I tweet therefore I am, Streetsblog parties and the Mayor says Give Me 3

Today I finally enter the Twitter age, only a few years after everyone else on the planet.

I’d been reluctant to add yet another demand on an already overcrowded schedule. But my friend GT — who writes eloquently about struggling to complete his first major climb after his recent heart attack — talked me into it to make it easier to keep you up with new content and breaking news.

So you can now follow me @bikinginla. And I’m now taking suggestions on who I should follow.

And in case you’ve missed it, there’s an interesting — and decidedly in-depth — discussion about helmet use going on at the Survival Tactics page.

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Don’t miss tonight’s Streetsblog LA Re-Launch Fundraiser and Party, complete with silent auction courtesy of Green LA Girl. And set your browser for tomorrow’s official re-launch of the city’s leading — and most important — transportation news site. I have other commitments this evening, but will make a brief appearance before the night is over.

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L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa continues his surprising support for safe cycling.

L.A. cycling’s new BFF continues to support the biking community.

Yesterday, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa held a press conference to announce the winner of the recent contest to create a slogan for bike safety campaign — something that was in the works long before what London’s Guardian newspaper called his Road-to-Damascus conversion to cycling evangelist.

The Mayor autographs the Give Me 3 poster.

The contest, and resulting poster, were the result of a joint effort between the LACBC, Midnight Ridazz, LADOT and the LAPD, as well as the Mayor’s office.

Yes, that’s just as strange a coalition as it sounds. And one that would have been unimaginable just a year earlier.

The winning slogan, “Give Me 3,” was submitted by cyclist Danny Gamboa, and the poster was designed by L.A. based cyclist and graphic artist Geoff McFetridge.

The poster was also signed by many of the people who worked to make it happen.

According to the Mayor,

“California law currently requires drivers to give a ‘safe passing’ distance, but drivers may not know what safe means. Three feet is a safe passing distance and will help keep bicyclists out of the door zone.”

While the new campaign merely encourages drivers to give a minimum three feet distance when passing bike riders, Villaraigosa promised to work with cyclists and the state legislature to pass a state-wide three-foot passing law. A previous attempt to pass the law in 2006 failed to get out of committee after opposition from the trucking industry and the California Highway Patrol.

Who ever thought we'd see the Mayor flanked by cyclists and their bikes?

The website Three Feet Please says 15 states and the District of Columbia have passed three-foot laws, along with four cities — Austin and San Antonio Texas, Boise Idaho and Tupelo Mississippi. In fact, Mississippi recently became the latest to mandate a minimum three feet.

If they can manage to give cyclists a full yard on the narrow roads of the deep south, California drivers shouldn’t have any problem.

A phalanx of bikes storm the steps of power.

Villaraigosa also made a point of encouraging cyclists to wear a helmet, but did not mention his previous threat call for a mandatory helmet law. The event was followed by filming of a pair of PSA spots featuring the Mayor that will encourage safe driving and helmet use.

Other sites have already covered the press conference in greater detail, including the LACBC, LADOT Bike Blog, Streetsblog and the Mayor’s office; LADOT Bike Blog also offers a full listing of other coverage of the campaign.

A cross sections of cyclists sought shade while waiting to film the PSA.

It will be interesting to see what effect the Give Me 3 campaign will have on the streets of L.A.

In my experience, most drivers already pass at a safe distance, so the question is what influence it will have on the minority of drivers buzz cyclists — intentionally or not.

Or if they’ll only give a safe distance to riders who look like Gumby.

As I rode home, I spotted this poster just blocks from City Hall.

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People for Bikes reaches 50,000 pledges to support cycling in the U.S.; if you haven’t signed up yet, you can do it here. I signed up a few months back.

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Complaints surface about LADOT’s tendency to make infrastructure changes without public notice. Ten things to do at CicLAvia. Gary takes Agensys to task fighting a much needed biking link through Santa Monica. Glee’s Lea Michele rides a lavender cruiser through the streets of L.A. Headphones are legal while riding in most states, though California limits it to one ear only; then again, your choice of music could affect your performance. Rabobank, sponsor of one of the leading pro cycling teams, positions itself for next year’s Tour of California; thanks to George Wolfberg for the link. After receiving 110 units of blood to save his own life, a former CA police officer rides 4,000 miles across the country to thank blood donors; meanwhile, a Brit cyclist rides 3400 miles less across the U.S. to fight cancer; then again, she’s only seven years old. A Tucson bike-grabbing road grate gets a quick fix. If you get run over while talking on a cell phone while riding in Arizona, the courts could rule that distracted riding is relevant to your case. A Portland bike lane gets the Mario Kart treatment from the Department of DIY. A look at Dora Rinehart, the greatest female cyclist of the 1890s; from Colorado, of course. If you want to do a little climbing this weekend, how about 24.5 miles — and 7,700 vertical feet — up Pikes Peak? Somehow, a Kansas State student can get all the way to college, and still think that riding a bike in the street is annoying, rude and has to stop, regardless of what the law says. It takes real food, not energy bars, to get you through the long rides. British police crack down on anti-social cyclists — that sounds so much scarier than scofflaws, doesn’t it? UK authorities are set to reject a call to reduce the BAC limit from .80 to .50. How to adjust your front and rear derailleurs. Racer Rosa Bicycles strives to be cleaner and greener than the rest. Eleven months and 23,000 kilometers of riding across Africa. A New Zealand driver admits to falling asleep and killing a cyclist on Easter Sunday.

Finally, he’s doing it on two feet instead of two wheels, but a tenacious walker is about to finish a remarkable stroll from Rockaway Beach, NY to Rockaway Beach, OR; thanks to Brent for the heads-up.

6 comments

  1. Glad to see you on Twitter. Like anyone doesn’t know, you can follow me at danceralamode. Anyways…here’s my comment from the stupid kid’s article in the Kansas State newspaper:
    “You should do some research. Roads were actually originally built for cyclists. More than 100 years ago, before there were cars, there were bicycles, and it was cyclists who pushed for the network of roads that you drive on today. Furthermore, if you wake up too late to get to school on time by obeying the speed limit and the rules of the road, which means sharing the road with other road users–cars and cyclists alike–then that’s your issue, and you don’t have the right to take it out on other road users. Your whole article reeks of an immature kid who doesn’t understand that he’s not entitled to the road.

    Furthermore, when it comes to taxes and who pays for roads and bike paths–do some research. You have no clue what you’re talking about. As usual, you’re a motorist who has made up some statistics and laws in his head and has no idea what he’s talking about other than to spew some completely unsupported road rage.”

    I thought I would be the only one calling him out on his entitled immaturity, but I don’t think I saw one comment agreeing with him as I perused the comments this morning. Everyone called him out on being immature and a bad driver.

  2. [...] Biking in LA has coverage, including coverage of our coverage.  We better be careful, or it’ll be like looking into two mirrors… [...]

  3. Digital Dame says:

    Apparently I will be the last Twitter hold-out, like the Omega Man…erm…Woman. I’ll be interested to hear how you like it, and if you think it’s worthwhile.

  4. Richard says:

    I agree that most people do give enough room when passing. But when one person in a line of traffic moves to close many more will follow suit and get to close. This commonly happens on narrow roads. There is already a law for unsafe passing and to my knowledge the police don’t enforce it. I do agree with posting signs to remind the public to think about what they are doing.
    I believe the local paper got absence of intelligence confused with absence of malice.
    danceralamode: I agree with your comments about this individual. The unfortunate thing about this rant is that somebody reading it may act out toward some unsuspecting bicyclist after reading this bigots comments.

  5. gtinla says:

    Great to have you on twitter – as to your question: who should I follow?
    I would suggest to follow as many people as possible which are meaningful to you. The power of twitter is the ability to broadcast information quickly, i.e. now that I follow your twitter streams I will re tweet relevant information to my followers, some of them will do the same and so on…ultimately your message will reach a much broader audience than just blog subscribers. Oh, yes, thank you for a great blog!!!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Twitter Trackbacks…

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