New signs of safety planned for L.A. River path

ELYSIAN VALLEY — New signs advising cyclists to slow down are being installed along the L.A. River path as officials prepare to ramp up efforts to reduce reckless riding and increase safety.

In addition to pedestrian crossing and “SLOW” signs, information about the laws that apply to cyclists as well as pedestrians will be distributed at several points along the path in coming weeks as LAPD prepares to increase enforcement, said Tony Arranga, spokesperson for Council District 13.

The new round of safety improvements comes in the wake of collisions between cyclists and pedestrians along the narrow path. Most recently, a woman identified by residents as “Ms. Yun,” a nlong-time Elysian Valley resident, was left in critical condition after being struck from behind by a cyclist on Oct. 8

She suffered severe head injuries, but was permitted to go home from the hospital on Sunday, said David De la Torre with Elysian Valley Neighborhood Watch.

The collision prompted action from the Elysian Valley Neighborhood Watch, which called on 13th District Councilman Mitch O’Farrell to implement further safety measures along the path. They demanded that the bike path be closed to cyclists immediately until improvements, including speed bumps and exclusive dedicated walk paths, are implemented (the path is currently closed in Elysian Valley during week days as part of a river channel clean up).

Last week, the councilmember released a letter to the public reminding users of the path of the Los Angeles Municipal Code laws on reckless riding. In the letter, O’Farrell referred to the path as the “LA River shared path” and gave cyclists and pedestrians safety tips. The letter also advised competitive cyclists who train at high speeds to use the area around the Rose Bowl or Carson Velodrome instead of the path.

“Cyclists should refrain from excessive speed, particularly when pedestrians, children and slower cyclists are present” said O’Farrell in the letter.  “Pedestrians, as slower users of the path should walk to the right as slow moving vehicles would are required to do on roadways”

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation added a pedestrian crossing and “Slow” sign to the path last week and will continue to add more safety features near the pedestrian entryways along the path in Elysian Valley throughout the next couple of months. The enhancements will notify cyclists of areas with a higher concentration of pedestrians and where they must slow down or dismount.

But some Elysian Valley residents said the most recent safety measures are not enough. De La Torre, in a story in the L.A. Weekly, described them as “Band-Aid measures.”

Lucy Guanuna is a freelance reporter who has covered a variety of issues, including business, education and social justice movements in her native Los Angeles. Her work has been published in the Daily Sundial, L.A. Activist, and the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.

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