Column: A $2-million ‘bike lane to nowhere’ symbolizes L.A.’s outrageous dysfunction
When the bike lane in Westlake finally opened last week, it looked like a bicycle lane for bikes. There were bike racks; the bike lane was shaded by a striped awning, and the bike lane was marked by double yellow lines.
But when the Los Angeles Police Department reviewed the safety of the new bike lane in November, they made a critical error: They failed to provide bike officers with any protective equipment.
The LAPD’s policy says officers can only use “reasonable force” to protect themselves from bicycle riders. And a review by the U.S. Department of Transportation found that L.A.’s bike lane was not safe for cyclists.
Bikers often ride with their right foot on the ground at high speed, pushing so hard that they slip on a wet surface. L.A.’s bike lane is so low that, after a hard bump or fall, they slide into the sidewalk. And a L.A. Department of Transportation report called the new bike lane “potentially hazardous” because of the danger of hitting cars.
To make matters worse, there was no enforcement.
Now, the LAPD is using the bike lane to push an agenda of “social justice,” and the mayor of L.A. is joining the club: He called it a “bike lane to nowhere.”
“When you look at what they have done, it’s quite ridiculous,” said Chris Moore, a former L.A. County Transportation Commissioner and member of the Bicycle Coalition of Los Angeles.
The LAPD’s decision to go forward with the so-called bike lane to nowhere is emblematic of L.A.’s dysfunction — the disorder, not the bike lane.
L.A. has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation and the nation’s second-highest vehicle crash rate.
When the new bike lane opened last week, the LAPD was so concerned about the speed of cyclists and the safety of the bike lane that they brought in a consultant to help design the lane and develop a traffic control plan.
The consultant’s report said the bike lane “is a safe roadway.” The report said that the lane would be better protected than other bike lanes in