Instead of preparing for my 24 hour mountain bike race this weekend, I’m writing about veganism and getting worked up over bike/pedestrian policy here in Los Angeles and nationwide. Six and seven years ago when I first got involved in bike advocacy in Los Angeles the bar was low, as were my expectations. Any improvement or mere mention of bikes outside of our circles was reason for excitement. Fast forward to 2010 and I’m almost overwhelmed with the progress. Almost. We are making gains, but now I want more. It makes so much sense in our unique position today with the economy, environmental concern and a renewed interest in urbanity to shift resources to promote bicycling and walking. But then LA Dept of Transportation General Manager Rita Robinson says stuff like I wish we were New York and could magically make things happen. Argh.
It’s up to us to show her it is not magic. To start here is a post by the US Dept of Transportation in support: What we know about bike infrastructure: people want it. This is the freakin US DOT!! I never could imagine seeing this just a few years ago. And here we are. But, and this is a big but, too many people are not seeing this. Or understanding it if they are. Too few people get this:
As anarchist academic and hero-to-many Howard Zinn says, ‘You can’t be neutral on a moving train.’ Everything is political. Your actions do matter. If you ride a bike, exclusively or occasionally, it’s up to you to share the statement above. AND its political importance. Bicycle infrastructure is good for everyone. Fewer people in fewer cars has social, environmental, health and personal benefits. So study up and share with others. We cannot wait for policy change to come from people like Rita Robinson. We need to change ourselves and to share these benefits with our circles.
Donald Shoup’s page at UCLA
are a good start.
Here’s a challenge. While I am riding my single-speed mountain bike for 24 hours this weekend, can you send one of the links above to 24 people?