Tag Archive for Los Angeles Politics

Morning Links: Road raging Malibu driver assaults cyclist, and the Times looks at the politics of LA road diets

A PCH cyclist is in serious condition after being attacked by a road raging driver.

According to the Malibu Times, the victim got into an argument with a pickup driver as he rode west on the coast highway between Busch Drive and Morning View Drive. After the rider moved on in the right hand lane, the unnamed driver sped past him, then stopped, got out of his truck and pushed him off his bike into the left lane.

Fortunately, it was either a rare moment when there was no traffic on the highway, or oncoming drivers were able to stop in time to avoid him. Even so, the victim still suffered serious injuries and lacerations.

The paper quotes a sheriff’s deputy as saying the dispute was over “use of the shoulder lane,” though he doesn’t clarify whether the driver wanted to use it or, more likely, incorrectly thought the cyclist belonged there.

Although you’d think someone with the rank of lieutenant would know that the shoulder of PCH — or any roadway — is not a lane, since it’s not legally part of the roadway.

Not surprisingly, the driver, who wasn’t publicly named, was arrested for felony assault.

Although it should be attempted murder if there was any traffic coming at the time.


The LA Times examines the politics of road diets, and correctly suggests that biking and walking will be issues in next year’s city council elections. At least if we have anything to say about it.

It would have been nice, though, if they’d mentioned that the primary purpose of most road diets is to improve traffic safety for all road users; better livability is just a bonus.

And as John Lloyd pointed out, despite the way the Times piece characterizes it, CicLAvia is more about opening streets for people than closing them off to cars.


Caught on video: Across Los Angeles takes a look at the first half of Sunday’s Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer hill climb competition.



Nice piece on Medium.com, as Steven Corwin explains why he shouldn’t have to justify his decision to live car-free.

The Eastsider asks if a freeway cap can make freeway-severed Belvedere Park whole again.

The former Governator and friend ride in one of Santa Monica’s many bike lanes.

Downtown Hawthorne gets a $300,000 makeover, complete with bike lanes. Eventually.



San Francisco safety advocates say it’s time to end traffic violence; the mayor promises quick action.

A writer for Streetsblog clarifies that Sacramento is not seriously planning to license bicyclists, despite that breathless TV report we linked to last week.

A Modesto letter writer wants cyclists to explain what makes us so special that we don’t have to obey traffic laws — unlike motorists who never speed, use hand-held cell phones or roll through stop signs. Maybe we’re not so special after all.

Nice. After losing his wife, a Chico Iraq war vet finds peace through Ride 2 Recovery.



A new city bike promises to fold up in seconds.

People for Bikes explains how Denver got an oil company to help crowdfund a protected bike lane. I wonder if anyone has ever asked any of the many companies that suck LA oil out of the ground to pitch in to make the city a little safer. Probably not.

After a special needs woman has her bike stolen, a Michigan TV station replaces it with a better one.

A Maryland woman makes it back on her bike a year after a near-fatal collision, and brings her previously non-biking husband along for the ride.

West Palm Beach’s Jack the Bike Man is looking for used bikes to fix up so he can give 1,000 bikes to children this Christmas.



The Guardian takes a look at the world’s best cycling infrastructure, none of which is located south of the Canadian border. And says the BBC still gets it wrong in a week-long look at bicycling.

It takes a major jerk to steal an autistic British man’s bike.

Rather than require motorists to drive safely, a Swiss canton orders children to wear hi-viz vests when biking to school.

That Dutch solar bike path opens this week; the question is whether it’s really as dirt and skid resistant as advertised.



The difference between an ticket and a night in a Santa Monica jail? Not stopping when a cop tries to pull you over for riding on the sidewalk without a headlight (last item). Caught on video: an Edinburgh cyclist uses entirely appropriate inappropriate language given the circumstances, as he’s nearly run over when a van driver decides to use the bike lane as a shortcut.

And now you can play Chutes and Ladders without shame, as Copenhagenize unveils a game based on the best and worst ways to promote bicycling.


Thanks to all veterans for your sacrifice in service of our country.


Pleitez literally runs — and bikes — for mayor; WA Representative blames bikes for global warming

After a busy and needlessly heartbreaking week, I finally have a chance to catch up on all the latest bike news.

So put your feet up and get comfortable.

This could take awhile.


Pleitez riding to Venice on Saturday; note his helmet cam.

Pleitez riding to Venice Saturday; note helmet cam.

Mayoral candidate Emanuel Pleitez is running for office this weekend.

No, literally.

Long considered the fifth place candidate in Tuesday’s mayoral election, the 30-year old Pleitez is running and biking 100 miles across the city to promote his campaign and connect with voters.

He rode 22 miles from Boyle Heights to Venice with a group of supporters on Saturday, mostly along Venice Blvd. Sunday you’ll find him walking from LMU to the Watts Towers, while Monday takes him down to San Pedro.

Is it working?

We won’t know until Tuesday night — or most likely, sometime Wednesday — when the votes come in. But in a five-way race, it doesn’t take a lot of support to work your way into a top-two runoff.

While it may be a stunt, it’s the best one I’ve seen in the 20-plus years I’ve called this city home. It also beats the hell out of the mudslinging his fellow candidates have substituted for actual campaigning in recent days.

And it’s making me take a second look at a campaign I’d dismissed weeks ago.

Pleitez team setting off; Emanuel Pleitez is in the center.

Pleitez team setting off; Emmanuel Pleitez is in the center.


The LACBC isn’t just getting L.A. candidates on the record these days.

Local affiliate chapter South Bay Bicycle Coalition deserves major credit for getting responses from several candidates for that city’s council.

Although I’d like to think one of those who responded could offer a tad more detail than the 43 words he submitted.


If you want to see a clear example of why you should cast your vote carefully, consider this exchange between a bike shop owner and a Washington state representative.

Republican Representative Ed Orcutt says he’s not a fan of most tax plans, but supports a proposal to slap a $25 tax on all bike sales over $500.

Because of the greenhouse gases emitted by breathing bicyclists.

Also, you claim that it is environmentally friendly to ride a bike. But if I am not mistaken, a cyclists (sic) has an increased heart rate and respiration. That means that the act of riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider.  Since CO2 is deemed to be a greenhouse gas and a pollutant, bicyclists are actually polluting when they ride.

Yes, far better to put all those riders back in cars where they’ll do less harm to the environment, right?

And don’t even get me started on that same old — and long disproven — argument that drivers pay for the roads and we don’t.

Let alone that most bike riders are drivers.


A 72-year old San Diego area cyclist suffered a life-threatening head injury Saturday morning when he fell from his bike in Torrey Pines State Preserve north of La Jolla.

And a Lakewood bike rider is collateral damage in a collision between an Orange County Sheriff’s deputy and another driver on Friday.


The Glendale News-Press offers the most in-depth coverage yet of the hit-and-run collision that cost cyclist Damian Kevitt his leg after he was dragged onto the freeway near the L.A. Zoo. Kevitt was riding with his wife on their way from the L.A. River bike path to the zoo when he was struck.

It’s frightening how quickly a pleasant bike ride can turn to horror at the hands of a heartless human being — if you can use that word to describe someone who could do this to another person.

A letter writer says the overpass where Kevitt was hit is a potential death trap for cyclists and pedestrians.

Meanwhile, friends and fellow students of fallen Cal Poly Pomona bike rider Ivan Aguilar mourn his death.


Bike blogger and wreck survivor Opus the Poet is having a rather unusual contest on his blog: design a tattoo to cover up a large scar on his leg and you could win $500. The appendage in question goes up on his website Sunday.


Streetsblog says kiss your buffered bike lane in front of formerly bike-friendly LAPD headquarters goodbye. An interactive guide to the last 139 years of Los Angeles transportation. Evidently, you can carry anything on a bike, even a cello. Flying Pigeon considers the argument that bike lanes might delay drivers ever so slightly, and finds it sadly lacking. LA Weekly reviews the new Spring Street parklets, and concludes they need more bike parking. CD5 city council candidate Mark Herd threatens to shoot someone with his antique gun if they try to put a bike lane on Westwood Blvd; load up, dude, while I paint a target on my ass. Santa Monica students will track their car-free miles as they pledge to bike or walk to school. Culver City-based Walk and Rollers needs your support to win a $5000 grant from the Lakers Youth Foundation. CLR Effect says just open the new tunnel on the San Gabriel River Trail already. Women on Bikes wants you to take their spring survey even if you’re not a woman; you could win a handcrafted bracelet, again, even if you’re not a woman.

Are drivers in Corona del Mar speeding through previously quiet neighborhoods just to avoid sharrows on the Coast Highway? An Orange County writer says drug testing should be eliminated in professional sports. San Diego will enjoy its first ciclovia — make that CicloSDias — in August. Riverside considers a road diet, including bike lanes. Just Another Cyclist says knock off the fear mongering already. A San Francisco writer offers advice on how to drive around cyclists, including instructions to stay the f*** out of the bike lane. BART will give bikes another test run. A Merced cyclist is killed in a rear-end collision after the driver saw him riding on the side of the road, but hit him anyway. How to take photos of bike racing.

Turns out the National Highway Safety Board hasn’t made a single bike safety recommendation since I graduated from junior high; trust me, that was a long damn time ago. NPR looks at the benefits of bicycling as part of a healthy lifestyle and smarter transportation. Shouldn’t pedestrians at least be safe from cars on the sidewalk? Women rise to the forefront of the bicycling movement at next week’s National Women’s Bicycling Forum; so wait, we’re a movement now? A first hand, or rather helmet, view of a white tail deer cyclocross collision. An Austin planned community goes green, as in bike lanes. Now why couldn’t Baton Rouge have gotten bike friendly when I lived down there, instead of making me dodge doors and flying beer cans? A hero Louisiana bike shop owner waddles into a burning house in bike shoes to save a woman’s life. After a Chicago cyclist is doored, then run over by a second driver who fled the scene, the original driver is cited — not for carelessly opening his door, but for failing to yield to a horseback rider. The New York DMV correctly determines that collisions aren’t accidents. Two New York men decide they, not you, own the sidewalk, offering penalty cards for anyone who doesn’t use it the right way, or rather, their way. New York wants to put speed cameras on the streets; a few of those on my street could balance L.A.’s city budget in a couple weeks. A Massachusetts driver gets out of his car and slaps a cyclist after Jerry Browning him. A proposed Maryland mandatory helmet law could make streets less safe. Charlotte streets are growing progressively less safe for cyclists and pedestrians.

Every city should have it’s own Lucha Libre superhero defender of the public pedestrian right-of-way. Should Vancouver cyclists be allowed to roll stop signs? The local press says hell no. A bike riding UK father survives a hit-and-run road rage attack. Edinburgh surgeons cross scalpels over the benefits of helmet use. A Scot writer demonstrates his massive heart by wishing he’d thought sooner to shove a pipe through a rude cyclist’s spokes, or elsewhere; note to writer, violence isn’t witty. Turns out Scarlett Johansson enjoys drunken bike bar hopping in Amsterdam. Strasbourg plans a spider web of bikeways, guaranteeing a minimum cruising speed of 12.4 mph. An Aussie triathlete says most drivers would give cyclists a meter of space — or roughly three feet — if they saw them as real people. New Zealanders call for calm in the wake of a road rage attack that left a triathlete seriously injured. A driver and cyclist debate the battle on New Zealand streets; a Christchurch pathologist says you can’t just look for bikes, you actually have to see them.

Finally, when one helmet cam just isn’t enough, how about seven cameras recording in every possible direction. It turns out that massive crocodile a cyclist spotted in the River Thames was a prop from a Bond film.

And a masturbating seat stalker proves that even bike paradise has its sick f***s deeply disturbed individuals.

L.A. bikes the vote, kneejerk anti-bike bias rears it’s ugly head, and a massive weekend list o’ links

A busy week of bike meetings and breaking news meant pushing back a lot of stories.

So grab a cup and settle in for a full weekend worth of the latest bike news from L.A. and around the world.


The LACBC provides responses to candidate surveys from 13 candidates for L.A. city council; surprisingly, some very bike-friendly candidates, such as Odysseus Bostick in CD 11, failed to respond.

Meanwhile, a writer for the L.A. Times offers a one-sided windshield-perspective look at the CD 11 candidates; I thought the Times had outgrown that sort of crap in recent years.

And I’m sick to death of people who don’t ride a bike stating with presumed authority that no one would ever ride from the Westside — or the Palisades — to Downtown when there are riders who do that, or its equivalent, every day.

I make the Westside to Downtown ride several times a month myself. And find it easier, cheaper, faster, more enjoyable — and yes, safer — than driving a car. But it’s so much easier to claim no one would do it than talk to someone who does.

As for the race for L.A. Mayor, Streetsblog offers video interviews from all five leading candidates. And the Times sort of makes up for their misstep above by getting them on the record for their stands on transportation issues, including bicycling.

If you want to do more than just cast a vote to ensure the city’s next leaders support bicycling — or any other city in L.A. County for that matter — come to the the LACBC’s Civic Engagement Committee meeting on Tuesday, February 26th at 6:45 pm at the Johnnie’s Pizza at Museum Square, 5757 Wilshire Blvd.


Has it really been two years since L.A. adopted a new bike plan? The city is making real progress, but anti-bike critics remain.

LADOT considers floating bike lanes for Westwood Blvd, but an LA Observed writer with a terminal case of windshield perspective says those damned bike lanes are going to ruin the streets for the rest of us. Examined Spoke responds, while Boyonabike smells anti-bike bias.

Rampant anti-bike NIMBYism rears its ugly head at the Westside bike lane meeting, as local neighborhood councils and business owners came in with minds already made up and their ears closed. On the other hand, Rancho Park Online offers a surprisingly well reasoned analysis of the Westwood proposal.

Meanwhile, Eagle Rock business owners question whether bike lanes are good or bad for business; that pretty much depends on whether their business can benefit from bike riders’ money. The Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council says keep bike lanes off Lankershim and put them on Vineland, instead; if you want to see a perfect example of irrational anti-bike bias, read the comments — seriously, elitist bike Nazis? And NoHoArtsDistrict tries to get the facts straight.


In one of the most outrageous cases in recent memory, a Buenos Aires driver runs down a cyclist, then flees with his victim’s body still on the hood of his car for 17 kilometers — 10.5 miles — until he’s stopped at a toll both.

And when the attendant pointed out he had a body on his car, he responded “Does that mean you’re going to charge me twice?”

Thanks to Ralph Durham for the heads-up.

Meanwhile, closer to home, the Glendale News-Press finally reports on last Sunday’s horrible hit-and-run collision in which a cyclist was knocked off his bike and dragged onto the 5 Freeway by the fleeing minivan; I’ve updated the original story.


Even pro teams are victims of violence these days.

According to Cycling News, the Jamis-Hagens Berman team was on a training ride outside otherwise bike-friendly Tucson when a car pulled up next to them and the driver started swearing at them.

The car then swerved into the lead riders before speeding off, causing the riders to crash; fortunately, no one was seriously injured. And just as fortunately, the team car was following the paceline and managed to get photos of the driver’s license plate.

Hopefully, there will be an arrest — and serious charges — soon.


KNBC-4 recommends the LACBC’s ‘80s Bike Prom this Saturday, as do I; if I wasn’t still keeping a close eye on my wife thanks to her foot-dragging insurance company, I’d be there myself. Streetsblog is hosting a fundraiser with outgoing councilmember Bill Rosendahl the same night. A Midwestern transplant discovers you can bike in L.A. without dying, and borrows this blog’s name in the process. Here’s your map for April’s CicLAvia to the Sea; there will be a community meeting to discuss it next Thursday. New pavement and bike lanes for Cypress Park. Burbank adopts its new general plan; naturally, the only no vote came because the plan includes a bigger bike network. Universal Studios will fund projects to alleviate Burbank traffic caused by their expansion, and extend the L.A. River bike path they’ve long tried to block. Long Beach wants to help you become a street savvy cyclist.

A La Habra teen is stabbed by two men for his bike. Huntington Beach plans to widen Atlanta Avenue and add bike lanes in both direction; hopefully they won’t follow the murderous OC pattern of striping wide lanes to encourage more speeding drivers. A Coronado driver says yes, it is my job to make you obey the law. Not so fast on those new bike lanes on the Coast Highway in Leucadia. San Diego plans to add bike lanes and sidewalks to fix a dangerous stretch of road in San Ysidro. Temecula’s Sarah Hammer takes gold in the women’s individual pursuit at the World Championships. This has got to be the crappiest name ever for a bike ride; no, I mean literally. Camarillo adds two miles of bike lanes. Cambria riders push Caltrans to fix the damage they did to one of California’s favorite riding routes. Turn any shoes into cleated bike shoes. Cyclists on San Francisco’s King Street are at the mercy of cars once the bike lane ends mid-block. San Francisco police bust a fugitive sex offender for riding on the sidewalk. Supporters of a fallen Oroville cyclist says it’s time to end hit-and-runs.

The man whose name graces my bike says he wants to get back into the business; makes sense since he’s now America’s only Tour de France winner. Not surprisingly, traffic fatalities rose nationwide in 2012. The USDOT questions whether dead cyclists and pedestrians count enough to count. L.A.-style bicyclist anti-harassment laws are spreading nationwide. Dave Moulton says lighter isn’t always better. Ninety members of my old fraternity plan to bike across the county to raise awareness for disabilities this summer. Sorry Wired, fat bikes don’t huck and bikes can’t outrun wolves. Washington considers a $25 fee on the sale of any bike over $500; even the woman who wrote the bill doesn’t support it. A bike rider is killed by a train because a Utah driver couldn’t be bothered to clean the frost off her windshield. Rocky Mountain National Park considers its first off-road bike trails. If you’re stopped for biking under the influence on your birthday, it’s probably not a good idea to celebrate by strangling the cop. A Chicago newsman panics over planned bikeways and bus lanes on the Loop. Now that’s more like it, as an Indiana driver gets 18 years for killing two teenage bike riders after smoking meth. New York plans a crackdown on bike delivery riders. Former Bogota mayor Enrique Penalosa says Gotham could be more livable. A Philly writer wisely suggests that instead of focusing on how to get women to ride, we should consider what works for everyone; Elly Blue says just invite everyone to the party. Bike safety goes down in flames in Virginia legislature. Wannabe Latin pop star Carlos Bertonatti finally pleads guilty in the 2010 drunken hit-and-run death of a Miami cyclist; Bertonatti faces up to 35 years, but it’s unlikely he would have changed his plea if there wasn’t a deal in place.

Once again, a study supports the obvious conclusion that lower speeds and separated bike lanes significantly reduce the risk of cycling injuries. Five lessons from the world’s most bike friendly city, winter edition. How to travel with your Brompton. Looks like next year we can look forward to the Giro d’Eire. A look at the five best Hollywood bike scenes from a Brit perspective, without mentioning Breaking Away, American Flyers or Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. A major failure of education and traffic planning, as English children are banned from biking or walking to school. A New Zealand writer asks if hi-viz makes you a target. Australia, which mandates bike helmets for everyone, also requires bike bells in an apparent attempt to help more angels get their wings. Adelaide police statistics show drivers are at fault in an overwhelming 80% of all collisions; thank God Aussie cyclists have their bells to protect them.

Finally, this is why some people hate lawyers. A defense attorney claims his client wasn’t impaired when she killed a cyclist, but only took the drugs afterwards — apparently to cope with just having killed someone while driving distracted at over 70 mph.

Or maybe you just need a little bike rap to kick off your weekend; the language may be offensive to some, including heavy abuse of the dreaded n-word.


Thanks to Chris and the gang at the Westwood Helen’s, I no longer have a busted bearing in my bottom bracket. And neither does my bike.

If you’re looking for a great LBS, tell ‘em I sent you.

Bike to Work Week, a triple tragedy in Quebec, more L.A. hit-and-runs and the LBVLA is born

It’s Bike to Work Week.

The one time during the year when our local governments and various agencies fall all over themselves to prove they’re bike friendly — often in direct contrast to the other 51 weeks of the year.

And it all starts today.

I won’t waste your time with a recap of all the various events going on around town when so many others have already covered it in far more detail; just click on the links below for more information.

LACBC Bike to Work Day/Bike Week

Metro L.A. Bike Week

Bike Week Pasadena

Glendale Bike Month

Long Beach Bike Week

Claremont Bike to Work Week

Additional coverage at LA Streetsblog, the Source, the L.A. Times, Travelin’ Local and Green L.A. Girl, who notes the Sierra Club’s Bike-ku bike giveaway contest, as well as events south of the Orange Curtain in the Orange County Register. As for Bike to Work Day, there’s bound to be Pit Stop location near you.

And in honor of Bike to Work week, LAPD Chief Beck asks drivers not to run over us, noting that sharing the road is the law.

As for me, I’m looking forward to Good Sam’s Blessing of the Bicycles on Tuesday; after the ride I had on Friday — two right hooks, one left cross, one speeding buzz and a barely averted high speed crash — I’ll take all the help I can get. On the other hand, I’m still debating whether I want to spend an hour bucking L.A. rush hour traffic to ride there. So what do you think about this route?


Three female triathletes were killed and three others — a man and two woman — seriously injured in a horrific collision while riding on a Quebec highway. Observers blamed the crash on the lack of a paved shoulders along the highway, forcing cyclists to share a lane with high speed traffic. The driver was a volunteer firefighter who attempted to give first aid to the victims. Alcohol has been ruled out, but cruise control may have played a role, while cyclists say local drivers are “cowboys” on the roads. They may be right, as another cyclist is killed by a drunk driver just a day later.


The League of Bicycling Voters held its inaugural meeting at UCLA on Saturday, and took its first steps as a real political organization.


Tragic proof over the weekend that hit-and-run collisions affect everyone, not just cyclists.


Vinokourov gets the pink jersey back — and keeps it — in the Giro. Cyclelicious reports on the first day of the Amgen Tour of California, won by Mark Cavendish, while Tom Boonen gets skinned in a crash. Oh, and some guy named Lance raced, too. The ToC comes to L.A. with a Downtown time trial and bike Lifestyle Festival on Saturday the 22nd.

Of course, that will conflict with the Inner City Sports Festival & Health Fair the same day.


Volunteers needed to ride pre-sharrowed streets. Cyclists discover the Valley’s Foothill Boulevard on Saturday. Flying Pigeon now carries classic Dutch-style Velorbis Bikes. The Times examines the intersection of biking and real estate. Pasadena plans to become even more bike friendly, with help Ryan Snyder Associates. L.A. Creek Freak reports on the slow progress of the Arroyo Seco Bike Path. Will observes a modern version of the loaves and fishes while riding Saturday, as a $50 bread purchase turns into $1000 of food for the needy. Riding on the sidewalk may be legal, but it’s not safe — and often rude. A San Francisco Grand Jury says it’s time drivers and cyclists got along, and encourages police to ticket more cyclists. A cyclist suffers non-life threatening injuries at a notorious San Francisco intersection. Today Show weatherman Al Roker rides. Cleveland PD offers great advice on how drivers can share the road. An 11-year old Texas girl gets warning signs on a dangerous road for cyclists. Collisions are up in Boulder intersections — including a cyclist who swerved to avoid car and got ticketed for an illegal lane change. An 86-year old driver faces a $75 fine after killing a teenage cyclist and critically injuring two others. Springfield Cyclist recounts a tandem tour of the Outer Banks. A Scottish company invents a new kind of bike seat; I’ll let someone else try it first. A Brit store refuses to sell a patch kit to a 17-year old for fear he might sniff it instead of fixing his flat. A man steals a bike, but is too drunk to remember what he did with it. Four British firefighters will ride non-stop from Edinburgh to London to raise funds for a cancer charity; as an aside, Santa Monica bike blogger JHaygood documents his brother’s battle against a rare form of cancer. A bike flash mob invades a Brussels train station with Queen’s Bicycle Race.

Finally, a German cyclist has been touring the world for 24 years, 38 countries and 320 flat tires and isn’t done yet; he credits his energy to drinking his own urine every morning. And yes, you read that right.

Introducing the League of Bicycling Voters LA

The following press release just went out to most of the major media sources in Los Angeles. Feel free to copy, repost or forward it as you see fit. And check back tonight for today’s links.

For immediate release: May 7, 2010

Los Angeles cyclists prepare to Bike the Vote on May 15th — introducing the League of Bicycling Voters L.A.

It’s not hard to have a big influence on local elections. In fact, only 17.9% of registered voters — slightly more than 285,000 people — cast ballots in the last election for Mayor of Los Angeles.

Now consider this:  According to a 2002 survey sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, 27.3% of all Americans over the age of 16 ride a bicycle, which means that somewhere around 400,000 of the city’s 1.6 million registered voters ride bikes. In other words, over 100,000 more than voted for all the candidates in the last mayoral election combined.

That holds true throughout the Los Angeles area, where statistics suggest that over 1 million of the county’s 4.2 million voters are cyclists — making it one of the largest untapped voting groups in Southern California.

That’s about to change.

On May 15th, bicyclists from throughout the County of Los Angeles will be coming together to form the League of Bicycling Voters Los Angeles.

Patterned after the highly successful League of Bicycling Voters in Austin, Texas — which saw their entire slate of candidates elected to office in the last citywide election — the group is being formed at a time when bicycling is more popular than ever.

Yet many cyclists, both beginners and experienced riders alike, believe they have have been ignored by unresponsive local, county and state governments, their safety needlessly endangered by roads and regulations that weren’t designed for bikes and policies that ignore their needs.

“For years we’ve tried playing nice, going along to get along, quietly sitting at meetings, waiting to be asked onto the floor for a dance,” explained Josef Bray-Ali, owner of the Flying Pigeon LA bike shop in Highland Park, and one of the founders of the local League of Bicycling Voters. “We’ve learned that the only place we can get our elected officials to pay attention is at the ballot box.”

According to the group’s website, the League of Bicycling Voters “is not liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. It does not represent any one group or style of cycling.” Instead, it represents Los Angeles-area bicyclists of every type and description “to help ensure safer streets and a more bike-friendly community for all of us.”

Ted Rogers, author of the blog BikingInLA.com and another of the group’s initial founders, along with UCLA lecturer Dr. Michael Cahn, stressed that the League won’t conflict with other existing bicycle advocacy organizations, such as C.I.C.L.E. and the Los Angeles County Bicycling Coalition.

“This group is a purely political organization. Our purpose is to host forums and debates, get candidates on the record for their stands on bicycling issues, and to endorse and support bike-friendly candidates and propositions — which groups like the LACBC are prohibited from doing due to their non-profit status.”

However, he explained that they do intend to work closely with other biking groups to support similar goals whenever possible; in fact, both Rogers and Dr. Cahn are on the Board of Directors for the LACBC, and many of the initial members belong to other cycling organizations, as well.

The initial organizational meeting is scheduled for 10:30 am on Saturday, May 15th in Room 1347 on the ground floor of the UCLA Law School on the Westwood campus. Anyone who rides a bike and is eligible to vote in the County of Los Angeles is encouraged to attend.

Website: http://bikevotela.org/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=105179589521909&ref=ts

Google Group: http://groups.google.com/group/bikevotela

So you say you want a revolution? Introducing the League of Bicycling Voters LA

Save the date — the politics of local cycling will change forever Saturday, May 15, on the UCLA campus.

Love her or hate her, LADOT Bikeways Coordinator Michelle Mowery got it right.

Appearing as part of the panel for An Evening With David Byrne last October, Mowery said that if we wanted to see any improvements in L.A. bicycling, it was going to take technical support, funding, and most of all, the political will to make changes.

A will that has been sadly lacking, both here in Los Angeles and in countless communities through the county — with one or two notable exceptions.

That changes now.

Because today marks the official unveiling of the League of Bicycling Voters LA.

An organization of bicyclists, by bicyclists and for bicyclists, dedicated to influencing the political process to ensure the election of politicians who will support cycling in every nook and cranny of L.A. County. And holding their feet to the fire to ensure they keep their promises and maintain their support long after the election is over.

The idea comes from the League of Bicycling Voters in Austin, TX, which had its genesis in a successful campaign to repeal Austin’s 1996 mandatory helmet law. Then when the city reconsidered the law a few years later, the League was born.

Not only did they defeat the helmet law once again, they’ve continued to play an active role in influencing the political process through volunteer work, hosting political forums and promoting a massive turnout at political rallies. They’ve also become one of the city’s most highly sought-after endorsements, resulting in the election of their full slate of bike-friendly candidates in the last election.

But that doesn’t mean we’re going to be their clone, either.

Exactly what this group turns out to be is up to you. At this point, nothing is set in stone. Not the bylaws, not the dues, not the officers or Board of Directors.

Not even the name. Although I like it.

In fact, still to be determined is whether this will take the form of a 501(c)4 — which would allow us to take part in political activity and endorse candidates, like the Austin group or the new Bikeside LA. Or whether it will be a registered as a Political Action Committee, which would let us raise and spend an unlimited amount money to support a candidate or proposition.

Or both.

It would have been easy to make those decisions myself, or together with Dr. Michael Cahn and Josef Bray-Ali, who’ve done as much or more than I have over the last few weeks to get this off the ground.

But one of the first decisions we made was that this should be a very democratic process. And it should be up to you, and everyone else who joins in, to decide exactly what form this takes and who should be elected to lead it.

There’s not even a guarantee that the three of us will have any role to play once the group is formed, except as voting members.

As for the Board of Directors, one of the smartest decisions the Austin League of Bicycling Voters made was to include a representative from each of the area’s leading bike organizations on the board, to ensure that it represented the broadest possible spectrum of cyclists.

So we’ll be reaching out to as many of the leading local biking groups as possible over the next few weeks, asking each one to nominate one or more of their members to serve on the board — from LaGrange and the Wheelmen, to the Ridazz, C.I.C.L.E., Bikeside and the LACBC. And just about everyone in between, from every possible corner of the county.

And if we don’t reach out to your group, feel free to reach out to us.

Meanwhile, we want to hear your ideas. We’ve set up a Google group where you can sign up for the interest group and freely share your thoughts on any part of this process.

Then we’ve reserved an auditorium on the UCLA campus for the morning of Saturday, May 15th, where we’re going to start making some of these decisions.

And yes, you’re invited.

Right now, the only requirements are that you live or work in Los Angeles County and ride a bike. We might even waive the last one if you can convince us that you support cycling and have something to contribute.

We’ve already seen what one person, working alone, can do to influence an election.

Now it’s time to find out what we all can do, working together.

Visit the League of Bicycling Voters LA at our new website at http://www.bikevotela.org and on our Facebook page. And sign up for the interest group at http://groups.google.com/group/bikevotela.

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