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How Safe is PCH?

Old 07-15-12, 04:15 PM
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How Safe is PCH?

I've never ridden on PCH before, but I was considering doing a ride this Saturday that would have me on there for a while. How safe (or unsafe) is it to ride on PCH by myself in the morning between Santa Monica and Western Malibu?
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Old 07-15-12, 08:11 PM
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I ride in the Santa Monica Mountains by preference, but there are times when I'm in the mood for a road ride. I'll head north on PCH early in the morning on weekends and holidays, and it's a good ride. Most of the way the shoulder is wide enough for bikes to be completely clear of the traffic lane, northbound. There's a short stretch where some construction has the shoulder closed, roughly 500 feet.

Southbound is different. There are more cars parked beside the road, and more driveways. Still, there's usually room to stay out of the traffic lane. Around Sunset Boulevard you'll need to be careful of surfers parking and unloading their gear. You can get through the guard rail at the crosswalk marked by flashing beacons, and ride in the parking lot to where the bike path begins. I highly recommend not riding PCH south of Temescal Canyon because it's three lanes with no room for bikes, and the traffic is fast. The bike path has its own hazards on weekends, but I think it's preferable. If you want to get off that, there's a tunnel under PCH at Entrada, and you can ride up the hill into Santa Monica and use one of the side streets; I often use 4th to go south.
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Old 07-15-12, 08:24 PM
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I was always scared of PCH until a biking buddy lead the way. Now it is one of my favorite rides, and is the gateway to all of the challeninging climbs that run from the coast.

However, I won't ride on PCH until after Temescal Canyon, going towards Malibu. No shoulder, cars go way too fast, and there is no escape route. I ride the bike path and then get on PCH at Temescal. There is enough of a shoulder after Temescal to give some cushion, but there are still some sketchy spots. After Pepperdine PCH gets less busy with wider shoulders.

Coming back, the cars parked outside of the beachside houses, or at the beach, can create some problems, either with opening doors or blocking the lane.

Groups of riders will congregate at Temescal waiting for the light to cross PCH and head north/west. Consider latching on to a group, or find a club ride headed in that direction, for the first go.

But, in my opinion, PCH is not much different than riding on any other busy road. Pay attention to what you are doing,
be aware of what is going on around you, and enjoy the view.
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Old 07-15-12, 08:58 PM
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Thank you for the advice! I'll try to latch onto a group or maybe I'll bring a buddy.
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Old 07-16-12, 04:47 PM
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A young women died on PCH last week while cycling near Entrada Drive. Just like any road, it can be safe, but there are fatalities on it.

https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2012/...bike-rider-29/

Last edited by weshigh; 07-16-12 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 07-16-12, 05:11 PM
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I just went to the Getty Villa a few weeks back and noticed that the cycling lane is kinda not there between Santa Monica and the Villa. I did see a few cyclists, but I'll advise that you use the beach trail instead of the PCH in that area.
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Old 07-16-12, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by weshigh
A young women died on PCH last week while cycling near Entrada Drive. Just like any road, it can be safe, but there are fatalities on it.

https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2012/...bike-rider-29/
The accident happened south of Temescal. I wholeheartedly agree with previous comments that you shouldn't ride PCH South of Temescal. I ride North of Temescal at least once a week and have never felt unsafe. Also agree that key area to be on your toes is southbound from Sunset where you need to be aware of surfers and car doors. Surfers sometimes swing their boards into the bikelane.
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Old 07-27-12, 02:57 PM
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PCH seems to take one cyclist per year, on the average.
An alternate to the beach path for south of Temescal is to take 7th St in SM. Its north end winds around to PCH via W. Channel Rd.
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Old 07-27-12, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by peckma
...in my opinion, PCH is not much different than riding on any other busy road. Pay attention to what you are doing,
be aware of what is going on around you, and enjoy the view.
Exactly. I ride on PCH all the time (Ventura county to L.A. County) and it is safe as any other similar road...as long as you pay attention.

But, IF I am going to get killed while riding my bike, I want it to be on PCH, while near my beloved Pacific Ocean.
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Old 07-27-12, 05:42 PM
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A group of about 12-15 riders riding from Pepperdine to Oxnard then back. About 75 miles round trip. Feel free to join us if you like. We are planning to meet at Malibu Bluffs Park around 7am then roll 7:30am sharp.
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Old 07-27-12, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by HollywoodG
A group of about 12-15 riders riding from Pepperdine to Oxnard then back. About 75 miles round trip. Feel free to join us if you like. We are planning to meet at Malibu Bluffs Park around 7am then roll 7:30am sharp.
That's an excellent ride, I usually do it in reverse, frpm Point Mugu to Pepperdine and back. With a quick pit stop at Neptune's Net.
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Old 07-27-12, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by HollywoodG
A group of about 12-15 riders riding from Pepperdine to Oxnard then back. About 75 miles round trip. Feel free to join us if you like. We are planning to meet at Malibu Bluffs Park around 7am then roll 7:30am sharp.
What an awesome ride! If I hadn't planned on GMR/GRR tomorrow... Does your group do this often?
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Old 07-28-12, 04:23 AM
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I ride PCH, but in the OC area. I pass by this ghost bike 3 times a week.



Be safe. Unfortunately that wasn't enough for him. The driver was drunk at 11am.
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Old 07-30-12, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by HollywoodG
A group of about 12-15 riders riding from Pepperdine to Oxnard then back. About 75 miles round trip. Feel free to join us if you like. We are planning to meet at Malibu Bluffs Park around 7am then roll 7:30am sharp.
How was the ride? I am sure that I passed you guys going in the opposite direction.
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Old 07-30-12, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by eja_ bottecchia
How was the ride? I am sure that I passed you guys going in the opposite direction.
It was a nice ride. Weather was much better for cycling than in San Fernando Valley where most of us are from. We left Malibu Bluff Park closer to 8am. The sun was already peeking through the marine clouds. We made a quick stop at Neptune's Net to regroup (1 rider got a flat tire 10-12 miles into the ride). There were a few road construction along the way, but nothing made our ride un-safe. After riding for another 11-12 miles, we made another quick stop at Point Mugu Naval Base to regroup and took the opportunity to take some photos with old military planes on display along the road (see photo below). We rode for another 10 miles to Hueneme Beach Park where we had lunch. After lunch, we decided to keep going north to Channel Islands for another 5 miles. After a quick group photo, we headed back to Malibu. Total miles = 75, average speed = 15, hours = 5.

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Old 07-30-12, 01:39 PM
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The problem with PCH is that it ISN'T like any other busy road, in that it's the connector for every beach in Socal and attracts people/drivers who don't live in the area(s).

3 cyclists killed on PCH in the last 6 weeks. Summer is not a good time for cyclists on this road...
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Old 08-06-12, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by HollywoodG
It was a nice ride. Weather was much better for cycling than in San Fernando Valley where most of us are from. We left Malibu Bluff Park closer to 8am. The sun was already peeking through the marine clouds. We made a quick stop at Neptune's Net to regroup (1 rider got a flat tire 10-12 miles into the ride). There were a few road construction along the way, but nothing made our ride un-safe. After riding for another 11-12 miles, we made another quick stop at Point Mugu Naval Base to regroup and took the opportunity to take some photos with old military planes on display along the road (see photo below). We rode for another 10 miles to Hueneme Beach Park where we had lunch. After lunch, we decided to keep going north to Channel Islands for another 5 miles. After a quick group photo, we headed back to Malibu. Total miles = 75, average speed = 15, hours = 5.

I am sorry I missed that.

Please announce it next time you do it.

And I am pretty sure that I passed your group going the opposite way.
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