We Buzzers are big fans of the bicycle and always delight in reporting on the next CicLAvia, or the painting of “sharrows” in the neighborhood bike routes. But we’re also well aware that most of us make our way around LA via automobile, and sharing the road between bikes and cars is dependent on both entities being smart, aware, and following the law.
Bike fatalities in Los Angeles are on the increase with the added number of riders taking to the streets to get their exercise, cut down on their carbon footprint, and avoid sitting in traffic. According to BikinginLA a blog that follows biking issues, a bike rider who was killed on Alameda in LA early Sunday morning was the fifth fatality in five days in all of Southern California, with two fatalities in LA since the beginning of January.
LA Times columnist Steve Lopez wrote a piece for Sunday’s paper that depicts a father, whose six year old son was struck by a motorist outside his home, donating his time to install “Ghost Bikes” around the LA basin, honoring those killed on their bicycles. Seeing a Ghost Bike on the side of the road is haunting, and these photos below remind us that vigilance and safety are of utmost importance to both bikers and motorists sharing the road.
Our recent story on biking drew a number of comments from readers, who urged bikers to take on more responsibility for their own safety while biking LA streets. A Windsor Village resident commented on the Buzz:
I am happy that bicyclists are getting more opportunities to ride here in LA but now I feel that it is time that they are held accountable for their own safety.
We are on a learning curve here in LA as far as having bicyclists share the road safely. We all want to make it work.
Wear a helmet. Have working lights on your bike so that drivers can see you clearly. We can’t see you at night if you have no lights on your bike. Maybe up your chance of not being struck by a vehicle by also wearing reflective clothing at night. The smaller streets of LA are not well lit, especially Hancock Park and it’s vicinity. It is not “uncool” to protect yourself, it can be a matter of survival.
Be sensible; if you are riding with your child and they are wearing a helmet, so should you.
Every mode of road transportation has it’s safety rules. Cars have to have lights and seat belts, motorcyclists have to wear helmets and have lights, why are bicyclists exempt from basic safety features such as helmets and lights?
I believe it is time to make some demands on lawmakers to have bicyclists put their safety in their own hands, not just ours.
We might add that bikers need to stop for stop signs, and not just roll right through, to avoid riding sidewalks into intersections where drivers may not see a bike coming, and yes – use that bell and wear that helmet. It’s a two way street out there and both sides need to be hyper vigilant now that we’re all sharing the road. Granted, LA drivers aren’t used to having bikes a part of the traffic mix, but cities all over the world have adapted to being bike friendly and bike safe and there’s no reason LA, which has the perfect weather and few hills, shouldn’t become a bikeable city too.