U.S. city Los Angeles to implement "Bicycle Plan"

08:56, August 17, 2010      

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Los Angeles officials pledged on Monday to make Los Angeles streets safer for bicyclists, including adding more bike lanes.

"Even though (Los Angeles) is the car capital of the United States of America, we've got to share the road with cyclists, with pedestrians, and we're going to have to change some of the laws," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told a "Bike Summit" held in downtown Los Angeles.

At the one-day summit, city officials discussed ways to turn Los Angeles into a city of bikes. One of the proposals will require drivers to stay three feet away from cyclists when overtaking them and making bike helmets mandatory -- even for adults.

"I went on the record today, saying I want to support legislation at the state level that will provide a three-foot passing lane for cyclists," Villaraigosa said. "I also said -- to a chorus of boos -- that we need to have a bicycle helmet law for people over 18."

Villaraigosa said he broke his elbow last month when a taxi stopped abruptly in front of his bicycle in a bike lane, forcing him to brake suddenly and sending him tumbling over the handlebars onto the pavement.

The mayor explained that his helmet protected him from more serious injuries during his accident.

"I don't need to be popular here," he said. "I'm here today because I was wearing a helmet."

City officials have been working for months to come up with a so-called "Bicycle Plan" by November to build more than 1,600 miles (2,560 kilometers) of bikeways over the next 30 years -- including 200 miles (320 kilometers) in the next five years.

The plan is part of a campaign initiated by Villaraigosa to turn Los Angeles into a "green" city.

Bicycle Plan components include the development of public service announcements and educational campaigns to teach drivers how to share the road with bicyclists; improving the Los Angeles Police Department's enforcement of laws governing safe driving and cycling; and enhancing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's efforts to integrate cycling in the region's rail and bus network.

At the summit, Glenn Bailey, chairman of the city's Bicycle Advisory Committee, ran down a list of recommendations for improving bicycling in the city, including:

-- The prompt repair of potholes and cleaning debris and other hazardous materials on the road;

-- Vigorous enforcement against the blocking of bike lanes by delivery vehicles and unhitched trailers or anything else;

-- Providing convenient, secure parking in every city building and park;

-- Holding the line or rolling back recent increases in speed limits;

-- Vehicular hit-and-runs will be fully investigated and prosecuted for the crimes that they are; and

-- Installing at least 50 miles (80 kilometers) of bicycle lanes ever year for the next three years, rather than the five- mile average of the last 14 years under the current 1996 Bicycle Plan.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:张茜)

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