Facebook Face Off: Malibu’s Anti-Bike Crusade Runs Into Opposition

7_8_10_share.jpgA cyclist blocking traffic in Malibu on the PCH. Photo:JGL Songs/Flickr

Generally, I try to avoid writing about Facebook "groups" that bag cyclists, pedestrians or transit riders and projects because they're not really representative of anything other than an angry person with a keyboard.

However, that was before Biking In L.A. pointed us towards a new Facebook page put up by Malibu Public Safety Commissioner Susan Tellem created to urge law enforcement officials to ticket cyclists and pedestrians equally on the Pacific Coast Highway near and in Malibu. Under this reasonable sounding demand, lies a laundry list of anti-bike stereotypes. Cyclists you see, break laws constantly. It's in our DNA. And it brings down on us the righteous wrath of the car-driving community. If those dammed cyclists would just behave and stop "blocking traffic" then everything would be ok.

No, that's what she says:

Some how bicyclists think that they own the road instead of sharing it. They ride three abreast, give the finger to motorists, throw bottles at people and in general break every traffic law but riding through red lights and not stopping at stop signs. Let's not forget riding on sidewalks without giving a "hey ho" to people who might not see them. And what about those nutty moms and dads who don't wear helmets with their kids on the bikes.

Of course, riding three-abreast is legal on a four-lane road, such as the PCH, provided the cyclists stay is legal. Legally, parents aren't required to wear helmets. And while I'm sure there's plenty of incidents of riders acting rudely on sidewalks and blowing off stop signs and lights, something that I don't doubt happens occasionally and is wrong; there have been a total of zero fatalities in this are caused by cyclists and three dead cyclists killed by negligent drivers.

There's literally so much she says that is wrong, that it would take a mega-post, such as one provided by Rogers at Biking in L.A., to cover them all. I'll just end with this. The residents living along the PCH in Malibu seem particularly outraged that they're having trouble backing their cars out of the driveway. Tellem mentions it in a letter to the editor, and Public Safety Commission Chair Carol Randall mentions it in an article in the Malibu Times about how the city is failing cyclists.

Someone reading this column who read yesterday's on traffic calming in Westwood might find it hypocritical that Streetsblog would support slowing traffic for cars in Westwood but oppose enforcing laws on cyclists in Malibu. But that's not the issue. The issue here is people deciding that the street, in this case the PCH, should be a car-dominated road. In the Westwood case, the residents wanted a street open to everyone. In the Malibu case they oppose it.