The Proof Is In The Pixels

Yesterday my fellow LA Metblogs writer Jason Burns posted about a Burbank resident who wrote a column that ran in the Burbank Leader calling for the installation of posted speed limits and the police enforcement of them along the otherwise marvelous Chandler Bikeway because there are just too many  overly entitled cyclists making it difficult for her to walk along it without risking injury.

Bikes on a bikeway? The nerve.

So of course I had to write a letter offering a different take on the situation from my own experience as an occasional traverser of that marvelous path that bridges Burbank to North Hollywood — as well as alternative to some sort of police presence. And in the meantime this morning while looking around the internest for info on the vaunted conduit, I found this page about it on Wouldn’t you know that of all the photos that could have been used in the lead photo at the top of that webpage shows a solitary cyclist in the foreground on the cycling side of the the path, followed by two walkers behind him properly on the pedestrian portion of the path. But then look waaay in the background and you’ll see two other figures — one walking and one looking like its on a push scooter — and dang if the duo isn’t distinctly on the bike side of the dividing line (arrow indicating; moderately enlargeable):

Exactly the point I make in my letter (after the jump).

I guess I’m the exception to the legion of reckless cyclists Pamela Lang has encountered (Community Commentary: Bikeway needs a speed limit, October 14). I’ve respectfully and considerately pedaled the length of the Chandler Bikeway on many occasions and agree with her that it is a jewel of a resource of which every Burbank resident should be proud. I consider it one of the finest realizations of an urban bikeway in the region.

But I have to disagree when Pamela generalizes about cyclists’ “sense of ownership that apparently goes with using the bike lanes.” I could say the same thing about the fair share of pedestrians, skaters or joggers (or my favorite: the dog walkers with their pets strung across the path on 15 foot leads) that I’ve encountered either solo or in groups who occupy the bike area with little regard or consideration — and who often grumble after I’m forced to slow down to their speed, repeatedly ring my bike bell and beg their pardon as I pass them. Bikeway entitlement issues aren’t limited to just my form of self-propelled transport.

Pamela may be ready to foot the bill for the law enforcement resources that she wants dedicated to maintaining speedtraps focusing on me and my bike, but I think an educational reinforcement is the better and less costly way to go. Rather than speed limits, my suggestion would be to post signage urging everyone to “share, take care and be aware.”

Of course I offer the above compromise as something of a skeptical outsider — a Los Angeles resident — still shaking my head over Burbank’s decision a couple years ago to remorselessly kill the planned and budgeted on-street connector route between the L.A. River and Chandler bikeways, so it won’t surprise me if I see a radar gun pointed in my direction the next time I have to slow down and alert some wayward walkers that they’re in my way or stop and wait while some dog owner reels Rover in.

Will Campbell
Los Angeles