I miss CicLAvia, but it doesn’t miss me; L.A. gets a new bike share program courtesy of Bike Nation USA

Did you miss me?

I didn’t think so.

Yesterday marked L.A.’s fourth CicLAvia. And the first one I’ve missed, thanks to a combination of family obligations and a lingering cold that has me feeling just this side of six feet under the weather.

And yet, it didn’t seem to matter.

Countless L.A. area cyclists turned out anyway, on a day that, by all accounts, exceeded the already high expectations of virtually everyone in attendance.

And that’s the point.

In previous years, it seemed like we all had to turn out every time to guarantee the day’s success, and help ensure that the next CicLAvia wouldn’t be the last CicLAvia.

Now I think we’re well past that point. The overwhelming success of each event — even if they oddly seem to draw the same number of participants each time (see below) — has already made it an L.A. institution, which will continue as long as the city and its residents and visitors continue to fund it.

And one that will continue to grow and expand into new areas, whether you’re there, I’m there or anyone else does or doesn’t go this time or the next.

And that’s a good thing.

It’s a sign of a strong, healthy and successful event that has quickly become part of the fabric of our city.

I may have missed this CicLAvia. But I won’t miss the next one.

And we call all expect many more opportunities to attend as it continues to transform the image and livability of this city we call home.

………

The Claremont Cyclist captures the spirit of CicLAvia in a single photo. CicLAvia itself offers just a few more photos of the day, while Bicycle Fixation’s Richard Risemberg provides video of the day. Los Angeles CM offers a great photo collection, as does USC’s Neon Tommy. And even on a car-free day, you can expect traffic jams, although Gary says he noticed — and stopped for — even more by taking it in on foot rather than bike.

According to the Times, CicLAvia organizers estimate that 100,000 people turned out for this edition. Just like the one before, and the one before that, and the one before that. Evidently, 100,000 is shorthand for “a lot of people showed up, but we don’t really have any way to count how many.” Of course, it might have been even more if Metrolink hadn’t turned some riders away, but the paper reports a good time was had by all, anyway.

And future CicLAvias could run from North Hollywood to Glendale and Burbank. However, Texas may get the jump on us by making Ciclovia de Dallas permanent.

The Design Observer Group offers a good overview of CicLAvia and its history.

……..

You may have heard that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa unexpectedly announced Sunday that the city will get a bike share program in the fourth quarter of this year.

Managed by Bike Nation USA, the program will eventually be the second largest in the country, behind only the coming system in New York, with 400 kiosks and 4000 bikes scattered throughout the city. This will be just their second bike share program, after a 200 bike system expected to open in Anaheim this June.

On the surface, it sounds great. Bike Nation is picking up the full $16 million cost, with no city funds at risk.

But clearly, there’s still a lot of details to be worked out.

Or revealed, anyway.

One of which is whether this system will be compatible with bike share systems currently under consideration in L.A. County, Long Beach and Santa Monica, just to name a few.

As the region’s 800 pound gorilla, L.A. could influence the development of those programs, encouraging them to select the Bike Nation system to create one unified bike share reaching into every corner of the county.

Or they could ignore L.A.’s lead and develop their own bike share system, resulting in an incompatible mishmash that could limit the success and viability of bike share in the region.

Time, and more details, will tell.

Speaking of details, I have an unconfirmed report that Bike Nation is owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group, or AEG — the people behind the L.A. Kings and Galaxy, Staples Center, LA Live and Downtown’s proposed Farmers Field football stadium. However, I can’t find any information about ownership on Bike Nation’s website, or about Bike Nation on the AEG website.

Update: Tom reminds me that AEG also owns the Tour of California, even if Amgen gets title sponsorship.

Update: I’ve received word that Bike Nation is actually owned by First Pacific Holdings, not AEG.

I’m also told that the contract was handed out without a competitive bid.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against AEG; if they really are involved in this, it bodes well for the ultimate success of the program. They have a track record of success in our city, and billions of dollars to back whatever programs they commit to.

On the other hand, I think we’d all be more comfortable with a more open selection process that aired the plusses and minuses of the various interested parties to allow the people of this city, rather than just the mayor’s office, to make a fully informed decision.

I know I would, anyway.

……..

Just in time for the city’s big bike weekend, the Sunday L.A. Times included a copy of the Red Bulletin, a monthly magazine insert with a great feature on Don Ward, aka Roadblock, and the Jet Blue-vanquishing Wolfpack Hustle.

Great, that is, except for the story’s over-the-top framing device.

To ride a bike in the City of Angels might just be the riskiest proposition on two wheels anywhere in the world. But the ringleader of a growing legion of fearless Angelenos is riding to change all of that.

Clearly, the writer hasn’t spent much time riding in our fair city.

Or most likely, any.

While L.A. may not be the cycling paradise it should be, riding our streets is far from the most dangerous thing you can do on a bike. In fact, the City of Los Angeles isn’t even the most dangerous place to ride in Southern California.

And while the city’s current biking infrastructure, or the lack thereof, doesn’t exactly encourage timid riders to take to the road, those who do usually find a far safer and more enjoyable riding environment than outsiders and non-cyclists would expect.

Yes, there are jerks who use their cars to enforce their self-appointed position on the transportation food chain, just as there are in every city and town where cyclists and motorists mix on the streets. And yes, we have more than our share of careless and/or distracted drivers.

But in most cases, it only takes a modicum of care to arrive safely at your destination by bike — and in a far better mood than most other means of getting there.

It’s long past time we put this offensively anti-L.A. and anti-bike myth to bed.

………

Bicycle Kitchen needs your help to buy a new home. Evidently, you can live in L.A. without a car. Is it really a pipe dream that people will walk, bike or take transit to a new Downtown football stadium? Palos Verdes will see a benefit ride for Habitat for Humanity later this month. An Orange County couple rides 45 miles on a tandem to their own wedding. Enjoy a VIP finish on the Big Bear stage of the Amgen Tour of California. A San Francisco rider tries to cut through the anger to present a realistic look at Chris Bucchere, the cyclist who recently killed a pedestrian who was walking in a crosswalk  — even though his GPS shows him going 35 mph at the time of the crash; thanks to Eric Weinstein for the tip.

Women drivers are more likely to mistake the gas pedal for the brakes, even though men are more likely to get into crashes. Chicago cyclists form a chapter of Red Bike and Blue to promote bike riding in the African American community; sounds like something we could use here in L.A. Normal teens in Normal IL organize a bike train to Normal Community High. How to fight a ticket for not riding close enough to the curb. A collision with her husband’s bike puts a 9-month pregnant woman at death’s door and on a long, difficult path to recovery. The good news is, the bike racks are overflowing; the bad news is, the bike racks are overflowing. A fascinating Baltimore study shows drivers violate Maryland’s three-foot passing law nearly 25% of the time — except when the rider is in a bike lane. The Washington Post says if you want more cyclists, build more bike lanes. Dave Moulton suggests that good cycling habits need to be ingrained. A year later, an arrest is finally made in a deadly South Carolina hit-and-run; thanks to Zeke for the heads-up. Huntsville AL police have ticketed just 11 cyclists in the past four years.

London cyclists plan to have an impact on the city’s upcoming mayoral election. Clearly, the Times of London gets it, as they correctly expose seven cycling myths. And clearly the Daily Mail doesn’t, as they say only a £10,000 bike will do for the country’s MAMILs, while the Telegraph would settle for a £8,250 Pinarello Dogma. Nine out of 10 UK riders report close calls with drivers who didn’t see them; and when they get hit, the driver gets a slap on the wrist. Eddy Merckx, perhaps the greatest bike racer of all time, says it’s time to stop attacking cyclists for doping. For the second time in the last few weeks, a top pro cyclist is hit by a car, this time in near Zurich. A Zambia writer calls for flogging, not ticketing, speeding drivers, while a bicyclist is charged with causing death by dangerous driving. Taipei commuters take to their bikes.

Finally, a bike ad is banned for being too overtly sexual. Meanwhile, a Dutch PSA campaign apologizes for speeding just a little. And even Barbie thinks you should signal.

4 comments

  1. cycler says:

    Wow, that article about flogging speeders. Just wow. Now there’s a society that takes the damage an automobile can do seriously.

  2. Joe Linton says:

    I knew there was something, someone missing out there yesterday! I hope you’re feeling better Ted!

    • bikinginla says:

      Thanks Joe. Sounds like you and the rest of the CicLAvia gang should take a bow — I haven’t heard a single bad word about yesterday.

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