Los Angeles has long been known as the ultimate car town. All of the major car companies test their latest products here, it’s the center of R&D for the car industry. So why are bike lanes cropping up all over town? Even the mayor rides a bike to work sometimes. Perhaps it’s because a growing number of citizens are discovering the benefits of cycling in a traffic-choked city.
- Bicycles don’t get stuck in traffic, and can be faster on short trips, even while obeying traffic lights.
- Cycling is good for your health, despite the smog factor (as reported in LA Times)
- Cycling, like any strenuous exercise, increases endorphins (happiness!)
- Bicycles are very cheap to own and maintain, especially with the presence of places like the Bicycle Kitchen
Last week the LA Department of Transportation hosted ThinkBike LA, where a group of Dutch city planning/cycling experts came to help Los Angeles better serve her cycling community. I attended their opening presentation, where Dutch Transportation Engineer Hillie Talens (and fellow motorcyclist!) presented this Power Point.
The only point I really disagreed with is how “Fear” is so under-represented. These stats are from a country where there are literally more bicycles than people. So of course it’s not scary to ride. But as someone who’s accustomed to having close to 150hp to keep me safe from the steel cages of death, being on a bicycle on the wrong streets can be terrifying. Which is why I’ve bookmarked Google’s bicycle directions on my phone, to ensure I choose the safest route. Google Bike Map of LA