More protection for cyclists on LA streets

Riders 'continually being harassed'

Los Angeles officials have pledged to conduct a city-wide study that will point at ways to better protect cyclists on its streets.

The study will help set in place an anti-harassment ordinance spearheaded by city councilman Bill Rosendahl.

“Cyclists are continually being harassed on the streets and motorists are not being held accountable,” said Aurisha Smolarski, campaign and communications director for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

The Coalition believes cyclists can be better protected with more infrastructure, proper enforcement of traffic laws, driver education, increased cyclist education and fairer treatment from the Los Angeles Police Department.

“We're working with council member Rosendahl on gathering public input and consulting,” Smolarski said. “We've been advocating for this ordinance and highlighting the need.”

Rosendahl is one of 15 Los Angeles City Council members and represents District 11, which spans the communities of Brentwood, Del Rey, Mar Vista, Marina del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Palms, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Venice, West Los Angeles and Westchester.

He has asked the Coalition to help gather pertinent information from city cyclists by asking them what qualifies as harassment. Responses will be submitted to Rosendahl along with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, City Attorney's Office and all other parties involved. Input can be emailed to aurisha@la-bike.org until 12 February.

The Coalition supports a city bike plan that proposes 1,113km of cycleways throughout the streets of Los Angeles, including bike lanes, bike paths, bike-friendly streets and new bike routes.

“It's still being reviewed and updated to reflect the public comment input,” Smolarksi said. “LA will start a pilot study on five to 10 streets. We should be seeing sharrows on our streets in May. Sharrows are included in LA Bike Plan and will be considered a useful infrastructure once the pilot is completed.”

According to Smolarksi, the next step is to send a revised Draft Bicycle Plan to the Planning, Planning and Land Use Management and Transportation Committees, whose recommendations will be considered by the full city council.

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