I didn’t have a thing to do with the recent incident in which a cyclist was hit by a Metro bus and Metro appeared to go into damage control mode.
I didn’t ride to Metro headquarters to protest. I didn’t make a single call. In fact, I wouldn’t even have known about it if Stephen Box hadn’t written about it. Does that make me a bad bike activist?
Evidently, some people think so.
I received an email recently taking me to task for just such a perceived failure, in which I had left a long-forgotten comment on a Streetsblog post last year suggesting that a rider contact the then-LAPD point person for the cycling community. Apparently, what I should have done, as this person saw it, was drop everything and march down to police headquarters to demand a full investigation.
That, the writer pointed out, is what Stephen would have done, as evidenced by the days and nights he put in at Metro headquarters arguing the cause of the afore-mentioned cyclist. And fighting for a resolution that would have ensured a different result from this day forward.
I’m the first to admit I’m no Stephen Box.
Then again, I never claimed to be.
What he does is, simply put, amazing. With the possible exception of L.A. Creek Freak and C.I.C.L.E. meister Joe Linton, no one has done more to represent riders or change the face of cycling in this city.
But it’s not what I do. And quite frankly, not what I want to do.
Does that mean that I don’t have anything to contribute? Of course not.
I used to feel bad that I couldn’t spend more time on the front lines of the bicycling movement. But as Alex Thompson pointed out awhile back, during the French Revolution, some people manned the barricades while others wrote the pamphlets justifying their cause and calling the sans-culottes to arms.
And both, he said, played a vital role in the revolution.
I can live with that.
I write a blog. When time allows or various issues demand, I also attend meetings of the City Council, the Transportation Committee, the LAPD Bike Task Force, the Bicycle Advisory Committee — though that last one has, unfortunately, fallen by the wayside lately.
More meetings than I have time for, actually. If you don’t believe me, just ask my wife.
Then there was my recent decision to join the board of the LACBC, not because I agree with everything they’ve done in the past, but because I like the direction they’ve been moving over the past few years. And they convinced me that they’re sincere in wanting to become a more politically active organization, and reclaim the lead role in making L.A. a more bike-friendly city — even if we have to drag it there kicking and screaming every inch of the way.
I can live with that, too.
It’s not just me, either. There are countless people, here in L.A., throughout this state and around the country who do as much, or more, than I do. Sometimes a lot more.
There are also those who do less. But they still often find themselves doing as much, or more, than they can legitimately justify to advance the cause of cycling. And they have as much to contribute as anyone else.
And that’s the point of all this.
Because it’s not what I do, or what Stephen does, or Alex, or Joe, or the LACBC, BAC or C.I.C.L.E. Or any other single person, group or organization.
It’s what all of us, working together or separately in a thousand different directions, can do to make the streets safer and more hospitable for cyclists everywhere. Even if all you do is ride a bike when you could have gone another way.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a racer, a recreational rider or a commuter, whether you ride a bakfiet, a mountain bike, a path racer, a singlespeed, beach cruiser or a carbon fiber miracle of modern science.
We all have a part to play, in our own way.
And the only way we’ll ever fail is if we start working against each other, instead of together.
Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it. — Mohandas K. Gandhi
The map of the day could save your life, or at least help make things a little safer around here. When a guy hoots at a girl on a bike, how exactly does he want her to react? (And yes, this a new blog I’ll be watching.) A visit to the new Long Beach bike co-op. A new bike builder rolls out in the City by the Bay. San Diego’s killer bike lane is scheduled for resurfacing. This ain’t no tour — four women will ride from Oceanside to Durango, CO. Trek sponsors their new C3 Project freeride and slopestyle team. Parking perpendicular on a bike lane, and the police don’t care. Great story about an 87-year old 21-speed riding Denver cyclist. New Jersey moves to protect pedestrians from drivers, now if they’ll just protect cyclists from deer. A Mississippi town considers a mandatory helmet law. In a bit of good news, the cycling professor critically injured in my home town is improving. Proposing a weekly bring a friend along on your bike commute day. A Colorado cyclist is injured by a hit-and-run Acord; not the car, the driver. Sixty days for killing a cyclist and fleeing the scene in Kansas. Drivers who look but don’t see; boy, do I know that story. Why don’t more women ride? Ontario children will benefit from the Toronto bike dealer who stocked his inventory by stealing bikes — and wants them back. A British woman apologizes after she’s hit by a cyclist on the sidewalk.
Finally, LAist talks with the Department of DIY, the group behind the city’s most effective bike signage campaign in, like, ever. And rumor has it there’s more to come.