Eyes on the Street: Sepulveda Blvd. Bike Lane Turning Into “Express Lane” for Scofflaws

When not riding his bicycle, Chen takes pictures of bike lane violators from his perch in a Culver City Bus.

In May, Streetsblog reported that new bike lanes were painted on Sepulveda Boulevard between Venice Boulevard and National Boulevard. The new lanes could connect all the way to the Expo Line Station scheduled for Sepulveda and Exposition, about a half mile north of where the lanes now end.

Reader Irwin Chen notes that the lanes are being put to good use…by speeding motorists as well as cyclists. Chen photographed cars both violating the bike lane and driving to the right of the lane at high-speed. He then mails the pictures to the LAPD, who assure Chen that they are enforcing vehicle code on drivers who violate the lane.

In a letter to the LAPD, Chen writes:

I’m writing to you with some follow up info. It has been about 6 weeks since I reported my experience riding in the bike lane on Sepulveda near National and since that time, I have stopped riding in this area because it is far too dangerous with cars constantly driving illegally in the bike lane and passing me on my right. I have attached some photos which I think are self-explanatory: cars are illegally entering the bike lane and using it to bypass traffic, sometimes at speed greatly exceeding the posted speed limit.

Assuming the LAPD is being truthful when they say they are regularly enforcing rules onc cars crossing into the bike lanes, it calls into question the design.  The current bike lane design puts bicyclists in the crosshairs of cars turning right, either for a rear collision or a “right hook.”  Chen also writes that many of the cars violating the lane are shooting past the bicycles on the right in an area marked for automobile parking.

In the near future, these bike lanes could connect not just to the Expo Station, but the Expo Bike Path. “Experimenting” with a separated bike lane, where the parked cars are to the left of the bike lane, could be a tool in the LADOT’s mid-term plan for the lanes when they connect some of the city’s best used bike path to a newly installed bike path.