Will L.A.'s new bike lane lights improve traffic safety?

The city of Los Angeles recently took a small step toward making the roads safer for bicycle riders. Officials recently celebrated the addition of four bicycle traffic lights in the downtown area.

The lights hang alongside the regular traffic lights, and also use red, yellow and green lights to control bike traffic. At a ribbon-cutting ceremony in June, officials also noted that they have resurfaced some bike lanes, and erected physical buffers to protect riders from motor vehicles in “certain areas,” KNBC-TV reports.

These improvements are part of Vision Zero, a commitment by the city to eliminate fatal traffic crashes by the year 2025. However, the city has a long way to go before such safety improvements are everywhere.

More importantly, new traffic equipment may limit the damage a negligent driver can do to riders, but it cannot eliminate the danger. A motorist who ignores traffic lights can easily strike a rider who is trying to cross the intersection safely.

Then there are drunk drivers, distracted drivers and motorists who do not respect cyclists’ right to the road. All in all, it is the behavior of bad drivers that needs to change if we are to see the end of deadly bike wrecks in Los Angeles anytime soon.

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