Bike Week may be winding down, but it's not over yet. Today and tomorrow are "Bike Local Weekend," with over sixty retailers of various ilks offering discounts to those of you who bike in and mention Bike Week; the list is on Metro's site right here!
And while the official Bike Month ends in a few days, the Bicycle Millennium is just beginning—but, like a "returning rider" who hasn't been on two wheels since being absorbed by the hive-mind of car culture, it's still a bit wobbly.
We've succeeded, with great effort and not a small amount of organized noise-making, in imbuing our city and county governments with a little bit of street sense, so that, timidly though they have been doing it, they are slowly beginning to re-envision our street network as what it is, the biggest portion of the public realm in Los Angeles. And one that should not be set aside solely for the driving and parking of private cars.
Decades of trying to satisfy the insatiable demands of motorists for more and more lanes and tax-supported car storage has drained city treasuries (even in ritzy-glitzy Beverly Hills), killed and maimed thousands of innocents, and shot millions of potential customers right past our struggling local merchants at high speed, walled in by sheet metal and hate radio rants.
Let's face it, car culture is not pretty: it's changed a vibrant city into four million lonely souls in search of a parking spot.
We're starting to do better—now we're just starting to see bikelanes and bike corrals, parklets and pedestrian plazas, even such basic matters as crosswalks and sidewalks that are actually usable by Angelenos of all ages—but there has been pushback. For seventy years people have been programmed to believe that driving makes you better, stronger, freer than the poor sods stuck outside in our beautiful weather. In real life, it makes you feeble and nervous and keeps you trapped in regimented rows of isolation cells listening to the jabber of Dittoheads, in a scene from some science-fiction depiction of a techno-fascist future.
This makes for a fervent and often very loud coterie of defenders of the status quo, who have often succeeded in preventing or even removing bike infrastructure supported by the majority of a neighborhood, simply by intimidating our typically weak-kneed local politicians.
We have no Janette Sadik-Khan, with her confidence and sheafs of data, here in LA. What we do have is you.
Want LA to become a real bicycle city? Then get into the front lines, which are no longer at city hall and LADOT. They are in the neighborhood councils (and often in the local chambers of commerce), whose meetings the reactionaries have been attempting to pack. In every case, they have represented a minority view in their neighborhoods, but in too many cases their vehemence has persuaded the councils and chambers to vote against road diets and bike lanes.
We can't play Whack-a-Mole with every council in LA with action alerts on blogs and Twitter, though we have been trying. But what we need is you to become a regular attendant at your neighborhood council—and, if you own a business, your chamber of commerce—and be a voice for the future.
Don't know what neighborhood council is yours? If you live in LA, you can find out here—where you can also find out who your representatives in government are. (You'll be emailing them on behalf of cycling sooner or later!)
Read about the neighborhood council program in general here.
As computer scientist Alan Kay said in 1971: "The best way to predict the future is to invent it."
Here's your chance.
May is Bike Month: and #BikeLA is exploding with workshops, rides and events! join us as we kick off official Bike Week events with free maintenance workshops, a bike to work happy hour and a feeder ride to Bike Night at the Hammer museum.
Just this week mention the special "Bike Week" discount for a 10% off in-store purchases on almost everything in the shop!
Orange 20 Bikes, Inc.
|www.orange20bikes.com - email:
Open 7 Days A Week
Mon 12-8 Tue 12-8 Wed 12-6 Thu 12-8 Fri 12-8 Sat 12-8 Sun 12-6