Lincoln Boulevard NB from Venice Boulevard to Ocean Park Boulevard (West L.A. & Santa Monica)
Yes, motorists drive fast in L.A. High speed limits encourage higher speeds here. A commercial street that would have a 25 mph speed limit in Berkeley or Oakland has a 35 or 45 mph speed limit in L.A. And it's a sprawling city with long distances and lots of motorists trying to be somewhere else quickly. And I don't see a lot of transportation cyclists in L.A. despite the year-round perfect weather for cycling.
And yet I've found since moving here last August that by being predicable (following the rules of the road for drivers), conspicuous, and communicative, I've had little difficulty integrating my cycling into L.A's. traffic.
To demonstrate this, here is a boring 6-minute video I shot from the rear of my bike today while cycling on Lincoln Boulevard from Venice Boulevard to Ocean Park Boulevard. This is probably one of the busiest streets on L.A.'s Westside, although not as busy on a Friday mid-afternoon as it is during morning or evening commute times.
I think the video's two major lessons are: (1) the typical L.A. motorist does not fly into road rage when they see a cyclist in front of them cycling near the center of the lane. Every month or so, I encounter a motorist who voices displeasure with his or her horn, but that's probably one motorist for every couple of thousand of motorists who pass me without incident; (2) my use of the full lane causes little if any real delay for motorists behind me. If traffic is relatively light, motorists can easily pass me in the left lane. If traffic is very heavy, we are all crawling along and the presence of a cyclist makes no difference.
Of course, Dan Gutierrez and Brian DeSousa showed this a long time ago with their pioneering dual-chase videos of cycling in SoCal traffic. But I believe most if not all of their videos were shot in Orange County and L.A. County outside of L.A. City. So it's nice to show that bicycle driving works fine in the City of the Angels, too.
05:24 Traffic released (including bus operator)