If you've spent any amount of time biking in Los Angeles, this will probably sound familliar: You're cruising in a bike lane up toward an intersection, and all of a sudden, the bike is gone. In its place are cars trying to make a right turn, and you're stuck trying to squeeze in between them in order to make your way back to the bike lane, which resumes several hundred feet ahead on the other side of the right turn lane.
It looks like this:
It goes without saying that this situation is extremely dangerous. But it doesn't have to be! The only thing that makes it dangerous is the fact that during the brief period where cars and bicycles cross paths, neither knows where the other is supposed to be! Fortunately, there's a very simple way of addressing this problem that can have a dramatic effect on safety: bicycle through lanes.
Just a little bit of paint is all it takes to make it very obvious that as a driver making a right turn, you're about to cross the path of a cyclist. It's a dead simple, dirt-cheap solution that requires almost nothing to implement.
So why doesn't LADOT use these types of markings? Because the manual doesn't say to do it that way.
Let's update the manual. Tell Caltrans we want safer design guidelines like the ones recommended by NACTO