Cars blocking bike lanes. Doors blocking bike lanes. Trucks blocking bike lanes. Nannies blocking bike lanes. Elderly drivers ignoring right of way. New sharrows in front of Catholic churches. Missing sharrows. Useless sharrows. Decrepit Victorian VA churches. Last second left cross drivers.
Or as I like to call it, Thursday.
It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a video from my helmet cam.
It’s not that I haven’t captured anything worth sharing. It’s just that by the time I usually get around to editing the video, the limited storage left on my ancient Mac means I’ve usually had to delete the footage before I can do anything with it.
So I wanted to get this one out while it’s fresh.
This is footage I captured on yesterday’s ride through L.A.’s Westside and Santa Monica. The sad thing is, there’s absolutely nothing unusual about it. Other than discovering new sharrows on my usual route through Westwood, things like this happen virtually every time I get out on my bike.
Maybe just not so many on the same ride.
And this wasn’t even everything I saw, good or bad.
There were a couple of Jerry Browns that the camera didn’t pick up – it seems that the fisheye lens on the cam means that a driver has to virtually brush me before the video looks anywhere as close as it feels in person. And I also have to avoid flinching, since the helmet mount means I miss the whole thing if I turn my head away.
I also noticed the county has been busy with the sharrow stencils, as well, adding a single symbol on Washington between the beachfront bike path and where the bike lane picks up on the next block. They also put in a few behind the Marina library, where riders on the Marina bike path have to share a brief roadway with drivers using the parking lot or moving their boats.
And in a nod to the Cycle Chic crowd, I wanted to offer a look at a well-dressed woman I encountered who looked about as good as anyone could on her bike. But when I saw the video, it felt a lot more like Creepy Stalker Guy than an honest appreciation of a fellow cyclist.
As for those newfound sharrows on Ohio, maybe someone can explain to me why they skip the two blocks between Selby and Glendon on the westbound side, but not on the east.
Did they just forget? Or is there some incomprehensible reason why those two blocks on that side of the street, where they’re most needed, don’t qualify for sharrows?
Because it’s right there, in that direction, where I feel most pressured by drivers when I take the lane, since it’s far to narrow to safely share.
A little pavement-based support from the city for the proper road position would have gone a long way towards telling impatient drivers that’s exactly where I belong. And encourage more timid riders to use the street and move out of the door zone, despite pressure from drivers coming up behind them.
There seems to be no reason to omit them from the street.
But omitted, they are.
And don’t get me started on the oddly placed sharrow further west that forces riders to duck beneath a low tree branch as they hug the curb.
Or the oddly undulating placement that may keep riders out of the way of vehicular in places without parking, but encourages them to weave in and out of the traffic flow in a dangerous manner, as some motorists may not be willing to cede the road space to let them back into the traffic lane.
Look, I’m not complaining. Much.
I’d glad to have sharrows on a street that needed them.
But these need some serious improvement before they meet the apparent goals of encouraging more ridership and keeping riders safer on the street.