Westwood Boulevard is a busy road with many cars and bicycles. More than 3,100 students, faculty members, and staff ride their bicycles to UCLA daily, and as many as 800 of the bike trips occur on Westwood Boulevard. Unfortunately, from 2002 to 2013, this road was also the site of 52 reported bicycle accidents. Of those crashes, motorists were found responsible for causing 35 of the collisions.
To try to make Westwood Boulevard safer for bicycle riders commuting to school, Mobility Plan 2035 would add marked bicycle corridors to the road. Bicycle lanes have been proved to make a significant difference in keeping riders safer. As the LA Times reports, previous studies have shown bike lanes can cause up to a 50 percent reduction in the number of bicycle collisions that occur. Bike lanes can prevent motor vehicles from encroaching on bicycle riders and can prevent bicyclists from wrong-way riding, which is a leading cause of fatalities.
Environmentalists, students, transportation experts, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, and public health professionals all support the Westwood Boulevard bike lane plans in Mobility Plan 2035. However, local neighborhood associations, Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz, and local business owners oppose the addition of bicycle lanes to Westwood Boulevard and believe the bike provisions should be stripped out of the Mobility plan.
Will Bike Lanes Reduce Bike Accidents on Westwood Boulevard?
The Mobility Plan calls for bike lanes to run south from Le Conte Ave through Westwood Village. The lanes would cross Wilshire Boulevard, and run to Woolworth Avenue. The lanes would also run from Santa Monica Boulevard to Exposition Boulevard, where the Expo Light Rail Line is located. The lanes would intersect with the Expo Light Rail’s bike lane. The existing bicycle lanes that stretch from Wellworth to Santa Monica would also be improved as part of the plan.
Opponents of the Westwood Boulevard bike lanes argue that adding these lanes on this busy street will actually increase, rather than decrease, the number of bicycle collisions. They argue that traffic will be slower, and critical parking and turning lanes will be lost. They also suggest that the obstruction of traffic will increase safety concerns for motorists an for bicycle riders alike. Even emergency vehicles could theoretically be affected by the addition of the bike lanes, as they may be unable to pass through quickly to get to hospitals near UCLA’s campus.
The councilman has suggested that it would be safer and less disruptive to find alternative routes to put bike lanes on to give bicycle riders access to the neighborhoods around Westwood and to the UCLA campus. The councilman, for example, suggested using bike lanes on Sepulveda Boulevard or on Gayley Avenue. However, supporters suggest that keeping the bike lanes off Westwood Boulevard would leave a large gap in the growing network of bike lanes. Bike riders would not stop using Westwood Boulevard, even with lanes on adjacent roads, and Westwood would continue to be an especially dangerous road for riders.
A Long Beach Bike Accident Lawyer
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
While this battle is likely to continue, the basic fact remains that regardless of whether bike lanes are on a road or not, bicycle riders and drivers need to co-exist and make an effort to share the road in a safe way. When a driver fails to respect the rights of a bicycle rider on the road, a Long Beach bike accident lawyer can provide assistance.
At the Law Office of Michael D. Waks, I represent bike accident victims in claims against careless drivers. Call the Law Office of Michael D. Waks at 888-394-1174 or use the convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
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