Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian with support from Mike Bonin and Mitchell Englander has ordered the Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee to examine all Class I and Class II bicycle lanes within the city to safety standards. The motion that failed to receive any action was proposed on February 8, 2018, and it was prompted after several recent bicycle accidents where the city was found responsible because of poorly maintained road surfaces. In the last year, the city has paid out more than $20 million on 17 different cases compared to just $36 million a decade earlier.
LA Council Approves $6.5 Million Settlement
On September 6, 2017, the Los Angeles City Council approved a payment of $6.5 million to settle the lawsuit that Peter Godefroy and his wife Patricia brought against the city, county and state. Godefroy was riding his bicycle in the late afternoon of May 2, 2015, when he was unable to avoid hitting a large pothole. The accident that occurred at 13650 Valley Vista Boulevard left Godefroy with permanent brain damage along with several broken bones. The case that had already been heard before the Los Angeles Superior Court found that the city was negligence for not properly maintaining the bicycle lane.
Findings by the LA Superior Court
Court documents indicate that a caller had reported an uplifted street at the site where the accident happened. Testimony indicates that a Los Angeles street repair crew was dispatched to fix the problem. Yet, a public works supervisor indicated shortly before the accident occurred that the road was still elevated, and he said that there appeared to be no attempts to repair it.
Reaction by LA City Council
Englander and other city council members have suggested eliminating bike lanes saying that they give riders a false sense of security while placing the city at increased liability. He says that putting up signs indicates to bicyclists that it is safe to ride in a particular area when it may not be safe to do so. While Englander says that it is the city’s job to maintain the bike lanes, but the massive backlog in repairs that need completing makes it impossible to ensure that each one is safe.