Update: Don’t trash the bike lane

Sanitation Vehicle

Rendering of the poster on a Collection Vehicle

Last night, you may have heard if you follow @ladotbikeprog and/or @lacbc on twitter, that the LADOT Bike Program has been working with the Mayor’s Office and the Department of Public Works Bureau of Sanitation to develop a campaign to educate the public regarding the illegality of blocking bike lanes with trash receptacles. The campaign will be comprised of three parts; advertisements on the side of Bureau of Sanitation vehicles, language to be included in print materials distributed to the Bureau of Sanitation’s customer base, and staff training to ensure that after pick up, trash receptacles are not deposited in bike lanes.

The Campaign

The poster will be displayed in the ad space on Bureau of Sanitation vehicles and will look similar to the rendering  above. It’s primary message is to “Don’t trash the bike lane” with a tag line of “bike lanes are for bicycles, not trash cans. It’s not only unsafe. It’s illegal” while referencing the section from the California Vehicle Code that covers bike lanes.

Dont Trash the Bike Lane Campaign

New poster designed with your input!

Rules and Regulations

The CA Vehicle Code clearly states that bike lanes cannot be blocked or obstructed. According to the CA Vehicle Code (VC) Section 21211, which details rule and regulations regarding the obstruction of Bikeways or Bicycle Paths or Trails;

  • (a) No person may stop, stand, sit, or loiter upon any class I bikeway, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, or any other public or private bicycle path or trail, if the stopping, standing, sitting, or loitering impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist.
  • (b) No person may place or park any bicycle, vehicle, or any other object upon any bikeway or bicycle path or trail, as specified in subdivision (a), which impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist unless the placement or parking is necessary for safe operation or is otherwise in compliance with the law.
  • VC21211 doesn’t apply to public utility vehicles, delivery vehicles, garbage trucks, or tow vehicles so long as they are engaged in business while parked.

Targeting the Campaign

We’ll need your help in order to determine specific areas of the city where we should target the “Don’t Trash the Bike Lane” campaign. If you happen to know what bike lanes get blocked on a regular basis, be sure to leave us a comment below, or email us at ladotbikeblog (at) gmail (dot) com.

0 replies
  1. Evan
    Evan says:

    Venice Boulevard.

    Would it be possible to have the message printed on stickers and placed on the bins? I know it would be almost impossible to do it for all the bins that are already out there, but how about when new ones are distributed?

    I’m glad the campaign emphasizes that blocking bike lanes with trash/recycling bins is illegal, but will there eventually be any effort in enforcing this law with citations?

  2. patrick
    patrick says:

    I doubt Councilman LaBonge passed on this email I sent him a year ago regarding the bike lane on Griffith Park Blvd, as the problem persists.

    Dear Councilman LaBonge,
    For many years I have dealt with the weekly obstacle course that is the Griffith Park Blvd bike lane on trash day Thursday (see attached photo of the 1800 block from July 28th ). This hazard is just another example why my wife still does not feel safe enough to ride her bike on city streets. Making all our streets safe for all users is vital to alleviating our city’s transportation problems.

    To be perfectly clear, here is the pertinent CVC.21211 section:


    Over the last week, several reports about this issue (and how it should be handled) have become public within the bicycling community. Here are some of the links:




    As your commute downtown regularly takes you down this stretch, I am sure you are aware of this situation. I ask you to use your efforts to correct this hazard before an avoidable accident occurs.

  3. Aaron
    Aaron says:

    Yes! I’ve been bugging Councilman Garcetti’s office about this issue too.

    Silver Lake Blvd. (between Duane and Sunset) is always an obstacle course of garbage cans at least a couple of days per week.

  4. Rick Risemberg
    Rick Risemberg says:

    Venice boulevard, of course. also invariably blocked (on Tuesdays) is the bike lane on northbound Eagle Rock Blvd. between Fletcher and York (and probably beyond, but that’s the part I travel).

    Also in the area, Avenue 50 between El Paso and Figueroa.

  5. samarkand
    samarkand says:

    Education is great! But how about police and parking enforcement?

    A comment by LAPD bicycle point person Sgt. Krumer, which can be found by following the streetsblog.org link provided above by patrick, indicates that there are currently no real consequences for those who break the law in this way:

    “The Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation is responsible for the trash bins. Trash bins are not tied to a specific residence and even if they were there is no way to show that the resident is actually the one who placed the bins into the bike lane…a citation can not be issued. The penalty for misusing the trash bins would be their removal…however the resident can simply call and have new bins brought to replace the ones taken. Realistically there is no way to address the problem and compel compliance.”

    So if there’s no way (or perhaps, more aptly, will) to compel compliance, this educational campaign seems ultimately to be blowing smoke when it cites the vehicle code in telling the public that putting trash cans in the bike lane is illegal.

    It may have some effect by simply informing people, but imagine what would happen if LADOT stopped ticketing automobiles for being illegally parked — and simply relied on an educational campaign to tell people that it was illegal. Does anyone honestly think we wouldn’t start seeing bus zones, loading zones, and rush hour traffic lanes all over town blocked by cars? If not, then why are bicycles being given short shrift?

  6. Josef Bray-Ali
    Josef Bray-Ali says:

    Oh my God, that image looks like an instruction to block the lane! Who does your graphics work?!

    You want stickers? LA’s Department of DIY has taken care of that for you:


    Print them up on vinyl and hand them out at your events. Or, better yet, have a ride on trash day to promote the LADOT and the mayor’s bike friendliness and slap them on the cans.

  7. Ryan Johnson
    Ryan Johnson says:

    I second Rick’s comment regarding Eagle Rock Blvd. I’ve had to go around trash cans on that stretch many times, and it’s particularly harrowing near the freeway on/off ramps.

  8. Will Campbell (@wildbell)
    Will Campbell (@wildbell) says:

    Not too long ago I rode up Silver Lake Boulevard north of Sunset and on trash day some proactive cyclist had taken the time and trouble to print out explanatory signage that he or she then attached to each canister and moved out of the lane. That person’s my hero (even though it made little or no difference the following weeks).

  9. Marino Pascal
    Marino Pascal says:

    Since less than 1 in 100 streets has a bike lane the problem is not as daunting as it seems. We don’t have to deal with EVERY trash can on EVERY street. The problem of trashcans in bike lanes in Northeast LA is limited to about 20 blocks or 300 trashcans. It can be resolved with a combination of enforcement and education.

    Basically it’s a problem when there is scarcity of parking. When the trashcans compete with cars for curb space the cars win. How to address that? Here are some ideas.

    – Enforce the law that requires off street dumpsters instead of curbside bins for commercial properties and multi-unit (5+) residential properties.
    – Reserved “parking” for trash cans only.
    – The Sanitation Dept shouldn’t pick up trash cans placed illegally.
    – Prohibit parking on trash day. Combine with street cleaning.

  10. walter Price
    walter Price says:

    I move trash out bike path people angry at me. I told them not safe they say ride around it. its very dangerous and I am deaf ( I can not see or hear cars passing in back of me or should I ride my bike on other side of road?) riding bike fast. had to stop in front of the trash can cars go by fast and road is very narrow. They have plenty of room to move trash can elsewhere. Instead they put in path next to thick brush right in the path. my son (8 years old.) also riding bike daily commute to school with him. Cars go by him nearly hit him, as he ride around the trash cans.

    The street is Sunset we ride on Fair Oaks Blv. then on Sunset ave to Kenth ave where Earl Legette School. Both street have Bike path lane mark with white lines. this is the City of Fair Oaks, California.


    Walter J. Price


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] I’m told the LAPD has gotten several complaints about people blocking bike lanes with their garbage cans. And yes, that is illegal. […]

  2. […] Taken from: Don’t trash the bike lane […]

  3. […] Week next month. LADOT attempts to address an ongoing problem with a new campaign urging people to keep their trash bins out of the bike lanes. The newly issued Request for Proposals to reconstruct Santa Monica Blvd through the biking black […]

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