Transportation headlines, Monday, June 20

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the library’s blog.

Livability puts walking expert in demand (Associated Press)

Yes, cities need to hire an expert in walking — his name is Dan Burden — to see how badly their streets treat those not in cars. Excerpt:

Dressed in a khaki vest and armed with a binocular, camera, stopwatch, speed radar gun and measuring tape, Burden appears more like a man on a safari than a folk hero as he flies from city to city and leads mobile workshops pointing out poorly planned streets, intersections and sidewalks and suggesting improvements.

For the past century, city streets have been designed to ease automobile traffic flow. But in recent years, sustainability and livability have become buzz words as policymakers seek ways to reduce congestion and pollution and improve the health of residents. They have become increasingly aware that getting more people on the street boosts public safety, raises property value and brings in more businesses.

Great story. Give it a read.

L.A. Metro parking and rail ridership (Straight Outta Suburbia)

Using Metro’s new interactive map, the post concludes there doesn’t seem to be a correlation between a lot of parking and ridership on Metro Rail lines and the Orange Line — the lines with the least amount of parking have the highest ridership

The writer’s conclusion: “I suppose it just goes to show you that parking isn’t a magic bullet for achieving high transit ridership in LA. Many other factors can affect ridership, from density, to demographics, to prices, to the quality and reliability of the ride itself.”

U.S. bike system showing no sign of growing pains (Welcome to the Fast Lane)

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood touts something I had no idea existed: a national system of bike routes to connect cities and metro areas. Six new routes were approved last year — the first okayed in 30-plus years — with four of those in Alaska and the other two in eastern states. That brings the grand total of routes to eight, with none in the West. Hmm.

3 replies

  1. Adding more bike lanes is a good idea, but there has to be more clarity on what kind of “bikes” are acceptable on said lanes.

    Again, you have multiple agencies that don’t talk with each other in terms of clarity.

    What exactly constitutes a “bicycle?” Does that include electric bicycles that go faster than a person a pedaling? How about motorized gas bicycles, gas/electric hybrid bicycles or a moped under 50 ccs (which one needs a M2 drivers license to ride)? A scooter over 50 cc but less than 150 cc which cannot handle freeway speeds? What exactly is a “motorized scooter” anyway? Is it a kickboard type scooter that has an engine attached to it, or is it a “scooter-scooter” that one sits on it? What about Segways?

    I get different answers from different agencies when I ride my 49 cc scooter. Can I use my 49 cc Vespa on bike lanes, can I park my Vespa at bicycle stalls?

    One agency says yes because it counts as a “motorized scooter,” other says no because it’s technically a “motorcycle,” cops say “I’m pretty sure it’s ok because it’s under 50 ccs,” whereas bicycle riders say “you’d better not bring it in here!”

    With high gas prices, transit in LA is starting to change from an automobile centric society to one that shares the road with cars, bicycles, motorcycles and scooters. Especially the last two: in the past few years, motorcycle safety course has seen huge increases in enrollments that these courses fill up quickly.

    Ever noticed a huge increase in motorcycle and scooter riders in LA nowadays? It’s true, the motorcycle and scooters allow people to retain the freedom to travel when they want without being beholden to our transit system, yet MPGs on even the biggest of the Harleys can outperform the MPGs of many of the most gas efficient cars out there. But at the same time, we also have more people also riding motorized bikes, mopeds, scooters, and everything in between.

    More clarity or signs saying what kinds of “bicycles” are accepted and what’s not accepted should be posted.

  2. “Y Fukuzawa”

    You ask, “what exactly constitutes a “bicycle,” and “a motorized scooter” anyway?”

    Under California Vehicle Code section 231, state law defines a bicycle as “a device upon which any person may ride, propelled exclusively by human power through a belt, chain, or gears, and having one or more wheels.” Conversely, under California Vehicle Code section 407.5, the law defines a motorized scooter as “any two-wheeled device that has handlebars, has a floorboard that is designed to be stood upon when riding, and is powered by an electric motor. [The] device may also have a driver seat that does not interfere with the ability of the rider to stand and ride and may also be designed to be powered by human propulsion…an electric personal assistive mobility device, as defined in Section 313, a motorcycle, as defined in Section 400, a motor-driven cycle, as defined in Section 405, or a motorized bicycle or moped, as defined in Section 406, is not a motorized scooter.” Further, “a device meeting the definition in [above] that is powered by a source other than electrical power is also a motorized scooter.”

    Now moving on the the bike path issue, under section 231.5 of the Vehicle Code, a bicycle path or bike path is defined as “a Class I bikeway, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code.” Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code says that a bike path provides a
    completely separated right-of-way designated for the exclusive use of
    bicycles and pedestrians with crossflows by motorists minimized.”

    So, please do not ride your 49cc scooter on the bicycle path; it is against the law and unsafe. Cyclists will greatly appreciate it. Thanks!

    J

  3. Thanks for the clarification, but then why the different answers from multiple agencies then?

    The law is so ambiguous that it’s confusing for everyone. Even cops are not aware of it. Last time I was riding my bicycle (not my 49 cc Vespa) through a bike lane, one person scoots by on his scooter in plain sight of a cop on a bicycle. When asked if that was allowed, he said “yeah.” Then I try to confirm this and the answer is a “maybe.” Huh?

    Why not just post a visual sign that says “no motorcycles/scooters” on bicycle lanes than leaving it ambigous?

    Something like this shown on a photo (2nd post) would make it much more clearer than a post just saying “bicycle lane”:

    http://okwave.jp/qa/q6785824.html
    (no motorcycles allowed, except those under 125 ccs, enforced from 0-5 AM)