Home California L.A. decides it’s cheaper to repair bike lanes than pay settlements

L.A. decides it’s cheaper to repair bike lanes than pay settlements

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Santa Monica Bike path
A bike path in West L.A. County

The City of Los Angeles has stepped up repairing bike lanes on streets and trails thanks to mounting settlement costs.

Oftentimes the only language your city council understands are the language of numbers on the city’s balance sheet. According to the L.A. Times on their report on the repair and reconstruction of the city’s most damaged bike lanes they dropped earlier today (Feb 7, 2018) only after the city spent millions of dollars on settlements to cyclist victims and their immediate families did they decide a motion to improve the roads cyclist travel on would be a good idea.

Settlements weren’t as high just ten years ago. According to a previous study by the LA Times, the city only paid one settlement of $16,500. Although one settlement is a settlement too many, around this time city workers tasked to monitor the roadworthiness of the most traveled city bike lanes and trails were preemptively repairing any roads that needed repair before they caused any serious harm.

Around 2012, those regular inspections stopped altogether. But now, thanks to new legislation that aims to improve the quality of cyclists rides around town, those inspections are happening again.

As of today, the city has fixed just 19 of the 200 trouble areas they’ve identified as needing repair. Estimates from the city say it’ll cost them $2.5 million annually including hiring staff for the sole purpose of what they’re calling the “bikeway repaving blitz.” In hindsight, a couple million a year will save the city millions in possible settlements, as wrong as that sounds.

This latest legislation does bring up some major concerns on how well the city of L.A. will be in 2028 when they host the Summer Olympics.

Cycling as transportation and recreation is seeing a boom thanks to increased concern for the environment, the plain ease of getting around town, and for the sport of it all. Cities that once boasted a proactive plan for cycling are finding out that in order to rest on their laurels, you’ve got to actively maintain the tenents that your original plans for cyclists were.

L.A. is known for being dependent on its cars but it must remember to listen to the voices of its large cycling community who share the road  with all that traffic.

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