Bike Lane Shaming Solvang and Santa Paula


Fed Ex trucks, Ubers and people idling in bike lanes are a common irritant.

To these drivers, it’s just a few moments of inconvenience that actually puts the lives of cyclists in peril.

At least in these cases, I can ever so politely tell the person behind the wheel that their presence isn’t appreciated.

This past weekend, I witnessed not just one, but two places where this personal interaction couldn’t take place because the cars were just parked there.

Yes, the plural form was intentional (see top).


Solvang is a place that attracts a lot of cycling tourism, so you would like to think of the place as being bike friendly.

On Sunday afternoon, we were headed up to Los Olivos for dinner when we turned onto Alamo Pintado seeing two cars parked in the bike lane.

Mrs. CV caught this and handily took out my camera and snapped some pics as we went by.

We were wondering if there was something we missed, but on the drive back, the number of cars tripled and there was no signage suggesting there was an exception in place.

Even the next morning as we went by, there were still cars resting there and no parking ticket to be seen.



…the next day…


I know as a cyclist, being put into poorly defined spaces confuses everyone involved and raises the level of danger.

The one detail I love is the concrete median seen in the picture above.

Why is it there? To prevent drivers from making a u-turn to park in the bike lane?


On the drive back home on Monday, Google Maps suggested taking Hwy 126, a longer route that avoided the traffic on the 101.

Right around Santa Paula CV Jr. woke up in a non-jubilant manner and we had to pull over to get her some fluids.

After stopping at Planet Starbucks, I decided to take a slight detour back to the highway to look at the downtown area (I’m a sucker for California history).

Taking Palm Ave. to Main St., I was pretty confused at what I saw.

The street had bike lane markings on the right and was clearly a place not to mix modes.

Instead, every available place a car could park was occupied with a vehicle.

I’m sure someone would make an argument there was enough space for a bike to go by, but cyclists would be stuck dead center of the door zone with no room to react to the left unless they wanted to be underneath a passing vehicle.

In this instance, Mrs. CV wasn’t able to grab a camera fast enough, but looking up on the old Google Maps told me all I needed to know.


Google Maps don’t lie.


It’s one thing when a single car is parked in a bike lane.

The driver is clearly liable, but who do you blame when there’s a complete lack of enforcement?

You hate to need an incident for authorities to actually do something about this, but it’s time locals let their representatives know this is intolerable.

Adding bike lanes and showing up for the photo ops is one thing, but following through that the safety features in place is another.



  • In my city of Stanton, CA part of Cerritos Ave has some white lines painted parallel to the curb. In a few areas there are diagrams of bikes. The city calls them “bike lanes”, but many people park their cars there.

    I contacted the Orange County Bicycle Coalition and asked if such an arrangement was legal. I was told it is perfectly legal in California to park in a bike lane unless it is marked as a no parking area. I was told a bill was proposed several years ago that would have made it illegal to park in a bike lane, but it never got anywhere.

    It seems that some cities like to say that they have installed bike lanes, but they don’t care if they’re useful or not, and it’s certainly more important to preserve parking spaces than protect lives.

    Here’s a picture from Google Street View:

  • Peter

    To these drivers, it’s just a few moments of inconvenience that actually puts the lives of cyclists in peril.

    Uh…how? I mean, if you can’t manage to merge into traffic on your bicycle, maybe you should be taking a class or something.

    Don’t get me wrong–the “bike-lane cum parking-space” is bull. Yup, I’m out in the street in those cases. And I’ll agree that cars that block the bike lane are annoying–I have to slow down or possibly stop and wait for traffic to clear before I go around these people. But it doesn’t put my life in peril.

    Let’s cut the hyperbole down a bit. It’s an inconvenience. Like being in a car stuck behind a bicyclist. Sometimes we inconvenience others. Sometimes others inconvenience us. Consider it Karma.

    • Mr. CiclaValley

      In the large scheme of things, it’s not a great injustice, especially to experience riders. One thing I noticed in Solvang was that there were a lot of out of state cyclists and even those from other countries. When you’re not familiar with the local laws and you see something as blatant as this that isn’t enforced, it does leave a question in your mind how seriously everything else is taken. I feel that way too when I ride out of state.

    • I don’t think inconvenience is a strong enough word. If someone parked a car in the middle of a street the police wouldn’t hesitate to tow the car and cite the owner. They would do that because it would be a hazard. Other drivers would need to slow and change lanes suddenly and unexpectedly. Cars parked in a bike lane are just as much of a hazard and should be treated as such. The fact that a good rider can minimize the risk doesn’t mean it’s not a hazard.