November 25, 2022
A local cyclist was killed on a stretch of road that advocates had criticized for being insufficiently protective
Sergio Cordova was killed while riding his bicycle near 6th street on Oct. 26. His death was the 12th this year among LA cyclists, and the 71st in Southern California. Those numbers are at or near historic highs.
Cordova’s death occurred on a stretch of road leading to the 6th Street Bridge, a new 4 lane roadway. When the bridge opened, safe streets advocates called the design and existing infrastructure potentially dangerous for cyclists, even though the bridge has dedicated bike lanes.
According to an article published in LAist when the bridge opened in July, activists wondered why the bike lanes are “permeable” and not blocked by concrete structures.
“The bridge has Class IV bike lanes on both sides of the four-lane roadway, consistent with the direction of traffic lanes. That lane type is “physically separated from motor traffic with a vertical feature.
On the viaduct, that’s achieved with round plastic posts set on rubber strips that are similar to parking blocks. The strips are placed a few feet apart from each other, with the plastic bollards set roughly every 15 feet. The bike lane is separated from the pedestrian sidewalk by a short concrete wall.
Many wondered why the concrete barriers weren’t placed between the bike lanes and car lanes to better protect people biking the span, given that concrete is harder for a vehicle to crash through than plastic posts.”
State officials told LAist that the permeability of the bike lanes was needed to accommodate vehicles that need to pull off after being in a collision or stalling in traffic/running out of gas. However, observers noted that while plastic bollards may deter some drivers, highly inebriated drivers, people texting or other “worst case scenario” drivers would not be at all deterred by plastic. Only a strong vertical feature like concrete has the ability to offer true protection in such cases.
With this latest cyclist’s passing, the fears of traffic advocates look prescient – and the onus is on public officials to ensure that cyclists don’t merely enjoy convenience from bike lanes, but also genuine protection from the worst possible outcome.
Finding the Right Bicycle Accident Attorney
Gary Brustin is a lifelong cyclist and a specialist in bicycle accident law. In fact, these are the only types of cases he accepts. If you’ve been injured in a collision, we urge you to contact Gary for a complimentary consultation.