The case of bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard is about safety. Plain and simple. That’s why both bicyclists and motorists support Mobility Plan 2035. It’s the minority who are fighting tooth and nail against installing bike lanes.
“I’ve witnessed collisions,” said Michelle Perrault, a frequent motorist on Westwood Boulevard. “I saw a guy go up the front of the hood of a car with his bike once. I’ve definitely seen cyclists get clipped, and that’s just terrifying to watch. Bike lanes would help avoid that.”
But it’s not just about cyclists. Bike lanes improve safety for motorists too. This little experiment found that having painted bike lanes help bikers and drivers stay in “safer, more central positions in their respective lanes.” Drivers passing bicyclists on roads without bike lanes often veer as much as four feet into the next lane to avoid a collision.
And what about traffic? Won’t bike lanes have a negative impact on it?
The answer, according to numerous studies, is a resounding “no.”
“We need bike lanes, especially when you’re talking about traffic,” Perrault continued. “It means cars and bikes have their own lanes, and it’ll help traffic flow because cars don’t have to go around bikes and merge into the other lane.”
In fact, a growing body of evidence shows that the majority of motorists—79% to 97%—prefer driving on roads with bike lanes. Of those polled, only 50% said they are comfortable on roads with bikes but without bike infrastructure.
“I commute to UCLA by car each day from West Hollywood,” said Michael Sommers. “I appreciate the designated bike lanes in my neighborhood. They’re easy to see and a great reminder that we’re all sharing the roadways. Westwood Boulevard needs bike lanes to make drivers more aware of bicyclists.”
Martin Dang, who commutes on Westwood Boulevard via car and bicycle, echoes those sentiments.
“Painted bike lanes definitely bring attention to the safety of drivers and bikers,” Dang said. “Once, I was biking down Westwood and someone was turning left into a store and didn’t see me. [Cars] are oblivious that a biker could be there.”
When asked if he could use an alternative route for his daily commute, Dang replied, “Westwood is the most direct route. Side streets have hills and there’s no protected lights. So it can be less safe.”
The argument for bike lanes seems pretty clear-cut. The facts speak for themselves. The overwhelming majority supporting bike lanes speak for themselves. What else do opponents have to say when every unsubstantiated “concern” they’ve preached has been unequivocally dismantled?