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Bike lanes: Protecting cyclists should be a priority

June 10, 2011 |  3:23 pm

There are a couple of videos circulating online that make a powerful case not just for bike lanes but also for cyclists to actually have the ability to use them, and safely.

The first is from filmmaker Casey Neistat (via BBC), who got a $50 ticket in May for riding in traffic when the bike lane was blocked. "I'm doing the world a favor riding my bike," he tells the officer in a cellphone video. "Look at this guy double parked right here, in a bus lane, and you're not giving him a ticket." The second part of the short video proves just how difficult it is for a cyclist to remain in a bike lane when motorists and city workers aren't heeding the law. My only wish is that Neistat were wearing a helmet to better make his point about safety.

In another video, visual artist RonConCocaCola (via A Cup of Jo) presents a busy intersection to show the collision course that emerges when people go rogue. Certainly, this proves that cyclists are sometimes at fault, but the above video helps show why cyclists can't always stick to the bike lane.

3-Way Street from ronconcocacola on Vimeo.

True, both videos are from New York City, but Los Angeles has its share of similar problems, including both disregard and contempt for cyclists, who're perceived by some motorists as a nuisance. While the approval of L.A.'s bicycle plan to quadruple the mileage of official bikeways is a boon for cyclists, it's only half the battle. We also have to change our mind-set and really welcome bikes on our roads, which is an area where Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa can lead the way. Here’s an editorial from March that explains:

[I]f the planned bike lanes and neighborhood traffic-calming measures are actually built, it would go a long way toward making L.A. a more livable city and mark one of the most lasting achievements of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's tenure. Bikes don't pollute, they don't contribute to freeway traffic, and they improve the health of riders. They're also fun, at least if you're not being sideswiped by a speeding truck or cut off by a taxi; when the latter happened to Villaraigosa last summer on Venice Boulevard, he fell off his bicycle and broke his elbow, an accident that turned the mayor into a bike-safety advocate.

RELATED:

Cartoon: Hikers vs. bikers

Pedal-power to the people

A hidden threat to drivers

If L.A. freeways aren't free

--Alexandra Le Tellier

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