Worst Bike Lanes in Los Angeles: Forest Lawn Death Trap

I’ve done my fair share of cycling around the city. Trying to single out the worst bike lane sometimes can feel like whatever one you’re currently riding on.

Despite all the great riding in Griffith Park, getting there doesn’t seem worth it for those coming from the west. Forest Lawn Drive provides the most direct route it, but there are many caveats.

This street contains a two mile lane in both directs along a stretch many commuters take as a short cut from Burbank into Hollywood(via Barham). It is harrowing enough to ride along a 45 mph zone where most traffic hits the 50 to 60 mph range.

What compounds the problem is the poor conditions cyclists are expected to encounter as portions of the lanes that fail to meet proper width requirements, cracks and potholes in the pavement and the never cleaned debris that comprises long stretches.

My first piece of evidence is here heading eastward passing the entrance of Forest Lawn Cemetery:

As you can see, duck underneath the tree is the least of your problems. Because the bike lane gets squeezed to just inches, you have little choice to move out into traffic. Of course, the traffic lane is filled with cracks, so really the only safe option is moving far out into the lane. Try manuevering that as cars approach you at freeway speeds.

The conditions are slightly less severe, but last for a far greater length. On a summertime ride, 

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As you can see, there’s a nice indentation between the two road surfaces that one of our riders got his wheel caught it. It may look easy to avoid, but with all the affecting bumps and cracks that my not be visible until too late, there are few safe options. You can even see when you move out into traffic, that there’s another channel you have to avoid.

The only type of street cleaning is provided by mother nature when it rains and the dirt from all the Headwater Reservoir construction does no favors. With all the debris in your lane, you constantly have to look over your shoulder to see when its safe to move out into traffic when your eyes should be focusing on the cracks in front of you.

Now, the LA River bike path is supposed to extend from its terminus on Riverside Dr. out to Lankershim, but shovels haven’t even touched the ground yet. Maybe the city can argue that fixing these conditions would be pointless with the impending lanes and construction activity, but I beg to differ. Even if you take away all the bicycles, that stretch is dangerous for cars alone.

You would think with all the cemeteries there, that you’d want to save lives, unless that’s part of their business model. Couple the fact that I’ve seen cars race around large funeral processions, maybe a little traffic calming should be in order.

Actually, a lot.