Welcome to the dawn of a new day for L.A. cyclists. Or not.

This could be one of the biggest days in L.A. bicycling. Or just a colossal waste of time.

Monday morning, L.A. cycling’s new BFF, L.A. Mayor Antonio “Bionic Elbow” Villaraigosa, is hosting his quickly arranged Bike Summit at Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza.

In just a few short weeks, Villaraigosa has gone from barely mentioning the word bicycle, to actually riding — and falling off — one. And now, according to a story by the Associated Press, he’s become a newly minted advocate of bike safety and cyclists’ rights.

Villaraigosa says the city needs to invest in bicycling infrastructure and focus on traffic safety enforcement to make streets safer for cyclists.

“We also have to have a cultural paradigm shift,” Villaraigosa said in an interview with The Associated Press. “We have to recognize that even in the car capital of America, drivers have to share the road.”

The real test, tough, will be what happens in the Metro Board Room on Monday and in the weeks and months that follow.

Hopefully, the Mayor will seize the opportunity to begin a real engagement with the cycling community, show some genuine leadership and start a two-way conversation that will benefit both bicyclists and the community at large.

Or he could turn it into just another press event, pop in to make a brief statement and get his picture taken with cyclists, then duck out to deal with some “unanticipated crisis” or another.

One approach will win him a lot of new friends, yours truly included. And finally set this car-clogged city on a path towards complete streets and greater livability.

The other will leave a roomful of very angry people demanding an end to the sort of lip service that has too long been employed to buy us off for yet another few years.

Because we’re not going to settle for that any more.

Villaraigosa didn’t ask to be cut off by a careless cab driver, making him the unintended poster boy for everything that’s wrong with L.A. bicycling, and giving him a bully pulpit to push for change on our streets.

But it happened, he is and he does.

The question is, what is he going to do with it?

Larry Mantle’s AirTalk program may host a discussion of the Bike Summit after the 11 am conclusion of the Summit on 89.3 KPCC if they can make the necessary arrangements.

………

Wilbur goes on a road diet, and gets bike lanes — along with the long-promised lanes on Reseda Blvd. Finding a faux fur bike on Abbot Kinney. Bicyle Fixation challenges L.A. to sign up for the future of wayfinding. San Francisco challenges Portland and Long Beach to a bike-friendly smackdown. The Times looks at the Black Hawk Co bike ban, where gambling tour buses own the roads and bikes are banished; Chewie offers the city manager’s email address for anyone who wants to weigh in and threaten to do your gambling elsewhere. After Lance pulls out, Levi Leipheimer sets a new record in winning the Leadville 100 mountain bike race. Rolling in the vanguard of the vast bicycle conspiracy. A North Carolina newspaper says danger lurks at every turn, and never ride at night; a Michigan lawyer offers much better advice. Bicyclists have to obey the law too, but we can’t control other riders who break it. Then there’s the Alabama driver who says cyclists are the real danger on the road; yeah, we’re the ones who kill nearly 40,000 people every year. A cyclist says helmets aren’t the key to safety, drivers are; a New Zealand study shows head injuries dropped before the mandatory helmet law went into effect. Riding the Continental Divide from Alaska to Argentina, and waking up to guns more than once. Jan Ullrich withdraws from public life, but not because he lost a court case over the Operacion Puerto doping scandal. Purple Harry’s eco-friendly bike floss. A Toronto cyclist dies a month after a solo helmetless collision. Britain’s Cambridge United Football Club installs bike parking to encourage fans to ride to the matches.

Finally, a Brit cyclist moves to a new town and finds himself on trial for riding naked, something his old neighbors evidently didn’t object to, though his ex did.

4 comments

  1. urbanreason says:

    Very interested to see how this goes! Will be looking forward to your full report. I would be there – but you know… work.

    • bikinginla says:

      Understood. I think that’s precisely why they scheduled it for a Monday morning — call it crowd control.

  2. Eric B says:

    Thank you Ted for catching Larry Mantle on his “consequences are greater for bicyclists” schtick. His windshield and beach path perspective is just not informed for a discussion of urban cycling.

    • bikinginla says:

      I think Larry’s actually okay. Like many drivers, he does tend to look at things through a windshield perspective, but unlike many in his profession, he actually listens and considers other perspectives. And he does have a point about cyclists running red lights and stop signs when someone else has the right-of-way; not very smart.

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