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Steve Lopez finds a battle of wills on Santa Monica Beach bike path

May 4, 2009 |  6:53 am

It's another lovely day at the beach in Santa Monica, with a light spring breeze blowing across the sun-dappled sea and cyclists pedaling stress-free along the bike path.

Paradise. Nirvana. Whatever you call it, we're lucky mugs to have a tranquil respite from the urban madness and permanent bottlenecks.

But wait. Do I see a collision in the making?

A woman is pushing a stroller, a teenager is on a skateboard, a man is walking a dog on a leash -- all of them idling along on a path that's marked BIKES ONLY -- and here comes a cyclist, closing in on this knot of nudniks. The cyclist slows, he weaves, he shoots past them and all are safe. But it doesn't always work out like that.

"It happened right here," Jon Louis Mann is telling me as he replays an accident that happened about a week ago. "I was heading south and there's a guy standing in the bike lane with a dog on a leash, and he's talking to another guy."

Read Steve's full column here.