Boldy Going: Ballona Creek Bikeway

In light of the news coming out about Wednesday’s assault and robbery committed against the cyclist riding Ballona Creek’s Bikeway, I’ve read comments to various posts about the dastardly crime that detail additional incidents that have occurred with a certain serial consistency along that stretch of off-street bike path roughly between Inglewood and Sepulveda boulevards:

“The last time I rode it (2006) there was a mattress across the path and a suspicious looking gentleman approaching. I turned around, got off the path and never went back.”

“I was running on the bike path last Thursday morning heading west. Just at the 405 underpass a cyclist stopped me to warn me off as two guys had just tried to attack him. I could clearly see the two up ahead hanging out on the path by that park watching us talk.”

“I bought a bike back in 1992 and took my first ride on the BC bike path. On the way back to Marina del Rey, heading west in this same location, I was rushed and pushed over by two thugs who wanted my wallet. I refused and they took my bike, crumpled tire and all.”

To further detriment is the alienation of the bikeway from the community. Accesspoints have been closed to placate crime-frazzled residents adjacent to the creek with next to no consideration for the impact such shutdowns have on the safety of those who use the bikeway. It’s no wonder pedestrians and cyclists are willing to just give up on the waterway as some sort of exiled and lawless zone of doom.

I don’t fault anyone making such decisions to protect themselves, but I for one am not so ready to let the thugs and bureaucrats win and instead plan to increase my presence by extending my inbound and outbound bike commutes to include this roughly one-mile stretch (map), like I did this morning as shown in the following brief image sequence, after the jump:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ac-IoY_LwXk[/youtube]

As you can see, at 10 a.m., all was calm and quiet. The only other person I encountered was a friendly cyclist coming in the other direction. We’ll see how things go this afternoon.

P.S. I’m not doing this as some sort of stunt, and no I don’t have some sort of urge to get my ass whupped and my stuff stolen. I’m doing this because I am both unwilling to accept that the bikeway is inherently unsafe and unable to allow gangbangers to partner up with shruggy, easy-way-out’ers in law enforcement and politics to further isolate and estrange me from a resource that we all should be enjoying, not avoiding.

10 Replies to “Boldy Going: Ballona Creek Bikeway”

  1. It sucks to read these reports about this bike path. I used to take it from PDR to just past the 90 FWY, so I didn’t ride this stretch of it, but I never had any issues. Is the path on Culver Boulevard a suitable alternate?

  2. One other thing, and unrelated, so I apologize, but does anyone know of a good bike shop in the Eagle Rock/Mt. Washington area that will pick up my bike, clean and tune it, and deliver it to me?

  3. Ataki, I’d guess the path on culver Boulevard would be a good partial alternate since it only goes as far east as Centinela. Venice Boulevard’s bike lane is probably a more complete option.

    As to your request for such luxe services from a bike shop, I’ve personally never heard of one that offers pick-up and delivery. The shop I’m familiar with in the Eagle Rock area if you’re able to drop it off yourself is Budget Pro Bikes in the strip mall adjacent the Eagle Rock Plaza.

  4. Is there a martial art where you pick up your bike by the frame and wield it like a bat’leth? Cuz I wanna be a black belt in that.

  5. On numerous bike rides over the years through nowhweresville portions of Portugal, Canada and the U.S., I had another problem — vicious dogs. I’ve been chased many times. If I was going up a hill with full panniers & could not ride fast, it would be a big problem. I tried many biker tricks, including ammonia in my water bottle (not so great when I was thirsty and reached for the wrong bottle). The thing that worked the best was an airhorn, the kind boaters use. It was a lightweight little plastic horn over the little tank of compressed whatever. It was VERY loud, and would stop the most vicious dogs right in their tracks.

    Would such airhorns work against vicious human thugs? I think a blast from one would stop me from approaching someone. If not, what light weight, LEGAL weapons could we carry while biking? Mace? Pepper spray? Nunchucks? Guns (registered, of course)? We could bitch and moan about this on blogs, or we could defend ourselves and kick some serious thug ass if necessary (and again, legally).

  6. Cybele — I had to wield the bike frame against dogs before I got the airhorn. It worked against dogs, but dogs don’t have hands and fingers to grab the bike frame.

  7. The idea of abandoning a rare piece of multi-million dollar biking infrastructure due to the actions of a few thugs infuriates me. When you see suspicious activity or people on the bike path that clearly don’t belong there, report it to the police IMMEDIATELY and make sure an officer comes out. Program the direct numbers of local police departments into your phone so the numbers are available instantly and you don’t have to call 911 from your cellphone, which is usually a pain.

    When I’m on my bike, I also always carry pepper spray on my backpack strap. I started carrying it after a friend told me some crazy drunk guy started chasing him in Griffith Park.

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