When the Force Isn’t with You

Yesterday I detoured through Downtown on my way to South Pasadena. I took the Fourth Street Not-a-Greenway to K-Town, then switched to Seventh and its fine little Door-Zone Bike Lane till it vanished a block or so before Los Angeles Street. Los Angeles Street would take me to the Union Station, where I was hoping to retrieve som cash value trapped in an expired TAP card. (Turns out you have to do that by phone, for some reason.)

Los Angeles Street sees a fair bit of bike traffic, but its bike lanes reach only from Union Station at Alameda to First Street—and then, sad to say, they are often blocked by scofflaw drivers. If you’re heading eastward, though, they open up with great promise at First:

Yes, a buffered and even protected lane…for seventy-five feet. Then it devolves to a paint-buffered lane, which however does not stop the scofflaws from parking in it:

At which point you might think about flagging down one of the many cop cars scurrying about the neighborhood, where there are several LAPD facilities. Until you get a little closer and note that…the cops are the biggest offenders:

Not only are two cop cars blocking the bike lane just beyond the little white sedan, but…the posted sign says “No Stopping at Any Time.”

So I swerved out into the mixed traffic lane and rode on 1970s-style, wondering just what had changed since I first began battling city traffic on my bike forty years ago.

No wonder the cops are so rarely helpful when we’re injured by criminal driving: they just don’t give a damn about us, if they can’t even be bothered to inconvenience themselves to obey their own laws. Laws designed to protect and to serve people who ride bikes.

I wonder what the folks who promote the “broken windows” theory would make of this.….

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3 Comments

  1. Steve White
    Posted April 8, 2015 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    I have never (literally, not once, ever) ridden this stretch of bike lane and NOT seen a car (civilian or police cruiser) parked in the bike lane. It’s ridiculous, and it forces dangerous merges.

  2. Jort
    Posted April 8, 2015 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Does this “broken windows” theory involve having actual broken windows for cars that park in the bike lanes? Because I have heard that in some cities (for example, the city that founded the Broken Windows philosophy, New York), that is a major deterrent for parking in a dedicated bike lane.

  3. Jim Cooper
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    Back in the early 70’s I went for a ride to the store with a good friend of mine who just happened to be a CHP officer. When I criticized him for speeding and driving in a reckless manner, he told me: ” You can enforce the law, or you can obey the law — You can’t do both”. Isn’t it comforting that times haven’t changed all that much? Hope all you guys are doing well down there in Pigeon LAnd.

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  1. […] Pigeon says the force isn’t with you when the LAPD is leaving their patrol cars in what’s supposed to be a buffered bike lane, not […]