Los Angeles bicyclists who ride through Griffith Park have long complained that they have to contend with drivers – many of whom exceed the speed limit – and risk their safety in doing so. Vehicles have been allowed on some of the main park roads. Often they cut through the park to avoid heavy freeway traffic.
As we discussed in a post this spring, a 77-year-old avid cyclist was struck and killed by a drunk driver. His death escalated calls for closing more roads to vehicles. Griffith Park is the largest park in the country that still allows private vehicles to drive through it.
A section of Griffith Park Drive is no longer open
On the Fourth of July weekend, one section of the main road through the park that has been a popular route for vehicles cutting through from the surrounding freeways was closed to vehicles. Cyclists, as well as equestrians and pedestrians, can now enjoy it in relative safety and peace. One woman on a horse said, “It is so fantastic. A lot of times cars will not stop for us.”
The three-quarter-mile section of Griffith Park Drive runs near Zoo Drive through the eastern part of the park. It connects with Mt. Hollywood Drive, which is already closed to vehicles.
Safety advocates, who have been working for such changes for about 10 years, emphasize that this is still a pilot program, although they hope it will be permanent. As one advocate who lost a leg in a collision between his bike and a vehicle said, “It is a park. This is not a community corridor. It was never meant to have corridors for cars that are dangerous for bicyclists, pedestrians and families.”
A number of people at the introduction of the newly restricted section of road, including a state representative, had their own stories of close calls with vehicles. Of course, this is just a start to making Griffith Park safer for cyclists. They still face dangers any time they share a road with cars and larger vehicles. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to a driver’s negligence, it’s crucial to get the compensation you need to cover expenses and damages. Having experienced legal guidance can help.