More than 20,000 bicyclists, pedestrians, including myself, and others using non-motorized transportation joined in the six mile 14th edition of CicLAvia on Sunday. As you all should know by now, I am an avid mountain-biker, and bicycle rider’s rights advocate. The benefits to an avid rider like me were clear, I just had to go.
I always jump at a chance to attend bicycle rider awareness events that don’t require me to share the road with cars. It was a rider’s paradise that day. What I observed was six miles of streets between Culver City and Venice on Sunday that didn’t require me to be worried about being run over by a motor vehicle, as I have observed on several occasions on Admiralty Way since the insane SR90 Extension Project!
The Streets Were Clear to Ride For CicLAvia
The areas between Washington and Venice Boulevards as well as other streets along the route including Culver City Metro Export Line Station and Venice Beach were closed to motorized traffic Sunday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. for the event. Joining the event there were thousands of bicyclists, skaters and pedestrians like me, for the six mile route. The festival includes activities and food stalls throughout the route at locations like Venice Beach, Mar Vista Farmers Market, Tellefson Park and in downtown Culver city. Aside from the smell of urine in Venice from all the homeless who flock there to beg, it was a pleasant experience.
I personally observed no crashes, and was able to enjoy the landmarks along the route since they closed to motorized traffic for the day. This was one Sunday I did not have to worry about “Sunday Drivers.” The route included the Museum of Jurassic Technology, Muscle Beach, Ocean Front Walk in Venice, Sony Pictures Studies, Helms Bakery, Ballona Creek Bike Path and King Fahad Mosque. There was one taco place that was upset about the street closure, since it prevented customers from parking, etc.
I am trying to find out what happened, but it looks like the taco place ultimately embraced the event, and I would assume the event organizers helped send clientele their way to help make up for the possible loss in business. It is always hard to balance the interests of small business people, and government/private organized social events that can shut down commerce.
According to Los Angeles Police spokesman Mike Lopez the number of people attending the event numbered more than 20,000. Lopez said they did not have a more precise estimate of people at the festival, but there were no arrests reported. Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart said firefighters answered some medical calls during the event, but none were for serious harm.
The Underpinning of the Event Was Apparently to Bring
Public Awareness to Proposed Mobility Plan 2035
The event coincides with a plan by Los Angeles officials to reduce reliance on automobiles, which will be before the city council Tuesday for a vote. This plan is referred to as the Mobility Plan 2035 that will add new bicycle lanes and bus routes over the next two decades. Although the vote has not taken place, I am sure if enough politicians are given campaign contributions by the right people, or browbeaten into supporting the new plan it will pass. But seriously, whenever ambitious, city politicians pass laws like this, the people who usually suffer are the local residents trying to travel to and from work, or simply get around town.
I am all for riding and not being run over, but I dislike government closing off sections of streets based upon the unrealistic expectation that people will rely upon buses, bikes or other alternative transport. What I see is government making travel by car so inconvenient, that you have no choice but to wait in what amounts to a Soviet Style breadline.
The best politicians are the ones who reverse laws, not pass more of them. In any event with the passage of the LA rifle magazine ban that allows criminals to have more rounds in their guns than law abiding citizens who are the potential targets of crime, we can see the rapid decline of LA due to emotion based laws.
I pray this is not yet another Draconian law with veneer of helping the little guy, but that really is a pay off to special interests with a financial interest in the carrying out of the new law. I will be reviewing the documents here, and following the upcoming hearings on this. Updates will follow as soon as I know more. In closing, all I can say is that I love riding bikes, and I love CicLAvia too.
What I dislike is that is was used to promote an idea that will potentially invite the Dracula of more government into our lives, in an era where We The People have been stretched to our limits by the re-distributive changes of the Nanny State, many would argue, in contravention of the wishes of the Framers.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Let us hope that the unintended consequences of this new law that is sure to pass in my opinion, will not create a road to hell for the riders it was designed to help. As in the video above, let us also hope that this is not another Hotel [Los Angeles] California for local taxpayers and residents, who are time and time again, at the mercy of the L.A. City Council, and state bureaucrats who long since will have moved on to higher office by the time the potential damage is done by those productive ones who are forced to pay for everything. Only time will tell, but history shows we have a lot to be concerned about.
- The Need For Safer Bicycle Travel Is Real
I must say that we need to come up with safer bike lanes, and that riders themselves need to be much more defensive. If possible, you may want to consider riding on the sidewalk where permitted by law. But don’t be a jerk to pedestrians and get off your bike if they are near, and walk. Sidewalks are narrow and your handlebars and pedals take up a lot of unseen space to the pedestrian in some cases. Just because it is legal, you have a duty to exercise reasonable care.
Of course, everyone should:
- Wear a helmet
- Wear elbow and knee pads
- Consider shaving/removing arm and leg hair
- Carry a First Aid Kit
- Carry water.
I know it may sound silly, but if you do take a spill, it is a lot easier to dig out asphalt and dirt from your scrapes and wounds when the hair is waxed, lazed, or removed/gone. You may have to scrape all that junk out of your elbows and knees with an iodine brush. Ouch! There are a lot of other things you need to be aware of, but you can check out my other articles on bicycle safety to learn everything else.
Being Civil Is Better than More Bicycle Laws
Of course, in a society where others respect basic property and human rights, we don’t need 3 feet feet bicycle lane laws. The other side would argue that the threat of fines make drivers more aware and safer. This may be true for a punishment minded society. But I personally think the goal should be to teach patriotism, meritorious promotions, and basic civics in our schools.
Civility is in short supply, and apparently a long lost art in certain parts of Los Angeles. Try pulling the splinter from your eye first, and read up on understanding and “Choosing Civility.” Seriously, when you think about it, looking out for others, actually means you are looking out for your self. Do you disagree?
I want to hear from you If you have a differing view, or if you have any questions about bicycle laws, were hurt in a hit and run, or just want to pick my brain, go ahead and reach out to me on Google Plus. My closing thought is that if history proves anything, riders benefited from clear streets on this day, but that we need to always be vigilant and look at the people who will benefit financially from any proposed laws being promoted at the event itself when weighing the potential public benefits and losses.