Disrespecting the Bike Lane in Santa Monica

By Mihai Peteu

Broadway at 14th


Broadway should be sacred pavement for cyclists.  Bike lanes, ideally, should serve as safe cross-town pathways for cyclists, taking you from one borough to another.  Not just to the grocery store and back.  They should have buttery smooth pavement since bikes don’t do nearly as much damage to the road surface.
Unfortunately, in Bronze-Award Bike Friendly Santa Monica, the bike lane is often also known as the:

  • The valet parking lane
  • The park your entire equipment truck convoy here while you shoot a movie lane
  • The porta potty and construction equipement storage lane
  • The parking enforcement vehicle parking lane

I have seen construction on Broadway too often, I had to stop and document the bullshit this time around.
Say Hello to the Construction Lane
Obstacle
Bike lanes on quaint residential streets with low traffic are cute.  But some folks like to get places as efficiently as possible, and this is where major streets like Wilshire come into play. Lately, I have been noticing more bike commuters taking Wilshire from Santa Monica to Westwood.  If we were to delete car parking in Wilshire’s rightmost lane, there would be plenty of space for a nice wide bike lane plus buffer zone. Low and behold, Wilshire becomes more bikeable for everyone, not just “experts” or those confident enough to ride alongside cranky drivers trying to get to the 405 connector. All of a sudden, you can get from the Ocean Ave/Wilshire >> Westwood/Wilshire in 15-20 minutes, faster than any gas-powered vehicle ever could.

Just a thought.

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9 Responses to “Disrespecting the Bike Lane in Santa Monica”

  1. Thanks for looking out for us.

  2. my secret pleasures of bike lane obstacles… I kick over valet parking signs. I take cones and throw them into the street. I dump trash cans into driveways…. it’s fun!

  3. On two separate days this week I’ve seen a USPS truck parked in the bike lane on Ocean Park between Lincoln and 11th. There’s no parking there, so the bike lane is right next to the curb, and the car lane is narrow…so even cars have to move to the left to get around this mail truck, to say nothing about any cyclists.

  4. I should’ve snapped a pic yesterday morning on Venice Boulevard west of Sepulveda. There was oddly just one block where it was apparently trash day and from one corner to the other the bike lane made the typical great place for the residents and apartment managers to set their black and blue bins, of course forcing me to bear left and first thread between the cans and the traffic until after the third vehicle to pass me with less than a foot between us made me realize I better take the whole lane if I wanted to live to see Centinela Avenue.

    Of course that made the motorists behind me REALLY happy that they couldn’t get to the red light up ahead a few seconds faster, but I just sat up in the saddle, spread-eagled my arms and strongly suggested everyone go fuck themselves.

    I don’t normally venture that far west along Venice on my way to work, but I may next Friday just to clear the lane by employing the strategy rhode bloch suggested above.

  5. PS. As part of my random and occasional “This Is Why I Hate” series I shaky-cam’d my passing a bike-lane blocking Fedex truck last year on Venice by the Museum of Jurassic Tech and tossed it up on YouTube. Some of the haters in the comments are HI-larious:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQP90UoA9mg

  6. @ Will – Yes, Venice is vicious, not only is the pavement quality consistently bad all the way across town, it’s also riddled with trash bins on the “west side”.

    Venice Bl is probably the longest bike lane in the city. If they would drop a lane of traffic, expand the bike lane, repave it with buttery smooth blacktop, add a buffer zone, then it would become more usable.

  7. I rode across Venice today to the Blogger Beach Cleanup. Numerous times our “posse” had to veer into the right-hand car lane (out of the bike lane) due to cars, construction equipment, etc. blocking the bike lane. I don’t understand why the city is allowed to leave construction equipment in the bike lane.

  8. I’ve lived in Santa Monica for 4 years now and Broadway has always been my main East-West cooridoor. It’s amazing how often the BL is either blocked or obstructed. Why can’t large vehicles park on the numerous adjacent N-S running streets?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Today’s ride, on which I encounter just a little road rage « BikingInLA - October 23rd, 2009

    [...] two L.A. area stages next May; and yes, Lance and his new team will be there. Dr. Alex looks at a typical bike lane in L.A.’s bike-friendly neighbor to the west, and notes why you shouldn’t try to reclaim your [...]

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