Opinion: Do drivers who complain about ‘road diets’ have a better solution to improve cyclists’ safety?

A cyclist uses a bike lane during his commute in Playa del Rey.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I’m a cyclist. Riding a bicycle is for many the most environmentally and financially responsible decision they can make. It also is a far healthier option than sitting behind a wheel for hours a week. More cyclists also mean fewer cars. (“L.A. reworks another ‘road diet,’ restoring car lanes in Playa del Rey,” Oct. 3)

I understand that bike lanes are frustrating to drivers, but my question is this: What is their solution? Because simply reversing “road diets” and restoring vehicle lanes on streets with bikes lanes isn’t a solution.

There is still a pressing issue of growing dangers for pedestrians and cyclists like myself. I’ve been hit before on Venice Boulevard, while following all laws, using hand signals and doing everything possible to be a responsible cyclist. I’m very lucky to be alive.

Since 2011, 77 cyclists have been killed in Los Angeles. I am curious why the lives of cyclists are worth less than the added time to the commutes of people who complain about road diets. I assume they are good people and would say the lives of cyclists are not worth less to them, so I ask again: What’s their solution?


Samantha Mintz, Los Angeles


To the editor: For some years now, planners have attempted to use road diets to shift commuters in Los Angeles from using cars to other means of transportation. The goal is admirable, but the result is an environmental disaster.

The goal is based on the theory that people can readily shift to other ways of commuting. That is just plain not true. Los Angeles is an enormous, spread-out city with a limited amount of viable public transportation options. Biking is realistic only for the fit and the very brave.

So, road diets create simply more traffic congestion, more idling engines and more pollution.

Erica Hahn, Monrovia


To the editor: I am a regular cyclist who appreciates taking bike lanes around my little town of Playa del Rey to Marina del Rey.

But as a motorist too, I can promise you these bike lanes have not made driving here worse. Traffic was bad five years ago, and this will not change with the projected population growth in Los Angeles. Removing bike lanes will not improve traffic anywhere; in fact, the lanes help reduce the problem, as more cyclists means fewer cars.

I am from a state where bike lanes were instituted years ago. There was a learning curve, but people have since grown accustomed to sharing the road. I firmly believe that if L.A. implements more safe streets and improves bike safety, more people will find out how fun and healthful it is to ride bikes.

Gretchen Nordham, Playa del Rey


To the editor: The on-again, off-again bike lane fiasco in Playa del Rey reminds me of California’s first attempt to create carpool lanes in 1976 by converting mixed-flow lanes on the Santa Monica Freeway to high-occupancy vehicle lanes.

That caused such an uproar that within a short period of time the carpool lanes were converted back to regular lanes. Now, when carpool lanes are added, they are the result of widening freeways to make room for new lanes, not trading regular lanes for carpool lanes.

The state obviously learned its lesson. The city of Los Angeles needs to do likewise.

John Allday, Newbury Park

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