The 3 Most Dangerous Intersections for Cyclists in Altadena?

In the county's bike plan, officials revealed the three intersections with the most bicycle accidents from 2004 to 2009.

The above intersections were revealed in the as having had the most bike accidents between 2004 and 2009.  Are they the most dangerous in Altadena?

Maybe.  There are a few caveats: first, the data is only from 2004 to 2009.  If the county had looked over more years, they may have found something different.

Secondly, not all those intersections had a huge number more accidents than the rest. Lincoln and Loma Alta and Lincoln and Mountain View, each had two accidents during that period.  While no other intersections, except for Mendocino and Lake, had more than one, there were many intersections that did have one during that period (a full map is available for viewing above).

Mendocino and Lake did see a good number more accidents - the county identifies it as having had 5 to 8.  A more exact number is not forthcoming.

Ron Matsuoka, of the County Department of Public Works, who worked on the project, said planners did not identify a design flaw at those intersections.  He said that because the department only retains collision records for five years, planners don't have very much information on the specific accidents that happened there.

So what do you think readers?  Are these dangerous intersections?  Do you think there are others that might be more dangerous?  Let us know in the comments section.

yeahian October 24, 2011 at 04:06 PM
you can say the same about both grps.
True Freedom October 24, 2011 at 05:15 PM
@Steve: um, er, I know you're trying to sound smart with your mathematical equations and all, but at least get them right. Impact is related to kinetic energy which is 0.5*m*v^2... it's the velocity that is squared... and is also related to Impulse, which is the time rate change of momentum. This lesson provided free of charge.
True Freedom October 24, 2011 at 05:48 PM
@Navigio: I definitely see the "teach em a lesson" behavior. Just last week while riding my bike on a low traffic two lane road with parked cars all along the side (and no bike lane), a dude squeezes past me so close, his mirror hit my elbow. There were no other cars on the road. I caught up to him at the next stop light. I wanted to let him know how close that was and to give cyclists room. I started with, "excuse me sir" and was interrupted with a "F*CK YOU!!". He got out of his car and it nearly came to blows. @Lisa: as far as cyclists not following the laws... well, I certainly can't excuse blatant sign/ stop light running, riding on the wrong side of the road, etc... as for rolling stops, well, I don't think we can indict cyclists any more than drivers. That's not to excuse either group from following the letter of the law... As for cyclists using busy roads.. well, remember there are different kinds of cyclists: recreational, commuters, etc. Perhaps these folks are commuters and need that road to get to work, so they won't venture out of the way for "beautiful places to ride bikes"... just like you won't likely venture too far out of your way when running errands for a beautiful road for driving a car. They have just as much right to be there as you... at any time of the day. It sounds like you feel cars are entitled to the road, especially at busy times. Perhaps your driving your car at busy times is really the problem :)
Dan Abendschein (Editor) October 24, 2011 at 05:55 PM
I agree, Steve G., which is why you only do it on select streets. I think the reason it failed so badly down in Pasadena on Los Robles, is that it was too heavily used a streets. I think the ideal target is a street that really should not be used heavily by through traffic, where the main vehicle traffic is local cars. I do think you need to get the input of people who live on those streets, obviously. But even if you don't bike I think there is tremendous benefit to living on a street where it is hard to drive fast - if you have kids, pets, etc. or walk around the neighborhood yourself, it sucks to see drivers rocketing down your street at 45 mph.
Dan Abendschein (Editor) October 24, 2011 at 05:58 PM
Lisa, where are these beautiful places that are specifically designed for bike rides? I don't know of any alternative to using local streets if I want to bike, unless I am going mountain biking. In addition, people do use bikes to get to work... it's a common fallacy that road biking is just for elite sporty types. I commuted to work on a bike for about two years, and I still use it to get to the class I teach at Pasadena City College.
Lisa Maiorana October 24, 2011 at 06:05 PM
@ Dan - I hear you, I really do. However, to the contrary my experience has only been w/negative bikers for the most part. To answer your other question: http://www.trails.com/city-trails.aspx?keyword=Pasadena&state=CA; http://www.trailsource.com/scripts/trails.asp?CITY=Pasadena&STATE=California+-+Southern&TYPE=BIKE&CITYID=162; http://www.altadenatrails.org/
Laura Monteros October 24, 2011 at 06:15 PM
Well, I have to say that all these discussions seem to be doing some practical good. On Saturday, I was driving east on Altadena--one of the worst streets for cyclists riding side-by-side--and I saw two cyclists. On hearing my car approaching, one pulled in front of the other so they were riding single file (as they are supposed to). I waved, and hopefully they realized that was a gesture of thanks. I've also noticed more cyclists being careful to stop at controlled intersections. I think the fundamental concern of both drivers and cyclists is to avoid accidents. I don't want to kill or maim someone with my car--which is why it may seem like I am driving overly defensively--and cyclists don't want to be killed or maimed. That's why it's important that we all obey the traffic laws and use common sense and courtesy.
navigio October 24, 2011 at 06:17 PM
yes, a lot of 'calming' is intentional disincentive. the circles on los robles (and the additional stop lights in san marino) are perfect examples imho. its hard to argue with people who live on that street since it used to be a quiet residential street and is lined with houses close to the road all the way down to huntington. now its basically a slow freeway for a few hours every day (and used to be even worse before those measures imho). (btw, that is a street where virtually zero cars fully stop at stop signs, in case anyone cares) btw, dan, why do you say it 'failed'? the other streets in the area were used as normal traffic flow off of a freeway even though there is essentially a 6 lane highway intended to deal with that flow only a couple blocks away. i dont know that total freedom (i would have said 'true' but that would have been confusing.. ;-) ) in how people are allowed to drive is the way to reach a more happy and efficient society...
Dan Abendschein (Editor) October 24, 2011 at 06:21 PM
And I will say, I ran into a very discourteous biker while driving myself the other day... he was coming up on my right 10-15 feet behind me while I was stopped at the corner of Allen and Mendocino. I began to turn right, as it was his obligation to stop at the sign before going through the intersection. As I turned right, he tried to bike out around me as if I was the jerk for not letting him run through the intersection. To make a point, I did not let him. So yes, I concede there are some jerks out there on bikes, just like I've also encountered screaming jerk drivers like in True Freedom's story above.
Steve Lamb October 24, 2011 at 06:26 PM
Dan- while I think rude cyclists who seem to believe they always have the right of way are annoying and a discredit to the corps, what you did was dangerous. It could have resulted in an injured cyclist, a dented car and far worse than any of those, time spent with lawyers!
Steve Lamb October 24, 2011 at 06:31 PM
There are all kinds of crazy cyclist behaviors. I try to avoid them all when I ride. And sure some automobilists are homicidal maniacs, one encounters them often on foot, by bike and in the auto. This is why in the main cyclists and automobiles belong apart on grade separated roadways as they are in Asia , Latin America, Europe and the cities in Africa. And please don't respond that we are too broke. Are we more broke that Kenya? Really?
Dan Abendschein (Editor) October 24, 2011 at 06:31 PM
Yes, that would have been bad, but believe me, it was not dangerous. The biker had already slowed down. He had stopped as I was turning and was actively trying to bike around me as I slowly pulled out in front of him. It was a very slow speed maneuver... definitely not reckless. The cyclist was annoyed with me, but not feeling endangered.
True Freedom October 24, 2011 at 06:36 PM
Where in Altadena would you put grade separated bike lanes? How would this impact current street parking or access to driveways and parking lots?
Lisa Maiorana October 24, 2011 at 06:39 PM
I'd like to see everyone get up off their " " 's & do that! Until we REALLY have the need for that - that will never happen because people in general are too lazy to do anything like ride their bikes to work and back. In L.A., for sure!
Steve Lamb October 24, 2011 at 06:47 PM
TF- the present County plan calls for eliminating parking ect but keeping cycles at grade in a painted off line. This will impact traffic, parking and egress as much as any grade seperated lane would without providing any safety at all. In the Netherlands, Singapore, Berlin, Finland and so on they have between three and four inches of curbing and a raised lane. Of course they also have streetcars and a planning process that looks at things other than campaign donations and profits tot he developer 18 months out, so we are comparing apples to kumquats, I realize. I would not put any dedicated separated bike lane of any kind on any primarily R-1 street as grade separated or a paint line like the County envisions, its just not going to work, As you correctly point out there are too many openings through driveways that demand use. Altadena really needs a single purpose recreational bicycle lane in the foothills above town and some "mountainbike" racer type bike roadways too... I don't know that there is a reasonable area to locate a bike lane in Altadena, because where you could do that in a european city, along a east west commercial street like Woodbury, you have a mix of uses and again tooo many parking entries
Steve Lamb October 24, 2011 at 06:49 PM
You cant just plop a bicycle lane down on top of a bunch of other stuff and say "See there we did it" it has to be a part of a well thought out whole and I don't think LA County has the planning staff for that, nor the political will nor the educated populace, nor developers who can think in terms of developing along the lines of long term benefit.
Steve Lamb October 24, 2011 at 06:51 PM
A bicycle lane is a excellent example of one of Louis Sullivan's forgotten Architectural dicta "The next thing is demanded by every change, everything calls out for another, making all things one is the only way to design success."
True Freedom October 24, 2011 at 09:15 PM
@Steve: also, from the correct formula, you will see that if you cut your car driving speed in half, you'll carry one fourth the amount on kinetic energy.. which will give much less potential to cause damage. So, take some lead out of the foot and put it back in your head where it originated :)
Adam October 25, 2011 at 06:49 AM
I think most cyclists have experienced physical intimidation and verbal assaults, but this sounds to me like honest to goodness hit and run. Did you get a license plate? This guy needs to be stopped before he hurts somebody, if he hasn't already.
Dan Abendschein (Editor) October 25, 2011 at 03:51 PM
Adam has a point. If you do have a description of the guy's car it would be worth filing a police report.
True Freedom October 25, 2011 at 04:55 PM
I have a picture on my iPhone of him, his van, and his plates... and him parked in a fire zone :) One of my son's classmates dad is a PPD officer. I'll talk to him at school tomorrow and see what he thinks about filing a report...
Lisa Hastings October 26, 2011 at 04:35 AM
The streets are not safe for cyclists or pedestrians. I have witnessed three accidents in the past few years where vehicles have struck pedestrians in crosswalks and where the vehicle had the red light. Every day I walk I almost get hit by a car--in a crosswalk where the vehicle has the red light or a stop sign. No kidding. And on top of that these rude drivers curse at me! So no bike lane is going to protect cyclists. The problem is cars rule the road and most drivers are in such a rush and too focused on themselves to care about others. The problem is how to change their bad attitude. Traffic circles are dangerous. They obstruct the driver's view. I have almost gotten into an accident several times at the one at the intersection of Glenarm and Oak Knoll in Pasadena because I did not see another car coming around the circle.
navigio October 26, 2011 at 03:27 PM
hi lisa. i think part of the intent of signage and striping are to make the fact that bikes are allowed to be there more obvious. for some people this wont change their attitudes (i still know drivers who havent accepted stop signs as a concept), but i expect for some it will. bike lanes also keep cars more to the left than they'd otherwise drive. i agree with steve in the fact that it is dismaying that cities can implement such minor changes and 'feel good that they've implemented a bicycle plan', but i do think in many cases those things are better than nothing. traffic circles are more efficient and i believe safer than traditional intersections once people understand how to use them (and it does take some getting use to). at a traditional intersection it is possible for a car coming from 3 different direction to cross your path. In a traffic circle this is reduced to one. that alone reduces the potential conflicts.
Lisa Maiorana October 26, 2011 at 04:04 PM
I agree w/Lisa (wow, did I just say that, lol). I understand that being a pedestrian w/children can be very dangerous as well. I really don't like to cross the local streets around town with my children because of the cars that do not slow down, etc. So, that takes my business elsewhere where it's not so crazy and I don't have to cross as many streets. Each side has their issues and good points. In comes down to basic respect for everyone really ;)
Laura Monteros October 26, 2011 at 04:16 PM
RE TF's comment just below: We don't even have sidewalks for kids to walk to school safely! I would think that would take priority over bike lanes. But since people are so used to having gardens go all the way to the curb, they wouldn't be happy with either one.
Laura Monteros October 26, 2011 at 04:18 PM
Dan, a similar thing happened to me, but in that case, the cyclist went INSIDE my turn--on the right, out of my blind spot--and if I hadn't stopped, I would have hit him. He didn't have time to stop, and he had no intention of honoring the sign.
Steve Gerow October 26, 2011 at 05:49 PM
The traffic circles in Pasadena like the one at Glenarm and Oak Knoll are not real traffic circles: they are too small and have stop signs. Traffic circles, properly done, are larger and do not have stop signs. For instance, the one at Lakewood Blvd and PCH in Long Beach.
navigio October 26, 2011 at 08:21 PM
yes, that is absolutely true. two of my favorites are the one around the champs elysee in paris and one around an old fort in the middle of milan. The former is one you can get stuck in the middle of and never make your way out. The latter is kind of like the indy 500, but in a fun sort of way. I agree those intersections are probably too small for a perfect circle. but they are on full-on residential streets. there is no reason for their size to play a role in their safety if people would act appropriately for the context. note that full sized buses are able to navigate those circles. re the stop signs, I expect that is merely because introducing two new concepts (both circles and yield signs at their entrances--actually in europe they have street markings that mean 'yield' so they dont even need those signs, we have no such indicator that people are actually familiar with) at the same time would have completely flummoxed people, whereas introducing just one flummoxes much fewer.. :-)
Steve Gerow October 26, 2011 at 10:00 PM
As I recall the circle on Glenarm blocks the view with a planter, bushes and a tree or two.
navigio October 27, 2011 at 05:14 AM
kind of. both of the circles on glenarm have two 'trees'. at los robles the diameter of those 'trees' is about 3 inches and 1 and a half inches. At el molino they are even skinnier. The post that holds the sign that its a traffic circle is probably more obscuring than those 'trees' are. The bushes are less than 2 feet tall and even then are set below curb level. When a car is driving around the circle, those bushes are not even tall enough to completely obscure the wheels of the car. i drive those circles all the time and there is no problem whatsoever seeing other cars. if there is any problem with them its their size, as that makes it difficult to tell when a car is going to continue the circle or exit it. In a larger circle the car will be coming more straight at you so you can see the blinker (or lack of one). But this is less of a problem given there are stop signs anyway. This, and the fact that the circle is small means the speed of the cars in the circle is much less than it might be in larger circles.


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