Tag Archive for San Vicente bike lane

Today’s ride, in which bike friendly Santa Monica actually was

I confess.

I’ve been known to criticize Santa Monica’s bike-friendly city status once or twice. No, really.

Hard to believe, I know.

But to be fair, I also feel I have an obligation to point out when they do something right.

And today, they did.

One of my biggest complaints about the beachside city — aside from the perpetually tourist and pedestrian clogged Marvin Braude Bike Path — is the frequency with which the bike lanes that helped Santa Monica gain its bike-friendly status from the League of American Bicyclists are blocked for some ridiculously needless reason or another.

Like movie crews who put orange cones in the bike lane to keep anyone from getting close to their trucks, even though they don’t extend far enough out to pose a risk to anyone. Or the utility crews who block bike lanes even though their work area is several feet away.

Which means that cyclists are regularly forced out into the traffic lane, where too often, drivers aren’t willing to concede an inch of their precious roadway.

So today, I was pleasantly surprised as I was riding back up the bike lane on San Vicente Blvd, headed inland from the coast, and saw this:

Amazingly, all the signs have been carefully placed outside the bike lane.

Instead of blocking the bike lane, as most road crews inevitably seem to do — regardless of necessity — this particular crew had clearly taken great pains to keep their signs out of the bikeway. And kept the lane clear for riders working their way uphill.

So, Mr. or Ms. Road Crew Sign Placement Guy or Girl, thank you.

Your efforts didn’t go unnoticed.

And they were appreciated.

Not one sign even partially blocking the bikeway. Seriously.


In L.A., even homeless people hate bikes. Danceralamode, a frequent commenter on this site, offers up some lucid and insightful observations in response to the Times’ brief article about the hit-and-run death of Ovidio Morales. Bikerowave is throwing itself a third birthday party this weekend; also this weekend is C.I.C.L.E.’s Creek Freak Bike Tour. The Times takes note of Pasadena’s new bike plan. Streetsblog is now accepting donations to provide more complete coverage of L.A. transportation. A call for shared bus/bike lanes in L.A. A San Francisco writer asks if cycling is really getting more dangerous. Braess’ Paradox says that closing streets can reduce traffic congestion. Biking to work with Seattle’s bicycling mayor. The three-foot passing law passes in another state, as Maryland becomes the latest to give riders an enforceable cushion. It’s the Year of the Bike in Riverside; no, the one in Illinois.  London begins work on two cycling superhighways. A Kiwi rugby legend prepares to join the English charity ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats — sort of like riding from Key West to Seattle, but much shorter. Speaking of Kiwis, a New Zealand man asks the High Court to allow naked bicycling on public roads. Prepare to step through the looking glass, because in Budapest, right-wing politicians actually support cycling. Finally, in what could spell the death of Critical Mass, a New York judge rules that large group rides must get a parade permit; a ruling that may migrate to the Left Coast.

Only in L.A…. driving while very distracted

As a rule, I try to avoid confrontations when I ride.

No, really, I do. I’ve learned the hard way over the years that cars are bigger than I am. And they hurt. But sometimes, someone will do something so stupid, so dangerous, that I just can’t help myself.

Like the other day, for instance.

I was making my way back up San Vicente at the end of a hard ride, riding in the bike lane, and just focused on getting up that hill a little faster than I have before. So I wasn’t really paying that much attention to traffic passing by.

Then without warning, a car zoomed past me, two wheels inside the bike lane, missing me by less than two feet — passing so close that the wind from his slipstream nearly knocked me over before he straightened out and returned to his lane. I shouted a few choice epithets, steadied my bike and continued up the hill.

And there, waiting at the next intersection for the light to change, was the very same car, with his right window rolled down.

And I just couldn’t help myself.

So I pull up to his door, and yell through the open window that he should never pass a bike that close. His response? All together now…

“Fuck you.”

Right about then the light turns green, and I zip through the intersection, only to realize that now I have a dangerous — and angry — driver behind me. And that’s never good.

So I pull over to the right, and wait patiently for him to drive pass.

Except he doesn’t.

He sees me waiting on the side of the road and pulls over into the gas station next to me. Out steps a guy who looks like he’s doing an impression of a bad Kevin Costner character — faded T-shirt, baggy cargo shorts hanging down past his knees, and baseball cap turned backwards. And looking for a fight.

He asks what I’m so pissed off about, and I explain that he almost hit me. He responded with all the keen debating tactics of a grade school playground.

“Did not!”

Yeah, like out of all the cars that passed me that day, I’m going to single out his and make up a story just to create a confrontation like this. I explain that he had crossed over into the bike lane next to me, passing me by less than a couple feet.

“Did not!”

Meanwhile, I’m thinking that maybe I should try to defuse the situation before things get physical. So I pull out my cell phone and snap his picture, as well as another shot of his license plate. As I do, I happen to glance down — and notice that the zipper on his pants is pulled all the way, exposing everything from waist to mid-thigh.

And trust me, there wasn’t much to see.

Right about then, it dawns on me then just why he was so distracted that he didn’t even see me as he drove.

And I thought drivers with cell phones in their hands were a problem.


Newsweek joins the discussion on the conflict between cyclists and drivers in one of America’s best cycling cities. The article also includes a link to a cyclist hanging on for dear life. Missed this one when it came out; the S. F. Examiner cycling writer — they actually have someone to cover biking! — shares my complaint about riding and cell phones. Looks like the CHP is cracking down on BUIs in Tahoe. And the LACBC urges us all to write the mayor to support dedicated funding for cycling in the new Metro tax proposal.

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