Climate Ride 2013 Recap

June 20, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Posted in Bike News, LACBC Events | 1 Comment
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Congratulations to our LACBC team for completing the 5-day, 320-mile California Climate Ride! Our team and individual members not only met their fundraising goals, but Team LACBC was also the highest fundraising team!

Team LACBC enjoying a free beer for being the team with the most money generated!

Team LACBC enjoying free beer for being the team with the most money generated! Photo courtesy of Lisa Liberati.

We’re catching up with some of our riders who participated in this ride. We first have Gregory Laemmle. Greg led the LACBC team as the team captain and also in terms of fundraising. He was pleasantly surprised that people generously donated to his ride so readily.

“People are concerned about climate change,” Greg says.  “Maybe not enough to become daily bike commuters, or to put solar panels on their roof, but concerned.  And so they were generally only too happy to contribute toward this cause.  I relied strictly on mass e-mails and Facebook posts.”

In terms of training, Greg was thoroughly prepared for this ride, although he had to make a few adjustments in his schedule to make time on the weekends for longer rides. What Greg really enjoyed about these ride was that a few friends and other Climate Riders tagged along with him to train. He also was able to ride in new places such as Nichols Canyon and Old Mulholland Highway. Being able to ride 50 miles on consecutive days allowed him to climb over 20,000 feet with no aches, pains, or injuries.

Greg is already extremely excited for next year’s ride, and even though they may change the route, he knows that it will open up more opportunities for other riders to see different scenic parts of California. He is also proud of the LACBC team for raising the most fundsand cannot wait for recruitment. He hopes to bring a larger team, as well as raise more dollars.

Next we have one of our featured riders, Michael Rippens. As Michael prepared for this race, he worried about the weather conditions for the Climate Ride with previous rides being faced with rain. Luckily this year, the ride did not have to deal with rainy weather and everyone fared with beautiful, sunny days, with the tradeoff of some heavy wind.

One of Michael’s misfortunes during this ride was a slight “wardrobe malfunction” where his wind vest got caught into his front wheel which caused him to flip over. Luckily he did not have any serious injuries and was able to finish the ride. To top it off, Michael was able to challenge himself by doing the optional century ride on Day 3!

Here’s a quick scenic video of the ride!

Lastly, Michael felt that even through the struggles, the ride was completely worth it. “But, the best part about the Climate Ride, by far, was all the amazing and inspirational people I met along the way. Each and every rider and support person had an interesting personal story as well as a passion for cycling, preserving the environment and making our world a better place to live. I certainly made some lifelong friends on the ride and I can’t wait ‘til next year to do it all over again!” As it was an unforgettable experience for him, he along with Greg cannot wait for next year!

Team LACBC after the ride at San Francisco City Hall! Photo courtesy of Lisa Liberati.

Team LACBC after the ride at San Francisco City Hall! Photo courtesy of Lisa Liberati.

Thank you to all of the Team LACBC Climate Riders: Lisa Liberati, Laurie Gelardi, Kathy Gelardi, Marc Horwitz, Leonard Laub, Yvonne Ascher, John Cork, Michael Rippens, and team captain Greg Laemmle!

Thanks again to our intern Vincent Ho for writing recap of the ride and to Michael Rippens and Greg Laemmle for speaking with us!

Thank You from the 13th Annual Los Angeles River Ride

June 13, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Posted in Bike News, LACBC Events | 1 Comment
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Photo: Brian Minami

We at LACBC are in our 13th year for the River Ride, and each year we have different experiences, challenges, and triumphs in putting this massive event together. This year, we added a new ride–the 25-mile Long Beach Loop– and 2,400 riders came out to ride the river on a gorgeous Sunday. As always, we would like to thank the army of folks who helped make the River Ride possible: the participants, to the volunteers, the sponsors, and the supporters.

Thank you to the following people and organizations:

  • Stewart and Lynda Resnick– The ride wouldn’t have been possible without them.
  • Former Mayor Richard Riordan, for his sponsorship and for leading off the rides
  • Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, his deputy Lori Wheeler Garcia, and NBCUniversal, as well as River Revitalization Corps. for their work on the River and the beginnings of Greenway 2020
  • Our LACBC River Ride Fundraisers: River Ride Fundraising Champion Nancy “Tish” Laemmle, Carrie Ungerman, Paul Des Marais, Douglas John, Kevin Hopps of Team Hopps, and Sebouh Asparian
  • LA River Swim Team and Fathers and Sons for playing music for us
  • Councilmember Tom LaBonge for the potties
  • Councilmember Ed Reyes for all his support over the years, he was given the Howard D. Krepack Service to Cycling Award
  • CH2MHILL, a longtime River Ride supporter
  • Pocrass & De Los Reyes, our  new friends and new supporters
  • Laemmle Theatres, longtime River Ride supporters
  • County Supervisor Don Knabe and Deputy Erin Stibal
  • County Supervisor Gloria Molina and Deputies Teresea Villegas and Martha Jimenez
  • New Belgium Brewing and Aimme Gilchrist, our longtime friends and supporters who made the VIP beer garden and booth possible and donated another awesome New Belgium Cruiser Bike to our Runner-up fundraiser
  • The REACT team for keeping everyone on the paths safe
  • INCYCLE and Specialized for the kids’ bikes
  • Aquarium of the Pacific, Port of Long Beach and TERN made Long Beach start and finish possible
  • Cafecito Organico for helping us wake up at 4 a.m.
  • DTLA Bikes for the awesome bikes for our raffle and fundraisers
  • KOA, our longtime friends and supporters
  • REI, our longtime friends and supporters
  • VBT Biking and Walking Vacations awesome Bike Trip to Tuscany prize
  • Cynergy, Performance Bikes, El Maestro, Bike SGV, Downey Bicycle Coalition, and pit stop captains for pit stop and tech support
  • Our local chapters and Neighborhood Bike Ambassadors for running the info booth
  • Our volunteers: goody bag stuffers, REI wristband pickup teams, route markers, ride marshals, office help, registration folks, SAG drivers,   parking attendants, kids’ rodeo helpers, and more
  • Our graphic design volunteers: David Fletcher and Aislinn Glennon
  • Clif Bar and Brooke Donberg
  • Yelp and Katie Burbank
  • American Apparel for our t-shirts
  • Walt Disney Company and Adam Gilbert for the free parking
  • Whole Foods Beverly Hils
  • FIRST 5 LA, Lucie Spencer Murray or Run Kids Runs, and Tana Ball of Youth Educational Sports for the kids’ ride
  • Kat Namey, who led off the rides in her colorful tights and with her tall bike.
  • The Autry National Center
  • The River Ride Committee, which had the all good snacks

Our awardees–Councilmember Ed Reyes, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, and NBCUniversal (represented by Universal Studios Hollywood President and Chief Operation Officer Larry Kurzweil)–stand with our executive director Jen Klausner.

At Sunday’s River Ride, LACBC was also delighted to recognize three leaders for their contributions to bicycling and the Los Angeles River:

  • Councilmember Ed Reyes, who represents neighborhoods west and north of Downtown and a significant stretch of the LA River, was honored with the Howard Krepack Service to Cycling Award for his many years of championing bicycling on the Los Angeles City Council.  Reyes may be less vocal than some of his colleagues, but he has always worked diligently and passionately behind the scenes to advance bicycling in underserved communities as a social justice issue.  LACBC expresses our deepest gratitude for his support and wishes him well as he leaves elected office at the end of the month.
  • Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky has long been a champion for bicycling on the County Board of Supervisors, including shepherding the County’s Bicycle Master Plan in 2012.  Earlier this year, Yaroslavsky secured over $13 million for planning and construction of the LA River Bike Path along NBC Universal’s river frontage.  Yaroslavsky is working feverishly to see this project break ground under his watch.  LACBC commends Supervisor Yaroslavsky for his commitment and steadfastness on behalf of the LA River.
  • Universal Studios Hollywood President and Chief Operation Officer Larry Kurzweil accepted an award on behalf of NBCUniversal for their unprecedented financial contribution to the LA River Bike Path.  In response to LACBC and river allies, NBCUniversal recognized the LA River’s potential and stepped up as a corporate steward.  LACBC eagerly awaits pedaling along Universal Studios at future River Rides.

Thanks for coming out! You can check out photos from the day on the LACBC Facebook page.

Are You Bike-Friendly? CD 9 Candidate Terry Hara Responds

February 21, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Posted in Bike News, LACBC Events | Leave a comment
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LACBC asked each of the candidates running for City Council of the City of Los Angeles to respond to our questionnaire. We hope our members will find the candidates’ answers insightful into how each candidate proposes to make our streets safe, balanced, and livable. Responses are posted by Council District, in the order they were received. Here are responses from CD 9 candidate Terry Hara.

1. Please share a memory involving a bicycle that has had a lasting effect on you (whether or not you were the one on the bicycle).

During my time in the LAPD, I was continuously involved in enhancing police equipment – I recall our successful efforts in enhancing police bicycles to better serve the community. Police officers were provided with heavy duty motorized bicycles to meet their needs without having to sacrifice the environmental benefits that come with having police on bicycles. This is just one of many examples of the LAPD serving the community with the environment in mind.

2. The Department of City Planning is in the process of updating the City’s Mobility Element for the first time in decades.  What policies would you prioritize for inclusion in the Mobility Element?  What role do you see bicycling playing in the City’s transportation system, if any?

Bicycling is friendly to the environment and beneficial to our health. Public safety and the perception of safety can be a deterrent to bicyclists if they feel their safety is at risk. Improving public safety is a key component to not only bicycling but to transit ridership. Public safety is one of my key priorities and I intend to improve upon the progress that has been made.

3. Just a few months ago, Los Angeles was honored as a Bronze-level Bicycle-Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. Do you believe the city should pursue a Silver-level designation, and if so, what steps would you take in the first year of your term to move LA up to the Silver level?

As I stated in the previous question, bicycling can only be beneficial to our community and believe that a Silver-level rating is something worth striving for. The city was awarded the bronze-level award for its commitment to adding some 1,600 miles of bicycle lanes. Given the commitment to bicycles lanes, we should concentrate infrastructure and resources in areas or corridors which are heavily travelled so as to build up local bicycle lane networks throughout the city.

4. In 2011, the City Council unanimously adopted the Bicycle Plan proposing a comprehensive 1,600-mile bikeway network across the City.  What steps would you take to ensure implementation of Bicycle Plan projects in your district?  Are there any specific projects in the Plan you would prioritize?

The 2010 Bicycle Plan’s purpose is to promote and increase bicycling in the city of Los Angeles as a means of recreation and transportation. The stated goals of the plan are to increase the type and number of bicyclists, make streets a safe place to ride a bicycle and make the city of Los Angeles a friendly place to ride bicyclists.

I am very disappointed in the Bicycle Plan’s weak presence in South Los Angeles – a community that has been disenfranchised from developments such as this one time and time again. As Councilmember, I want to fight for South LA’s fair share and make sure that the residents of South LA can also benefit from the bikeway network.

Above all, safety is a big factor when it comes to bicycling. Public safety, education and proper facilities all contribute to the safety of bicyclists. Implementing these objectives should take priority.

5. Studies have shown that people on bicycles spend more per month in local business districts than those arriving by other modes.  What steps would you take to ensure that local businesses in your district are able to benefit from better access by bicyclists?

Bicycle routes and facilities must connect residential areas with retail, office, schools and libraries. Currently, there are opportunities for improvement of bicycle routes within the district. Businesses located within the district and along major avenues would benefit from planned bicycle routes along these corridors.

6. The LA Weekly recently wrote a feature story documenting that almost half of traffic collisions in the City of LA are hit-and-runs, according to LAPD records.  Many victims of these traffic crimes are people walking and bicycling.  What steps would you take to reduce the rate of hit-and-run and ensure perpetrators are prosecuted?

This is a problem that needs to be dealt with proactively through education – we need to develop traffic safety curriculum for driver, pedestrians, and bicyclists. As the streets become more congested with various types of transportation, its incumbent upon all of us, not just bicyclists, to understand the hazards and understand the importance of paying attention.

7. In the event of a collision, the survival of those injured could depend on a prompt emergency response, yet it’s recently been disclosed that response times for the Los Angeles Fire Department frequently exceed national standards. What would you do to address budget and staffing cutbacks affecting the LAFD to ensure a faster response for all those who need emergency assistance?

I would do everything in my power to restore the cutbacks affecting LAFD’s response due to budgetary issues. It is important that we have our emergency services at its peak deployment so that the city can retain its Class 1 service.

8. A recent proposal has been floated to assess all property owners to bring streets into a state of good repair.  Do you support the proposed bond measure, and do you believe any changes should be made to the proposal to serve all those who travel on city streets, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users?

The bill proposes 20-year $3 billion bond to repair the streets of potholes. This translates to homeowners paying a $24 additionally in property taxes and over $120 in the 10th year. While the drivers and bicyclists in Los Angeles stand to gain from repairs, a bond measure such as this imposes fees to all homeowners. The City of Los Angeles needs to take care of fixing roads and expanding its other public services without raising taxes. The city can achieve this by streamlining the services it provides.

9. LACBC has formed Neighborhood Bike Ambassador groups in each part of the City to work with local businesses, neighborhood councils, homeowner associations and other stakeholders on bicycle issues. Will you commit to meeting with the local Ambassador group in your district on a regular and ongoing basis? Would you be willing to lead a regularly scheduled bike ride with your constituents?

Absolutely. I am committed to advocating for alternative methods of transportation and want to provide the resources necessary to that end.

10. Would you presently feel safe riding a bike in Los Angeles, and if not, what would it take to make you feel comfortable on our city streets?

Safety is a very important factor when riding a bicycle in the city. The City of Los Angeles is currently developing its bicycle lane network. As of yet, the bicycle routes are not fully inter-connected. This means that bicycle lanes end abruptly leaving cyclists with no choice but to ride in the car lanes. Doing so puts the safety of bicyclists at greater risk of being struck. A fully developed, inter-connected and integrated bicycle network is essential. Other factors which may enhance safety are controlled bike lane signals, separated lanes with buffers. These are some safety features that avid bicyclists in San Francisco and Portland demanded and received.

Are You Bike-Friendly? Kevin James Responds

February 6, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Posted in Bike News, LACBC Events | 2 Comments
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Photo: Andrew Wong, WYTe Studios

LACBC asked each of the candidates running for mayor of the City of Los Angeles to respond to our questionnaire.  We hope our members will find the candidates’ answers insightful into how each candidate proposes to make our streets safe, balanced, and livable.  Responses are posted in the order they were received.

1. Please share a memory involving a bicycle that has had a lasting effect on you (whether or not you were the one on the bicycle).

A close friend told me about a close friend of his – Doug Caldwell.  Doug was truly a rocket scientist.  He designed the cameras for the space shuttle.  He was working with LADWP to try to set standards for new homes that would usher in a new era in energy efficiency.  My friend told me that Doug Caldwell was killed while riding a bicycle on August 20, 2010.  Doug’s story reminds me that bike safety isn’t just a policy, it’s about real people.  Background: http://bikinginla.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/details-on-the-august-death-of-cyclist-and-scientist-doug-caldwell-driver-walks-with-no-ticket-or-charges/

2. Just a few months ago, Los Angeles was honored as Bronze-level Bicycle-Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. Do you believe the city should pursue a Silver-level designation, and if so, what steps would you take in the first year of your term to move LA up to the Silver level?

Improved engineering to offer more options for bicycle users of all ages and abilities; education for bicyclists and motorists on how to share the road. Whenever possible, install more bike lanes and bike paths.  My City Hall opponents have taken hundreds of millions of dollars from special revenue funds that could have been used to achieve these goals.  (They raided these funds to pay for employee raises that the city cannot afford to pay).  A key example is the Special Parking Revenue Fund intended to relieve parking pressures around the city by building parking structures that would have cleared right lanes of parked cars — right lanes that could have been used for bike lanes.  There are also some innovative ideas that might be implemented to reduce the danger to cyclists from drivers getting out of parked cars (adding a warning light to parking meters to warn cyclists when a car has recently pulled in).

3. The Mayor controls four votes on the Metro Board of Directors, which makes transportation funding decisions for the entire county.  In LA County people walking and bicycling make up nearly 20% of all trips and 39% of roadway fatalities, yet these modes only receive 1% of transportation funding.  What steps would you take to rectify this inequity?  

The steps I will take to address this issue for bicycling are addressed throughout this questionnaire.  For pedestrians, we need to focus on sidewalk, curb and gutter repairs. The City wants to burden homeowners with the cost of sidewalk repairs and to shoulder homeowners with liabilities resulting from damaged sidewalks. I will make sure that homeowners are not burdened with the added responsibility of repairing the city’s sidewalks outside of their homes. There are, however, some homeowners and business owners that are willing to share in the cost of sidewalk repair voluntarily. For those people, the city should make permitting for such repairs as easy as possible. We should also utilize the benefits of the 50/50 plan for those people who voluntarily want to benefit from the plan.

I would also put a stop to the raiding by city officials of the special revenue funds that are used for improvements and maintenance of our infrastructure.

In making street and sidewalk repairs a priority, we must prioritize a plan for long-term fiscal solvency for the City, including collection of a portion of the City’s more than $500 million in non-tax receivables, millions more in tax collections, and other available funding sources that have been ignored by the mismanagement of current City leadership. Furthermore, new technologies enable us to do more in this area with less money. Two technologies that are particularly promising are “full depth reclamation” and “pervious concrete.” Full depth reclamation is simply the recycling of roads in place – it is a proven cost saving method of road repair. The City of Santa Ana was recently able to rehabilitate 80 miles of asphalt streets over 3 years at about half the cost by using full depth reclamation compared to the traditional methods of removal and replacement.  Pervious  concrete is simply concrete that allows water and air to pass through it – it reduces stormwater runoff and recharges the underground water supply. There are also plastic sidewalk technologies available now that assist in the prevention of tree trunk “heaving” that causes so much of the sidewalk damage we experience today.

4. The Department of City Planning is in the process of updating the City’s Mobility Element for the first time in decades.  What policies would you prioritize for inclusion in the Mobility Element?  What role do you see bicycling playing in the City’s transportation system, if any?

Accelerated street repair and sidewalk repair.  Improved planning of public transportation projects. Improved connectivity.  Acceleration of the city’s bike plan.  And increased light synchronization, additional left-hand turn signals and right-hand turn signals for more free-flowing traffic on our surface streets.

5. In 2011, the City Council unanimously adopted the Bicycle Plan proposing a comprehensive 1,600-mile bikeway network across the City.  What steps would you take to ensure implementation of Bicycle Plan projects continues during your administration?  How many miles of new bicycle facilities will you commit to implementing each year?

The current bike plan calls for 200 miles every five years.  Given current budget constraints, meeting that goal itself will be a challenge and accelerating it even more so. That said, with a long-term financial solvency plan in place (which I am the only candidate in the field willing to obtain through real pension and salary reform in City Hall), I will be able to make acceleration a priority.

The city has never even come close to meeting the bikeway miles set
forth in any of its three (3) bike plans. In 1977, the city only built 230 of the goal of 600
miles. The 1996 plan had a goal of 673 miles but only achieved 104 miles. The 2010 plan
 has a goal of expanding from the existing 334 miles to 1,684 miles over a 35 year period.
 Yet, the more people that ride bikes in LA, the fewer cars that motorists that are not
able to ride bikes have to deal with. That means traffic moves more rapidly through the
 city, and there are more parking places available for the motorists that are driving their cars. The benefits of becoming a bike- friendly city are numerous. For local businesses, economic benefits come from cyclists parking near their shops. For neighborhoods and businesses, roads are safer as there will be fewer car-to- car accidents, and we will see safer communities because people on bikes are not separated by the walls of their car, car windows, and car radios enabling them to notice burglars, thieves, vandals and other local criminals that plague a community – cyclists serve as a form of community patrol whether they intend to or not.

Once Angelenos that are not bicyclists recognize the benefits they receive from more people in L.A. using bicycles to get around, the easier it will be to grow public support of acceleration of the city’s bike plan.

Disappointment surrounding LA’s transportation options generally, and the implementation of the city’s bike plan specifically, is understandable. Yet even with such frustration among Angelenos, our City leaders have failed to deliver efficient and effective transit. In order to turn the corner, we must turn to new leadership. The days of poor planning, shady bidding, irresponsible outreach, failed implementation, cost overruns, construction delays, and the lack of a common sense approach to smart transit must end – and will end with my administration.

6. Leading cities for bicycling, such as New York and Chicago, are implementing protected bicycle lanes (a.k.a. cycletracks) to encourage “interested but concerned” people to ride a bike.  During your administration, will you direct LADOT to implement such innovative bicycle facilities to incentivize more Angelenos to take up bicycling?

This is something that could have already been started if my city hall insider opponents had not raided hundreds of millions of dollars from the Special Parking Revenue Fund. When funding is in place, this is something the LADOT should begin.   We must also be careful that we don’t remove parking spaces that are critical for small businesses to survive (which is what the parking fund would have insured).  We also need to make sure that over-capacity roadways are not unnecessarily burdened.  My instructions to LADOT will include outreach to each community to make sure each stakeholder group’s needs are included in these improvement plans.

7. The LA Weekly recently wrote a feature story documenting that almost half of traffic collisions in the City of LA are hit-and-runs, according to LAPD records.  Many victims of these traffic crimes are people walking and bicycling.  What steps would you take to reduce the rate of hit-and-run and ensure perpetrators are prosecuted?

The first thing we must do is improve street safety to prevent these hit-and-run accidents in the first place.   This goal demands that we work to better separate pedestrian, bike and vehicular traffic.  As a former prosecutor, I will work with the District Attorney’s office and City Attorney’s office to establish a hit-and-run task force to explore and implement new technologies in the prosecution of hit-and-run crimes and will explore increasing the penalties for hit-and-run convictions.  The public’s knowledge of increased penalties for hit-and-run convictions will provide added incentives for drivers to stop when an accident has occurred rather than making the mistake of running from the scene.

8. In the event of a collision, the survival of those injured could depend on a prompt emergency response, yet it’s recently been disclosed that response times for the Los Angeles Fire Department frequently exceed national standards. What would you do to address budget and staffing cutbacks affecting the LAFD to ensure a faster response for all those who need emergency assistance?

Public safety is a critical city service and top priority.  LAFD needs a top-down review and restoration of its budget.  The failure of current elected officials to recognize the problem disqualifies them from holding higher office.  They were told in 2002 that response times were in the 40% range.  They did nothing, and allowed the reporting flaws to go unnoticed and failed to follow up.  In fact, when the response time went up from 40% to 86% without additional resources, not one of my opponents questioned the clearly-erroneous increase.

We must replace the current dispatch system with modern technology.  We need GPS systems in our fire trucks.  And, I will require that the LAFD be transparent about what the real response times are. Finally, one of the biggest factors in reducing response times is reducing traffic congestion, which interferes with emergency vehicles’ ability to reach residents in need.

9. CicLAvia has transformed how Angelenos view bicycling and walking in their City.  Will you commit to ensuring that CicLAvia continues to receive adequate City support to ensure its future as the largest open street event in the country?  

Yes.

10. A recent proposal has been floated to assess all property owners to bring streets into a state of good repair.  Do you support the proposed bond measure, and do you believe any changes should be made to the proposal to serve all those who travel on city streets, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users?

As you know, the proposed bond measure has been abandoned, at least temporarily. Property owners should not bear the entire burden of the failures of our elected officials.  Further, we can’t make L.A. any more hostile to business or more expensive to its residents.  Increased taxation will restrict growth and only exacerbate the city’s financial problems.  The money for repair of our streets, sidewalks, gutters and curbs will only be available if the next mayor stands up to special interests that are draining the city’s resources.  I am the only candidate willing to stand up to those special interests.

11. Will you commit to meeting with bicyclists or their representatives on a regular and ongoing basis? Would you be willing to lead a regularly scheduled bike ride with your constituents?

Yes, as many members of the bike community already know from my years of covering their issues on my radio show, my commitment to making LA a more bike friendly city will continue throughout my years as Mayor.

12. Would you presently feel safe riding a bike in Los Angeles, and if not, what would it take to make you feel comfortable on our city streets?

Where dedicated bike lanes exist, I feel safer.  Some of our bike paths force bike riders into traffic and force traffic across bike paths to make turns.  There are some innovative steps that can be taken to improve bike safety, especially from the hazard of driver-side doors opening unexpectedly where bike riders ride next to on-street parking.  Unfortunately, my city hall insider opponents have raided existing revenue funds that could have been used to accelerate the city’s bike plan and increase safety for everyone involved.

Are You Bike-Friendly? Eric Garcetti Responds

February 6, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Posted in Bike News, LACBC Events | 7 Comments
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Photo: LACBC

LACBC asked each of the candidates running for mayor of the City of Los Angeles to respond to our questionnaire.  We hope our members will find the candidates’ answers insightful into how each candidate proposes to make our streets safe, balanced, and livable.  Responses are posted in the order they were received.

1. Please share a memory involving a bicycle that has had a lasting effect on you (whether or not you were the one on the bicycle).

I grew up on a flat street in the Valley, and I remember the freedom of being able to bicycle safely to the park, to Little League, and to the bus stop.

2. Just a few months ago, Los Angeles was honored as Bronze-level Bicycle-Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. Do you believe the city should pursue a Silver-level designation, and if so, what steps would you take in the first year of your term to move LA up to the Silver level?

I am proud to have been a leading proponent of making L.A. more bicycle-friendly. I installed the city’s first sharrows in my district, and now these safety markings are citywide and are a key part of the recently adopted bicycle plan. I played a key role in launching CicLAvia and in installing the first showers and bicycle lockers at City Hall to promote bicycle commuting.

I would push L.A. forward toward Silver and even higher as Mayor. First and foremost, I would focus on increasing cyclist safety. The key metric that I would focus on is bicycle ridership, and I would focus on incentives to increase, including monthly Ciclavia’s, better on-and-off-street bike parking, and planning and innovations designed to increase cyclist safety.

3. The Mayor controls four votes on the Metro Board of Directors, which makes transportation funding decisions for the entire county. In LA County people walking and bicycling make up nearly 20% of all trips and 39% of roadway fatalities, yet these modes only receive 1% of transportation funding. What steps would you take to rectify this inequity?

I would build on my record to better align funding based on how people are actually getting around. As Councilmember, I led the way to establishing the city’s first Pedestrian Coordinator at the Department of Transportation, which has led to an unprecedented focus on pedestrian issues that are based on innovation, metric based planning, and results.

As Mayor, I would continue to elevate the importance of bicycling and walking not only within the City of Los Angeles, but regionally as well. Traffic and mobility transcends city limits and so I would examine County and Metro transportation financing through that lens. I would also appoint Metro Board members who share my view that there is no silver bullet to solving our traffic challenges. We must improve bus, rail, bicycle, and pedestrian transportation, and also focus on innovation. I’m proud to have deployed car sharing in my district, an app that helps people find parking and get off the road quicker (up to 30% of traffic can be caused by people circling for parking), and to have been a proponent of bike sharing.

My commitment to active transportation advocacy is also reflected in my past appointments of Herbie Huff and Joe Linton to the City Bicycle Advisory Committee and Deborah Murphy to the City Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

4. The Department of City Planning is in the process of updating the City’s Mobility Element for the first time in decades. What policies would you prioritize for inclusion in the Mobility Element? What role do you see bicycling playing in the City’s transportation system, if any?

The update of the former Transportation Element, now named the Mobility Element, is long overdue. For too long we have been prescribing the same one size fits all approach to our transportation challenges and expecting to get different results. Clearly, the status quo must go.

In Hollywood, we worked with local stakeholders to survey every street and created new street standards that take into consideration our transit system, our major transportation corridors, and our historic resources.

The Mobility Element must expand the toolbox that our planners and engineers have to address transportation related impacts and to encourage bicycling, walking and other alternative solutions. In my Council District, I have led the way in prescribing innovative solutions that were outside of the current menu of options. We installed the city’s first bicycle sharrows, prioritized on-street parking spaces for car-sharing vehicles, unbundled parking and promoting shared parking, created a parking app to help drivers find available parking spaces, and directed LADOT to begin evaluating the establishment of a pedi-cab program. I have led on transportation through the application of practical solutions. The Mobility Element must do the same.

As Mayor, I will approach cycling as a key part of our city’s transportation system. First of all, bicycles are already on our streets, and we must address that fact in terms of infrastructure, safety and planning. Looking ahead, our next Mayor must support bicycling as a viable option for short trips and as a way to link with public transit.

5. In 2011, the City Council unanimously adopted the Bicycle Plan proposing a comprehensive 1,600-mile bikeway network across the City. What steps would you take to ensure implementation of Bicycle Plan projects continues during your administration? How many miles of new bicycle facilities will you commit to implementing each year?

As Mayor, I would continue to support the work of the Bicycle Plan Implementation Team to educate, inform, and gather input necessary to implement the Bike Plan. I am committed to seeing the adopted Bicycle Plan through and pushing even farther. We must challenge ourselves, innovate and draw from best practices across the globe to make L.A. a bikeable city.

6. Leading cities for bicycling, such as New York and Chicago, are implementing protected bicycle lanes (a.k.a. cycletracks) to encourage“interested but concerned” people to ride a bike. During your administration, will you direct LADOT to implement such innovative bicycle facilities to incentivize more Angelenos to take up bicycling?

Yes. As Mayor, I will look at all ways to improve bike safety both to protect cyclists and to encourage more people to bike. That’s why I deployed the city’s first sharrows (road designations to increase bike safety) in my Council District. That led to the installation of sharrows citywide, and they are a key feature in the newly-adopted bicycle plan.

7. The LA Weekly recently wrote a feature story documenting that almost half of traffic collisions in the City of LA are hit-and-runs, according to LAPD records. Many victims of these traffic crimes are people walking and bicycling. What steps would you take to reduce the rate of hit-and-run and ensure perpetrators are prosecuted?

As Mayor, I will work with LAPD and the City Attorney to approach hit-and-runs not as simple traffic accidents but as crimes of violence – it is violent when tons of metal encounters a cyclist or pedestrian. I will also advocate for safe passing laws in Sacramento. I will prioritize cyclist safety as we build out our cycling infrastructure, from markings to barriers. A focus on safety not only protects cyclists, it encourages more people to start cycling.

8. In the event of a collision, the survival of those injured could depend on a prompt emergency response, yet it’s recently been disclosed that response times for the Los Angeles Fire Department frequently exceed national standards. What would you do to address budget and staffing cutbacks affecting the LAFD to ensure a faster response for all those who need emergency assistance?

I’ve been leading the way on response times. I introduced the legislation to bring the fire department back to full strength and stopped the plan to permanently cut 318 firefighters and paramedics.

In addition to resources, another problem affecting response times is the “junk data” the fire department has been relying on. I joined Councilmember Englander in launching an iniatitive called “Firestat,” which is modeled after former LAPD Chief Bratton’s innovative Compstat program that has played a key role in reducing crime in L.A.

I’ve also called for common sense fixes such as GPS units in all fire trucks and ambulances and the immediate dispatch when someone calls for help. Currently, city rules require the dispatcher to ask a long list of questions before sending help.

9. CicLAvia has transformed how Angelenos view bicycling and walking in their City. Will you commit to ensuring that CicLAvia continues to receive adequate City support to ensure its future as the largest open street event in the country?

As Councilmember, I have supported CicLAvia since the beginning, by leading the way on identifying city funds for the first CicLAvia, working with CicLAvia to provide outreach to my constituents during the first CicLAvia that went through my district, and dedicating my staff to help navigate the City bureaucracy.

As Mayor, I will support monthly CicLAvia’s throughout Los Angeles.

10. A recent proposal has been floated to assess all property owners to bring streets into a state of good repair. Do you support the proposed bond measure, and do you believe any changes should be made to the proposal to serve all those who travel on city streets, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users?

This proposal requires more study, and is currently being reviewed by the Public Works Committee. As with any transportation initiative of its kind, I believe it should address auto, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian travel.

11. Will you commit to meeting with bicyclists or their representatives on a regular and ongoing basis? Would you be willing to lead a regularly scheduled bike ride with your constituents?

Yes. Since I took office, I have met face to face with the people I serve by regularly walking door to door, holding open office hours, and making sure Angelenos always have a seat at the table. I set a rule that my office must return calls within 24 hours and I personally interact with constituents on the phone, on email, on Facebook and on Twitter. As an elected official, I was an “early adopter” when it came to starting a blog and a couple weeks ago, I did an AMA on Reddit. As Mayor, I will continue this approach of making government more accessible and will use technology to make it easier to get feedback from constituents.

12. Would you presently feel safe riding a bike in Los Angeles, and if not, what would it take to make you feel comfortable on our city streets?

I ride my bike on L.A. streets, but feel we can and must do more to improve bike safety, from markings to separation infrastructure as discussed above.

LACBC to Light Up the Night with “Operation Firefly”

October 31, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved, LACBC Events, Resources | 6 Comments

Front of English spoke card.

Inspired by the changing of the seasons and the end of Daylight Savings time, we are proud to announce the launch of “Operation Firefly,” a bicycle light distribution and safety education program in an effort to ensure Angelenos riding bicycles at night are seen by motorists and other users of the road.

LACBC’s “Team Firefly” volunteers will be handing out front and rear lights during night-time street distributions all over Los Angeles. Operation Firefly’s first street distribution will take place during the week following the November 4th time change. “Our goal is to seek out people riding without lights for various reasons, especially riders who may not have the means or time to acquire lights on their own,” said Education Director Colin Bogart. LACBC has invested in a few hundred light sets and intends to continue weekly street distributions until all the lights are gone.

Following the November 4th time change, more bicyclists will be riding the streets after the sun has gone down. Legally, bicyclists are required to use a front white light with side, rear, and pedal reflectors (CVC 21201). “Many bicyclists don’t know this and frequently ride at night without the required lights and reflectors,” said Jennifer Klausner, the nonprofit’s Executive Director. “This can lead to citations from police, but more importantly, riding at night without lights and reflectors is not safe.”

In addition to front and rear lights, LACBC will be distributing Operation Firefly spokecards in English and Spanish. The spokecards will provide a summary of the California Vehicle Code requirements while riding at night along with the following information:

  • A front light helps prevent the most common collisions – those with oncoming or cross traffic.
  • A rear red light is not required, but it is recommended.
  • Be extra alert at night. Lights help, but they don’t guarantee that drivers will see you.
  • Wear a reflective vest, clothing, or arm/leg bands.
  • Affix reflective tape to your bike, helmet, or shoes.
  • Use extra lights affixed to your wheels, bike frame, or helmet.
  • Wear white or light colored clothing.

The spokecards will be distributed with the lights, to LACBC members, at events, through local bike shops, and through partner organizations.

Front light

Anyone can support Operation Firefly by making a tax-deductible donation or by purchasing a set of lights from LACBC for $20. “For every set we sell,” added Colin Bogart, “we can give away another set! If we receive enough donations or sell enough light sets, we can keep Operation Firefly going all winter, and possibly all next year.”

For more information or to make a donation/purchase lights, contact LACBC at 213 629-2142 or visit the Operation Firefly website page.

Carmageddon Is Just Another Gorgeous Saturday with the Westside Ride

October 2, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Posted in LACBC Events | 1 Comment
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Riders take a break on the Ballona Creek Bike Path. Photo: Walk ‘n Rollers

Over 100 riders of all ages and abilities joined Walk ‘n Rollers, LACBC, and our local chapters Culver City Bicycle Coalition and Santa Monica Spoke for Bike Carmageddon: The Westside Ride.  Yes, for the second time in as many years Caltrans shut down the 405 freeway, known as the busiest freeway in the United States for 48 hours. Rather than panic or stay home with the doors locked and windows bolted, our members hopped on their bikes and enjoyed a 22-mile loop.
Starting from the Metro Expo line in Culver City, we then paused at the Santa Monica Bike Center, where we met up with the riders from Santa Monica Spoke, picked up some new riders, and enjoyed some light refreshments courtesy of Sprouts and Zenify.  After that, we continued on to Westwood, where we stopped at the “Bad News Bears Park” and enjoyed Gatorade, Cruz bars, Clif bars, and shade from an obliging tree.  Then it was back to Culver City where Rush Street Restaurant provided pizzas and lemonade.  The entire ride was sponsored by the bikeways department at Metro who, like LACBC, understands that the 405 may be useful for some things, but certainly its temporary shutdown is not the end of the world.

Thanks to Jim Shanman for organizing the ride, all our volunteer marshals for guiding our riders, Santa Monica Spoke and Culver City Bicycle Coalition, and Metro and all the sponsors for their financial and in-kind support.

Riders gather at the Culver City Metro Station. Photo: LACBC

We showed everyone just how easy, safe, and fun biking on the Westside can be and were able to point out things like the Expo Phase II bikeway.  We also had a great view of the shut-down 405 from Bad News Bears Park.  The whole day seemed like just another great Saturday in the City of Angels, a city that provides an excellent backdrop for year-round cycling.  Need more cycling excitement? Join us for CicLAvia on Sunday, October 7th. We also encourage you to join us for our Sunday Funday rides for LACBC members and their guests on the first Sunday of each month. Just keep on riding!

Scenes from Burbank’s Bike-in Movie and Bike Workshop

October 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Posted in LACBC Events | 2 Comments
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Photo: Blanca Villareal

On Saturday, September 22nd, Burbank Bike produced its first-ever Bike-In Movie and Bike Workshop event. Members of the public were treated to an afternoon of bike safety, skills, and flat-fixing workshops. First on the agenda was a comprehensive bike safety film showing courtesy of the League of American Bicyclists, then an overview of Confident City Cycling, and finally an open questions session and flat fix demonstration. Everyone in need was given a free helmet, and flat-fix kits were passed out to all. The event was capped off with a fun and easy rolling community bike ride to McCambridge Park where a giant inflate-able movie screen awaited under a beautiful auburn sky.

Photo: Blanca Villareal

Fresh sandwiches, snacks, and water were provided to the crowd before the movie Megamind was shown. The event saw kids, women, seniors, and teens on bikes riding together safely through the neighborhoods of Burbank before settling into comfy grassy digs on blankets and lawn chairs. Fun times were had by all those who came out. We would like to thank the City of Burbank, Cory Wilkerson, and Don Ward. The event was grant-funded and administered by LACBC, whom the City contracted to organize the event.

Many folks who attended were asking when the next one would be. We hope this event can serve as an inspiration and a model for other community bike events like it!

Recap from the 12th Annual Los Angeles River Ride

June 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Posted in LACBC Events | 3 Comments
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This past Sunday, June 12th, we celebrated our 12th Annual Los Angeles River Ride! Beginning as a small ride a dozen years ago, this ride has grown to become LACBC’s biggest event and biggest fundraiser with over 2,000 participants from LA County and beyond! Your ride fees help support the creation of a better, more bike-able LA County.

All of these would not be possible without the riders, sponsors, volunteers, and supporters that make it all possible. We have a lot of people and groups to thank this year.

Photo by Brian Minami

Photo: Brian Minami

Photo: Brian Minami

Photo: Allan Crawford

Photo: Allan Crawford

A great big thanks to REACT security. These guys were all over the route looking out for everyone’s safety. They are an amazing group of radio aficionados who are putting their hobby to good use.

Thanks to GEKlaw and Howard Krepack, recipient of the Howard D. Krepack Service to Cycling Award. This award will from this day forward be given once a year to someone who, like Howard, gives so much of themselves towards making a better bike-able Los Angeles County.

Thanks as well to Specialized, Incycle, Cynergy Cycles, and the County Supervisors Don Knabe, Michael Antonovich and Zev Yaroslavsky for not only the gifts of the bicycles to children living in foster care, but for making the ride free to kids 12 and under. We couldn’t do it without them!

Thanks to the Laemmle Foundation, Tern Bicycles, and Locke Lord LLP. These folks not only sponsor the event, but they also have given hours and hours of their personal time helping LACBC fight the good fight.

Tern Bikes is responsible for the newest ride this year, the Reverse 70-Mile Ride out of Long Beach and back!  They–along with the City of Long Beach, Women on Bikes, and Walk ‘N Rollers–made everything at Shoreline Aquatic Park materialize. Thank you to the Long Beach crew!

Thanks to our good friends at Metro, New Belgium, CLIF Bar, and REI. Their longtime support has made these institutions synonymous with LACBC. Adding to that longtime support, thank you YES sports, Cafecito Organico, Sparklett’s, I.Martin and Helen’s Cycles.

Thank you to The Autry National Center for hosting the event. And thanks to the neighbors at Warner Brothers studios. They generously offered to buy tickets for their employees so they could enjoy the ride. Wonderful!

Thanks to the City Council Members Eric Garcetti, Tom La Bonge, and Ed Reyes.

Thanks to KOA and CH2MHill. These guys not only donate, but they ride 70 and 100 miles. They mean business!

Thank you to VBT for donating a biking tour of Tuscany to our high fundraiser.

Thanks to Books, Bikes, and Bananas for all the volunteer help! Thank you to Major Motion, Crankin Time, “The King” and all of our other “vest worthy” River Ride Marshals, Route Markers, Pit Crews and SAG support team.  Excellent job, one and all!

Thanks to Amgen, Tour of California, DT Swiss, Yelp, and 100.3 The Sound. We love you!

You can check out photos from the LA River Ride on our LACBC Facebook Page.

Important riding info for River Ride participants

June 7, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Posted in LACBC Events | 1 Comment

River Ride is this Sunday, June 10! It’s not too late to join the fun. You can register the day of the ride at the Autry Museum in Griffith Park or at Shoreline Park in Long Beach if you are doing the “reverse 70 mile ride”.

Here are few pointers we want all ride participants to know:

Share the path.

  • We do not have the river path reserved. Stay right and be considerate of other path users.
  • On the Elysian Valley section (downstream from Fletcher), yield to pedestrians – many of them are elderly residents and their families who have been walking the path for decades.
  • Slow down in the presence of children.

We are using open roads.

  • The roads are not closed for this ride. We will be sharing the road with normal traffic when riding on the street. Be aware of motor vehicles at all times.
  • All California vehicle codes apply. You can be cited by police for violations.

Use your route cue sheet.

  • We have marked the route with signs and arrow-stickers to guide you, but this is an urban ride and we’ve had signs stolen in the past. Your cue sheet is your most reliable way of staying on course. Keep it handy and refer to it often.
  • Orange signs/arrows direct you south towards Long Beach. Yellow signs/arrows direct you north towards Griffith Park.
  • Red signs/arrows are for century riders only, at the beginning of the ride and in Long Beach.

Look for volunteer Ride Marshals and the REACT support team

  • We have volunteer marshals riding with you to help with problems and guide you in difficult areas. Look for them. They’ll be wearing bright safety vests.
  • The ride will also be supported by an emergency response radio dispatch team called REACT. They will be posted at difficult areas of the ride, wearing grey t-shirts and green vests.
  • If you have a mechanical problem or minor injury, if you are lost or want to be transported back to the Autry or a pit stop, look for a ride marshal or REACT member with a radio.

Have fun and enjoy the ride! Thank you for supporting the L.A. County Bicycle Coalition!

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