A bicycle is more than a mode of transport. For me and many others, riding a bicycle is a form of exercise and a way to connect with other people, our neighborhoods and other ones too. Some of us will admit that while it's a healthy, exciting love affair, it's also a risky one, and one that isn't supported by all members of the community. Riding a bicycle is also a way to free ourselves from the automobile culture that's had a strong grip on Los Angeles for most of the previous century until present.
Though it sounds like young rebellion, it isn't. The massive turnout at the recent CicLAvia is an example of bicycle interest in LA and energized more people like me to support this movement. I encourage people to ride bicycles because of the public health benefits, but there are so many other reasons why.
LA City Council is now seeing the importance of integrating bicycles with existing transit to improving the city, thanks to many pro-bicycle organizations making things happen. It's not too late to create progress toward making LA a bicycle-friendly city with alternative ways to commute without a car.
With the release of the County of Los Angeles Bicycle Master Plan (a long overdue update of the 1975 County Bikeway Plan), we're seeing that the gears for change are turning, but what does this mean for bicycle proponents and the rest of the population?
The purpose of this plan is to encourage more people to use bicycles by promoting bicycle awareness, creating safer streets and making vast improvements to make this vision possible. We can look forward to the upcoming development and expansion of bike-friendly infrastructure and the creation of bikeway facilities such as paths, lanes, routes and boulevards yielding to safer bicycle traffic. Through an integrated bicycle network, the many regions of LA County can be more connected with these bicycle corridors.
Bicycle safety for riders and other vehicles on the road is a top concern. For many drivers, cyclists create additional problems and create obstacles. Cyclists on the other hand feel unsafe because drivers don't give way. The master plans includes solutions for creating safer roads for both groups, along with the many helpful organizations that educate riders about proper bicycle riding, etiquette and road rules. What would it take for you to get on a bicycle if you haven't yet?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below and visit the following links to read more about bicycles and bicycle culture in Los Angeles: