Hermosa Beach allows LA County’s first cycle track to dangerously deteriorate; and a fresh batch of Morning Links

Photo of the crumbling Hermosa Beach cycle track by Carol Detrick.

Photo of the crumbling Hermosa Beach cycle track by Carol Detrick.

What good is a bikeway if it’s not in ridable condition?

That’s the question South Bay cyclists are asking as the area’s first cycle track continues to crumble dangerously, with no response from city officials in Hermosa Beach.

The cycle track tucked along Hermosa Avenue has long served as the connection between the beachfront bike path in Manhattan Beach and the Strand in Hermosa, as well as a vital link in the Marvin Braude Bike Trail that stretches from Palos Verdes to Pacific Palisades.

Unfortunately, as these photos show, the short two-way section of bikeway has long been in need of repair. The last time I rode through there, I was struck by just how badly it had deteriorated.

I’m told many riders who know the area have given up on the cycle track and are riding the relatively recently repaved Hermosa Avenue, preferring to take their chances with distracted beachside motorists rather than risk a fall due to bad pavement — exactly the situation the cycle track was built to avoid.

It could also leave the city on the hook for any injuries that might occur there, as I’m told they’ve repeatedly been informed about the dangerous conditions, but have done absolutely nothing to correct the situation or warn riders about the risks they face from the cracked and rutted pavement.

Which is exactly what is required to create liability under California law.

The curb divider is literally falling apart; photo by Carol Detrick.

The curb divider is literally falling apart; photo by Carol Detrick.

And if city officials somehow weren’t aware of the situation before, they are now.

This should also serve as a warning to all of us fighting for better bike infrastructure throughout Southern California. Because it doesn’t matter what gets built if we can’t get our government officials to maintain it.

Even the best bikeways will eventually increase the risk to riders if they’re allowed to deteriorate while the roadways next to them are maintained for the benefit of motorists, as is the case here.

That leaves our local governments liable for whatever injuries may occur, whether due to bad bikeways or bicyclists riding in the street to avoid them.

And we all will pay the price, because the legal settlements will come out of our tax money.

Thanks to Jim Lyle and Carol Detrick — who’s been trying to get this fixed for five years — for the heads-up.

……….

Downtown’s Figueroa corridor could be the next Silicon Valley. But only if the city allows the MyFigueroa project to connect and transform the street.

Once again, a city analyst suggests going back to the same well by raising sales taxes half a cent to pay for roadway and sidewalk repair, rather than find a more innovative way to finance the much needed work. But how many times will city voters approve the same tax, especially with plans proceeding for a new Metro sales tax extension in the near future?

Streetsblog rides with last weekend’s Tour de Watts, and finds things are looking up in one of the city’s most maligned and misunderstood neighborhoods.

Somehow, the annual Bicycle Film Festival snuck up on us this year; it makes a great lead-in for the April 6th Wilshire CicLAvia.

Speaking of which, CicLAvia wants you to have a free pin, while two Open Streets events proposed for the San Gabriel Valley.

San Fernando votes to move forward with the proposed Pacoima Wash Bikeway.

A bike riding child was struck by a school bus in Fontana Tuesday morning, but somehow managed to escape uninjured. Meanwhile, a 12-year old boy is hit by an SUV in Whittier, with no word on his condition; thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

Bike Newport Beach contends with harried and hostile drivers.

A 44-year old San Diego bike rider is injured after being struck from behind by a high-end hit-and-run driver.

Bike San Diego sets its sights higher after winning a national advocacy award.

One hundred 5th graders are raising funds to ride from Yuma AZ to San Diego in a couple weeks. Did I mention they’re only in the 5th grade? Seriously, those kids rock.

Ninety-two-year old anti-authoritarian, pro-bike and anti-car-industrial-complex former Caltrans engineer passes away. After reading this obit, I really wish I’d known that guy.

Who needs side reflectors and wheel lights when your entire bike glows in the headlights?

The question of how to get more women on their bikes raises its head once again. Isn’t the easiest way to increase ridership among women, as well as other human beings, simply to make our streets safe for everyone?

Bike Portland rides the Big Easy.

It’s been five years since a cyclist killed a pedestrian in New York, but that doesn’t stop a healthcare company.

Another look at the seemingly endless debate over mandatory helmet laws.

Tragedy strikes the pro peloton as a 19-year old junior champion dies of a stroke while training in Ecuador.

An award-winning British journalist sues after suffering severe brain damage when he was hit by a London police car responding to a shooting.

A UK writer confesses to being a bike-borne Mr. Hide, and proposes banning bikes and cars and buses, as well as men with glasses and short hair who wear blue jeans. Wait, that’s me.

Aussie woman is doored and brow-beaten by cab passengers, while catching the whole thing on video. Meanwhile, a police minister suggests riders invest in bike cams in advance of Queensland’s new three-foot-equivalent law.

Now that’s what I call a big bike.

Finally, a writer for People for Bikes calls for changing group ride behavior; he’s got a point in that a lot of us could behave a lot better. On the other hand, Cyclelicious quite reasonably takes him to task for unfairly blaming beginners and other group riders for the bikelash in the halls of government and the hatred we face from motorists.

………

Let me give a quick shoutout to Daveed Kapoor and Money Heaven for their generous donations to support this site. It’s your support that makes BikinginLA possible.

8 comments

  1. Tom says:

    That Hermosa “cycle track” is sketchy anyway, because a portion of it has northbound cyclists riding the _wrong_ way against vehicle traffic.

    No thanks. I’ll ride Hermosa Ave any day, over this. Besides, Hermosa Ave has a “sharrows” lane & I can take the full lane anytime without getting hassled by the PD.

    • Jim Lyle says:

      No sharrows on Hermosa Ave north of 25th Street to the MB border. Signs direct northbound cyclists to the cyle track.

  2. Just as an aside, what have they been letting use the cycletrack besides bicycles? No bike I know of can tear up a curb like that, neither can most private motor vehicles. That kind of damage takes a truck, generally lots of large trucks.

    • bikinginla says:

      From what I’ve seen, some of the homeowners in the area use the curb as a shortcut. Although wet salt air can do a lot of damage as well, especially if the concrete is already cracked.

  3. Re Hermosa Beach – liability? What? Doesn’t the Prokop decision essentially render that moot for bike facilities in California? (the ambiguous legal status of a two-way cycletrack along a street notwithstanding…)

    • bikinginla says:

      The exception to Prokop is that is the damage is unprepared, there has to be signage in place warning of the danger. If they are aware of the risk and don’t post a warning, they can lose the protection they would otherwise enjoy.

  4. Vince Busam says:

    I’m new here, has it already been discussed how bad the Ballona Creek Trail is? For my money, on my Hermosa->Culver City commute, fixing that trail would be a much better bang for the buck.

    • bikinginla says:

      It’s been awhile since I’ve ridden Ballona Creek, but as I recall, it didn’t seem that bad. Maybe it’s deteriorated since then.

      If you have any photos of problem areas, send them to me. If not, I’ll try to give it a ride soon and check things out.

      However, it shouldn’t be an either/or situation. My understanding is that Hermosa Beach is responsible for maintaining the cycle track, while Culver City, LA and LA County would be responsible for Ballona.

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