Tag Archive for bicycle advocacy

Today’s post, in which I make a shameless plea for money

Not for me.

Even though I could use it as much as the next guy. Especially if the next guy has a bank account that makes Greece look flush.

But actually, I’m asking for you. And every cyclist you share the road with.

Because right here in Southern California, some of the finest bicycling advocacy groups in the country are out there every day, fighting for your rights and the safety of all riders.

And they need — and deserve — your support.

Personally, I’m partial to the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. And not just because I’m a board member.

In fact, when I agreed to join the LACBC three years ago, it was because I often found myself working side-by-side with them on various issues. And was impressed with the commitment and dedication they showed in fighting for better bicycling here in the City of Angels, and their willingness to listen to, and support, all members of the bicycling community.

Since becoming a board member, I can honestly say I have never had the pleasure of working with a better group of people, from my fellow board members to the staff and volunteers who run the organization on a daily basis.

Unlike some organizations, the LACBC doesn’t often trumpet its successes, or broadcast the issues they’re working on with various governmental officials. They tend to be far more interested in getting results than taking the credit.

But chances are, you regularly ride streets they’ve played a hand in improving, from Main Street in Venice, to 1st, Spring and 7th streets Downtown. Not to mention the role they’ve played as the incubator for CicLAvia, City of Lights and Bici Libre.

Staff members from the Coalition were also the only people other than myself who attended every single council and committee meeting in support of the groundbreaking bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance passed in L.A. last year, which has set the standard for similar laws in cities around the country.

And the LACBC is currently working to play a role in next year’s Mayoral and City Council elections, to ensure the voices of cyclists are heard in City Hall — both before and long after you cast your vote.

Unfortunately, that sort of advocacy doesn’t come for free.

Like any other enterprise, the LACBC has to pay for office space, supplies and computer systems, as well as travel and other expenses. Not to mention the salaries of those people out there fighting on your behalf on a daily basis.

And that’s where you come in.

If you’re not a member, take a few minutes right now to join, and add your voice and membership dues with a few thousand like-minded bike riders.

Or take a moment in this season of giving to give to an organization that needs and deserves your support. If only because they’re out there supporting you.

It doesn’t matter what you give.

A $10 donation means as much, and is just as challenging, to some as $1000 is to others. So give a dollar. Give a hundred dollars.

But give something.

Of course, the LACBC is not the only bicycle organization that deserves your support. Put your money where your heart is, and support the organization that means the most to you.

Like the newly revitalized C.I.C.L.E., which has been on fire lately leading rides and workshops for local cyclists. Bikeside LA appears to be inactive these days, yet they remain the area’s only registered nonprofit bicycling political organization. And while LA Streetsblog isn’t an advocacy organization, they do more than anyone else — myself included — to keep us informed about the news and events effecting transportation issues in the Southland.

For those of you south of the Orange Curtain, consider giving to the Orange County Bicycle Coalition, or the Newport Beach Memorial Ride fund.

A little further south, the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition could use your help. As could BikeSD, the new organization co-founded by Sam Ollinger, one of the brightest and most dedicated bike advocates California has to offer.

On the state level, I’m a huge fan of the California Bicycle Coalition, which as done a great job of representing the interests of bicyclists in the state capitol. And while I’ve had my disagreements with the California Association of Bicycling Organizations, aka CABO, you might find they’re the ideal group to support your views in Sacramento and cities around the state.

Then there are the groups working on the national level, like the League of American Bicyclists, People for Bikes, the Alliance for Biking and Walking and the Adventure Cycling Association.

It’s up to you to decide where your money will do the most good. But let it.

Now.

Please.

And don’t forget, donations to most, if not all, of these groups are tax deductible. Which is something that will come in handy on April 15th if you make a contribution before the end of the year.

I’m always reluctant to list people or groups for fear I’ll inadvertently leave someone out. So if you’re aware of a bicycle advocacy group worthy of our support, please let me know in the comments below.

………

In a step virtually no one other than they seem to understand, the League of American Bicyclists has selected the PR and Communications Director for the national AAA as the keynote speaker for next year’s National Bike Summit.

While the Bike League has partnered with AAA on a number of programs in recent years, local chapters have actively opposed bike safety measures, particularly in Washington DC and here in California.

Maybe she has something to say about how we can work together to improve safety for everyone. But maybe AAA should stop opposing bike safety on the local level first.

Thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up.

………

The LACBC wants your support for bike lanes on Westwood Blvd between Santa Monica and National Blvds. In case, like me, you missed the opening Saturday night, you can still catch the ARTCRANK LAX exhibition through next Monday. Neon Tommy looks at DTLA’s upcoming Bike Nation USA bike share program. The first phase of the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk opens at 10:30 am today at Paula and Garden Streets in Glendale. LADOT and CD4 Councilmember Tom LaBonge will rededicate the Alex Baum Bicycle Bridge from 10 am to noon on Thursday. Burbank’s Bike Angels will give away 150 refurbished bikes to local families this month. Cycling Unbound says you can tell the NHTSA is a joke because it has TSA in its name. A driver in tiny Durham CA didn’t mean to kill that cyclist, and he’s really, really sorry he did, then ran away like a coward.

Protected bikeways nearly double nationwide in 2012, and are expected to double again next year. How about a hidden minibar in your handlebars? Chicago business needs protected bike lanes. Boston is working for more, and safer, bike commuting. Bikeyface advises drivers on avoiding doorings and kangaroos. A Massachusetts paper asks why hit-and-run drivers flee. Lovely Bicycle offers advice on how to ride real slow. The Washington Post says it’s time we stopped living with streets that are killing us. Hit-and-run drivers are suspected of beheading several bollards protecting a separated bike lane; on the other hand, those might have been cyclists if the divider hadn’t been there. Jacksonville FL has killed 28 pedestrians and nine bicyclists this year alone; that compares with five bicycling fatalities in Los Angeles this year, with over four-and-a-half times the population.

Just like with cyclists, the only official solution to Toronto pedestrian deaths appears to be brighter clothing. Greater horsepower brings greater responsibility. Over half of all UK cyclists don’t feel safe on the road. A 15-year old Brit phenom returns to racing over a year after breaking his back in a racing fall. The unofficial highway code for cyclists. London cyclists drive to work to show how much they don’t contribute to traffic; something tells me most motorists didn’t even notice. Russia’s Katusha pro team is ticked off about not getting a ticket to ride in next year’s UCI WorldTour. New Zealand’s PureBlack racing team is about to go belly up, again. A local rider says Christchurch should be a cycling city. Australian authorities are looking for a teenage cyclist who was severely beaten by a bus driver in a road rage attack.

Finally, bike are great for transportation and recreation — and evidently, stalking potential serial killer victims

Here’s your invitation to tonight’s LACBC Planning Committee meeting

I’m on the run again today, so any exciting updates from the world of cycling will have to wait until tomorrow.

However, I just want to remind you that the LACBC Planning Committee will be meeting at 7 pm tonight at Downtown’s Pitfire Pizza, at the corner of 2nd and Main.

Tonight’s singular topic is where we want to go on a local, county or state level. Such as what infrastructure plans you want to see on the fast track, what bike-friendly changes you want in LA County — like adopting L.A.’s anti-harassment ordinance, for instance — and what legislative changes you want to see at the state level.

Like maybe another three-foot passing bill to replace the one our CHP and Caltrans-influenced governor foolishly vetoed.

It promises to be an interesting meeting. And a chance to have your voice heard at the grassroots level — and possibly multiplied with the support of Southern California’s largest bike advocacy organization.

And no, you don’t have to be a member to participate. Anyone who rides a bike in L.A. County, or cares about those who do, is welcome to attend. Although we’ll be more than happy to sign you up on the spot.

I’ll look forward to seeing you there.

A meditation on bicycling, advocacy, failure and mortality, and your weekend events

“There’s no place in this world where I’ll belong when I’m gone
And I won’t know the right from the wrong when I’m gone
And you won’t find me singing on this song when I’m gone
So I guess I’ll have to do it while I’m here.”
— Phil Ochs, When I’m Gone
 

My father died a failure.

At least, that’s what he thought. Although a funeral that filled the largest Catholic church in town, in what was then a largely Catholic town, would tend to suggest otherwise.

But as a lifelong mechanic and mail carrier, he struggled to feed his family; a meager pension and social security meant there was nothing left to pass on to his children when his time came, far too soon at far too young an age.

Twenty years later, it still feels like a knife to the heart to know that those were among his last words and thoughts.

Yet he left behind four strong, healthy children more than capable of fending for themselves, and not one of whom ever doubted for a single moment that they were loved.

And I can’t think of any better definition of success than that.

But lately, I’ve come to understand the feeling.

After three years of battling the current economic meltdown, I have almost nothing left to leave my wife if anything were to happen to me.

It wasn’t always like this.

A dozen years ago, I was on my way to becoming a VP of Marketing, with the six-figure salary that came with it, for with a company so cool that Apple’s engineers and designers turned to it for inspiration. But internal politics and a corporate bankruptcy put an end to that.

It didn’t take long to bounce back, though. Within a few years I’d built up a lucrative freelance practice, writing advertising, marketing materials and strategic briefs for accounts ranging from local builders to Fortune 100 companies.

Yet over the past few years, the recession has taken its toll. Almost all of my clients have either gone belly up or zeroed out their marketing budgets; the few that haven’t have seen a 100% turnover in their marketing departments, so the people who would have to hire me now don’t even know who I am.

Yes, I could rebuild yet again.

But just as the economy started to go south, my close call with the Infamous Beachfront Bee Encounter caused me to confront my own mortality. And accept that, at this point in life, the time I have left on this planet is shorter than it is long.

Like anyone else, it could measured in days or weeks, or it could be decades. But no one gets out of this world alive.

And I’m not likely to be the exception.

Fortunately, I have never feared my own death. I was lucky to discover The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius in my early teens; if an emperor of ancient Rome could accept his own mortality, I could as well.

So when my time comes, I expect to greet it like an old friend. On the other hand, it’s one I hope not to meet for a very long time.

I also accepted long ago that it may come while I’m riding my bike.

Not because bicycling is inherently dangerous, but simply because I spend more time on my bike than almost anything else I do. If I spent that much time behind the wheel, it would be just as likely to happen there.

Then again, with a family history of heart disease, diabetes and cancer — and exposure to second-hand smoke for the first 12 years of my life — it’s far more likely I’ll have my own family to blame.

As I slowly recovered from my injuries, though, I came to the conclusion that whatever time I have left should be spent trying to make a difference in this world. And that it was time to redirect my life from convincing people they can’t live without this thing or that thing to doing what I can do to improve bicycle safety, and ensure that everyone who sets out on a bike comes back home again. And in one piece.

As a result, I’ve focused most of my efforts on writing this blog, as well as doing what I can as an advocate for bicycle safety, on my own and as a member of the LACBC Board of Directors.

Yet even though it’s become the equivalent of a full time job — plus overtime — it seems like it’s not enough sometimes. Every cycling death or serious injury feels like a failure; every rider run off the road is a reminder of just how far we have to go.

And yes, I do take it personally.

Every meeting I can’t attend, every day I don’t write something for this blog — this past morning, for instance — it feels like I should be doing more, even though it already seems like I’m doing more than I can.

There are others who would agree. And still others who do far more that I do.

But after all these years, it finally feels like I’ve found my calling. Simply put, there’s nothing I would rather do than what I’m doing right now. Even if, three years later, all I have to show for it is a $25 gift card and a pair of bike socks.

Some days, when the bills outweigh the funds on hand and the news and inattentive drivers conspire to remind me just how vulnerable we can be out there, I understand all too well how my father felt, and why.

But I also believe the solution is an inherent part of every problem. And tomorrow is a new day, with opportunities blooming like bougainvilleas if we can just see past the obstacles in our way.

So let’s keep up the fight.

And maybe we’ll finally reach that day when the last bike death will be the last bike death.

“And I won’t be laughing at the lies when I’m gone
And I can’t question how or when or why when I’m gone
Can’t live proud enough to die when I’m gone
So I guess I’ll have to do it while I’m here.”

……..

Bike Talk airs every Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

Bike Long Beach hosts Bike Saturdays every weekend; ride your bike to participating local shops and business throughout the city to get special offers and discounts.

This Saturday, August 27th, Santa Monica Spoke will answer all your questions about biking in SaMo and the new Draft Bicycle Action Plan at the 10th Street Neighborhood Potluck Block Party from noon to 4 pm on 10th Street between Olympic and Michigan.

Also on Saturday the 27th, the Culver City Bicycle Coalition is hosting their monthly Family Ride starting at 10 am at the Culver Hotel, 9400 Culver Blvd in downtown Culver City. The easy ride will travel from downtown to the annual Fiesta La Ballona, where you’ll find a free bike valet hosted by Palms Cycle and the CCBC.

The Beverly Hills Ad-Hoc Bike Plan Update Committee meets from 5 pm to 7 pm on Monday, August 29th at 345 Foothill Road. Cyclists who ride through the biking black hole that is Beverly Hills — or would like to if it was more inviting to cyclists — are urged to attend.

Tuesday, August 30th, Santa Monica’s Library Alehouse will host a benefit for Streetsblog LA from 11:30 am to 11:30 pm; a portion of all food and drink purchases will benefit Streetsblog; 2911 Main Street. Events will include a raffle, drink specials and possibly a bike valet.

Flying Pigeon hosts three popular rides each month, starting with the Brewery Ride at 3 pm on Saturday, September 3rd, followed by the Spoke(n)Art Ride at 6 pm Saturday, September 10th and the Get Sum Dim Sum ride at 10 am on Sunday, September 18th. All rides meet at Flying Pigeon Bike Shop, 3714 North Figueroa Street in Highland Park.

On Sunday, September 4th, the LACBC will hold the next monthly Sunday Funday Ride, hosted by LACBC Board President Chet Kostrzewa; the ride starts at 9:30 am at the Wolf Creek Brewery in Valencia, 27746 McBean Parkway. Or join the riders at the end of the ride for beer and brunch at Wolf Creek Brewery; a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the LACBC. (Note: an earlier version said the ride started at 11:30; it actually begins at 9:30 and will conclude around 11:30.)

Wednesday, September 7th, Victims Impact Statements will be held in the case of Stephanie Segal, charged with felony gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and felony hit-and-run in the death of cyclist James Laing; Segal reportedly had a BAC of .26 at the time of the collision. The hearing starts at 8:30 am in Department 1 of the Malibu Courthouse, 23525 Civic Center Way; cyclists are urged to attend wearing bike jerseys, but no shorts are allowed in the courtroom.

Saturday, September 10th, the Santa Monica Spoke hosts the Dinner & Bikes Tour from 7 to 9 pm with leading bike scribe and advocate Elly Blue, vegan chef Joshua Ploeg and Joe Biel, founder of Microcosm Publishing; tickets are $7 to $20 on a sliding scale, location to be determined.

The 2011 Far West and SCNCA Elite Track Cycling Championships comes to the Encino Velodrome on Saturday, September 10th and Sunday, September 11th at 17301 Oxnard Street, at the edge of Balboa Park in Encino. Gates open at 8 am; racing starts at 9 both days.

Elly Blue’s Dinner & Bikes Tour repeats on Monday, September 12th from 7 pm to 9 pm, this time hosted by the LACBC in the 1st Floor Edison Room of the MALDEF Building, 634 S. Spring Street. This time, the admission is free, thanks to the generous sponsorship of Flying Pigeon LA.

Also on Monday, September 12th, the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils is hosting a town hall meeting with L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at the Felicia Mahood Senior Citizen Center, 11338 West Santa Monica Blvd. Light refreshments start at 6:30, with the Mayor’s presentation & questions and answers from 7 pm to 8:15 pm.

Saturday, September 17th from 8 am to noon, Amigos De Los Rios hosts the easy, family-friendly Healthy El Monte Community Bike Ride at Pioneer Park, 3535 Santa Anita Blvd in El Monte. Register before September 8th and get a free T-Shirt, raffle ticket, lunch and bike bottle; children $5, adults $10.

Also on Saturday the 17th, C.I.C.L.E. LA invites you to join in the Made in L.A. Bicycle Tour from 1 pm to 4 pm starting a the L.A. State Historic Park, 1245 N. Spring Street in Downtown L.A. The eight mile family-friendly ride will visit sites including Homeboy Industries, El Pato Factory and the Angel City Brewery.

Head up to Palo Alto on Saturday, September 17 for the Echelon Gran Fondo, with rides of 65, 80 or 95 miles, as well as a fundraising walk, run or ride and A Taste of Palo Alto. The ride benefits Bikes Belong, parent organization of both People for Bikes and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. The goal is to raise $10,000; if you can’t make the ride, you can still donate and get some cool Bikes Belong swag.

You’re invited to Think Bikes with the Dutch when the General Council of the Netherlands joins with the LACBC and the City of L.A. to present ThinkBike Los Angeles. The public is welcome to the Opening Session from 9 am to 10:30 am on Thursday, September 22nd at the LADOT, 100 South Main Street, and the Closing Session, from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm at LAPD Headquarters, 100 West 1st Street. Preregistration is required for both the Opening and Closing sessions.

Mark your calendar for L.A.’s Ultimate Bike Weekend, as the 2011 L.A. edition of the Tour de Fat comes to town on Saturday, October 8th, followed by the next CicLAvia on Sunday, October 9th, offering an expanded route taking participants another 3 miles north into Chinatown and south into South L.A.

You’re invited to participate in the Gladiator Rock’n Run at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, October 1st. Not bike related, but at least they’re offering a discount for cyclists; enter code GLADIATORZ10 (all caps) to save $10 on registration.

The LACBC is co-hosting a weekend-long training program for bicycle and pedestrian advocates with the Alliance for Biking and Walking from Friday, October 14th through Sunday, October 16th, 634 S. Spring Street, Suite 821.

The LACBC’s award-winning City of Lights program will host their 2nd Annual City of Lights Awards/Fundraising Dinner on Thursday, October 27th from 6 to 11 pm at CARECEN HQ, 2845 W 7th Street. Tickets will be available for $45 later this year.

Friday, November 11 through Sunday, November 13th, the Eastside Bike Club hosts the LA Tamale Throwdown at a site to be determined, offering a chance to sample some of the city’s best tamales, coffee and pan Mexicano; bike valet courtesy of Flying Pigeon LA.

And mark your calendar for Sunday, November 13th, when the LACBC unveils a marriage of bikes and food with the 1st annual Tour de Taste in Culver City.

We just ride — coming back to biking as an adult rider

Today we have our second guest post, as writers have graciously offered to fill in for me while I’m tied up with packing for my first move in 17 years. And let me tell you, after that long, there’s a lot to pack.

Another of my favorite writers steps in this time, offering his take on coming back to biking as an adult, and unexpectedly finding himself becoming an advocate for cycling. On his own blog, Zeke’s Great Smokies Two-Wheeled Adventures!, Zeke offers his uniquely entertaining take on riding in the countryside and mountains of North Carolina.

And be sure to come back tomorrow for my first ever bike review, just in time for the holidays.

.………

I spent some time pondering  Ross Del Duca’s post on Friday, December 3rd, regarding bike culture and whether the goal was to have a bike culture or not, which is perhaps an oversimplification of his thoughts. I thought of how my own evolution from a somewhat out of shape middle-aged man to an advocate for the development of a bike culture in my home community is almost at the other end of the spectrum that Del Duca was writing about.

My re-introduction, some would save first introduction, to the cycling world came about after a number of years being away from bicycles. In my youth, a bicycle was my unquestioned mode of transportation. I still recall my very first bike. It was a hand me down from my cousin, who was one year older than me. In my mind, it remains a thing of beauty. It sported fat black tires over a repainted red and black frame with coaster brakes and a full metal chain guard. I also still remember my first descent on our short asphalt driveway. It didn’t turn out well given that I took a header and landed on my right shoulder grinding it into the pavement.

I also recall my third instance of experimentation with “blind cycling” in which I rode along with my eyes closed. Why the third and not the first two? Apparently the first two were of short duration and successful, which led to the intense learning experience of the third experiment.  I crashed into a neighbor’s wooden mailbox post. There was not a fourth attempt of riding with my eyes closed.

Were those instances written up in today’s papers, the reporters would surely report that I was not wearing a helmet. Helmet? What helmet? We knew not of such things in those days.

In those days, if I wanted to go to the public outdoor swimming pool, I rode my bicycle. The fence surrounding the pool was always garnished with bicycles belonging to other kids. When we had Little League baseball practice, I hung my glove on my handlebars and rode to the practice field some miles away. Clearly, this predated “soccer mom” existence. My parents thought nothing of us being turned loose around town.  My friend on our local bike advocacy counsel laughs now and says we were the original bike commuters in our hometown. We rode everywhere.

As a young teen, bicycles remained central to my existence. These were my “Easy Rider” years when I graduated from coaster brakes to my Stingray with the banana seat, 3 speed gearing, and “English” brakes. I sported an enhanced “sissy bar” on the back. I still recall many hours in the saddle of what we called “the pack”. We weren’t educated enough about cycling to think of ourselves as a peloton!

I recall only one adult riding a bicycle during those years. He was older than me and had returned home from the Viet Nam War. J.B. rode everywhere in town on, as I recall it, a black bicycle with a basket on the front. As an older teen at this point and working as a life guard at that very same outdoor pool, I can see J.B. riding by with a 6 pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon in the basket. I can remember him going to the local drive-in theater on that bike. I used to see him everywhere in town on that bike.

The years passed and my bicycle days were replaced with new temptations of girls, cars, and motorcycles. Appalachian State University called and I spent 5 glorious years in Boone, NC doing things NOT associated with cycling even though I was in some of the most beautiful cycling territory in the country. A career has come and gone since that time with only a brief interlude of cycling in my late 20’s. It was then that a bicycle took me to my life altering meeting with the Navigator with whom I will shortly celebrate 28 years of marriage.

So, my evolution to bicycle advocate has, in many ways, brought me back to the roots of my youth. We didn’t have a bike culture “back in the day.” We simply rode and it was simply accepted. The environment is different now. Now, we must fight for acceptance and for the infrastructure that supports cycling. Cycling is very much now a “purposeful thought” for me and the members of our infant advocacy council. We find purpose in fighting childhood and adult obesity, dependence upon foreign oil, and for our rights to alternative transportation. In our infancy, we need to develop a bike culture so that we can one day move beyond it and, when asked, be able to say, “What bike culture. We just ride.”

.………

Speaking of Zeke, let’s give a belated shout out to his L.A.-based, recumbent-riding brother Dave, who celebrated his birthday over the weekend.

People for Bikes — giving you the power to change the world

According to Tim Blumenthal, bikes have the power to change the world.

As the president of the Bikes Belong Foundation, Blumenthal is one of the founders of People for Bikes, a new organization dedicated to making that change happen and finding a place on the streets — and in the federal budget — for the country’s rapidly expanding community of cyclists.

Created and funded by the Bikes Belong Foundation, a non-profit offshoot of the respected industry trade group Bikes Belong, People for Bikes was founded with a goal of building a nationwide coalition of one million bicyclists, one rider at a time — giving cyclists the clout that drivers have long enjoyed through organizations such as AAA.

According to Blumenthal, there are somewhere around 50 million bicyclists in the U.S., yet less than 1% of those have ever actively stood up to demand their rights and the support of their government — a number Blumenthal places at around 250,000 people.

So pat yourself on the back if you’re one of them.

Even though People for Bikes is supported by the bike industry — financially and otherwise — Blumenthal insists it operates independently of the business group.

“I’ve never been put under any pressure by any of the manufacturers,” he said. Rather than looking for instant results or increased sales, all of the companies involved take the long view, believing that bikes are good for the country.

He added that the group’s parent organization, the Bikes Belong Foundation, is also made up of leading organizations dedicated to the public good such as the Centers for Disease Control, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Just four years old, the foundation has rapidly become a major donor for local biking projects, including a grant to the LACBC to help build a regional bike-friendly community plan through the REI/Bicycle Friendly Communities Grant Program earlier this year.

In addition, People for Bikes has partnered with advocacy groups such as the League of American Bicyclists, the Alliance for Biking and Walking and the Rails to Trails Conservancy. And they’ve recently joined with New Belgium Brewery’s Tour de Fat, scheduled to visit Downtown’s L.A. State Historic Park on October 23rd.

Aside from simply signing up cyclists, the immediate goal of People for Bikes is to ensure the maximum percentage of funding for bike and pedestrian projects in the federal transportation bill to be considered next year.

Blumenthal traced a rising line through recent federal budgets, from just $450 million for bikes and pedestrians in 2000, to $700 million in 2007 and $1.3 billion this year, with a goal of $2 billion in 2012.

“Bike facilities don’t cost much compared to other transportation projects,” he continued, adding that bicyclists deserve better, safer and more convenient places to ride, such as dedicated bikeways, bike boulevards and separated bike paths.

In order to significantly increase the number of cyclists nationwide, average riders need to feel safe enough to ride regularly, according to Blumenthal. While stronger riders may feel comfortable riding in traffic or in a bike lane, for others, “a white stripe isn’t enough to make them feel safe.”

What’s necessary, he said, is to change the current culture where drivers have been prioritized and cars are king. But changing that car-centric mindset won’t be easy, as various users compete for increasingly limited space on and off the roads.

The first step, Blumenthal said, is simply to sign the pledge.

It’s a free and easy way to get involved — a “no brainer,” as he called it — adding that the organization won’t ask for anything other than your name, email address and zip code. (Something I can vouch for, having signed up a few months back myself.)

“It doesn’t matter what kind of bike you ride or where you ride,” Blumenthal continued. “People for Bikes is designed to unify all Americans who ride bikes.”

He explained that this is your opportunity to be part of a movement to increase the clout and credibility of bicyclists with key decision makers, and become a potent force in future legislation to make this a safer and more ridable country for cyclists of all types.

“More clout,” he said, “equals better bicycling.”

………

Bicycle Advisory Committee Chair Glenn Bailey reports that tonight’s scheduled meeting of the BAC has been postponed to accommodate the LAPD’s observance of the National Night Out. The meeting will take place on Monday, August 9 at 7 pm at the Hollywood Neighborhood City Hall Community Room, 6501 Fountain Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90028.

According to Bailey, the meeting will feature the revised bike plan, as well as a report from the LAPD.

At Monday’s rescheduled meeting, the City Planning Department will be presenting the revised draft Bicycle Plan as well as the proposed Five-Year Implementation Strategy.  Also, the LAPD will report its recent policy and training efforts relating to bicycling.  The revised special meeting agenda will be emailed in the next day or so.

………

Curbed LA relays a story from the Daily Bruin reporting on bad roads in Westwood — one of the city’s busiest biking centers — that take down riders on a regular basis. The city advises calling 311 to report potholes, saying they can be fixed within 48 hours. Although in my experience, patch jobs usually aren’t enough and often make the road rougher than it was before.

………

Just five weeks after suffering a heart attack, local rider GT gets the best news he could possibly get. Robert Sam Sanchez begins his prison term for the drunken hit-and-run death of Rod Armas. Lance tells Antonio the goal is to stay on the bike, while Stephen Box calls on the Mayor to take advantage of the opportunity. Malibu wants a safer PCH; then again, so do cyclists. Cyclists demand change at the Beverly Hills Court House. Bike lawyer Bob Mionske advises you to keep your cool, even when the cop that pulls you over is wrong. Listen my children and you shall hear of cyclists calling “the bulldozers are near;” thanks to George Wolfburg for the heads up. Discovering bike parking in NYC. Illinois will now install and maintain roadside memorials to people killed by reckless drivers. The League of American Bicyclists says act now to stop the spread of roadside rumble strips. The National Journal asks if cyclists and pedestrians will squeeze out cars; LAB President Andy Clarke says transportation is not a zero sum game. A three-year old Cleveland boy is seriously injured by a hit-and-run cyclist who claimed his brakes weren’t working. After being seriously injured riding off-road, a Philadelphia cyclist tweets for help. Only one third of Toronto cyclists are comfortable riding major streets without bike lanes. Ticketing dangerous Delhi drivers through Facebook.

Finally, Boston Biker says electric bikes are nothing more than crappy mountain bikes made heavier and more expensive.

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