Rumor has it that Los Angeles’ famous traffic woes would disappear if as little as 10% of the population biked to work instead of driving. The city famous for being obsessed with driving is rapidly moving toward that, with a 67% increase in ten years (2011 article from the Atlantic Cities).
This brings LA bike commuters up to a whopping 1%. Yeah, the real 1%ers pedal there, baby. Los Angeles is a terrifying place to navigate, as horrible traffic brings out the worst in people who respond with aggression, thus feeding a downward spiral of negativity. Yet it is possible to turn this around. Holland did it, as the chart in this article shows.
But what if there was a way to make it safer? To make all Angelenos feel comfortable pedaling across town? Well, until my dream of making all drivers operate a moped for 6 months before owning a car comes true, there are awesome baby steps we can take, like LA Bike Trains. Another one is the LA Bicycle Commuter Festival and Summit being held this coming Sunday in Hollywood. Register here. Their Facebook page gives more detail about the event:
“A day long festival with fun workshops, vendors, food and beverage to entertain, educate and connect the ‘bike curious’ of Los Angeles to the joys of riding bicycles for transportation. Geared to first time, potential, or recreational (sport) cyclists, participating vendors and speakers are diverse and exciting enough to draw existing cycling communities while entertaining non-cyclist friends and family.”
Sounds to me like this is open to the 99% who still haven’t discovered the joy of cycling in this glorious city. It breaks my heart that Minneapolis and Portland, cities which are currently buried in SNOW, have far greater cycling rates than Los Angeles. Where it’s been balmy all winter, except for that cold snap in November. And the air is cleaner than ever, thanks to CARB we’re breathing 50% less smog than we did in 1980. Cycling is also great for local economies, as this CleanTechnica article shows.
Don’t wait for the next CicLAvia, just dust off the bike and ride there. Anywhere.