That funky Abbot Kinney sharrow, August events and your weekend reading list

I finally managed to get back to Abbot Kinney and insert myself into the traffic lane long enough to get a photo of that odd sharrow I mentioned last week. It’s one thing to direct us into the door zone, but sending us directly into the parked cars seems a little extreme.

Go ahead and follow it. I dare you.

Even from further away, it still points the same way. When you paint on a curve, a slight change in angle makes a big difference.


In upcoming events, the third Metro Bicycle Roundtable will be a brown bag lunch from noon to 2p Wednesday, August 12th. The next day, join the LACBC for the 1st Annual City of Lights Awards Dinner on Thursday, August 12th.

Click to enlarge

And mark your calendar for the Santa Monica Museum of Art’s bike-centric Cause for Creativity: Tour da Arts, vol. 2, scheduled for August 22, 2010; thanks to Green LA Girl for reminding me about the press release that’s been languishing in my inbox. Just three days later, Streetsblog holds a re-launch party and fundraiser on Wednesday, August 25th.


A bicyclist was hit on Santa Monica Blvd near the courthouse in Beverly Hills Friday evening; no other details at this time. Video from Wednesday’s Blood In protest in Beverly Hills. Stephen Box urges the mayor to implement the Backbone Network in 10 steps. Metro’s plans to lift the peak hour bike ban evidently haven’t circulated internally yet. Motorists discover an injured cyclist lying in the road near Bonsall CA, about 40 miles north of San Diego. A Davis bicyclist is run down by an RV in Quebec. If you don’t drive in a Hollywood film, you’re clearly some sort of weirdo; meanwhile, an Entertainment writer casts a critical eye on Bicycling’s best cycling movies of all time. As Bikestations circle the globe, I’m still waiting for one at City Hall. Touring the Four Corners region on two wheels; or maybe you’d rather tour Ireland’s County Kerry, or ride through Iceland. While we still struggle to get paint on the ground, Colorado cyclists are getting off-road bike paths along I-70 through the Rockies. The first major Colorado stage race since the late, great Coors Classic could kick off as early as next year. Courtesy of Witch on a Bicycle, OKC homicide investigators have taken over a suspicious hit-and-run case involving a cyclist. A RAGBRAI rider is killed in a collision with another cyclist. A bloody Chicago hit-and-run that wasn’t. Advice on riding on the sidewalk, or rather, why not to. Justin Timberlake rides a bike in NYC. Turns out that knit bike was actually crocheted art. Biking through New York, with soundtrack. LAB members can vote on the best bicyclist of all time; I’ve got to go with the Cannibal, and maybe Jeannie Longo a close second. A day after Contador bails on Astana, the Schleck brothers are leaving Saxo Bank. New bike share programs kick off in London and Chicago, with Boston and DC on deck. Quick iPad sketches of London Mayor Boris Johnson and the city’s  new bike share program; BoJo warns there may be problems at the start, while offers a test ride and two cyclists say the city may not be the safest place to ride. Your summer bike reading list. Stats confirm a biking boom in Britain; this isn’t the first time they’ve had a bike culture. A biking Brit family cycles the Pan-American highway from Alaska to Argentina. Nothing much has changed since the death of a Malta cyclist last year. If you really want to be seen, how about tires with built-in LED lights, or maybe an obnoxiously visible jersey.

Finally, courtesy of Cyclelicious, distracted drivers are bad enough; now they’re firing cannons at us; a group of teenagers may have been responsible.

And if anyone knows where I can get a good deal on replacing a dead Flight Deck SC-6502, let me know; I think mine just went to that great silicon plant in the sky.


  1. The Trickster says:

    I well and truely agree with your choices for best cyclists ever.

    I still reckon Merckx at his peak 1-on-1 v Lance at his peak would have destroy Lance.

  2. Tony says:

    You said of London’s cycle hire scheme “two cyclists say the city may not be the safest place to ride” which is misleading. The accident the cyclist had in the linked article was because he put off fixing his brakes.

    London is not an unsafe place to ride. There are about 15 deaths a year out of 180 million bicycle journeys (about half a million journeys a day). That makes it about 23,000 years of commuting every day, 220 days a year on average before a fatal accident, 600 years for a serious injury (which in British definitions includes a lot of not-serious injuries like cuts and grazes) and 250 years for a minor injury. I think there are far worse things to worry about in life.

    • bikinginla says:

      Tony, I’m just linking to the article and trying to sum up what it’s about in a few words; the writer’s perspective was that riding in London was risky, not mine. People have written that L.A. is a dangerous place to ride, and I would certainly disagree with that.

      Never haven’t ridden in London, I can’t speak to it one way or another. However, when I visited there a few years ago, I certainly wished I had my bike with me because it seemed to be a lovely place to ride. If the bike share program had been in place at the time, I probably would have given it a shot.

  3. Ah, the power of injudicious photo editing!

    I suppose a car driver will have to go there next, and take a picture showing how the double yellow line directs motorists into parked cars as well…the road curves; I think even the most imbecilic or drug-addled Venice cyclist will figure it out.

    After all, had it been placed twenty feet farther back, it would be directing cyclists across the double yellow and into opposing traffic. I am sure we would all blindly follow its pointy little head into oblivion, right?

    Perhaps we should stage a protest ride demanding curved sharrow stencils (both left and right, perhaps of different radii!) for such obviously murderous situations….

    OK, I’m a vehicular cyclist and so prejudiced; I think the only real values of sharrows are not to “guide” cyclists but rather to inform motorists of cyclists’ longstanding statutory right to the road, and to encourage riders to stay out of the door zone. (The reason for the much-derided 11-feet from the curb rule is simply to indicate a safe spot outside the door zone in the vicinity of the sharrow. Some LA cyclists demand measuring from the centerline, which would result in door-zone placement on many streets.)

    Funny how we have no qualms about rolling stop signs, at which cyclists as well as motorists are presently required to come to a complete stop (BTW I do it too of course); but we act as though sharrows are wheel channels guiding us helplessly along the road. They are however just advisories that we are free to ignore.

    I think what’s really at issue is that the cycling community in LA has become so habituated to complaining that it’s become a reflex action.

    As Voltaire said, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” The pictured sharrow is out of the door zone for that part of the street, and reminds motorists that we will be there. It does its job.

    Geez, now I’m complaining too!

    • bikinginla says:

      Rick, the photo wasn’t edited; I took several from various distances, all of which clearly show the sharrow pointing off to the side of the road (I’ve added one at the top to show it from a longer angle). This was just the best photo by an admittedly bad photographer. I certainly don’t think anyone wold be foolish enough to follow it there.

      I didn’t include this picture as a complaint because I thought this was wrong, or that it somehow invalidated all the other correctly angled sharrows on the street. I included it because that sharrow is oddly placed and therefore amusing. If I’d been painting the street, I would have placed it just past the curve in the road, or at least angled it a little differently so it pointed more a little more down the road.

      I am not one of those who think the sharrow installation has been hopelessly flawed; I like the sharrows, especially the ones on Abbot Kinney. However, I do think there is a learning curve involved for the city, and that improvements can and should be made in future installations. As I’ve written previously, this is experiment from the city’s perspective, and it will be interesting to see what they learn from it.

      Sorry if my attempt to poke a little fun at one quirky sharrow came across as criticism of the whole program — that certainly wasn’t what I intended.

  4. Sorry if I took it too seriously, too! I’ve been hearing so much whining and moaning about the “imperfect sharrows” that it just struck a nerve.

    If you want really hilariously bad bicycle infrastructure, check out this English site: Stupid Bike Lanes UK. Work your way backwards from this month’s exhibit.

  5. […] by Damien Newton on August 1, 2010 Biking in L.A. notices something weird with the Abbot Kinney Sharrows. […]

  6. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by LACM, Madeline Brozen. Madeline Brozen said: # # LACM LosAngelesCM RT @LosAngelesCM Something wrong with the new sharrows on Abbot Kinney in Venice? uggg. […]

  7. Gina says:

    Idiots…Stupid Dept. of Transportation can’t do anything right.

  8. Ted,

    Thanks for keeping an eye on Sharrows installations. It’s exactly these kinds of specific, detailed observations that will help us create the best recommendations and guidelines possible at the end of the pilot project.

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