World’s stupidyest McDumdum bike lane ever

June 26, 2016 § 52 Comments

Bike lanes are stupidy McDumdum. Sorry, but they are. Here’s why:

  1. They make you harder to see by shoving you over to the side of the road.
  2. They get cagers closer to you than they would be if you used the full lane.

That being said, I understand that bike lanes are a necessary part of life. They not only make incompetent bicycle people feel safe, kind of like science incompetent people think that chewing tobacco is safer than smoking it, but they also provide a reason to spend tax dollars.

Anything that comforts the stupid while simultaneously taxing them is always going to win. Think “Brexit.”

So every time I see a bike lane I accept it. It makes no sense to rage against the machine more than, say, 23 hours and 59 minutes a day, which is my self-imposed limit. However, each time I hop on my bicycle to pedal over to the NPR Sausage Fest and Profamateur Crashmonkey Course, I have to ride in the vicinity of the world’s stupidyest McDumdum bike lane ever invented.

It is mercifully short, but it packs a lot of stupid into its one mile or so of puke green asphalt. Like all bike lanes, it separates bicycles from cars, except of course like all bike lanes, it doesn’t. This bike lane has 38.98 separate driveways that open out onto it, so even though there is a concrete barrier between you and the cars going alongside, every drunk idiot (but I repeat myself) in Redondo Beach (triple redundancy) and every heffalump staggering out of the Cheesecake Factory parking lot has to drive directly across the bike lane thingy.

People get hit as a result, which is okay because:

  1. They are bicycle people.
  2. They are not smearing the actual traffic lanes with their blood and full carbon.

Having a bike lane that requires lots of bicycle people to get hit by cagers is fine; after all, that’s what bike lanes do (and please don’t send me the CalTrans engineering specs telling me that it’s not a bike lane, it’s a bike path, or a cycle track, or a heffalump breeding ground, IDGAF). So this bike lane is average in that regard.

What takes it to its own level of stupidyessnesstiondingerage are the stained, yellow Bicycle People Whackers which are installed every hundred feet or so in the middle of the bike lane. What is a Bicycle People Whacker, you ask? It is a giant yellow plastic pillar that sticks up about eight feet in the air and requires a certain percentage of drunks, children, angry parents, distracted profamateurs, and of course triathletes to whack into it.

You can tell that’s what they are for because each and every BPW is covered from tip to toe with black scuff marks, chain grease, dried blood, and Bernie Sanders bumper stickers. Imagine putting up a few hundred thousand Cager Whackers along the 405 to “slow things down” and “warn the cagers.”

If you are terribly bored and not terribly sober some sunny Saturday afternoon, go down to the bike path and watch the bicycle people run into the BPW’s. Many will fall, none will complain, and all will chalk it up to their own clumsiness.

To make the McDumdum quotient of this piece of bike “infrastructure” even higher, though, the fabulous bicycle-people-hating administrators of Hermosa Beach recently imposed a bike path speed limit of 8 mph. Have you ever gone 8 mph on a bicycle? If so, please leave this blog immediately and don’t come back until you’ve bombed the Switchbacks at 52.

Rather than take out the BPW’s, a city-installed safety hazard that daily knocks people off their bikes, the city set a “safe” bike speed limit that makes virtually everyone a violator. If you can’t make something safer, make everyone a criminal. At least it will increase your tax revenue. What’s even more awesome is that the law is illegal and unenforceable as explained by someone a lot smarter than I am:

Recently, 8 mph speed limit signs were installed on the Class I bike path adjacent to Harbor Blvd. in Redondo Beach.  I question whether that posted  limit is legal. California has three speed laws, basic, statutory, and altered. Under the Basic Speed Law, you may never drive (ride) faster than is safe for current conditions, such as heavy fog, ice on the road, etc.

Prima facie statutory limits (CVC Section 22352) apply when no other limit is posted: 15 mph at uncontrolled intersections and alleyways, and 25 mph applicable to business and residential areas without other posted speed limits, school zones, etc.

Altered speed limits are based on engineering and traffic studies. In the absence of a current E&TS, and current means “within seven years,” altered speed zones are not enforceable. This applies to enforcement using radar or lidar. If you are clocked by pacing, the speed limit may be enforceable, although it’s unlikely the police will use a cop bike to catch speeding cyclists, not least because the average bicycle cop is, uh, well, never mind.

The 85th percentile and E&TS

In California altered “speed limit determinations rely on the premise that a reasonable speed limit is one that conforms to the actual behavior of the majority of drivers; one will be able to select a speed limit that is both reasonable and effective by measuring drivers’ speeds. Speed limits set by E&TS are normally set near the 85th percentile speed. The 85th percentile speed is the speed at or below which 85 percent of the traffic is moving, and statistically represents one standard deviation above the average speed.”  Limits are by law set in 5 mph increments.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, I requested from the City Clerk a copy of the engineering and traffic study used to alter the speed limit on the bike path for the simple reason that municipalities are forbidden from preempting state law with regard to provisions of the vehicle code. To wit: “Except as otherwise expressly provided, the provisions of the Vehicle Code preempt local ordinances on the matters covered by such Code.” See CA Vehicle Code § 21. And unfortunately for the fine folks in Redondo Beach, regulation of bicyclists on conventional roads is not in California’s Vehicle Code to local authorities.

 I was therefore not surprised to learn from the city that the new 8 mph speed limit was not based on any engineering and traffic study, and was even less surprised to learn that the “8 mph” limit was illegal both because it’s not an increment of five and because state law regarding speed limits preempt local yokel bicycle-hating ordinances.

There you have it. Bike lane that exposes bicycle riders to exponentially more deadly cross traffic. Bike lane that was built with devices intended to knock people off their bikes. Bike lane that is regulated with illegal and unenforceable ordinances.

Thank you, Redondo Beach. You really do suck.



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§ 52 Responses to World’s stupidyest McDumdum bike lane ever

  • LR says:

    I’ve had more close calls with cars on that bike path than anywhere else I’ve ridden in the South Bay. By the way, I believe it’s Redondo Beach that sucks, in this case.

  • cgnewgirl says:

    HAR! This would be SO FUNNY, if it weren’t true.. Sort of like the presidential race… Sigh.

  • Tamar T. says:

    Shortly into the fourth paragraph I knew EXACTLY which bike path you meant. Having ridden it a couple times and almost been flattened by cars pulling out of driveways along the “path” or impeded by idiots on beach cruisers riding two across I avoid it at all cost. I find that taking Valley Dr. to Catalina is much safer, saner, and more pleasant. What a stupid piece of shit endeavor that was. Thanks for nothing.

  • Brian in VA says:

    Government in action- the ultimate contradiction in terms.

  • LR says:

    I’ve had more close calls with cars on that bike path than anywhere else in the South Bay. By the way, I believe it’s Redondo Beach that sucks, in this case.

  • Gary Cziko says:

    The good news is that because this is not officially a bike lane (it is not part of the roadway), savvy cyclists know that it’s use is optional.

    The bad news is that motorists tend to get particularly cranky when cyclists use the general travel lane when there is an adjacent bikeway available.

    • fsethd says:

      You finally made a typo.

    • darelldd says:

      So true. Here’s what those cranky motorists typically call these: “Perfectly good bike paths.” The definition of “perfectly good” seems to be: Anything that costs money, is made for cyclists, and gets them out of the way.

      • fsethd says:

        … where we can point our cages in peace and email text music double tall soy latte.

    • TomH says:

      When a so-called designated bike lane is part of the roadway — ie, just a white fog line separating the two — is there actually any Calif Vehicle Code that _mandates_ cyclists must use the “bike lane” ?
      Or is that just uninformed cops inventing “laws” as they see fit?

      Especially on fast descents, it’s suicidal to stay in a “bike lane” due to nails, glass, poor sight lines, buckled pavement, etc.

      OTOH, on some recent 40+ mph descents on Hawthorne Blvd , which has a “bike lane”, I’ve taken the whole #2 lane, and have been passed by indifferent sheriffs deputies in the #1 lane. They didn’t even say a word to me at the traffic light at the bottom.

      • darelldd says:

        I’m going to try and beat Gary to it… yes, in CA what we call “bike lanes” as you describe are “mandatory use” unless there are compelling reasons to not use it.

        CVC 21208.
        (a) Whenever a bicycle lane has been established on a roadway pursuant to Section 21207, any person operating a bicycle upon the roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride within the bicycle lane, except that the person may move out of the lane under any of the following situations:

        (And all the reasons are basically the same reasons you don’t have to stay far to the right save for the “narrow lane” caveat).

        So you don’t have to use the lane if it is in the door zone. If it has debris, pot holes or other crap. If cars are parked in it, or joggers are jogging in it. If you are passing somebody else. And most notably – if you are not going slower than traffic.

        • fsethd says:

          What if you are in a bad mood and just hate the fucking bike lane?

          • darelldd says:

            I’m pretty sure it’s the same as if you’re in a wonderful mood, and just hate the fucking bike lane.

  • darelldd says:

    My favorite line of this post that I will shamelessly be using in my own future advocacy endeavors: “If you can’t make something safer, make everyone a criminal. ”

    Sums up in a few words what has typically taken me a full paragraph to explain.

    It seems that I get my money’s worth out of the blog weekly, and only pay it monthly.

  • Jim says:

    Well done.

  • thekingsingh says:

    That green paint on pavement is a hazard. I almost collided by cars turning into and out of the Cheesecake Factory driveway, one of which when I hit my brakes and my bike wheels froze. I slid down the green pavement almost having to surf to stay upright. It’s slippery.

    It did, however, finally validate having disc brakes. I wouldn’t haven been able to stop in time with rims.

    • fsethd says:

      What are you complaining about? The path worked. It almost killed you and no cagers were hurt.

    • TomH says:

      If you’re “sliding” on the green paint, because it’s slippery, you’re tire traction limited, yes? What do rim brakes have to do with it?
      There was a youtube video few weeks ago , showing a stupidly inattentive cat4 or cat5 guy in a race, who flipped over his bars when he panic stopped by grabbing the rim front brakes too hard.

      • fsethd says:

        “Stupidly inattentive Cat4 or Cat5 guy”? Why so much redundancy, on a Monday no less?

  • Patrick says:

    I had said prior to the path being started that it was the stoooopidist design. My friend owns Marina Bike Rentals right next door and he showed me preliminary plans. You can sit at his shop and watch idiot cagers all day long almost plowing over bikers while pulling in and out of the Cheesecake Factory. By the way, those BPW’s were put in to keep the cagers from driving down the bike path. There is video on YouTube of various drivers recorded from his security cameras doing just that prior to the BPW’s going in.

  • GT says:

    A magic green paint, it’s a wonderful thing. Here in Brisbane it is used to delineate bike lanes on roads. We were all blissfully ignorant of the extra powers of the magic green paint that is supposed to stop us being hit.

    Recently a slip up by a local member of council occurred where he referred to the green paint as being used in areas of conflict.

    So the green paint is not there to delineate a bike lane and protect us from the cagers, it’s there to show where the council has failed to implement proper bike infrastructure.

    Here’s a Google Street view of it in action.,153.0288979,3a,75y,187.35h,77.69t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sJclCOHDvvc69KAbgK4jztA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    That’s the same intersection a Danish student was killed when run over by a truck in September 2014.

    Oh, and for shits and giggles, if you zoom around to your right, that’s a hospital, recently expanded to cater to Children. Play around with the Street view and watch the green paint disappear and reappear. It’s magic.

  • Unknown says:

    Dumdum bike lanes, “the final solution” for cyclists. Yes, that’s a morbid double entendre.

  • Smokey says:

    And that bike lane messed up all the strava segments.
    Long live the power station sprint!

  • Worldchamp says:

    Agreed, that is the dumbest bike path ever. I also get mad every time I use the Torrance “bike paths” that are smack dab in the door zone of the parked cars! Why in the world would you invite cyclist to ride where they are likely to get doored! Grr…

  • dangerstu says:


  • PeteR says:

    Point of order, the bike lane on Harbor Drive is in Redondo Beach, not Hermosa Beach.

  • […] Redondo Beach’s 8MPH Speed Limit Bikeway Is Stupid (Cycling in the South Bay) […]

  • Patrick says:

    Check out this short video.

    • fsethd says:

      So awesome. The Bicycle People Whackers aren’t up yet, either. Love the freestyling SUVs who want to get a little bike lane action for themselves. Feeling safer already!

  • […] It seems Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson is no fan of bike lanes. […]

  • Joel says:

    It’s actually an infinity on its side. You can go as fast as you want. Who’s the dumm dumm mcfancypants now?

  • bjsesq says:

    A few comments:

    1. Anybody who is a “real cyclist” on a road bike who uses the bike path, to go north has a death wish. Riding my precious S-Works there with all the idiots on cruisers, roller skates and skate boards (and, yes, walkers and runners) scares the shit out of me. I’ve already used crash replacement a couple of times from “real cyclist” idiots who can’t ride crits and my LBS is getting suspicious. And my wife has been hurt more on the bike path by idiots on cruisers, roller skates and skate boards than either of us would have on any DR, Wheatgrass, MaMo or NPR crash fest. Fortunately she was on her MTB and not on her precious EVO each time she got taken out.

    2. Where were all the “real cyclists” when RB held numerous public meetings to discuss how to move the idiots on cruisers, roller skates and skate boards from Hermosa down to the RB pier? It was always anticipated that we “real cyclists” would continue to use the road. And entitled motorists are going to be pissed off at us no matter what we do. So screw them. I have noticed the good traffic engineers of RB have blacked out the sharrows. WTF?

    3. One main reason the bike TRACK is where it is: The entitled owners and boaters of the harbor, restaurants, yacht club, etc. did not want those idiots on cruisers, roller skates and skate boards close to their precious water so they refused to have a bikeway through their parking lots or running along the water walkway. In some ways I can’t blame them for not wanting the unwashed masses so close.

    4. Hard to argue It was not a mistake to put the bike TRACK on the west side of the street because of all the driveways. The argument against the east side was that the idiots on cruisers, roller skates and skate boards and the very young idiot spawn of some of these other idiots would then have to cross a busy street twice at each end of the bike TRACK to get back to either the RB pier or the Hermosa walkway. But the planners didn’t realize: The cruisers, roller skates and skate boards are in fact powered by idiots, who don’t know what a red light or stop sign means and who don’t realize that a driveway may not be a real road but those are real cars rolling on it (Actually, I do know some “real cyclists” who don’t know that either).

    5. Fortunately, all of us with precious road bikes that we want to keep do have other options to the bike TRACK. We can do Catalina going north until Herondo and then (shudder) back on the Hermosa walkway or (much better) up to Valley or, going south, we can reverse our route.

    6. This last one is for Seth: Can Hermosa impose an 8 mph advisory limit on its WALKWAY that some call a bike path without having to comply with the CVC that applies to roadways and highways? And the same comment/question applies to the RB bike TRACK which is separated from the roadway. I’m too stupid and lazy to research this myself.

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