PCH News: Roadway Construction Project Fails to Consider the Safety of Cyclists, Carnage Ensues!!August 28, 2009 at 7:56 pm | Posted in Bike News | 1 Comment
Last weekend, hundreds of cyclists were put in harm’s way on Pacific Coast Highway when a CalTrans contract crew left the right lane and shoulder on the northbound, downhill section between Heathercliff and Zuma Beach cut away and strewn with gravel, with no cones or special signage in place to warn these legal roadway users of the hazard. Many crashed upon encountering this dangerous section at speed, including several hospitalized with serious injuries; dozens of others were lucky to get away with only flat tires. Since then, LACBC, Velo Club LaGrange, and others have been in contact with CalTrans and the Sheriffs Department, and here is how the problem is being addressed (special thanks to Jay Slater of Velo Club LaGrange for this summary):
(special thanks to Jay Slater of Velo Club LaGrange for this summary):
Second, the project is scheduled to run from August 20 through September 15 and covers a length of six miles, which will be repaved in sections from 7 pm to 7 am each day. A sweeper is to clean the roadway daily after 7 am. As of Wednesday morning the sweepers had made a number of passes and gotten up most, but not all, of the loose gravel and stuff. The crew made an effort to clean up some spilled asphalt in the shoulder, and there were new signs going up to warn of the construction further in advance.
CalTrans’ Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator for District 7 visited the site this week and has reported his observations to the construction resident engineer and area traffic engineer. He also checked for accumulated gravel after the sweeping, and confirmed that certain sign modifications were made. Many thanks to CalTrans for addressing these serious safety concerns.
Of course, this is probably little comfort to the cyclists who crashed out there last weekend. We wish them all a speedy and thorough recovery. Members of VeloClub LaGrange have offered legal assistance to those injured.
PCH is a very popular cycling destination that presents some unusual challenges, and warrants special attention. In light of this and other recent tragedies on this stretch of highway, LACBC would like to see the (now inactive) PCH Task Force re-convened, so that all stakeholders (residents, law enforcement, cycling clubs, elected representatives) can meet to discuss such issues on a more regular basis, in hopes that PCH never sees another weekend like this last one.