Temescal Canyon Rd. in Pacific Palisades gently winds uphill between Pacific Coast Highway and Sunset Blvd. Though Temescal's eastbound and westbound lanes have bike lanes, bicyclists are still at the mercy of inattentive drivers who often speed on the roadway and can drift into the bike lanes on Temescal's many curves.
In December, 29-year-old James Rapley, a tourist from Australia who was an experienced rider, was biking up Temescal, heading eastbound, when he was struck by a car. The motorist, 19-year-old Mohammed Kadri of Santa Monica, was driving a 1980 Mercedes.
The accident happened about 9:15 a.m. Sunday December 22nd, about a quarter mile up from PCH. Motorist Kadri was eastbound on Temescal, approaching the bicyclist from behind, when the motorist veered right into the bike lane, striking the rider. The bicyclist, who never regained consciousness, was not wearing a helmet. It's unknown whether a helmet could have prevented his death. The motorist was arrested for drunk driving.
There is much debate about the safety provided by bike lanes, especially on roadways where drivers travel at high speeds. Many suggest a safer alternative would be separated bike lanes, separated by either a curb barrier or a planted barrier. Others suggest that bike lanes should be bordered by Botts' dots (raised pavement markers) that would alert inattentive drivers that they are driving over them.
Passing-from-behind bicycle accidents are one of the top causes of bicycle accidents and one of the most common causes of
bicycle accidents we see at our law firm. We encourage all bicyclists to do everything they can to protect themselves from negligent drivers. We recommend that bicyclists always wear a helmet and a florescent, reflective safety vest. Bicyclists riding at night should always use safety strobe lights.