A popular complaint from the Bike Lane Opposition is that First Responders will be hampered by stripes in the roadway used to create bike lanes. This claim has been championed by Highland Park resident and bike lane opponent, Hart D. Fisher who makes it a point to shout at the Neighborhood Council meetings that, “LAFD No. 12 is opposed to bike lanes on Figueroa Street.” While such claims always seemed dubious, the Eagle Rock Patch now confirms that in fact, “The Los Angeles Fire Department has ‘no concerns’ about the transformation of auto traffic lanes to bicycle passageways.”
According to the article, Tim Fremaux, from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, has been in contact with LAFD’s Captain Luke Milick, who oversees LAFD’s Hydrant and Access Unit. Captain Milick is responsible with making sure that fire apparatuses are not impaired with access on roadways due to construction or obstruction. (E.g., Prohibiting parking of cars on narrow Mount Washington roads during Red Flag Alerts.) To quote directly from Patch:
“’Captain Milick has no concerns associated with re-striping of roadways to include bike lanes, regardless of whether these projects involve removing traffic lanes,’ Fremaux wrote in his e-mail.”
And why would they be concerned? The well-trained personnel of the Los Angeles Fire Department know how to navigate across road stripes and around traffic. If anything, the bike lanes will add more space for First Responders to navigate. In emergencies, cyclists are especially capable of getting off the street and onto the sidewalk, while drivers can pull over into the bike lanes to free up space for emergency vehicles to use. The important thing is that we all remember to Pull To The Right.