Councilman tells competitive cyclists to steer clear of the L.A. River Path

BIke vs pedestrian Crash took place on L.A. River path near Riverdale Avenue

ELYSIAN VALLEY –– The recent bike vs. pedestrian crash that left an elderly woman badly injured on the L.A. River Path has officials reminding the public that the narrow path must be shared by cyclists and pedestrians.   But one type of cyclist, says Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, is not welcome on the path: competitive cyclists.  In a letter released this week, O’Farrell, who represents Elysian Valley, said:

“If you are a competitive cyclist in training, the Elysian Valley shared path is not for you. Cyclists traveling at high rates of speed make the pathway dangerous for all users. Instead, I suggest other options such as the Rose Bowl training ride, various criterium training loops, or the Encino or Carson Velodromes.”

The combination of speeding cyclists and slow-moving pedestrians has been a point of contention on the path for several years.

As the city works to develop new methods to improve safety and law enforcement, O’Farrell’s office released a summary of the state and city laws that guide the use of the path:

From the California Vehicle Code:

  • Pedestrians are allowed on the path since there is no suitable available alternative

CVC 21966. No pedestrian shall proceed along a bicycle path or lane where there is an adjacent adequate pedestrian facility.

  • It is illegal to loiter, sit, stand or block a bike path except for public maintenance or utility vehicles.

CVC 21211. (a) No person may stop, stand, sit, or loiter upon any class I bikeway, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, or any other public or private bicycle path or trail, if the stopping, standing, sitting, or loitering impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist.

(b) No person may place or park any bicycle, vehicle, or any other object upon any bikeway or bicycle path or trail, as specified in subdivision (a), which impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist unless the placement or parking is necessary for safe operation or is otherwise in compliance with the law. (c) This section does not apply to drivers or owners of utility or public utility vehicles, as provided in Section 22512.

  • No motorized bicycles are allowed on the path unless allowed by Code

CVS 21207 .5. Notwithstanding Sections 21207 and 23127 of this code, or any other provision of law, no motorized bicycle may be operated on a bicycle path or trail, bikeway, bicycle lane established pursuant to Section 21207, equestrian trail, or hiking or recreational trail, unless it is within or adjacent to a roadway or unless the local authority or the governing body of a public agency having jurisdiction over such path or trail permits, by ordinance, such operation.

  • No cars, motorcycles, mopeds or other motorized vehicles are allowed on the path except for maintenance or emergency vehicles

CVC 23127. No person shall operate an unauthorized motor vehicle on any state, county, city, private, or district hiking or horseback riding trail or bicycle path that is clearly marked by an authorized agent or owner with signs at all entrances and exits and at intervals of not more than one mile indicating no unauthorized motor vehicles are permitted on the hiking or horseback riding trail or bicycle path, except bicycle paths which are contiguous or adjacent to a roadway dedicated solely to motor vehicle use.

From the California Streets and Highways Code:

  • Bicycle Paths are designed for the use of people on bicycles AND on foot

S&H Code 890.4. As used in this article, “bikeway” means all facilities that provide primarily for, and promote, bicycle travel. For purposes of this article, bikeways shall be categorized as follows:

(a) Bike paths or shared use paths, also referred to as “Class I bikeways,” which provide a completely separated right-of-way designated for the exclusive use of bicycles and pedestrians with crossflows by motorists minimized.

  • Caltrans sets the standards for bicycle path signage and  markers 

S&H Code 890.9. The department shall establish uniform specifications and symbols for signs, markers, and traffic control devices to designate bikeways, regulate traffic, improve safety and convenience for bicyclists, and alert pedestrians and motorists of the presence of bicyclists on bikeways and on roadways where bicycle travel is permitted.

From the Los Angeles Municipal Code:

  • Users of bicycle paths, or bikeways, are not allowed to use bicycles, skates, etc., in a way that endangers other users of the path

LAMC 56.16 – 1. No person shall ride, operate or use a bicycle, unicycle, skateboard, cart, wagon, wheelchair, rollers skates, or any other device moved exclusively by human power, on a sidewalk, bikeway or boardwalk in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

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  1. It’s presently a moot point as the Army Corp of Engineers has again closed much of the path to all until next spring.

    • Actually, they are contractors hired by the Army Corp of Engineers

    • According to LADOT the path is closed from 7am-4pm M-F. Evenings and weekends are wide open. That said, the spraypainted “Bike Path Closed” signs don’t look very official and seem to be largely ignored on my street. I think the city could have done a better job signaling what’s going on (and the schedule/hours) with the signs and the chains.

  2. We should put the LA River bike path on a road diet.

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