Long Beach proves separated bike lanes even work here, despite arguments to the contrary

There’s big news from Long Beach.

We’ve seen a number of studies in recent years showing that separated bike lanes are good for business, as well as cyclists.

But now we have solid proof from right here in our own backyard that separated lanes benefit everyone on the streets.

According to a federal study conducted over the last year, the separated bike lanes on Broadway and Third Street in downtown Long Beach resulted in a 33% increase in ridership over the last year, while increasing pedestrian use along the streets by 13%, and cutting vehicle use by 12%.

In other words, not only did they improve the streets for cyclists, but made it more inviting to walk next to them, as well.

At the same time, bike collisions dropped 80%, from five to one, and motor vehicle collisions went down 44%. Average vehicle speeds also dropped to 27 mph on Third and 26 mph on Broadway.

And yes, that’s a good thing.

Meanwhile, the rate of sidewalk riding, the bane of pedestrians everywhere, decreased as much as 42%.

It’s hard to argue that separated bikeways haven’t been proven effective when the results show they benefit everyone on the road.

Even here on the Left Coast, where the hegemony of the automobile has long reigned supreme.

………

And yet, the father of vehicular cycling says if you prefer bike lanes — even the sort of proven separated bike lanes discussed above — you’re an “incompetent cyclist.”

No, really. That’s what John Forester says.

He goes on to say that, despite the sort of evidence shown in the Long Beach study, there’s no proof that bikeways increase safety.

Well, none if you choose not to believe it, anyway.

Sort of like global warning.

I’ve ridden vehicularly for over 30 years. Not because of Forester’s book, which came out four years after I started riding, but because my own experience taught me it was the safest way to ride in the almost universal absence of effective infrastructure in those days.

But I’ve never, ever considered it better, safer, more enjoyable or effective than riding in a good bikeway.

And the demonstrated growth in ridership that can be traced back to new bike lanes (pdf) in cities throughout the world — including this one — would suggest that I’m not alone.

John Forester created an effective tool for a time when cyclists could not rely on well-designed roads or effective bikeways.

But those bad old days are, thankfully, fading fast.

As the Long Beach study clearly shows, well-designed bicycling infrastructure and a complete streets approach benefits everyone.

And it’s long past time we all demanded it.

Thanks to Christopher Kidd for the link.

………

I’m told that the LAPD has discussed the dooring-by-cop incident mentioned here last week with the cyclist involved, and that the officer in question has expressed her regrets for her behavior.

Wes says he’s very pleased with the response from the department, and sees no need for formal discipline in the matter.

………

At least two of the four candidates for mayor of Los Angeles see bikes in the city’s future; oddly, they may not be the ones you’d think. Downtown’s Spring Street should get new parklets next week to go with its semi-green mostly buffered bike lanes. Metro wants your input on the Union Station master plan; a few extra bike votes couldn’t hurt. Highland Park Patch asks if slower traffic is worth it to add bike lanes to North Figueroa and Colorado Blvd; personally, I think slowing traffic in a state where angry drivers honk at anyone who has the audacity to actually drive the speed limit is good thing. LADOT recaps the recent BPIT meeting. CLR Effect’s new cycling cap takes those of us with long memories back to the land of sky blue waters.

The latest update from Calbike, including their 2013 legislative agenda — which includes hit-and-run reform, but not a third opportunity for Governor Jerry Brown to veto a three-foot passing law. Riverside’s mayor rides with local residents; the LACBC asks candidates for mayor if they’ll commit to leading a similar ride. The Classic Gran Fondo San Diego takes place on April 14th; make sure you have your taxes finished first. San Diego cyclists are urged to support bike-friendly changes on the Coast Highway in Encinitas. Great photos of a practice crit from the San Diego Union-Tribune. A Palo Alto woman faces misdemeanor hit-and-run charges after hitting a cyclist and two occupied cars. The story behind Verizon’s romantic new bike ad, courtesy of Cyclelicious. San Francisco lays out big plans — and possibly big money — to improve bicycling and walking. Apple is granted a patent for a new smart bike system.

Bike lawyer Bob Mionske offers advice on what to do if a cop stops you for a bicycling violation. Lance Armstrong offers to help clean up cycling; in other news, John Dillinger has offered to come back and help stop bank robberies. People who commute by car gain more weight than those who commute by bus, bike or train. Fans of Lovely Bicycle will be happy to learn she now has a new weekly column in Bicycling. A Washington driver stops to look at the bike rider she killed and the one she merely injured, then drives off like the heartless coward she— allegedly — is. Perhaps the most bike and alternative transportation-friendly USDOT secretary in our lifetimes sadly says it’s time to go. Maryland considers a mandatory helmet law. A Baton Rouge cyclist is shot three times without warning by a 16-year old thief who wanted his bike. Win the free use of a bike share bike at this year’s Super Bowl. Better bike lanes and crosswalks could help kill fewer pedestrians and cyclists in the country’s second and third most dangerous city for both, respectively.

Simple solutions would help get Great Britain cycling. A British bicyclist is stabbed to death the same day another rider buys him a bottle of brandy to apologize for a bike-on-bike collision. UK police tried to stop a driver just before he killed a couple on a tandem and fled the scene on foot. Potholes cause an estimated 10% to 15% of Brit cycling wrecks. An Aussie cyclist is injured when he hits a man sleeping on a bike path. The excuse a Chinese BMX racer gave for testing positive for steroids couldn’t possibly be true, a sports nutritionist says. Two Singapore brothers sharing a bike are killed when they’re hit by a cement truck; but what kind of sick s.o.b. would circulate photos of their bodies online?

Finally, despite the overwhelming success and popularity of New York’s new bike lanes, separated and otherwise, the city’s Daily News can’t seem to get their collective heads out of their own collective asses.

With all due respect, that is.

3 comments

  1. [...] Fed. Study in LB: Separated Bike Lanes Safer, More Attractive (Biking in L.A.) [...]

  2. Louie Garcia says:

    I think John Forester suffers from an overinflated ego. It’s like he’s saying, “Hey! Look at me! I can ride AMONG cars! How badass am I?”

    I don’t know about him but I have nothing to prove. I just want to enjoy riding my bike.

  3. I was kinda hoping Forester would have commented on this post… oh well. I guess we’ll have to see how he explains this some other time.

    However, to be a little critical of the LB protected bike lanes– I wish that approaching intersections they would have marked a left turn lane for cyclists similar to what’s seen in this picture to facilitate a right turn in copenhagen

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/75698896@N00/6585314795/

    And that brings me to my next issue with the LB protected bike lanes– they seem to assume that cyclists will only move straight, they definitely need to have a defined method for cyclists turning right. I imagine most will use the crosswalk or make a turn as though there were a bike box at the cross street but that’s the problem– there’s no consistency or way to encourage consistency in how cyclists make right turns. That said, I love what LB’s doing, including this protected bike lane.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

19 − 10 =

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

%d bloggers like this: