Semi-bike-friendly Santa Monica FedEx fail; LAPD ride-along for Critical Mass

Notice how it's parked directly in the bike lane, despite a row of empty meters.

Tuesday afternoon found me riding along 7th Street in Santa Monica.

I was on my way home from a quick jaunt to the South Bay, and stopped at a bike shop in SoCal’s city by the bay — or one of them, anyway — to pick up a new light.

So afterwards, I decided to take the bike lane along 7th Street that turns into a bike route above Wilshire to get back to San Vicente and home. It’s not a great bike lane, positioning riders directly in the door zone, but in my book it’s better than nothing and usually a decent street to ride.

It may be a crappy bike lane, but it's a bike lane — not a loading zone.

At least, when it’s not blocked by a needlessly double parked FedEx truck.

As you can see from the photos, there are no cars at the curb — and clearly hadn’t been when the truck parked, since there’s not enough room between the truck and the curb for anything bigger than a clown car. And it’s been a while since I’ve seen one of those around here.

Instead, the diver intentionally blocked the bike lane, as well as two parking spaces, for no apparent reason, forcing me to take the lane to get around a multi-ton example of why Santa Monica continues to merely aspire to bike-friendliness — despite what the League of American Bicyclists insists.

When service drivers like this start getting tickets, or city officials contact delivery services to insist that they leave bike lanes clear for the people they were intended for, then Santa Monica may finally begin to earn its award.

You can just make out the license if any city or company officials care; click on the photo to enlarge.

………

In response to the now infamous Critical Mass Takedown, the LAPD announced that they will attend the next Critical Mass. While acknowledging cyclists right to ride, as well as a “1st Amendment Right to call attention to issues affecting their community” — and hopefully, to document what happens on the street without getting your iPhone smashed — they make clear they will also be enforcing the law.

So fair warning. You have a right to ride in Critical Mass.

But you also have a right to be ticketed or arrested if you don’t ride right.

Click to enlarge.

………

RAAM riders have reached the hallucination zone, as exertion and sleep depravation have some riders seeing things; I once spoke with a top RAAM finisher who described seeing dinosaurs along the roadway through Missouri at 4 am.

In other racing news, Tony Martin of Team HTC – Columbia leads the Tour of Switzerland after four stages, with Fabian Cancellara one second back, as Mark Cavendish takes down several top riders in a sprint to the finish. And Lance’s Team Radioshack is disinvited to this year’s Spanish Vuelta, despite their current 8th ranking; Team Director Johan Bruyneel calls BS.

………

The hit-and-run trail for the woman who severely injured Louis “Birdman” Deliz is delayed again. More from Stephen Box about the new sharrows on Fountain Ave; Streetsblog notes that they’re now starting to appear on 4th St — hopefully his one will make people happier. Plans for bus-only lanes on Wilshire Blvd move forward; these could easily be shared with bikes as other cities have done. Proposed cuts to the Safe Routes to School Program have been postponed for now; Santa Monica Spoke encourages you to contact your representative, which is a damn good idea anyway. The Spoke also invites one and all to tonight’s meeting, and offers a schedule for the upcoming meetings for the city’s proposed Land Use and Circulation Element. Green LA Girl forwards your invitation to the Squirt! Bike Race and Scavenger Hunt. Biking the path of least resistance from Burbank to Glendale; Silverlake, not so much. The Claremont Cyclist — who has one of the best headers in blogdom — notes a big problem with local infrastructure and offers alternative, long and short term. Long Beach’s biking expats cycle through the historic Natchez Trace. More Americans are traveling sans motor. Zeke survives to prove the point of yesterday’s post, that drivers don’t see bikes unless they care enough to look — and does it while riding at 55 mph, at least according to his bike computer. Dottie survives, barely, a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad commute from hell; the Chicago Tribune says she could use a little help. Traffic meister Tom Vanderbilt looks at the curious economics of bike parking. Scientific American says American cities are moving away from car-only thoroughfares; thanks to Metro’s Transportation Library for the link. A Portland bus forces a bicyclist into a parked car. A Hartford cyclist scares a kid biking past a supposedly haunted hospital. Six ways to boost your city’s bike mojo. EcoVelo confesses to being a bike clothing agnostic. Colorado cyclists try to derail the Black Hawk bike ban. Another bike bear attack, this time in Anchorage. Thirty days is not enough for recklessly killing a bike rider. Maybe you’re better off with a cow’s eye than a bike reflector; well at least the drivers would notice you. More on labeling riders as cyclists rather than just people who ride bikes; another non-cyclist agrees. London could take a hint from Bogotá’s Ciclovía. A teenage hit-and-run driver curls up and cries after his conviction. Another London bike death offers fair warning to L.A. against trying to squeeze bikes in with substandard infrastructure.

Finally, starting next month, you could be at just a little less risk from drunk drivers — like this guy, allegedly — on the streets of L.A.

6 comments

  1. The TricksterNZ says:

    Speaking of bus lanes allowing bikes. The majority of our ones here in NZ allow bikes and for the most part are pretty good. Most of the bus drivers here are reasonably polite about it, but you do get the odd psycho.

    Way I look at it though is that if I’m in a bus lane, especially during peak hour I try my best to let them past when I can as I’m in a lane purpose built for them, and they’re likely to have 40 people on board. :)

  2. And here in L.A., by law, all Bus Only Lanes are “Bike-ok.” So yeah, that Wilshire Bus-Only Lane is going to provide another great East-West route for folks.

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