Learning Bike Safety the Hard Way

For cyclists who have been involved in a collision with an automobile, the thought of getting back on a bike can be both daunting and liberating. Whether the collision occurred because the driver was impatient or unaware, because the bicyclist made a dangerous or risky maneuver, or because there was insufficient infrastructure, accidents force riders like me to re-evaluate the connection between our bodies and our bicycles.

The relationship between person and bicycle is manifested by the physical work of the body on the bicycle, and it takes on an entirely new meaning after you are injured. Riding my bike today for the first time since my collision three weeks ago, I felt this connection once again, albeit with a heightened understanding of the risks associated with riding.

My Experience

On the morning of Wednesday, January 8th, I was “doored” while bicycling to work. Getting doored entails the occupant of a vehicle opening their car door while a cyclist is approaching in the “door zone” (the 3.5-5 foot zone which an opened door typically spans into or obstructs the roadway), causing a collision. The technical language that applies in the California Vehicle Code is:

22517.  No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of such traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open upon the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.

Admittedly, this was not a typical incident because I was attempting to pass a vehicle on the right side.  (Oops.)  We’ll get to what’s wrong with that in the next post…

I was riding in the right-most travel lane on Bundy Dr. We were stopped at a red light and there was a Santa Monica Big Blue Bus loading passengers at a designated bus stop.  I was late to work, and rushing to catch this particular bus. There was only one car stopped behind this bus, which I decided to pass on the right in order to mount the sidewalk and hurry onto my cross-town ride.

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Our back-of-the-napkin illustration of how the dooring accident took place

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LADOT wishes Nate Baird adieu

Bike Week 2013

The LADOT Bike Program would like to recognize the hard work of Nate Baird and congratulate him as he begins an exciting new stage in his career as the Mobility and Healthy Living Programs Officer for the City of Long Beach. During Nate’s time as Bicycle Coordinator, he played an integral role implementing numerous bike projects and leading efforts to secure funding for future projects. His contribution to the future of bicycling in L.A. has been significant and his measured presence in the Bicycle Program is already missed.

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Bicycle wayfinding signage is coming to Los Angeles neighborhoods!

One of our largest and longest-running projects here at the LADOT Bicycle Program has been the development of bicycle wayfinding signage. We’ve recently made significant progress by working with the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) to place signs along the Los Angeles River Bicycle Path. As we continue to expand our bikeway network to serve more neighborhoods, it’s important for people to know how they can use the larger, citywide network to get where they want to go.

At this time, we have finished determining the specific information (destination, direction and distance) for each individual sign in the planned citywide wayfinding system. We’ve assembled all this information into the following interactive maps and a spreadsheet, which are presented below for your perusal. After the maps and spreadsheet, we discuss the background of the wayfinding project and explain some of the decisions that occurred during the design process.

Tips for using the maps: If no signs appear initially on the Google Map, you must zoom in and out a few times to make the signs appear. Each point represents a single sign location. Clicking on a point will bring up a pop-up window containing the location of the sign and the destinations the sign directs users to. Because of the amount of information being presented, we are grouping the signs by the following regions: 1) Downtown L.A.-Central L.A.- Northeast L.A. (this includes Boyle Heights and other Eastside neighborhoods), 2)Harbor & South L.A. 3) Westside L.A. 4) San Fernanado Valley. If the map has muiltiple pages, you must click through on the numbered pages in the bottom left corner to make the next page of signs appear on the map.

Please note that the sign locations as depicted on the map do not precisely reflect the individual poles to which the signs will be mounted; they’re merely intended to give a rough idea of where each sign will be in relation to the intersection. For this reason, the dots may appear in some odd places when you zoom in. We assure you that we aren’t going to install any signs on private property; all signs will be mounted to city sign poles within the public right-of-way.

Downtown L.A.- Central L.A.- Northeast L.A.

[googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=217413262171574630583.0004f345d39263918bf52&start=200&num=200&t=m&ll=34.086502,-118.21804&spn=0.099518,0.171661&z=12&output=embed&w=500&h=350]

Click below to view the remaining maps and a downloadable spreadsheet of each sign in the system.

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Sharing the road with Sharrows

Sharrows on Westholme Dr. in Los Angeles

A pair of sharrows on Westholme Dr. in Los Angeles

We’re excited to announce that LADOT crews will be installing approximately 20 miles of new shared-lane markings — or “sharrows” — in neighborhoods across the city.  Sharrows are intended to supplement the bicycle lane network in Los Angeles by:

  • Providing gap closures in the Class II (Bike Lane) network
  • Enhancing Class III (Bike Route) Bikeways- This includes future BFS facilities
  • Improving bicycling conditions on two-lane roadways with dashed centerlines

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Click here to access or download the original spreadsheet

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Restriping, Wayfinding signage and Pop-up cafes: Choose your own adventure, L.A. River Edition

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Wayfinding signage on the L.A. River Bicycle Path at the Egret Park entrance.

The L.A. River has been receiving a lot of attention lately, much of this due to the Mayor’s L.A. River  Initiative which aims, per Alternative 20, to restore the river’s ecosystem and develop a network of recreational parks and paths to compliment it.  In addition to planning for future extensions to the existing L.A. River Bikeway system , LADOT is implementing improvements along the existing Elysian Valley portion. This 7.5 mile segment stretches from Riverside Dr. to Barclay Ave and features the largest soft-bottom portion of the L.A. River and is home to abundant wetland wildlife. Recently, the Bike Blog rode over to shed light on what’s on the horizon for the river path.  

LADOT works with MRCA to install wayfinding           

The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) received a grant to fund projects that would promote bicycling, walking and active modes of travel along the popular L.A. River corridor. The grant was used to design and manufacture wayfinding signage along the LA River Bike Path. Wayfinding signs inform users along the bicycle path of the major streets they are crossing and to nearby public spaces including parks, dog parks and even the L.A. Zoo. Additional signs directs users from the surface street level to the bicycle path. The LADOT Bicycle Program was very excited about this opportunity to work with the MRCA to develop the signage and identify placement locations. Last week, LADOT field crews installed the first portion of the wayfinding signage.

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Additional wayfinding signage along the L.A. River Bicycle Path point bicyclists to major cross streets and nearby parks.

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2nd St. tunnel and road set to receive bicycle lanes this weekend

2nd st pre marking under the 110 freeway

2nd St. bike lanes are on their way!

Downtown Los Angeles is getting better and better for bicycling. In addition to the recently implemented 7th St. bike lanes, we’re happy to announce that new lanes are being installed on 2nd St., this weekend. Work crews have already begun the process of removing the existing striping from the street. The next step will include installing new thermoplastic striping atop the mark out paint seen in the photos above and below. The new bicycle lanes will feature buffers (from Broadway to Figueroa) and will be installed from North Spring Street through the 2nd St. tunnel (which we know many are very excited about!) through to Glendale Blvd.  Read more

7th Street status update

Credit: LADOT Bike Blog

This woman looked very happy to be riding on the newly extended 7th Street bicycle lanes (Credit: LADOT Bike Blog).

Last Friday, LADOT crews began the work of extending the bicycle lanes and road diet on West 7th Street into Downtown LA’s Financial District and Historic Core. Since this is such an exciting project that will form a major connection in the Downtown bikeway network, we wanted to provide an update on the work that’s been performed so far (as of Friday, November 1) and what still needs to be done. Read more

Striping on new 7th Street bicycle lane begins today!

If your commute takes you along 7th street, some of you may have noticed that the street is looking different today.

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Some preliminary markings on the street. You can see the outline of the bike lane on the right as well as markings for a center turning lane and a continental crosswalk.

That’s right. Seventh Street, from Figueroa to Main St., will be receiving bicycle lanes this weekend. The 0.6 mile addition improves our network of lanes by connecting to existing bicycle lanes on Spring, Main, Olive, Grand, and the existing 7th Street lane west of Figueroa. Because of this, 7th street is a popular route for bicyclists. According to the 2011 Bicycle and Pedestrian Count, Figueroa and 7th street is the 5th busiest intersection for bicyclists in the city. The map below illustrates how the 7th Street lane connects to other lanes in our bicycle network.

To accommodate the new bicycle lanes, the street is also undergoing a road diet. The redesign will remove a vehicle travel lane in each direction and add a two-way center turning lane to faciliate left turn onto streets running North-South.

[googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=202464782553779042696.0004e9940c5ad3ab81822&ie=UTF8&t=m&source=embed&ll=34.046472,-118.253403&spn=0.021335,0.025749&z=14&output=embed&w=300&h=300]

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We caught up with this woman who was excited to hear about future lanes coming to the street!

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Preliminary markings for a continental crosswalk at Main and 7th Street.

SB 99, Reformatting how we fund Active Transportation Projects and how you can get involved

In September Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 99, a bill that creates a comprehensive Active Transportation Program for funding bicycle, pedestrian and other active modes of travel in California. The Active Transportation Program (ATP) consolidates pre-existing, separate funds that were allotted to bicycle, pedestrian, trails and Safe Routes to School into one comprehensive program.

Do you have ideas for how the ATP should be structured or an interest in pedestrian and bicycle projects? Consider attending an Active Transportation Workgroup. The L.A. workshop takes place Monday, October 28th at 1:00 pm in the Cal Trans Conference Room A at 100 S. Main St. California Transportation Commission staff are seeking guidance on the following aspects as they work to develop the new program:

  • Development of program guidelines and subsequent revisions to guidelines.
  • Program schedules and procedures.
  • Project selection criteria.
  • Performance measures.
  • Program evaluation.

1st Street Bike Lane

More on the Program:

The creation of the ATP should help speed up the amount of time it takes cities and counties to apply for, fund and ultimately construct projects. By simplifying the overall process, we can improve efficiency and see effective changes on our streets take place more quickly.

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Get Involved with Walk to School Day LA

WalktoSchoolDay-LA

Become a Walk to School Day organizer at your child’s school!

The LADOT Bicycle Program is excited to be supporting the inaugural citywide Walk to School Day on October 9th, as part of the City of Los Angeles’ Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Strategic Plan.  With the City’s increased emphasis on pedestrian safety, Walk to School Day 2013 is a great platform for shining a light on the importance of improving student safety on the journey to school, increasing the share of students walking and biking to school, and providing valuable opportunities for physical activity .

This event and the SRTS Strategic Plan process of the past year mark a wonderful and unprecedented collaboration between LAUSD and the City. The two are working together to enhance the safety, health, school performance and physical fun of our students by making it easier to walk to school!

In addition to participating in Walk to School Day yourself, we are asking for your help to identify schools and recruit Walk to School Day organizers during the next week.

More information about the event is provided at www.WalktoSchoolDay-LA.org. The site provides easy registration for event organizers, and gives access to essential organizer materials including posters, outreach material and kids’ incentives, coordination with safety providers, banners, volunteer apparel, and training.

Would your school, or someone you know, benefit from improving the safety of students walking to school, increasing the share of students walking/biking to school, and providing physical activity opportunities associated with improved school performance?  

If so, we thank you in advance for introducing them to Walk to School Day by:

Thank you for walking to school with us on October 9, 2013!