How bout we get them off the sidewalk first where we're on the losing end of an accident, its hard to know when they come up behind because you can't see or hear them and they shouldn't be there to begin with, if you want to make it safe for bike riders get them off the sidewalk first ......

David Reichert:

Today I witnessed many drivers blow through stop signs without coming to a full stop before the limit line. This caused them to almost hit me when I did not have a stop sign. I witnessed a driver run a four way stop without even tapping their brakes, and I was nearly run over by a driver who gunned his engine to beat me to a stop sign and passed me so close I could touch his car and he was speeding through a residential neighborhood.

My point is: please don't act like cyclists are the only people breaking traffic laws. Drivers do it just as much if not more. To quote you: "that will have to stop." Disobeying traffic laws in a 4000lb vehicle is MUCH more dangerous that rolling through a stop sign on a 20lb bike.

I agree with you that cyclists need to obey traffic laws, but based on what I have read and seen, most drivers don't even know traffic laws. They know some made up laws in their head. What we really need is for it to be much more difficult for people to get driver's licenses, which essentially allows you to operate heavy, dangerous machinery. And yet, we allow 16 year olds who can't stop texting to do it.

All road users need to obey traffic laws. Period. Don't single out cyclists like they're the only ones. Especially when motor vehicles are FAR more dangerous. Thank you.

Yes, Yes, and Yes. We need to take action in a city as big as this one. We have the weather to be riding year-round and way too many cars on the streets.

I think we should turn some back-streets into major bicycle arteries, that way cars can still have all the busy streets and bikers can travel through the city on more bike friendly corridors.

As for bikes and cars sharing the same rules. I agree to a certain point. At a stop sign when you can see no one coming, the biker should have the option to do the California roll. If a cop see's it, he can be the judge of whether or not it was performed in a safe manner and ticket (or not) accordingly.

Look at it like this. On a relatively flat and level road a biker is approaching a stop sign at about 15 MPH versus a car at 35 MPH. I think the biker has more time to scan the road around him and continue without coming to a complete stop. Things are slower on a bike and therefore you have more reaction time and can be much safer.

As for cars, next time you see a biker on the street, give him 3 feet when you pass. You would want the same if it was you or your loved one on the bike. Enough said.

As an 3x per week bike commuter, I don't understand why bike lanes are always proposed for the biggest, busiest arterials. These are terrifying places to ride, bike lanes or not. Why not dedicate larger lanes on some of the secondary streets instead? Streets like 6th or James M. Wood instead of Wilshire would be so much more comfortable and could become unique bike/pedestrian priority streets. How about converting a secondary street to one lane, one-way for cars and the other lane becomes a serious two-way bike friendly corridor. Now this would make a real difference. Let the cars and buses have Wilshire.

Motor vehicle operators could reduce the average velocity of their vehicle...that would be a appropriate broad spectrum response.

My bf was waiting to make a left turn at a 4-way stop when a lady pulled up to him, yelled that he should be riding on the sidewalk and threw her coffee at him.

If you think that bicyclists here are rude, try driving in DC. I spent many annoyed mornings and evenings stuck behind bicyclists when there was a perfectly good bike path off the side of the road. Regardless, I am grateful to bicyclists for helping to keep pollution and traffic down. LA needs to educate BOTH SIDES on the merits and laws of bike safety so that we can all share the road efficiently and safely.

 
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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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