Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

It’s time for Los Angeles to speed away from bad bike reputation

Los Angeles has long been perceived as a haven for car lovers. We’re thought to put our car culture far ahead of other pursuits, often sending ourselves into a full-blown media hysteria at the mere thought of an impeded freeway. (See: Carmageddon 2011.)

And yet, there’s a thriving bike culture in Southern California that is quickly gaining uphill momentum. So why do we still get such a bad bike rap?

Let’s blame a simple lack of awareness about the biking opportunities in the Southland. Did you know that 43 percent of the population in Southern California has access to a bikeway? This factoid is courtesy of the Southern California Associations of Governments (SCAG), which this week is conducting several public outreach workshops on transportation and land development throughout Southern California.

And it’s only going to get better. The SCAG, which is defined as “the nation's largest metropolitan planning organization, representing six counties, 191 cities and more than 18 million residents,” wants to expand the biking network to further improve accessibility for all.  

And why shouldn’t they? The Los Angeles bike culture is alive and thriving, and it’s a mere click away on the Web. LAbikepaths.com serves up a great mix of cycling resources for interested parties. LADOT Bike Blog is another excellent resource, as well as BikinginLA.com.

This leaves us with, as one blogger called it, “the emergence of a thriving underground bike culture.” As Bob Mionske recently wrote for Bicyling.com, “We’re talking mass late-night bike rides through Los Angeles, volunteer-run community bike repair shops like the Bicycle Kitchen and Bikerowave, and direct, bold, and apparently legal challenges to auto-centric assumptions.”

Clearly, biking isn’t an antiquated pastime in our fair city. We’re serious about it, so let’s let the rest of the world in on our little secret.

Image: bunnicula/Flickr 

 

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