Monday, June 15, 2009

LA City Council Transportation Committee With Bikes On The Agenda

Passing along an action alert from the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. Big ticket cycling items on the City Council agenda this Wednesday including the LA Bicycle Master Plan, or rather lack of a plan. Anyone who can make it to City Hall for this is strongly encouraged to come voice concerns or even just fill seats to the show power of cyclists as a constituency. The more bodies that keep showing up to these things, the harder it is for the city to ignore us. LACBC message after the innocuous line of separation.

Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition
Join Us! LA City Big Bike Meeting
To all LACBC members and supporters: We need you!

WHAT: LA City Council Transportation Committee will be having a meeting dedicated to bicycle issues

WHEN: Wednesday, June 17th, 8am. Arrive at 7:45am.

WHERE: LA City Hall, 200 N. Spring St. Room 1050

The three most important issues are:

1) LA BIKE PLAN- make some specific public comments about the Bike Plan. Go to for more info

2) LAPD report related to the incidents between motorists and cyclists (related to the incident where the Hummer ran over cyclists)

3) LA Bike License Revival- make public comments to oppose this ineffective and unnecessary proposal

Other items are listed here:

Show up at 7:45am to ensure that you get to make public comments. Even if you can talk about your experience as a cyclist, the more diverse and united voices the better. Even if you just want to check it out, please come!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

LADOT Set To Legalize Pedicab Service, But With An Absurd Abundance Of Bureaucratic Strings Attached.

(New York City pedicab)

Pedicab service could be coming to Downtown Los Angeles, something many other cities have done with great success in dense downtown regions. Attempts to start pedicabs failed in the past due to lack of regulation, but renewed interest in pedicabs stems from efforts to revitalize downtown. Sounds great, but leave it to the LADOT to taint anything it touches with a clueless detachment from reality and an extra helping of bureaucratic disaster the likes of which Terry Gilliam could barely fathom. Eric Richardson broke the news on Blog Downtown, and I read through the document outlining the LADOT proposed pedicab rules and restrictions, which drones on for 16 pages.

(A look at the inner workings of the LADOT)

The biggest kickers in this document are that both driver and passengers would not only be required to wear helmets in addition to a seat belt, but the driver could be fined $500 dollars for carrying a passenger without a helmet or seat belt for a first time offense. Second offense and it escalates to a $1000 fine. An SUV driver caught speeding while texting on a cell phone, a scenario that is a vehicular manslaughter waiting to happen, would likely get off with less penalty.

No where is there pedicab service with mandatory helmet requirements, including fellow American cities like Austin, New York, and our neighboring San Diego. The other stand out example of bureaucracy gone absolutely amok is the restrictions on pedicab driver dress code. These rules mandate black shoes (no-sandals), collared shirts with sleeves and a belt. Violating the "Failure to present a neat personal appearance" mandate, results in a $25 dollar fine and immediate removal from service. For more details read the Blog Downtown post, and for the real specifics, check out the LADOT document if you can stand to do so without gauging your eyes out.

Looking over this document the only conclusion I can come to is that the LADOT would like pedicab service to become legal again so they can say they tried, but really they would like it to fail so as to not disturb the status quo. I imagine some exuberant entrepreneur setting out to start a pedicab business and being run into the ground by tickets in a matter of days. Your tax dollars hard at work with the LADOT, Moving LA Forward. Hopefully some of the red tape can be cut before this becomes policy, but this is LA, so I'm not holding my breath.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Team Midnight Ridazz, Back In L.A. Tommorow After Riding 545 Miles From S.F.

Los Angeleopes Welcoming Party Arrives
(Los Angelopes arrives to greet the team last year. The mass confusion of cyclists rolling in that were not part of AIDS LifeCycle riding all sorts of freak bikes, lots of hugging and screaming, and confused ALC staff, was priceless.)

As long time readers will recall I headed up the effort to have a Midnight Ridazz team at AIDS LifeCycle last year. It was an epic experience, from the training and planning, to the tons of fund raising and of course the eventual week long ride. We raised over $56,000 last year, and this year with even more riders, and a higher fund raising minimum to ride, this years team has raised over $81,000 in the fight against AIDS. They've been out there all week riding bikes for an average of 80 miles every day, and they return to L.A. tomorrow. If you want to join the welcoming committee, they will be arriving at the V.A. Center in Westwood tomorrow afternoon, and two Midnight Ridazz rides will be converging there, Los Angelopes, and a group meeting at the Bicycle District. Details about the closing ceremony are located here. I'm excited to see everyone come in and hear the stories of how their ride went and which muscles hurt.

Saturday, June 6th, 2009
VA Center
11301 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025 [map]

Ceremony Starts At 4, but riders arrive by 3 or earlier if you want to catch roll ins.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Gray Days, The Best Time To Ride In Santa Monica

Santa Monica

This weekend was a great time to ride a bike. The overcast, foggy, somewhat chilly and mucky weather along the coast meant most of the aggro beach rush drivers that typically turn all of Santa Monica west of Lincoln into a parking lot for bikes to dodge and maze their way through, stayed at home. Ironically the great weather in Santa Monica is noted as one of the things that makes it an ideal place for cycling, but give me cloudy skies any day if it keeps the aggro drivers away.

Meghan and I rode our tandem around again this weekend, this time for food and shopping. It was remarkable how much more relaxing and chill it was to ride compared to our last experience. No honking, no yelling, no near misses or close calls, just smooth sailing and fun times on our comfy all steel ride with spring loaded seats. On the other end of the spectrum, since I both appreciate the joys of cruising around leisurely, and physical intensity, I also went out for some hill training this weekend. It felt good to be hammering up in the mountain roads again, especially after a forced break due to illness. If you're fast and looking for some good hurt in your legs, the LaGrange Nichols Canyon ride, which I did for the first time this weekend, is one of the most intense club rides around.

Frequently beautiful sunny days are certainly one of the draws to living in Santa Monica, but if you learn to appreciate the serenity that comes with gray, you may find it's a more enjoyable time to ride.