Caution! Please Pass with Care!
When I first heard of the signs that popped up all over Los Angeles two nights ago urging drivers to pass cyclists with care, my first thoughts were that L.A.’s D.I.Y. culture has reached a tipping point. Not only have advocates learned that the LADOT and other city departments are unwilling to sacrifice car capacity to cyclist or pedestrian safety, but now they’ve learned that because of the city’s fiscal woes, the city is unable to do anything about other people taking matters into their own hands.
In 2008, a group of cycling activists painted bike lanes across Fletcher Bridge to the cheers of cyclists and the frowns of LADOT. The lane was removed within days. Last fall, the (presumably) another group of cyclists painted a series of Sharrows in Northeast Los Angeles. LADOT vowed they would be off the street sometime last month, three months after they first appeared. Yet, those Sharrows still remain.
Now we see cyclists, perhaps exhausted by LADOT’s constant stalling on creating a Sharrows program despite both funding and the support of the local neighborhood council being in place for over a year; putting up their own "Sharrow Signs." Signs have been spotted on Santa Monica Boulevard, Park Avenue and the "4th Street Bike Boulevard."
As you might expect, the reaction from cyclists has been overwhelmingly supportive. I first heard of the signage @Area 45 on twitter who beamed that the signs were the work of Good Samaritans. Also at twitter, Ross Hirsch tweeted at the Mayor, "I think these simple signs really appeal to drivers AND cyclists–do you?" Meanwhile, the Eco-Village blog posited that the work was effort of "Wheelpersons Heartily Endorsing Active Transportation Paradigms And Signalized Traffic Equity" (W.H.E.A.T. P.A.S.T.E). However, you know that author Joe Linton is joking because he quotes a consultant for the city’s pedestrian advisory committee. Like the city bothers to pay consultants for that body!
If you’ve seen more of these signs, please let us know in the comments section. Also, even though I’m pretending I don’t know who is putting up these signs, I can tell you he/she/they read Streetsblog so leave your comments for them below too.