If you love something, let it go — LACBC spins off its popular City of Lights program

Maybe you’ve heard the rumors.

For the past few months, people have asked me what’s been going on with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s City of Lights program.

Today, I can finally tell everyone the good news.

Just as they did with CicLAvia, which began its existence within the LACBC, the Coalition has decided it’s time to let the award-winning program go off on its own to pursue a larger agenda. Now City of Lights is free to focus on a broader spectrum of transportation issues affecting low-income communities, while the LACBC continues to serve cyclists of all types and income levels throughout L.A. County.

This isn’t a divorce.

As the press release (below) notes, the staff and board of the LACBC has great affection for City of Lights, and takes great pride in what began as a simple effort to pass out free bike lights to L.A.’s invisible cyclists.

It was just time to let go.

And let City of Lights go on to even greater success on their own.

Speaking strictly for myself, I couldn’t be prouder of the people who have built City of Lights into what it is today, and wish them nothing but the best.

And expect great things from them in the years to come.


  1. Jim Lucas says:

    What a sugar coated lying way to abandon those in need. Yuck! Outreach programs that might help immigrants are few and far between. I have always admired the LACBC for its City of Lights program and how it was designed to help those who really needed help. I suspect that it is the anti-illegal Mexican feeling that have caused LACBC to abandon this outreach program and try to call it spinning it off Again YUCK!!!!!!!!!!.

    • bikinginla says:

      Wow, Jim.

      Rather than abandoning the immigrant community, as you suggest, the LACBC is continuing to to support and expand programs that reach out to low-income communities and Spanish-speaking communities, such as the ongoing Bici Libre program, as well as other underserved communities. To suggest that they have abandoned anyone is simply not true — and to ascribe it to any sort of anti-immigrant feeling is to suggest the most offensive sort of racism, and a complete mischaracterization of the situation.

      If you believe otherwise, I’d suggest that you visit Bici Libre any day of the week and talk to the volunteers who work there and the people they serve. I have been, and remain, very proud of the Coalition’s outreach to Spanish-language community, without regard to immigration status, as well as their efforts to welcome and serve all bike riders regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or income level.

      Rather than sugar coating this separation, as you incorrectly color it, it is a simple fact that the volunteers with the City of Lights program approached the LACBC about separating because they want to expand their efforts beyond a strict focus on bicycling, while the LACBC is and will always remain a bicycling organization. While it was a difficult decision on both sides, in order to grow, City of Lights had no choice but to separate from LACBC, and LACBC had no choice but to let them go.

      To suggest otherwise is both false and highly offensive. You owe everyone involved in the LACBC an apology.

      • Jim Lucas says:

        I call them like I see them. I saw and see no indication of City of Lights requesting the separation. Only upon seeing that kind of a request from City of Lights would I consider retracting my comment. Perhaps this is because I am so tired of seeing it be like I called this one that I see it this way.

        • bikinginla says:

          Then I think you need new glasses. However, you are free to believe what you want to believe, regardless of the facts of the matter.

          But doesn’t it seem just a tad incongruous that the organization you respected yesterday for supporting the immigrant community would suddenly decide to turn its back on that community? As you point out, your perspective would seem to be coloring your reaction in this case.

  2. karL says:

    I’m looking for intentional satire but this will have to do as sometimes I worry about typo’s etc. empowering others against the work I do- everyone should note this cool decision empowering sufficiently capricious speech to enable us to better get the job done:


    In biking has as life in general little progress without occasional hyperbole is possible.

    Now entities won’t have to dial 911 fearing liability if they they only chuckle instead- and pointing out success or failure to continue to help all regardless of the class or color won’t be chilled either. Now I recall where I could of better posted this on here- when I was or someone else was threatened- such emotional venting is critical for us to to tolerate as those who type or talk about it -with clear levity- are not the ones doing it ultimately and it used to upset me to see Jodie Foster’s performances being applauded even when she used that “I’ll kill you line”.

    I believe those who have kept cars on the road are guilty of crimes against humanity be they transit operators or “LACBC”‘s that might have committeee’s voting to not support bills like in my homestate that woulde of amplified the already CA ‘policy’ (you headline) of allolwing us to only yield at stop signs etc.

    I do not think an apoligy is in order if the belief stated was in good faith.

    Diversity though is key- as long as success is fostered not detered.

    Why the secrecy till now? Do you want to apologise/clarify more explicitly for that if this isnt’ controversial along the lines better identifed by the feedback then your “finaly” qualification?

    I personally think that maintaining focus on biking is worth assailing any regres from unless broadening perspective increases penetration and total minds moved away from car culture….

    • bikinginla says:

      Discretion — not secrecy — is always required during negotiations.

      • karL says:

        Well notably this is the precise moment your ‘discretion’ has me being moderated…. but you do not even hint at what was negotiated or what the conflict was or why any of these people have any right to any turf about the issues that are consumately public just because they have been putting in sweat equity.

        I think members of the parent organisation do not have to accept any need to go outside it now. They are members and can and should keep it in house.

        I bought tickets in the raffle but would NEVER support this parent group as I find it chillingly unambitious and frankly defrauding donors who are not at fault when the fail to ‘get’ that.

        After a few decades we start to notice the bike shops or bike parking club buildings not just being undersized but having the same clipboard for ‘enthusiasts’ to login to. People who enjoy biking have the right to attempt to earn a living peddling exclusively retro bikes, but when they claim they are in so doing promoting any cause but there own they cross a line that has us making almost no progress in my lifetime so far.

        What’s happened in NY eight years ago is news to me today. Cars are now the only legal vehicles there! (without a motorcycle license that is of cousre harder to get then a car license and can be therefore a throttle on wider adoption- they couldeven grandfather existing licensee’s in but not allow any new ones etc.)

        I blame my personal failure in a variety of arena’s- stopping tranist dollars from b eing wasting by the 8 figures on a singel project etc from not making it a sufficient priority. For those who work full time at it I have ahard time having the typical amount of sympathy- and no reluctance to callm almost all of them out as being insincere.

        I specifically doubt the lights given out where worth theh hastleof handing them out. Such programs give out a largefraction of all lights in use versus full quality models that would be less then half the current cost if aggressively bought for free distribution. Only lack of regulation of what at a mininum a light requires to be ‘given’ allows it. If your spending your own mondy fine spend $20 to get a fifty cent to build model. But if handing them out to _help_ $20 in materials is not to much to enable- and getting the price down from hundreds to $30 or so would be the result for the rest of us.

        As I mentioned once before on your blog I come from a town whohad challengers to using public funds to have ‘free’ classes and such.

        I see those ads for ‘free’ clases stil and I cringe- I know that moneyh could be better spent informing people about how evil cars are which is it’s mandate- the money’s.

        Los Angeles can shed it’s cars, can be cured. WE need not be trashed as a car park for additional generations. There will be resistance- it is present in almost all advocacy for ‘bikes’ we see. it is in ourneglect to regulate for excellence. Colllege kids can do better in hours then any bike on store shelves rightgnow- it should not bethat way.

        • karL says:

          I apologies it appears tobe the safety thread that’s moderated for all given it’s bloated quality.
          I appreciate this open forum so much!

    • karL says:

      specifically cyclavia has lost it’s focus and regurgitates now only greater and greater quantities instead of evolving rapidly in true disruptiive fashion. THe money it spends is no longer worth it. Had it remained under the big umbrella it could of changed to a work day, could of shifted to time instead of one afternoon a day sharing as i note should be done on all bike banning for specific reasons only during times those reasons apply times- not all the time or but for token inefficiently provided afternoons.

      If indeed it was donor supported and those donors would not of donated to any other true biking advocacy entity- i woud still fear the possiblity.

      biking should not align itself with density, or anything controversial of that sort.

      we must recognise we are not compatible with cars. its’ them or us and it will be them over my assasinated body only.

  3. karL says:

    the google branded website you host to doesn’t work in its’ own browser and should have the assistance of all our members to raise the two bucks a year for it’s own name and have volunteers who know how to write html at least on board- the very best of us need to be as draftable as possible.

  4. karL says:

    is this like the successful effort to free up nonprofit efforts to get ‘single’ parents off of transit? Seriously I bet they will know solicit donated cars to redistribute instead of raising funds to bury them …

  5. I wish City of Lights the best of luck as they expand in their separation from LACBC. I think it’s a good move on their part because with dedicated staff they can probably raise a lot more funds focusing solely on this project and reach a lot more people. As a professional fundraiser and nonprofit administrator, I can see that there’s a lot of sense in this move. I can foresee another separation in the future and that is Safe Routes to School separating from Bikes Belong, especially with the ongoing merger of the bicycle advocacy groups. Safe Routes to School, like City of Lights, covers more issues than just cycling related, and could benefit from living under its own umbrella.

    With this separation of LACBC and City of Lights, we have to remember that the work City of Lights does would have always been curtailed by the confinements of LACBC’s mission. This separation will allow City of Lights to have their own mission to answer to and fulfill and only be confined by it.

    It also allows City of Lights to expand geographically, since LACBC is strictly there to serve LA County. City of Lights will always be an LACBC legacy, but now they can grow to a regional or even national organization.

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