Last week's confrontation between a bicyclist and a motorist raises the question: is Santa Monica safe for bicyclists?
In 2010, 134 bicycle accidents in Santa Monica were reported to the Santa Monica Police Department and 126 bicycle accident injuries were recorded. According to a recent survey by the city, 27% of Santa Monica residents feel unsafe when riding a bicycle.
In order to make Santa Monica safer for bicyclists, and integrate bicycle riding into the fabric of everyday life in Santa Monica, the city has come up with a Bicycle Action Plan (BAP), which is a few months away from seeking final approval by the Santa Monica City Council. With the BAP, Santa Monica hopes to reinvent itself as a premiere biking destination in Southern California.
What is the Bicycle Action Plan?
The Bicycle Action Plan has a 5-year and a 20-year vision. It outlines a wide variety of bike programs, infrastructure and community events meant to promote biking and bike safety. Over the past year, city officials, independent consultants and members of the community have come up with the draft plan.
According to Santa Monica City Counsel Member Bobby Shriver, safety education should be emphasized in the BAP. Bicyclists should keep in mind that even if they have the protection of the law, a bike will always lose an encounter with a car, said Shriver.
The BAP emphasizes making car drivers more aware of bicyclists, and encouraging them to actively look for bicyclists. It calls for more signage to let people entering Santa Monica know that this is a bike city.
You may have seen the ads already posted on the back of Santa Monica Big Blue Buses. The ads are intended to promote bicycle safety and driver awareness of bicyclists. One such ad: "Bikes may use the full lane. Shared lane markings or sharrows are coming to Santa Monica."
The Bike Action Plan still has to receive final approval by the Santa Monica City Council.
At McGee, Lerer and Associates, our Santa Monica lawyers are experienced in handling bicycle accident claims. If you've been invovled in a bicycle crash in Santa Monica, speak to an attorney at our firm to learn about your rights.