Bike Path: Rolling Controversy: Wheels vs. Walkers in Venice

Re "On the War Path" (May 19, Westside): We pedestrians who continually dodge speeding bicyclists on the "Pedestrians Only" path--from Temescal Canyon to the Bel Air Bay Club--would be more inclined to sympathize with the bikers' safety problems if they themselves were considerate enough to keep off our "Peds Only" segment.

There are more than enough signs, on poles and on the pavement, to inform even the illiterate that no bicycles are allowed. The path is narrow, and used by walkers from toddlers to very elderly people. Yet the bikers whiz by, brushing against us, completely oblivious and utterly selfish.

If it hasn't happened already, someday someone will be seriously injured or killed while walking this stretch. Supervisor Dana and Councilman Braude, when will this law be enforced?

JERRY COWLE, Pacific Palisades

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One reason I rarely ride on the bike path is the danger of collision with slower traffic (pedestrians, skaters, etc.) Few people follow the most basic rules of the road: Respect those around you, keep to the right, be aware of your surroundings, pass only when safe, etc. Perhaps you should publish a few simple guidelines such as these to make people aware of bike-path etiquette.

There is another easy solution to the pedestrian/in-line skater problem on the bike path: Ticket them! Cyclists are given moving violations when they violate street motor vehicle laws, so why not create and enforce bike path rules? What an easy way to generate revenue for the city and county! I hereby volunteer for duty!

NANCY ANNE NIEMAN, Playa del Rey

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Last Sunday morning, heading south on the bike path as my blading partner and I rolled north, was a club of wheelchair athletes. We were all enjoying the early-morning mist, the relatively uncrowded lanes, the shores of the Pacific Ocean right beside us. Your Westside cover article of May 19 left me feeling that I don't belong there. That the wheelchairs don't either. According to the law. That I/we are somehow responsible for the increase in accidents--"although officials do not keep precise numbers on accidents."

Has anyone noticed how faded the "Bikes Only" markings are on the path? Times have changed. Perhaps it is time to change the wording too--to WHEELS ONLY. For the father who jogs pushing his child in a stroller, for those in recumbent bicycles, for roller bladers and roller skaters. For all of us who come to the beach to see the ocean and smell the air, to roll in relative safety.

No one would dispute the increase in volume of use on the path. At certain hours congestion can lead to risky maneuvers to avoid a collision. Some rollers are more responsible than others. I sound like a driver describing an L.A. freeway in the morning! A driver waiting for the third car to drive through a red light! Do the police issue citations for that?

Why not channel energy (and) funds into this great resource for residents and visitors alike. The remark about requiring tourists to take blading lessons was amusing. How many of us started cycling that way?

Why not build wider paths, parallel paths, paths for everyone, walkers and rollers--in the spirit of Marvin Braude--instead of lapsing into tiresome claims of ownership? There's a lot of sand out there; one more strip of pavement will only improve this paradise.

BRENDA R. HANNING, Venice

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Thank you for calling attention to the dangerous situation that exists on the Venice portion of the county bike path. While congestion of multiple types of users is a problem all along the path, it is pronounced in Venice due to the large number of competing users. In addition, hairpin turns that were originally engineered into the path to slow down bike traffic are instead the cause of numerous accidents.

In September of last year the Venice Boardwalk Assn., along with other civic organizations in Venice, proposed the construction of a new jog/walk/skate lane parallel to the existing bike path to separate bike riders from joggers, skaters and pedestrians and to create more capacity. We then proposed in January that $690,000 of the $30 million in county Proposition A bond funds earmarked for beach improvements be used for the new path and to straighten the existing path.

We are hopeful that the county will support this solution to the problem that reporter Adrian Maher so clearly outlined in his recent article.

MARK RYAVEC, Executive Director, Venice Boardwalk Assn .

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