A little this, a little that: a little bike courtesy goes a long way, NIMBY homeowners battle Expo bikeway

Once again, the issue of conflicts between fast riders, slow riders and pedestrians rears it’s ugly head on the L.A. River bike path.

A slower rider complains about cyclists he calls “speed racers” brushing past and cutting in too close, and wonders why they can’t just slow down.

The answer is not, as the story suggests, imposing speed limits on riders or taking other steps to slow faster cyclists. Or, as some riders have suggested, getting non-cyclists the hell off the bike path.

It’s a simple matter of showing other path users the same courtesy you expect them to show you.

Even though it often seems few things are less common than common courtesy these days.

But really, it’s very simple.

For slower riders and pedestrians, always be aware of your surroundings and other people on the path, keep to the right and leave room for faster riders to pass you.

For faster cyclists, remember that it’s a multi-use path, which means that other people have every bit as much right to be there as you do. Always slow down, announce your presence — ie, “on your left” or “passing on the left” — and pass carefully, waiting until the way is clear and it’s safe to do so. And whenever possible, give other path users the same three-foot passing distance you expect from drivers.

If you can’t manage that, find another place to ride or walk.

There are enough jerks on the roads without bringing that crap onto the paths we use to get away from it. And them.

And that goes for every other bike path, too.

Thanks to Mike for the heads-up.

………

In the most astounding example of bold-faced NIMBYism this side of Beverly Hills, a group of Westside homeowners have filed a federal environmental lawsuit attempting to block the bike path — yes, bike path — along the Expo Line extension into Santa Monica.

Because, evidently, we cause more harm to the environment than all those trains rushing past. Especially after filling up on Danger Dogs $1 burritos.

Of course, what they really fear is all us big, bad bike riders besmirching the safety and sanctity of their neighborhood. And are willing to ridiculously abuse existing environmental laws to stop us.

We can only hope the judge recognizes this for what it is, and tosses them out on their NIMBY ass. And sticks them with the court charges.

………

It Magazine invites you to celebrate the end of bike month with a panel discussion on Greening Your City: Biking Los Angeles, moderated by actor Ed Begley Jr. on Saturday, May 26th in Pasadena; panelists include LACBC Executive Director Jennifer Klausner, former LA District Attorney and Paris cycle chic photographer Gil Garcetti, C.I.C.L.E. Executive Director Dan Dabek and Bike San Gabriel Valley co-founder Wesley Reutimann.

And L.A.’s Council District 14 joins the LACBC, LADOT, and the Downtown LA Neighborhood Council to host a Downtown Bicycle Network Open House next Wednesday.

………

Despite the urging of GOP party leaders, Tea Party Congressional representatives once again target all federal bike and pedestrian funding in an attempt to force the socialistic funding of highways by people who may or may not use them.

………

No wonder American kids are so fat.

At least 60 Michigan high school seniors are suspended for — get this — riding their bikes to school, even though they were escorted by the city’s mayor and a police car. Something tells me it may have been one of the principal’s last official acts at that school.

Thanks to Erik Griswold and Matthew Gomez for the heads-up.

………

LACBC board member Steve Boyd talks about the new Tern folding bikes, which GOOD says could transform transit; GOOD also takes a look at L.A.’s lowrider bike club. LADOT offers a list of new bike rack locations, while the new Orange Line bike path extension is nearing completion; oddly, without having to content with an environmental lawsuit from over-privileged homeowners. New bike lanes appear in Boyle Heights. Nightingale Middle School students ask for bike lanes so no more kids will get hurt. Seems like there’s one in every crowd, as Will Campbell and another rider stop for a stop sign and let a crossing driver pass — who then has to jam on his brakes when a trailing jerk rider blows through the stop. A writer for the Daily Trojan says more bike lanes won’t solve USC’s problems, but fewer bikes would. The annual Bike Night at the Hammer Museum returns Thursday, June 7th. A look at bike polo in North Hollywood Park. Beverly Hills is surrounded with sharrows, but can’t seem to figure them out. Sunset magazine looks at a Glendale woman who embraced biking to take back the suburbs. Welcome to Mike Don, the newly hired director of the South Bay Bicycle Coalition.

The state Senate votes once again on whether California cyclists deserve a three-foot passing law; a nearly identical law passed both the Senate and House last year before being vetoed by our misguided governor. Meanwhile, the L.A. Times says the proposed three-foot law is sort of better than nothing. Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious has developed a statewide map showing the location of bike-involved collisions reported to the CHP; wrecks from the last 24 hours are shown in yellow, older ones in red. Grant Fisher, the cyclist critically injured in San Diego the same day Robert Marshall was killed, is now paralyzed from the waist down, but with a better attitude than most of us; heads-up courtesy of BikeSD. In better news, Baron Herdelin-Doherty, the cyclist seriously injured in the collision that killed cyclist Nick Venuto when a driver flew off a San Diego freeway and landed on the bike path they were riding, says he’s almost back to health almost a year later. Camarillo cyclists are about to get bike lanes over Highway 101.

George Wolfberg forwards a look at some unusual and artistic bike racks; something else Beverly Hills says they just can’t manage to do. Bicycling offers advice on how to avoid rookie roadie mistakes. GOOD looks at the history and psychology of sharing the road. A year later, Utah authorities are still looking for the hit-and-run driver who killed a 24-year old cyclist. Portland cyclists are going to get a new bike highway on the left side of the road to avoid buses; local Portland groups look to develop a crowd-sourced case for bike advocacy. Seattle’s Cascade Bicycle Club seeks to train grassroots bike activists. On the eve of the Exergy women’s stage race, a Bay Area women’s pro team has their bikes stolen; hats off to Boise police for getting them all back. A South Dakota drunk driver plows through three kids riding their bikes; link via Witch on a Bicycle. Whatever issues we have in here in L.A., at least you don’t have to worry about a deer jumping over your bike, though you may have to watch out for cougar killing SaMo police. Bicycling declares Dallas the worst bike city in America. Trial is starting in the case of the hit-and-run driver accused of killing a Maryland Senate candidate in 2010. A vigil is held for Mickey Shunick, the Lafayette LA woman who disappeared riding home from a night out; it couldn’t hurt to say a prayer if you’re so inclined. The six best cities to take a bike vacation.

A former Vancouver city councilor says the city’s bike share program will fail if riders are required to wear helmets. A Toronto cyclist was trying to walk away when he was deliberately run down by a cab driver. A London writer says Chicago gets it right and they don’t. London’s transportation department says six of the city’s most dangerous intersections are safe. One of the UK’s top teen cyclists battles back against meningitis. That inflatable bike helmet is about to hit the market overseas for the equivalent of $525; I think I’ll keep using my $65 Trek hard hat.

Finally, a British Member of Parliament is hit from behind by a minicab at a red light, then yelled at by the driver for not getting the hell out of his way. It may be worth noting that the cab belongs to the same Addison Lee cab company whose owner recently encouraged cabbies to drive illegally in bus only lanes, and said it’s cyclists’ own fault if we get hit.

Oops.

16 comments

  1. Biker395 says:

    “It is very irritating and dangerous for other riders when these “Speed Racers,” as I call them, speed down the bike path at a very fast pace. I have been brushed by as they pass, and they turn very close in front of you to get back in line. I fortunately have not fallen but I have already seen two bad accidents in the last week … I don’t know why they can’t slow down.”

    Funny … I ride about 5,000 miles a year on the South Bay bike path, and I don’t see much of this at all.

    I think this is a matter of perspective, and to me, this statement evidences a bit of myopia on the author’s part. “Lycra clad”? That is standard bicycling attire for those of us who take it seriously. “Speed Racers”? That’s anyone going faster than him. “I don’t know why they can’t slow down.” Well, I’m sure the others are asking why the heck he is going so slow.

    Yea, I have experienced cyclists riding unreasonably fast for conditions. And there are snooters who look down on anyone who’s riding slower than them or isn’t wearing the latest kit, and let you know about it by cutting waaay too close when they pass or chopping in front of you too soon.

    But if this is a regular occurrence with this guy, me thinks the source of the problem is best found by looking in the mirror.

    And a word about the ridiculously slow speed limit on the path in Hermosa Beach (8MPH). I was there when the city council decided to set that limit. Previous to that meeting, the speed limit was 10 MPH, and the Hermosa Police did a speed survey and found that accident rates were low and decreasing. They also found that almost all bike crashes were solo crashes that did not involve pedestrians. Their recommendations were (1) eliminate the speed limit or increase it to 13 MPH, (2) lengthen the “walk bikes” zone near the Hermosa Pier (which is controlled by lights).

    Instead, the city council reduced the speed limit to 8MPH, and decreased the size of the walk zone! The only basis for that 8MPH number was some nitwit at the meeting who said that was the speed limit on some bike paths in San Diego.

    Speed limits are not needed on the bike paths. What is needed is some common sense.

    And for someone to look in the mirror.

  2. Again, this “speed racer” thing is an issue that requires responsibility on both sides. I ride both fast and slow on multi-use paths, and I run with my dog on multi-use paths, and I bike with my dog running beside me (securely leashed to a special attachment) on multi-use paths. I find while riding fast, that if I am responsible in announcing myself by ringing my bell and calling out “behind you” then “on your left/right”, most walkers or slower riders are just fine with sharing the path. I also make sure I slow down and give them time to respond. I even will come down to their pace and get close enough to make sure they hear me. But what really bothers me is people who are totally unaware of their surroundings on the path, and you have to all the way stop and can’t pass them or anything (when you should be able to) because they aren’t listening. Or you think they have heard you but then they completely turn into your path and you have to slam on the brakes. After you’ve called out, rang your bell, and are only going 5 mph to safely pass them.

    As a runner or going slower on the path, I have had people give me no notice at all and pass me very closely. Even if they are going 10mph and passing me while I’m running with my dog, I still appreciate a bell or “behind you” so I can make sure my dog (who loves moving objects) doesn’t decide it’s time to play chase. In fact, the warning is both for me and my dog, because it’s when he gets startled by a passing cyclist that he wants to give chase. And especially if someone passes really close to him, I almost think they’re asking to be tackled by a border collie! If you give me a heads up (and I typically do not run with loud headphones) then the dog has a heads up too and I can move over and tighten my grip on his leash and also give him a command to let him know he is not to chase.

    I could go on and on about other idiotic stuff people do on multi-use paths, but I’ll end here. Everyone needs to be aware of their surroundings and know a) they are not alone on the path and need to be aware that other people might be going faster and b) it’s not a race track or time trial course–therefore you need to suck it up and slow down or even stop from time to time to safely pass other path users.

    • Biker395 says:

      I could have written that (except for the dog part)!

      I also call out “bike on your left” unless I can pass the pedestrian with a super-wide berth. Maybe 5% wave and say thanks. Maybe 0.2% say “eff you”. And the rest say nothing at all (which is fine too … all I’m looking to do is to make sure they know I’m coming).

      And the unaware frost me too. It is astounding how many people don’t even look where they are going …and that includes cyclists, BTW.

      Probably the most irritating are those lone walkers/runners who insist on doing so right up the center of the path. There is no rational reason for them being there (they’re alone, not walking side by side talking to a companion). And they know (because I and others have told them) that they are supposed to keep to the right.

      The problem of course, is that by being where they are not supposed to be, it creates a danger for everyone else. And for absolutely no reason. None at all.

      And that’s on MUPs. There are also the ones who insist on running or walking on paths devoted to bicycles … or even in bike lanes in the street, when there is a sidewalk or adjacent pedestrian path. Doesn’t anyone use sidewalks anymore? More galling still is that the police are not inclined to cite or even warn them.

      I was walking my bike through the Redondo Pier one afternoon coming home from work, and one of the police officers thanked me for walking. I took the opportunity to have a friendly chat with him about all the pedestrians in areas clearly marked for bicycles only. He said he wasn’t sure that it was illegal! Yikes.

      Anyway, enough carping. Even with all that, commuting along that path still rocks. Just gotta work at keeping my mojo.

      • As a runner, I’ve always run on San Vicente next to the bike lanes and sometimes in the lane when the slant of the road is particularly bad. One reason not to run on sidewalks — the surface is much harder and running on asphalt leads to less change of injury.

        • PS I always move when I see a cyclist, because it’s their lane.

          • bikinginla says:

            I was just going to say something about that! I have no problem with runners sharing the bike lane, as I know how hard sidewalks can be on runners’ knees and ankles. As long as they stay alert for bikes and yield the right of way to riders, I think there’s room for everyone.

          • Biker395 says:

            Thanks, Michele. The law says that you are to stay out of the bike lane and the road if there is an “adequate adjacent pedestrian facility.” I’d say that if the road is slanted so that you can’t reasonably run on it, you’re OK to use the bike lane or run in the road.

            One of my many failures is that I assume that people do things for good reason, and find myself trying to analyze why they are doing what they do. My running friends have pointed out that asphalt is softer than concrete (something I understand from having played b-ball on both), and that might explain why they are in the bike lanes instead of the sidewalks.

            But believe it or not, in most cases, it’s doesn’t! The runners use the bike path instead of an adjacent dirt path (which I’m told is actually best) along Ballona Creek and also run on a concrete bike path instead of an asphalt sidewalk in many cases. It’s the irrationality of it that drives me nuts … another one of my personality flaws. :-P

            Thanks for paying attention, BTW. I find myself riding on sidewalks when I believe it to be safest, and when I do, I defer to pedestrians completely. It’s their domain, not mine.

            Cheers.

  3. Richard Masoner says:

    Regarding the bike path lawsuit: A single individual managed to halt that San Francisco’s bike plan for four years because the judge agreed the city failed to perform an environmental review as required by the California Environmental Quality Act .

    • Eric W says:

      This is going to play out differently. We’ve all watched you guys suffer with legal manuvers to delay in SF. Hopefully Metro won’t fall into that tarpatch. This guy (above) is looking at the cost of the last lawsuit he lost. I’d guess he feels so strongy that NIMBY will work that he’s willing to bet his house on it. It’s likly to be expensive for him. So far, Metro has won all these lawsuits.

      I wonder if the other 12 mentioned in the article have any actual connection with the Expo Bike Path, and therefor any standing with the court. I looked on google maps and I only see two houses anywhere close to the bike path in that section. And, as I understand the bike route, the “green space” is a utility access road already.

      Actually, I’d rather Expo put this part of the bike path on the other side of the freeway with the tracks, and put in another tunnel (or widen the exsisting tunnel, or partition it for bikes, or something) for the bike path. The current plan involves a hill. Then the local lawyer would be seperated by a freeway from those frisky cyclists. No bike path lawsuit that way.

      Amazing the fear that meeting of new people with new transportation modes brings. Maybe we can go find this fellow and get him to come out for a bike ride. Then hopfully he’ll lighten up about biking. And life.

  4. […] were disregarded when the project received funding.” Ted (and others) suggest the homeowners don’t want a bike path because they fear the intrusion of sweaty bike hippies, outsiders, and other assorted undesirables […]

  5. 1blue1 says:

    All this just reaffirms that; “Common Sense and Common Courtesy are Uncommon Commodities.

  6. […] were disregarded when the project received funding.” Ted (and others) suggest the homeowners don’t want a bike path because they fear the intrusion of sweaty bike hippies, outsiders, and other assorted undesirables […]

  7. Mark Elliot says:

    To the anti-bike NIMBYs:

    Imagine that if everyday 5-10 thousand two-ton boxes of steel passed within twenty-five or so feet of your front door at twice the pace of a horses’ fast gallop. And each of them emitted a witch’s brew of asthma-inducing fumes and particulates, and that merely coming into contact with each other, and with walkers ’round the neighborhood, they would kill another 2 or 3 tens of thousands nationwide before the year is out.

    And with these steel boxes comes assorted squeaks, squeals, and a constant hum of rubber grinding on pavement. The bonus would be a passing cacophony of AM radio and Foghat to interrupt your evening meal or movie.

    And what if I told you that a sizable chunk of your tax dollars kept greasing the global system that feeds these monsters, and that the corporations astride that system would be the most profitable of any on Earth.

    Gosh, faced with that prospect, I bet you’d hug bikers that would instead glide by your home silently and in such small numbers.

    But then if you were concerned with quality-of-life impacts instead of paralyzed with fear of the unknown, you’d take out the man-appendages that exist to simply burn two-stroke fuel, raise a hellish ruckus, and as a bonus, push some leaves around.

  8. […] Both of these come from my hero, at BikingLA. […]

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