Metro’s response to lifting rush hour bike restriction: “we’re working on it”

An example of the new bike signage installed on Metro rail cars.

During “Bike Week L.A.” in May, Metro announced that it planned to remove peak hour restrictions for bikes on its rail lines. Metro’s news release reported “This summer Metro plans on lifting these restrictions on bike travel on Metro Rail once directional signs are installed to steer bikes to certain areas of the train cars where they can be safely accommodated.”

The current rule prohibits bikes on Metro trains during specific morning and afternoon rush hour periods, but only in certain directions. View the current Bike Rules here.

With the golden days of summer fast reaching an end, the agency’s status report on removing the restriction is, “We’re working on it.”

Metro Operations says it has identified key components related to the removal of the bikes on trains policy restriction. First and foremost, the agency wanted to ensure there is proper signage for cyclists on all trains before any rules are lifted. That is mainly to ensure the safety of all train riders by directing cyclists to their own area of the train instead of blocking aisles and doorways with their bikes.

Metro completed the installation of signage on all Metro Rail Lines in June.

As any cyclist can attest, enforcement of the “No Bikes During Rush Hour” rule has been extremely lax to date, but the agency regularly receives customer complaints about cyclists whose bikes impede their progress in and out of trains. Of course, and in fairness, it should be noted that people’s luggage and strollers also block aisles at times and everyone’s help is needed in keeping the aisles and doorways free.

Interior signage on a train.

Engaging the Bicycle Community

Cycling advocates may remember the agency’s attempts last year to modify its bikes-on-trains policy to address this problem, an effort that received a less than favorable response from cyclists and a call for greater bicycle community input on Metro bike policies.

Message received this time. Metro Operations is now actively seeking bicycle community input directly through the newly created Metro Bicycle Roundtable series, a forum for working closely with community stakeholders on bicycle-related issues. Two Operations subcommittee meetings have been held to specifically address how cyclists interact with the Metro Bus and Rail system.

The most recent meeting was July 28. Members of the cycling community provided input to Metro Operations at these meetings that are germane to Metro’s Bikes on Rail policy. Among the issues tackled were the need for:

1) Wayfinding signage between the station entrance and boarding platform at key stations.

2) Queuing locations for bicyclists on the platform marked by visible signage.

3) General bike rules/code of conduct on how to ride Metro services.

4) General layout of seats on light rail vehicles.

An additional topic that still needs to be discussed is the number of bikes allowed per rail vehicle. The guiding principle, as provided by the Fire Department, will be maintaining clear passage and ingress/egress for all passengers within the train.

Metro Operations will be reporting back on these issues for review at the next Operations Subcommittee in September. From this meeting, timelines will be developed to determine the best course forward to achieving the goal of removing the bikes-on-rail peak hour restriction.

Code of Conduct

On an apparently ill-timed but related action, Metro’s new Board-approved Transit Court Code of Conduct now lists boarding a train with a bicycle during peak hours as a citeable offense. Metro’s Executive Office, however, assured The Source that the Code of Conduct does not go into effect until next year — July 1, 2011 — and that any needed changes can be made to ensure conformity with a revised bike policy before the Code goes into effect.

So, as of today, the bikes on rail peak hour restriction still stands as the agency works out the support necessary to ensure that the policy once changed will be successful. The agency wants to get this right. Stay tuned and ride on.

Categories: Bicycle

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