Stop complaining and join something, already

Writing for Orange 20 Bikes, Richard Risemberg of Bicycle Fixation observes that while surrounding cities are throwing down bike love, L.A. has meetings…and more meetings.

There’s no excuse. Size doesn’t matter: New York and Chicago, the cities that bracket us in size, are going great guns on bike infrastructure, and they also have the issues of budget constraints, poverty, diversity, and a multiplicity of languages and culture that LA officials have used to excuse our slow crawl towards a Bicycle Millennium.

Don’t get me wrong; there’s a lot of great work being done for cycling in LA. I wrote it up last year. But most of it’s being done by NGOs such as the LACBC, CICLE, and so forth. LA’s government seems to be in a reactive mode. And that isn’t the way to get things done very quickly.

Still, it’s what we have. This means that making Los Angeles a true bicycling city is up to us for now.

Yeah, that means you too. Look up those organizations linked to in the previous sentence and lend a hand. The more of us are involved, the louder will be our voices (and our votes). Eventually they’ll have to listen.

He’s right.

It’s up to us. And there’s strength in numbers. It’s not enough to ride your bike and bitch about how bad things are here. You need to get involved.

The sad fact is, if you combined the total membership of every bike advocacy organization in the L.A. area, at most, maybe 10% of the cyclists who ride on a daily basis belong to one, based on the estimated number of riders in the new bike plan.

And that number drops to 2% or less of the people who ride on a monthly basis — many of whom would ride more often if there was sufficient infrastructure in place to make them feel safer on our streets.

So get involved.

Don’t wait. Don’t think about it.

If you don’t already belong to an advocacy organization, sign up today.

Join the LACBC. Join C.I.C.L.E. Join Bikeside. Join Santa Monica Spoke, the South Bay Bicycle Coalition, Long Beach Cyclists or any of the other local advocacy groups.

Make it an early New Years resolution to find one that supports your goals and interests.

But join something, now.

Because one voice is easily ignored. But together, the cycling community will have a powerful voice to shake the halls of government, here in L.A. and the surrounding SoCal communities, as well as in Sacramento and D.C.

And we haven’t even cleared out throat yet.

It’s time to be heard.

.………

A recall has been ordered for Full Speed Ahead BB30 Gossamer double crank sets; bikes affected include 2010 and 2010 models from Bianchi, Cannondale, Felt, Fuji, Quintana Roo, Litespeed, Raleigh and Scattante. The cranks affected are painted black with “Gossamer” in white lettering or white with “Gossamer” in black lettering, and have serial numbers beginning with 10B, 10C or 10D; injuries have been reported as a result of defective cranks.

.………

LAPD wants your help to find the hit-and-run driver who ran down an 81-year old woman in Koreatown. Santa Monica invites cyclists to an open house to discuss the city’s Bicycle Action Plan on December 13th. New bike corrals in Long Beach. A suspected drunk cyclist is hospitalized and arrested after fracturing his skull in a fall. Ex-Long Beach cyclist Laura Crawford explains what it feels like to have an emotional breakdown in the middle of a cross-country bike ride. Claremont Cyclist asks what kind of person drives in a bike lane. People in Bakersfield would be a lot better off if they all followed the lead of cyclists. A 73-year old Santa Maria cyclist is killed in a SWSS (Single Witness Suicide Swerve), as the driver claims the victim inexplicably turned in front of him.

Idaho cyclists sue after being to get off and walk on a popular bike path. The Kansas City Star applauds the city’s progress in creating biking infrastructure. Detroit’s M-bike takes a look at a 1894 patent for a suspended Bicycle Trolley-Car. A driver is accused of trying to pass too closely in a fatal 2009 collision with a cyclist; as usual, he claims the cyclist suddenly swerved into him. A New York cyclist collides with a 7-year old kid on the Brooklyn bridge; some wonder why this is even a story. The Wall Street Journal looks at the conflict between cyclists and drivers resulting from New York’s boom in biking, while the New York Times examines the backlash to the rapid expansion in biking infrastructure and asks what readers think. A Virginia cyclist says there’s no reason to be a scofflaw, while a writer for Alta offers advice on how to respond to accusing drivers. A Florida cyclist killed Sunday was a serious triathlete and the area’s unofficial ambassador for bicycling.

Buildings don’t cause traffic, people do. A recovering engineer questions the road standards that have destroyed our cities and put us all at risk. Bike commuting can save you up to $8,000 a year. Advance on what to do when you’re being followed by an angry threatening driver. A CNN writer says giving up his car was the best decision ever. Bicycling is safe and healthy modern transportation, but could be a lot better. Beginner and experienced bike locking techniques. Two separate cyclists celebrate the joys of riding alone and the zen of solo cycling. How to align a bent derailleur.

An 81-year old Vancouver man is killed in a collision with a cyclist; reportedly, the cyclist was traveling at 50 kph — 30 mph — which should have resulted in serious injuries the rider, as well. Birmingham, England cracks down on dangerous drivers who put cyclists at risk. The UK will increase penalties for drivers who fail to display their license plates; it’s about time California did the same. Two women are sentenced to community service and supervision for assaulting a cyclist. A look at the sad condition of bicycling infrastructure in Italy. The state of cycling in St. Petersburg. An Australian study shows 87% of bicycling collisions are caused by drivers; most resulting from unsafe left — our right — turns.

Finally, it helps to be a mind reader to understand why some drivers hope we get run over. And while the name of the column is Road Rant, a Cleveland writer takes a surprisingly positive view towards sharrows.

3 comments

  1. TQ says:

    Too often people fail to engage because they despair at what they perceive to be their insignificance, but even if we’re all little tiny grains of sand, enough of us will make a beach. I’m a big believer in Alex Thompson’s inspiring list, “Seven Lessons in Activism,” which I just call “The Seven” and have posted above my writing desk, because eventually these actions will be exponentially greater than their sum. Your “Don’t wait!” should probably be added to this list, at the very top.

    It can be tough to convince yourself that “just showing up is enough,” or justify the importance of being just a number, one of many, but numbers are big criteria to the powers that be. I hope the momentum already achieved will impel others to join and be heard.

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Joe Anthony and Tom Cassera, Ted Rogers. Ted Rogers said: Stop complaining about biking conditions & do something about it — join a local advocacy group today: http://bit.ly/eIhrUr [...]

  3. Alex Pino says:

    Thanks for linking to my article on how to save $8,000 riding a bicycle :) I’m honored you included me! ~alex

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