Every once in a while I let my guard down and think positive thoughts. Recently, the city of Rancho Palos Verdes committed to developing a bike master plan through its traffic safety committee. I was at the meeting where that decision was made and it was awesome. Kumbaya and etc. and such.
Then further letting down my guard, the city of Palos Verdes Estates was receptive at the committee level and at the city council level to installing some Bikes May Use the Fuggin’ Lane signs. The vote occurs on July 27, so it’s not a done deal, but the process has been positive and invigorating.
Finally, when I was on the verge of recriminating myself as a crusty, distrustful, skeptical old shit and admitting that cagers really aren’t a bad lot, they’re simply people like you and me who happen to choose to lock themselves into inflammable steel boxes rather than pedal freedom machines, I got this happy note:
On Monday one agenda item for the TSC [in Rancho Palos Verdes] to discuss is whether to ban cyclists from the top of Crest Road between Ganado Drive and the domes. The city has received a petition with 100+ signatures from local residents requesting that. I doubt very much that this will pass since it is a public road. The petition claims that the road is unsafe for cyclists and there have been numerous accidents. They also asked if Big Orange has obtained a permit that indemnifies the city from liability. Here is a link to the agenda:
You have to admit this is pretty awesome. We actually have one hundred people who live in an exclusive neighborhood at the top of a hill overlooking the sea who are so concerned about cyclist safety that they have gotten a petition together to ask the city to appropriate public roads for private use.
You may think, “Hasn’t that been tried before?” and you may wonder “What happens when a group of crazies tries to take public property?”
You may even be surprised that a gang of rich cagers are so consumed with the safety of bicyclists that they’re willing to close public roads to bikes to protect us from ourselves, even though we’re convinced that riding our bicycles instead of riding the couch makes us happier, healthier people and better citizens.
This is one where, unfortunately for cyclists, the cagers are right. The best people to decide how to use a road are the ones who live near it. Having cyclists storm up and down Crest at all hours of the day (by the hundreds, if not thousands), having bikers hither and thither, and most importantly, having pedal pushers getting hurt on a road that is simply too dangerous for them as evidenced by the one or two crashes per year are all excellent justifications for closing a road to a particular type of traffic.
The standard that the residents have enunciated is a good one and makes for sound policy. Let’s review:
- Close roads that endanger users.
- Require groups who insist on dangerous road use to indemnify cities/counties against lawsuits stemming from injuries that occur there.
I will be attending the Monday, July 25 traffic safety meeting to wholeheartedly support this, and hope you will, too. In addition to closing Crest between Ganado and the radar domes, I will be making the following additional proposals for consideration by the committee using principles 1 & 2 above.
- Close the 405, 110, and 91 freeways. These roads see thousands of collisions and hundreds of casualties. To date there have been zero bicycle fatalities on any of these roads, so banning them to cars and opening them to pedestrians and cyclists makes sense and will protect millions of vulnerable cagers.
- Require every group of more than two people who use a roadway to buy comprehensive indemnification insurance, with immediate application to FedEx, UPS, and every business with more than two vehicles. Also include every household with more than two vehicles.
- Close every road in Rancho Palos Verdes to the type of vehicle that has the larger number of collisions, beginning with Crest Rd. between Ganado and the radar domes.*
- Since closure/banning are more desirable than improving conditions to make the roads safer, such as paving dangerous cracks and potholes, putting up Bikes May Use the Fuggin’ Lane signage, education, and law enforcement, the city of RPV should apply the closure/banning principle in all of its deliberations:
- Close the Pacific Ocean.
- Close the airspace above RPV and preferably the state of California.
- Close the insane asylum from which the petition signers have obviously escaped.
*Oops! That will mean closing it to cars! Sorry!