Some of the top bike-friendly cities in the United States have been taking safety seriously for a while now. Los Angeles could take some lessons from Salt Lake City, Portland, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Philadelphia and several others. These cities have supported bike safety at the infrastructure level, changing the nature of street structure to better bicycle safety and encourage green commuting.
Example measures in cities across America:
· Protected bike intersections. Most car-bicycle collisions happen at intersections, so these pioneering safety measures are a huge advancement in bicycle safety in Salt Lake City.
· Incorporation of bicycles into public transit. Buses with double bike racks ensure that individuals who live further out can complete part of their journey by bicycle and part by bus in Portland.
· Closing the streets to cars. Minneapolis hosts Open Streets events that allow citizens to explore the city by bike and foot, encouraging people to try and navigate the city in a new way and discover new businesses.
· Securing business support for green lanes. Cyclists stop and shop more than drivers, so it makes sense for local businesses to support bicycle lanes and greater accessibility. This strategy has been especially successful in San Francisco.
· Creating accessible bike-sharing programs. Bike share programs, like the one in Philadelphia, that take cash allow lower-income residents to access bicycles, removing barriers and giving greater accessibility and mobility to people of all backgrounds.
· More funding to bike projects in general. Washington, D.C. is a prime example of what can happen when a city dedicates real dollars to bicycle safety.
· Expansion of protected bike lanes. Bike lanes not only reduce accidents but also increase retail activity along the access points. New York already has more than 385 miles of protected bike lanes among the five boroughs.
· Bike accessibility in suburban areas. A Chicago-area advocacy group is focusing its attention on providing more routes and accessibility to outlying areas, increasing transportation options.
Could some of these initiatives and infrastructure changes work in Los Angeles? We would love to see an attempt.