Eyes on the Street: Guess Who’s Blocking the Bike Lane?

Next to nothing.

Our friend Colin Bogart sent along this note to us and representatives of Film L.A. about his bike commute to work yesterday.

Attached are photos from a film location I passed this morning at Sunset Blvd. and N. Reno Street. The bike lane is blocked on both sides of Sunset, with none of the minimum required warning signage. This is especially hazardous on the westbound side of Sunset which bends to the right. A bicyclist riding outside the bike lane could easily be hit from behind by a motorist who has not been warned by signage that bicyclists will be in the right lane.

I would like to know what you are going to do about this location this morning? It’s a serious hazard right now!

I would also like to know what you are doing to ensure production companies are meeting the minimum requirements for signage whenever they block a bike lane? I seem to notice at least one film shoot per month along Sunset in which the production company fails to meet the minimum required traffic controls. This is a recurring problem that needs to be addressed.

A representative from Film L.A. assured Bogart he called the production company and the LAPD. There was no commitment to better inform crews of their reesponsibilities to provide for signage and other safety needs when blocking bike lanes or other parts of the street.

Given how cavalierly film crews block bicycle lanes without following the rules, placing cyclists and other road users in danger, maybe we got the messaging wrong on the Spring Street Controversy. Given the local Film and Television Industry’s allergic reaction to Green Paint, remember this isn’t an issue anywhere else, maybe cyclists should be demanding green lanes to protect us from the Film and Television Industry.

More pictures after the jump.

  • Anonymous

    Bash out the driver’s side window with your u-lock as you go past.

  • Anonymous

    west bound had a “bicycle lane closed” sign when I passed at 8:05am (second photo, in front of “Shoe Repair” sign). I did notice that it was a CRAZY AMOUNT of film trucks, on both sides of the road. Not sure if the east bound had a sign by that time too.

    This was while riding with my Bike Train down Sunset Blvd. -> Hollywood. labiketrains.com

  • Comments of this sort are needlessly antagonistic and *not* helpful.

  • Anonymous

    No, parking a truck in the bike lane is needlessly antagonistic and threatening to life and limb.

  • HP cyclist

    What if it was a street repair crew blocking the lane? Or a public safety vehicle? Should their windows be bashed out as well?

    In the world as it actually exists, the lanes will occasionally be blocked; proper signage and warnings to motorists will mitigate the risks to bicyclists in these situations. Do you really think breaking windows will make the public and government more inclined to do this?

  • Patrick Pascal

    This has been going on for several days now

  • Joe

    If you think motorists are gonna take note of “additional signage” IF/WHEN it is even put up, you are fooling yourself. Perhaps bashing a window is not the answer, but maybe mobbing these sites with bike crews is. We can’t keep meekly begging for people to benevolently offer us the courtesy of not blocking our bike lanes, and willful endangering of riders needs to be addressed aggressively. Critical Mass exists for a reason, and considering their rides are regularly buffeted by a phalanx of cops now, perhaps we need to repurpose the LA version.

  • The current LAPD policy toward Critical Mass is much better than the previous one, which was 100% reactive rather than proactive and left too much up to the discretion of individual officers. The more organized nature of Critical Mass and the clear protocols that LAPD now follows are what is keeping more incidents like this from happening: http://laist.com/2010/05/29/caught_on_tape_police_harass_bike_r.php

    Mobbing film crews is not going to intimidate the crews into not blocking bike lanes; it’s going end with a freaked-out film crew calling LAPD to come in and bust some heads, and articles in the LA Times about a mob of unruly cyclists threatening people who are trying to do their jobs.

  • burntorange

    “Unruly” cyclists should not shock anyone when so many unruly drivers make it unsafe to even step outside our front doors in LA. Why not let pedestrians in on the action too? I think its equally fair to expect pedestrians to kick, punch, deflate tires, or hurl projectiles at cars being driven dangerously.

    This unacceptable status quo that we now accept as “normal” needs is morally unacceptable, and there is no excuse for allowing it to persist unchallenged. Sometimes doing what right means not doing what’s legal. Before things can really get better, we need more “unruly” elements in our society, not less.

  • Colin Bogart

    Thanks for the post. I rode past the location on my way home last night. They had orange “Bike Lane Closed” signs on both sides of the street in advance of both locations. The light was low and I didn’t have time to take more photos (sorry). The signs were an improvement, but still not great. I’m not totally satisfied that they can block the bike lane, just like the parking lane.

  • I too am frustrated and angered by the dangerous antics of careless drivers, but we’re talking about illegally parked trucks here — not reckless operation of a moving vehicle. Whatever the case, responding with violence or vandalism will only serve to provoke a backlash and ensure that the problem continues to not be taken seriously at City Hall.

  • Joe

    Niall, Critical Mass morphed from “random night ride” into “protest movement” in the last 10 years, that is probably more likely the reason for the LAPD provocations you are talking about. Sadly, the ride seems to have tapered down since those days, and now is a nice little ride through the streets with LAPD protection, as you call it. More like a moving free speech zone. They learned they couldn’t just stick batons between our spokes to make us go away, so now they contain us. Sounds like a familiar practice, one that you are contributing to by naysaying free speech and protest of what basically are recklessly operated vehicles, whether they are moving or not.

  • Niall Huffman

    I’m not naysaying free speech and protest; I’m naysaying vigilantism.on the part of bike advocates and poorly coordinated reactive police responses to group rides.

  • Nathanael

    The “public safety vehicles” are the worst offenders. Really they ought to know better. They should be arrested and thrown in prison for blocking bike lanes. But it turns out to be very hard to get scofflaw cops arrested, particularly in LA.

    Street repair crews have an actual *reason* to block the street. Bu

  • Erik Knutzen

    What’s a few lives when Hollywood makes such great movies and ads for us all to enjoy. Robots! 3D snails! Reanimated cops!

  • tongku04

    tinyurl.com/l3cselt

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