When It Comes to Safety on Bike Trails, Cyclists Are “Not on the Map”

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Last week, when Streetsblog reported on a cyclist being attacked on the Ballona Creek Bike Trail, one commenter noted that the attack wasn’t being shown on the LAPD’s online Crime Maps.  Yesterday, a commenter wrote that the attack still didn’t appear.  Well, it turns out that when it comes to crimes on a bike path, cyclists danger is "off the map."

Back in July, the LAPD testified in front of the LA City Council Transportation Committee, about the  proposed closure of one entrance to the bike path.  One exchange between the LADOT and LAPD revealed that because the Crime Map uses addresses to map where crimes crimes are committed; attacks on bike paths such as the Ballona Creek Trail aren’t as easy to track as those that happen off of it.  Streetsblog wrote:

In response, the LAPD’s representatives admitted that crime in the area
has gone down 46% in the first two months of 2008 compared to the same
time period in 2007.  Statistics for crime for the bike trail weren’t
available because the LAPD Crime Maps
system has trouble keeping records for crimes without a street
address.  Three years ago LADOT tried to get a list of crimes on the
bike path, but LAPD could only provide statistics "for the area."

Apparently this isn’t a new problem.  Longtime Ballona Creek activist Bobbi Gold, replying to the email that was the basis for last week’s post opined:

In 1990, I started working (as a volunteer) on the problems
of crime on the Ballona Creek bikepath, as there was an upswing of attacks at
that time. One of the problems of dealing with these attacks is that whenever
someone called LAPD about an incident on the bikepath, the person taking a
report wanted to know the street address (not merely the nearest cross
streets). I was told that this was because Ballona Creek was not on LAPDs map.
Supposedly the problem got corrected at that time, but from xxx’s reports
below and originally, the same problems apparently exist today in that LAPD
wants to know street names and numbers.

This state of affairs is especially frustrating for the victim of last week’s attach.  In an email to Streetsblog, he writes,

The omission is especially galling in that the LAPD, though
sympathetic and helpful, seems resigned to crime along the BC path and expects
cyclists to “be aware” and apparently stop using the path
altogether, all the while depriving the cycling public of the information that
would make them aware.

Cyclists and other trail users are discussing ideas on how best to improve the trail to make it more safe for everyone.  Feel free to leave any of your suggestions in the comments section.

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