Cycling Advocacy in Real Time
Residents and members of cycling groups such as Big Orange Cycling have been attempting to work with city council and community members to get proper bicycle signage installed on Palos Verdes Estate city streets reading “Bicycles May Use Full Lane”(BMUFL). After the third bicyclist was killed this year by another unidentified motorist in May, the city placed temporary signs along roads saying “3-Feet It’s the Law” in place of confusing signs reading “Bicycle Laws Strictly Enforced.” The BMUFL signage recommendation was communicated to the city council by bicyclists during monthly community meetings since the summer. On one occasion, PVE bicyclists, organized by Michael Barraclough, staged a protest at Malaga Cove in June to display their lawful rights to the road to motorists. A few local motorists screamed out obscenities toward the bicyclists riding around Malaga Cove, revealing just how intense some community members felt towards bicyclists.
After the efforts of the protest, the PVE Traffic Safety Committee recommended that five of the BMUFL signs be installed at points along Palos Verdes Drive West and Palos Verdes Drive North. The City Council rejected the proposal in October, deciding instead to wait for the completion of a “Roadway Safety Master Plan.” Reasons cited by mayor Jennifer King, and other council members, is that the Roadway Plan being developed between Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills Estates would “create more inconsistencies on the cities’ roadways, something the plan aims to diminish.” Bicyclist advocates have been showing up and protesting at the monthly city council meetings to really drive home the importance of communicating BMUFL.
Where To Go From Here
A consistent presence at the meetings, Seth Davidson bicyclist attorney and member of Big Orange Cycling, is among the voices leading the issue along with local cyclists Michael Barraclough and Delia Park. Davidson regularly updates his website with information regarding the progress (or lack of) in PVE and surrounding areas. Read his posts for an in-depth overview of this long-running issue; at the very least you’ll be enthralled by Davidson’s biting wit. pvcycling.wordpress.com
We reached out to Davidson asking what message we could pass along to the bicyclists who want to support the cause, he recommends the following for those want to get involved in real-time advocacy:
1. If you’re in LA, come to the city council meetings, which can be found on the PVE city website.
2. Write original letters or emails individually to Mayor King telling her why the signs are important. Her email and that of the other members can be found on the website.
3. Call the city council clerk and tell them to put BMUFL signage on the agenda.
4. Get involved in your own local council and traffic committee. The more communities that have signage, the harder it is for others to refuse to install it.
5. We have upcoming events that include more sign protesting and a die-in. People want to help can email me.
6. Make advocacy fun! We eat pizza, hang out, and have a good time.
The next city council meeting is planned for December 13th 7:30 pm at Council Chambers of City Hall on 340 Palos Verdes Drive West. Frequently check the website for updates as they’ve rescheduled the meetings a few times.
Die-in location: Malaga Cove Plaza in Palos Verdes Estates, CA
Die-in time: 4:00 PM to 4:45 PM
The protest will be the prologue to the city council meeting at 7:30 pm in which the topic of discussion will be the replacing 5 current signs in PVE that read ” 3 Feet It’s The Law” to the more effective, “Bicycles May Use Full Lane”. The city council meeting will be held at the Council Chambers of City Hall on 340 Palos Verdes Drive West. More information can be found here.
Ed Note:Evidence-Based Argument
A study published online in 2015 conducted by George Hess and M. Nils Peterson of NCSU showed that “BMUFL” wording was the most effective for communicating bicyclists rights. Using a web-based survey, researchers asked respondents to evaluate two traffic situations involving motor vehicles and a bicycle. their conclusion was that BMUFL signs were beneficial to the safety of bicyclists. “Although limited in scope, our survey results are indicative and suggest that Departments of Transportation consider replacing ‘Share the Road’ with “Bicycles May Use Full Lane’ signage, possibly combined with Shared Lane Markings, if the intent is to increase awareness of roadway rights and responsibilities.” Visit BMUFL.org for more info.