When I started this site, it seemed like you could count the female bike advocates on one hand.
And still have enough fingers left over for the inappropriate gesture of your choice. Wherever you chose to direct it.
Times, thankfully, have changed.
In only a few short years, women riders have risen to the ranks of the most notable advocates fighting for the rights and safety of cyclists with organizations throughout the US. As well as right here in suddenly soggy Southern California.
Two, in particular, have drawn attention for helping reshape the cities in which they live and ride. And I’ve had the privilege of watching both develop into people I would not want to meet in a metaphorical dark alley if I stood on the wrong side of support for bicycling.
Which is not to say Santa Monica’s Cynthia Rose isn’t one of the most pleasant human beings I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting.
Hard to believe that it was only a few years ago that she was asking me for advice on how to work with city officials to improve the lot of bike riders and improve relations with police in the LA area’s city by the bay. Fortunately for all of us, she didn’t take it.
Instead, she forged her own path, building close working relationships with city officials and forming Santa Monica Spoke — now an affiliate chapter of the LACBC — in the process. And leading to her election to the board of the California Bicycle Coalition.
Now she is one of the most knowledgeable, insightful and persuasive advocates anywhere. And the formerly less than bike-friendly city she represents is challenging, if not surpassing, Long Beach for supremacy as the area’s top bike city.
Whenever someone says change is too hard, if not impossible, I point to Cynthia as a perfect example of what one highly motivated person can do.
And yes, I know it’s not polite to point.
On the other hand, San Diego’s Sam Ollinger is a force of nature.
I first got to know Sam as a fellow blogger who I often linked to as she covered the nascent bike scene in our neighbor to the south with rare passion and intelligence.
It was enough to get her an invitation to join the board of the local bicycle coalition, just as it did me a seeming lifetime ago. But she soon found herself butting heads with the entrenched interests of vehicular cyclists who have long dominated the city John Forester calls home.
She also asked my opinion more than once in late night emails on how she should proceed against seemingly unbearable friendly fire. Frankly, I don’t know if she ever took it.
But she quickly went from board member of the SDBC to founder of BikeSD, the city’s first and only 501(c)4 bicycling non-profit dedicated to political action.
And in the process, has helped reshape the future of bicycling in San Diego, as well as the present. Including the recent election for mayor in which both candidates came out strongly in support of bicycling.
Like Cynthia, she finds also herself on the board of the state’s leading bicycling organization.
Together, they have already significantly improved bicycling in Southern California, and are working to put their stamp on the state as a whole. And inspiring women and bicycling advocates of all stripes throughout the US.
Especially now that both are finalists for next week’s Advocate of the Year Award.
I can’t speak for any of the other nominees. But based on from my own personal experiences with both, don’t ask me to choose between the two.
Each has grown to be among the most outstanding people and bicycling advocates it has ever been my pleasure to know.
And both Cynthia Rose and Sam Ollinger more deserve the award.
If it was up to me, it would end in a tie.
Speaking of Cynthia Rose, the Spoke is asking for tax deductible donations to send her to next week’s National Bike Summit 2014. Just $1500 is needed to add her voice to the national bike congress.
Now for the bad news.
In an incredibly misguided decision, a California appeals court has ruled that the next distracted driver who plows into a cyclist with face firmly planted in his or her cell phone map app won’t be breaking the law.
In a case involving a Sacramento motorist, the 5th District Court of Appeal said the state’s ban on hand-held cell phone use only applies to making calls or texting, rather than using it for any other purpose.
So in theory, a driver could be looking at a phone for virtually any purpose, from texting to reading email or downloading porn behind the wheel.
And if a cop happened to spot him or her, all they’d have to do is call up their mapping app before pulling over, making the hand-held cell phone ban virtually unenforceable.
Hopefully, this case will go to the California Supreme Court where, with any luck, the judges won’t have their heads planted so far up their own posteriors.
Because this wrong-headed decision just put the lives of everyone on our streets at risk.
After years of complaints from lost bike riders, LADOT promises wayfinding signs throughout the city. And offers you a chance to check them out in advance.
A writer for the Times says less parking for cars, more parking for bikes. On the other hand, the usual bike-hating letter writers aren’t so understanding.
Loz Feliz locals say they’d rather keep all their traffic lanes on the Hyperion bridge, and screw anyone who doesn’t use a car to cross it.
Better Bike offers an open letter to the Beverly Hills City Council in support of bike lanes on a reconstructed Santa Monica Blvd through the city, which comes up for a vote before the council next Tuesday.
A Santa Monica police sting helps a theft victim get his stolen bike back after spotting it on Craigslist, along with two others.
The first local non-LA ciclovia could follow Huntington Drive through the San Gabriel Valley: thanks to BikeSGV for the tip. Maybe you were photographed at one of the previous CicLAvias.
A permanent memorial was installed on the Cal Poly Pomona campus today to honor fallen cyclist and Cal Poly student Ivan Aguilar, who was killed on the campus one year ago today.
When you’re riding in Carson with meth and a concealed shotgun, don’t commit vehicle code violations, whatever that means. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.
Cycling in the South Bay looks at who brakes for whom. Or at all.
The Santa Clarita Valley Signal reports a cyclist was injured in a collision with an SUV on Thursday. But why do they insist on putting “Cannondale” in quotation marks when they don’t do that with “Acura RDX?” Not that bikes are treated like others or anything.
More on California’s proposed vulnerable user law. Personally, I’d much rather see a modified version of the European strict liability laws, which places greater responsibility for avoiding collisions on the operator of the more dangerous vehicle.
Introducing a new line of bike-to-boardroom bicycling business attire, and creative ways to light your bike at night.
Yesterday’s road raging Portland bike rider attempts to explain himself, sort of.
Yeah, let’s blame the victim for riding on the street, not the hit-and-run driver who killed him.
It’s not the New York bike lanes that cause double parking, even if the local press thinks the ones getting the tickets are the victims. And sometimes, it’s the cops doing the blocking.
Good thing the era of doping is over, as a Venezuelan pro tests off the charts in blood screening tests.
London will spend £300 million — the equivalent of $500 million — to fix 33 killer junctions; does LA even know where the most dangerous intersections for cyclists and pedestrians are?
A shocking Chinese study shows the higher the speed at which a car is travelling, the more likely it is to kill a cyclist or pedestrian. In other surprising results, water is wet and it gets dark when you turn out the lights.
An Aussie paper calls for a 6 mph speed limit for bikes to prevent injuries to pedestrians, but doesn’t suggest a mandatory helmet law for anyone on foot. Or slowing down drivers to prevent injuries to cyclists.
Another Aussie paper says there’s no suggestion that a fatal bike crash was deliberate. So why did they suggest it?
Finally, a bike-hating Chicago columnist says fuck cyclists because they — we — are worse than Hitler, and no one should be on a bike if they’re older than 13. Or rather,
Bicyclists are worse than Hitler carrying a cancer death-ray shooting puppies, playing Justin Bieber music on repeat while your cell phone has 2 percent battery.
I realize he’s trying — and failing — to be funny. He should also fail at keeping his job.
Then again, he could take lessons from the semi-literate bike hater who called London cyclists wretched “Talebans” who poison people’s lives.
Seriously, you can’t make this shit up.