Policy seems fine. We don't have any egregiously bad law here, the LAPD is supportive and professional regarding cyclists rights to the road, our Transportation Dept. is keen on cycling issues, and Council has been pro-cycling and pro-pedestrian. But the devil is always in the details.
The infrastructure needs to be examined critically since there is often the presumption among less experienced cyclists that infrastructure equals safety. In fact, no infrastructure is safe unless everyone using it (motorist and cyclist) is skilled. Some infrastructure can actually increase the danger for a nonskilled cyclist by creating a false sense of security and creating conflict points. As far as problematic infrastructure? One must not build it. One must critically examine it.
A particularly worrisome example, supported by some in the cycling community in the past, is the "downhill" North Rd. bike lane descending to the Quemezon intersection.
Here, downhill cyclists at any speed approaching motor traffic speed should be fully in the lane. You need to prevent North Rd. motorists from overtaking you and then right hooking you if they turn right into Quemezon. You need to make sure uphill North Rd. motorists see you and not turn left in front of you, thinking a curb-hugging cyclist is going slowly. You also need to be as visible as possible to prevent motorists from exiting Quemezon in front of you (fail to yield) as you ride downhill. Again, a curb hugging cyclist is less visible.
Not all "bicycling facilities" are created equal. Some are fine. Some create hazards as well as benefits. Some just are not a good idea. We need to sort these out and have some input as Los Alamos rebuilds its streets.
Further, this is a great time to add such input, since Los Alamos is trying to make itself "environmentally sustainable". What better way to be environmentally sustainable than to replace a fossil fuel trip with a cycling trip? But let's not uncritically equate facilities with safety.
Hello members of Boards, staff and community,
1. Demonstrate sustainable design, renewable energy and green operations in County facilities.
2. Pursue community wide independence from hydrocarbon energy sources.
3. Take bold actions to conserve water and energy.
4. Maximize recycling, waste reduction, and reuse.
5. Increase the use of products with positive environmental attributes.
6. Establish key baseline measurements, establish conservation goals and measure progress annually.
7. Create sustainable education and outreach on environmental and energy goals.
8. Incorporate sustainable land use practices wherever feasible including protecting open space, trails and habitat and encouraging beneficial planting and community gardens.
Thank you for your consideration,
Los Alamos County
Environmental Services Manager
505-690-4197 cellTo this call, by the way, I made the following suggestions: