There is no question that Los Angeles streets are dangerous for bicyclists. However, there are some roadways that pose more of a risk than others. According to a KPCC news report, researchers at MIT’s Media Lab are helping determine if some roadways are riskier for bicyclists than others through a new city mapping project called “You are Here.” Launched earlier this month, the project will release one map per day for the next year with the ultimate goal of having 100 different maps for different cities. The maps used 2012 crash data. The team of researchers chose to tackle bicycle accident data first because of the demographic trends occurring in cities throughout the United States as more people choose to live in the city as opposed to the suburbs.
Los Angeles Bicycle Accidents
The data shows that Olympic Boulevard has the most bicycle accidents in Los Angeles at 72 accidents followed by Venice Boulevard, with 63, and Sunset Boulevard, with 55. Why do these streets have a higher number of accidents? Bike advocates say that Olympic Boulevard, which leads city streets in bike accidents, was not included in the city’s Bike Master Plan. It is not clear if the city will make changes to that plan based on MIT’s map.
Safe Bike Riding in Los Angeles
The map also provides bicyclists with an idea about which streets are safer for them. The map is evidence of the facts that sometimes, the best route is not necessarily on the major streets or thoroughfares, but one or two blocks over. The city is apparently about to start working on a network of neighborhood streets that connect with each other to create citywide bike routes that are on the side streets that are really safe for families and even children to ride. In addition, Los Angeles is also implementing a comprehensive signage effort for bike routes. These signs are expected to go on the streets a few months from now.
It is also important for bicyclists and motorists to operate with the knowledge and understanding that we all share the roadways. California recently passed a law preventing motorists from getting too close to bicyclists while passing. A number of cities are also increasing the number of bike lanes and shared lanes, also known as “sharrows.” We hope this map is one of the many tools Southern California cities will use to make our streets safer for bicyclists.