LAPD Receives Bicyclists Input on Los Angeles’ Worst IntersectionsMarch 29, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Posted in Bike News | 3 Comments
After receiving more than 11,ooo views and mapping over 70 problem intersections, our map asking the bicycle community which intersections they thought were in most need of LAPD assistance has been digested into a short report we forwarded to the Police Department today. We’re still collecting data so add your intersection if you haven’t already and comment below with any input for this ongoing effort.
We’re happy to note that last week, we sent LAPD a preliminary list of informal suggestions, and within two days we spotted an LAPD officer at the corner of Park and Glendale Blvd monitoring the speed of vehicle traffic. Though correlation does not imply causality, we’re happy nonetheless, especially considering most bicyclists rarely break posted speed limits.
That being said, as we have seen in other parts of the country, when the relationship with local police grows, like all relationships, there are ups and downs. We won’t soon forget Chief Beck’s statement at last month’s T-Commitee meeting that “the LAPD is not a perfect organization, but it is one that strives to be.” What we’re most cautious of is a story out of Portland, OR, where, as bicyclists had successfully raised the awareness of their plight on the city’s roadways, the police then took to a sting operation targeted at bicyclists.
We’ve informed the LAPD that to perform such stings at this formative period in the relationship between police and bicyclists would be disastrous. As well, many intersections in Los Angeles are designed in ways that are absolutely hostile to bicyclists, pavement quality often favors riding safe over riding “lawfully,” and the all around lack of bike infrastructure finds bicyclists performing extralegal maneuvers just to get where they need to go. The department has responded that discretion will be left to individual officers, which gives us hope that orchestrated bike crackdowns are not on the schedule.
What we can say for sure is that, with rights come responsibilities. As bicyclists become an accepted part of the transportation mix in this city, more and more attention will be placed on our behavior on the streets. We know that no bicyclist in their right mind runs a red light in the middle of traffic, but we know even better that every light in this city is timed for cars and no one else. We will continue to contend that the most effective way to get bicyclists riding lawfully is to increase the amount of dedicated bike infrastructure, to ensure the safe passage of all bicyclists on all streets, and to educated the general public on the virtues of safe, effective, convenient bicycle riding.