Caution! Please Pass with Care!

3_18_10_eco_1.jpgSigns also available in Spanish.  Photo: LA Ecovillage

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.

  • TheDudeAbides

    People may disagree with DIY tactics and I wouldn’t advocate DIY militia trying to police the community, but this rhetoric about standards and legal mumbo jumbo is just a bit silly. This project is done in good faith and will do a lot of good. Sometimes we can’t let standards and practices get in the way of a good thing.

  • Harmon Winkler

    I’m curious about EXACTLY what Dan Gutierrez has done to pomote cycling rights in CA. By the way he talks against bike ways and sharrows and bike lanes here and on other websites, my guess is that he pushes his agenda which is to prevent as much bike infrastructure as possible from being implemented in favor of the vehicular cycling agenda which studies have shown time and again is far more deadly and discouraging than bike friendly facilities.

    In other words I would bet that if legislation were to come up that would require bike lanes to be included on all new streets and repavements he would oppose it and in his own mind consider that advocacy for cycling rights.

  • I’m curious about EXACTLY what Harmon Winkler thinks he is doing by making an off topic ad hominem attack on me that is unrelated to the issue of illegal signage, and misrepresenting my position on Sharrows, and bikeways in general.

    One note about bike lanes and rights: bike lanes are mandatory segregation in CA by virtue of CVC 21208, so every time one is striped cyclists lose their rights to act as drivers in normal travel lanes; this is a fact.

    Notice also that bike lanes are defined preferential use lanes (per the CAMUTCD), yet unlike other preferential use lanes, like HOV or Bus lanes, which are optional and provided as an additional benefit to those allowed to use them, bike lanes are forced upon cyclists, so it is perfectly natural to expect that bike lanes be treated in law as other preferential use lanes to preserve cyclists driver rights, and support optional bike lane use. In other words, we would prefer that bike lanes were treated the same as shoulders, which are optional use striped separation available to cyclists.

    Also note that advocacy for cyclist driver rights, by repealing discriminatory laws, thus making bikeways optional is not just “my position” it is the law in the UK, and is the official position of the CBC, CABO and the LAB.

    Regarding Sharrows, I do not oppose them, and have been supporting their adoption at the national and state levels, and use at the local level (I wonder where Harmon was when I recently testified at a Hermosa Beach planning commission hearing praising the city’s use of sharrows and supporting expanded use of said within the city), though I do not wish to see them placed in the door zone of parked cars, such as is done in SF, by placing them only 11 feet from the curb (13′ is a better minimum – see photos below). In a similar way, I am working to improve bike lane standards to route them outside the door zone, you can see diagrams that clearly show this in one of my FaceBook albums:

  • Harmon Winkler

    Dan, I’m sorry you are so sensitive as to take my comment as an attack. It’s not an attack. It’s a real question. What body do you operate under? Where can I see a timeline and report of what your activities are and what EXACTLY your group has done? You claim to be doing a lot of work on behalf of cyclist rights. Well, I’m a cyclist and I’m not happy with the way the streets are laid out and I want to know who EXACTLY is affecting the street lay out. If there is some group that you are a part of that is affecting law in this country I want to follow what you and your group are doing.

    Making bike lanes optional use is something I’m in agreement with in principal. But I want to know more about what you and your group are doing. As someone else on here said, if you’ve been working for 15 years on cyclist laws and rights, it sure hasn’t done much for my commute by bike. It not necessarily your fault, maybe your group is pushing back against an overwhelming opposition and all that could be accomplished is to maintain the status quo. That’s not enough and perhaps other groups can join your fight. But if there is no way to track what you or your group are doing then I’m going to be sceptical about your agenda. Is that so unreasonable? Do you have a website or blog for your group? I don’t use facebook.

  • Sam

    Wow, I can’t believe I got into this debate so late.

    In all of the posts, I did not see anything related to the following:

    In Santa Monica one of these posters has shown up on the side of a traffic signal controller cabinet on the northeast corner of the intersection of the I-10 westbound off-ramp and 4th Street. It faces traffic traveling westbound off I-10 and is one of the first messages a driver sees before entering the City. A City with a large number of cyclists, I may add.

    I do not consider this a traffic control device; it is just like any other graffiti (or art) that is plastered to the side of something. It is not mounted on a sign post; it is not an MUTCD sign. It does use images similar to those included in the MUTCD for bicycle-related street markings; in my opinion it is more art than traffic control.

    That being said, I applaud the art, because I do feel it raises awareness. I was particularly impressed that I noticed the poster a few days after a community meeting in Santa Monica where the topic of sharrows was widely discussed.

    In my opinion, art that raises public awareness is a much better, and safer, use of effort than the installation of non-approved traffic control devices by people without the proper authority.

  • Hank

    I love these posters. I see them everywhere I go by car or by bike. How do I get some? There’s an intersection in my neck of the woods Sunland/Tujunga that I would like to see posted. Very dangerous area by Foothill and the 210.

  • Anon

    ^ DIY stands for Do It Yourself. Make it happen.


  • AlexandraW

    I really want two of the bicycle patches that you made of those posters. I missed the ride that someone was handing them out. Where can I get two?


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