Urban Velo

The Case Against Bike Paths

The Case Against Bike PathsL.A. cycling activist Enci Box recently published an article on L.A.Streetsblog.org:

As someone who was born in Hungary, grew up in Germany, and has traveled extensively in Europe, Australia and North America, I’m familiar with the many variations of “Bike Paths” that can be found around the world and it’s from this point of view that I find myself taking the lonely position that “Here in Los Angeles, Bike Paths are not a ‘safe and effective cycling’ solution and in many cases, they are a problem.”

The argument mostly centers around the lack of security on secluded bike paths, and stories of cyclists being assaulted and/or injured on the paths. Generally, the response from authorities has been the somewhat impractical suggestion, “Don’t ride alone.”

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  1. jamesmallonJanuary 15, 2010 at 8:08 am

    You don’t think this is a more American problem (remember that you only account for 1% of Earth’s population)? I feel safe on Toronto’s paths. The again, we have gun laws, less income disparity, less entrenched race-issues…

  2. antbikemikeJanuary 15, 2010 at 8:15 am

    It is not the bike paths problem. It is our people and the way we treat them as nieghbors. Anything new will be tough going in the begining [10/15 years]

  3. kjmontyJanuary 15, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Read the whole article before commenting. Her point is that bike paths are being designed and built BADLY in LA, and the money invested would be better spent more effective solutions. However the City seems intent on separating and marginalising cyclists in order to reduce their liability for accidents etc.

    Fair point.

  4. Saddle UpJanuary 15, 2010 at 10:28 am

    I am so fucking glad I’m a Canadian.

  5. Jim C.January 15, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    I’m glad you are a Canadian too.

  6. sumadisJanuary 15, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    I live and ride in LA, on the same pathways. Yes, they are dangerous for all the reasons given – but there are also solutions not being presented here. The community can demand better policing. Call boxes and lights can be installed (or in the case of the main river-side stretch near me, simply turning the existing street lights on would be a huge help). I find the activism in LA to be particularly soapbox-ish and vitriolic, hindering any effort to find solution in favor of shouting loudly and drawing attention to a fighting spirit that’s not often warranted.

  7. sumadisJanuary 15, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    adding… LA sorely needs better bike/car interaction and improved bikeway access so I think arguing solely that ‘paths don’t work’ is detrimental. Yes, some of our paths have serious issues, some of those issues can be resolved. Lumping the dangers of Balboa Creek path with the overall city directive of increasing the number of bikelanes, shared use routes, etc. does a disservice to urban planners attempting to implement traffic calming and improved transportation solutions in an overcrowded metropolis.

  8. sumadisJanuary 15, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    all that ranted, Enci is a strong force in our city, and she makes a lot of fair and valid points in her article, however, I’d like to see more solutions offered rather than problems itemized.

  9. JefeJanuary 15, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Great argument. I just want three feet on the road, not a walled off lane. Next, they will start mandating those tethered skyways you featured yesterday.

  10. The Case Against Bike Lanes at Urban VeloJanuary 17, 2010 at 12:24 am

    [...] people seemed to respond to our post about Enci Box’s article earlier in the week, we thought it would be good to post another one of her articles. This one is [...]

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