Los Angeles, Orange County named Honorable Mention Bike Friendly Cities(?)

We’ll ignore the fact the Orange County is, well, a county. Not a city.

Or if you prefer, a lot of cities, even if they do tend to blend into one another at times.

But O.C. and L.A. have made the League of American Bicyclists list of Bike Friendly Cities, if only just barely. Both were named Honorable Mention, a step below the Bronze designation, in recognition of the steps each has made.

And just how far they have to go.

Los Angeles makes its claim on the basis of the new-found support from City Hall that has resulted in a widely praised new bike plan — which is just starting to result in new paint on the street — as well as the groundbreaking bicyclists’ anti-harassment ordinance.

But as Bikeside’s recent survey suggests, local cyclists face far too many unfriendly streets and drivers to deserve a higher ranking; I would read this more as recognition of the possibilities, rather than what’s already been accomplished.

Sort of like Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize. And I’ll let you decide how that’s turned out.

If — and it’s a big if — the city manages to stay on course, it may legitimately deserve a bronze designation next year.

Meanwhile, someone else who actually rides there will have to address whether the collection of cities and towns behind the Orange Curtain deserves its designation.

There seems to be an unfortunate tendency to blame rude and scofflaw cyclists for the county’s unacceptably high fatality rate, including a crackdown on the victims — even though the overwhelming majority of Orange County fatalities have been the result of careless, drunk or distracted drivers, rather than lawbreaking riders.

And at least one OC city seem to have an inexplicable fear of sharrows.

But there must be progress being made; Irvine and Huntington Beach have already made the list as Bronze level cities, joining northern neighbors Long Beach and Santa Monica.

And even though SaMo’s designation was widely derided at the time — including by yours truly — they seem to be making every effort to live up to it now.

So maybe there’s real hope for L.A. and O.C., after all.

We’ll just have to wait a few years and see.

9 comments

  1. It never ceases to amaze me that the reprehensible conduct of our elected officials continues to stymie progress. They are not worried about the safety of somebody on a bicycle. They are worried that they may actually be held accountable for there actions at the seen of an accident, when it is clearly there fault. They want business as usual. They are scared of sharrows. They have no regard for the safety of those novice bicycle riders. They make bicycle paths and the only requirement is to keep bicyclists off the road. The Mayor crashing into an inconsiderate cab driver is proof of there
    stupidity.
    The key to there safety problems are educating the motorists and enforcing the laws. We do not need fancy arrows or painted lines down the road. We need the rights that the law allows us not the bigoted interpretation which allows anybody to have any number of excuses for not paying attention and killing or injuring others. This includes writing tickets to those who break the law and deny those who are a danger to others to continue operating a motor vehicle or bicycle.
    I like how everybody always talks about Europe and there beautiful bicycle paths. It takes more than a bicycle path to make it safe for bicyclists to travel. In many countries in Europe if you hit a bicyclist or pedestrian with your motor vehicle they will put the screws to you and they care not for excuses like the sun was in my eyes or they were to far in the road etc. On the other hand if you disobey the laws on your bicycle you will be given much the same treatment.
    I was in Germany for part of my time in the service. I was heading from a little base in Gelnhausen to Frankfurt and a city bus driver intentionally forced me and a friend up onto the sidewalk. I made it still upright and avoided injuring people on the crowded sidewalk but my friend who was ahead of me had damage to him and his bicycle. The driver of the bus was taken into custody not far from where the incident took place. My friend was rushed to a hospital and all his medical bills were taken care of. His bicycle was replaced with as good or better quality parts. Some time later I was asked to be interviewed by some official and after this interview I was told the driver of the bus would never be allowed to drive any motor vehicle. Try running red lights there or disobeying other laws on a bicycle. Not only will you be ticketed but you are likely to have some bruises and sore bones from the reverberating clubs the German police carry. I watched this happen to my friend several weeks before the bus incident.
    The main point is people need a reason to obey the law and be safe. Spare the rod and spoil the child.

  2. [...] L.A. Revceives Honorable Mention from Bike League for Bike Friendliness (Biking In L.A.) [...]

  3. Joe Linton says:

    I am really surprised to not see Long Beach on that list…

  4. [...] more on the League Awards and Los Angeles, visit Biking In L.A. or L.A. Weekly, which seems to be on some sort of weird crusade against the bicycling community [...]

  5. Mark Elliot says:

    >cities and towns behind the Orange Curtain

    That’s so quotable!

    At the Westside Cities COG meeting today, cycling got some solid props from Mr. Rosendahl, who again urged other cities to get on board with bike improvements and an anti-harassment policy. Kudos to him. His city is building a record to stand on, we hope. He added, fairly enough, that cyclists need to step up and ride safely.

    Contrast that to representatives hailing from localities that fail to provide improvements & policies but who are quick to whip out the criticism of cyclists as scofflaws and proto-anarchists.

    I presume that OC has its share of such policymakers. Maybe ‘bike-friendly’ should also account for these officials’ public pronouncements.

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