But it’s all right now, I learned my lesson well. You see, you can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself. — Rick Nelson, Garden Party
I really didn’t think I needed to explain this.
I mean, it seems pretty obvious. And I always assumed my readers have sufficient intelligence to grasp the concept.
Then again, you’re not the problem.
So let me make this as clear as possible. I am not a journalist.
I have never worked for a newspaper, magazine, TV or radio station. At least, not since I edited my high school newspaper back in the Dark Ages.
And when I attend a meeting, I’m there to participate, because I think I have something to add to the conversation. Not to sit there silently taking notes.
Don’t get me wrong. I admire journalists. I don’t believe our society or system of government could survive without their under-appreciated and under-paid efforts.
But that’s not what I do.
So anyone who accuses me of violating journalistic ethics might as well accuse me of violating the Hippocratic Oath. Because I’m not a physician, either. Or a hippo, for that matter.
And this is not a news site, even though I link to a few.
What it is, is my opinion.
I may relay news that other people have reported if I think it’s important. Or I may relate something from my own experience, or a story someone has sent me or that I found online to illustrate a larger point. I may even break a story every now and then, as I did last summer.
But always from my own perspective.
That’s not to say that I don’t have my own standards. I always strive to be honest on here and tell you the truth the best I can, as I understand it. I try never to indulge in personal attacks, tempting though it may be at times. I try to be objective, and give you both sides of an argument when I can. And I’ll often link to or write about pieces that challenge my own assumptions, even if I don’t necessarily agree with them.
And I try always, above all, to be fair.
Do I always succeed?
Of course not.
Just like I count on you to catch my mistakes. Show me where I got something wrong, and I’ll fix it. If we disagree, I’ll usually present your argument as well as mine. But never forget that what you’re reading here is my opinion.
Which brings up the other point I want to make today.
I recently became a board member for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. However, that does not mean that I speak for the members and staff of the LACBC, or for the board. Or that they dictate what I say on here.
No one put words in my mouth in the 19 months I wrote this blog before I joined the LACBC, though some tried. And no one has in the months since.
Then again, they don’t need to. The LACBC has a highly competent and effective staff, more than capable of speaking for themselves. So if I support something the group says or does — or that anyone else says or does, for that matter — it’s because it has value.
No more, no less.
And just to clarify, when I wrote about John Fisher recently, for which I was so viciously attacked, not one person within the LACBC contributed a single word or thought to the piece, or reviewed it before it went online. Neither the LACBC nor anyone else vets what I write on here in any way.
If you like it, I get the credit. If you don’t, the blame is mine and mine alone.
As for the other side of the coin, I am just one of several board members. I do not lead the board and I don’t speak for it. Nor do I want to — on either count — whether I’m writing on here or speaking in public.
Anyone who tries to say otherwise has absolutely no idea what they’re talking about, and not one iota of fact to base it on.
One more thing.
When I was first approached about joining the LACBC board, I was flattered. And not interested.
While I was impressed with the work Aurisha Smolarski, Allison Mannos and Dorothy Le were doing in fighting for the rights of cyclists in front of the City Council, I had been a semi-regular critic of the organization. And my overall impression of it wasn’t always that favorable.
I was wrong.
As I investigated further, I found an organization committed to meeting the needs of a widely diverse community of cyclists, and making the streets safer for riders of all types. As well as one of the most dedicated and talented staffs, both employees and volunteers, that I’ve encountered in any organization.
And trust me, I’ve encountered a lot of organizations.
But what won me over was when board president Chet Kostrzewa said he considered critics such as myself to be the LACBC’s best friends, because they point out areas that need improvement. He also insisted that, board member or not, I continue to speak my own mind and push them to be a better and more effective organization.
And that I should continue to criticize the LACBC anytime I think it’s necessary.
So far, it hasn’t been.
If and when it is, I’ll let you know.
Interesting stats from London, where over 3,200 people were killed or seriously injured in traffic collisions in 2009 — and that’s an improvement. On the other hand, overall cyclist casualties were up 15%, and 76% of fatalities involved people outside of vehicles, such as cyclists, pedestrians and moped, scooter and motorcycle riders. And the city’s planned bike superhighways will get convex mirrors at intersections to help truck drivers spot cyclists.
Meanwhile, bike deaths in Scotland dropped by nearly half last year.
The Times uncovers the mystery behind the shrine to a dead father on the L.A. River Bike Path. Cyclist Joe Borfo calls for Project Civil Obedience at Friday’s LAPD accompanied Critical Mass. Council Member Tom LaBonge rides the new 4th Street sharrows Wednesday night — your chance to help LACBC lobby for the 4th Street Bike Boulevard. CicLAvia makes it into the latest draft of the city’s proposed bike plan; speaking of which, Oakland hosts Oaklavia this weekend. LADOT Bike Blog offers a great look at the LACBC’s City of Lights program. Texting while biking could soon be illegal. Cordova Street in Pasadena is going on a road diet. A proposed Santa Clara County ordinance threatens to end large group rides entirely. Caution: flying cyclists. Seattle gets its first buffered bike lanes; San Francisco is up next. An alleged drunk driver drags a Chicago bike cop over 30 feet during an attempted stop. A Cincinnati cyclist is killed by a driver who backs up and hits him again. One of the joys of biking is catching the jerks at the next red light. The good news is Tucson police were ticketing speeders; the bad news is, they were stopping them in the bike lane. Good reason to wear a helmet — that could have been his head. Two cyclists save a stranger from armed robbery. Pro cyclist Kim Kirchen emerges from his coma following his heart attack during the Tour of Switzerland, while Bike Radar looks at the upcoming Tour de France. A five-time British Olympic rower is seriously injured in a fall near the end of RAAM. A cyclist dies on Europe’s largest charity bike ride; evidently, so does a marriage. After getting hit by a car, a Canadian cyclist faces a fine for riding on the sidewalk. Your next bike could be a carbon/bamboo singlespeed fixie.
Finally, hats off to former LAPD Officer Kristina Ripatti-Pearce, paralyzed from the chest down in an on-duty shooting in 2006, who finished the RAAM ultra-endurance race on Monday along with the other members of her relay team.