As you have certainly read elsewhere by now, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa suffered a broken elbow when a taxi pulled in front of his bicycle while he was riding along Venice Boulevard. Biking in LA has an excellent write-up of the time-line involved. You can read the Mayor’s own thoughts on the matter here.
While such an incident could have caused a backlash against bike riding in Los Angeles, Mayor Villaraigosa was quick to champion the cause of bicycles(though some urge the Mayor to do more). In his blog post, the Mayor recognized the same arguments that LADOT Bikeways and countless bicycle advocates have been making for years: LA’s landscape and climate make it one of the most ideal cities in which to ride a bicycle, and that is it past time to make a place on LA’s streets for bicycles.
Mayor Villaraigosa emphasized recent events that are beginning to make Los Angeles a truly bicycle-friendly city. He classified those gains in terms of enforcement and infrastructure.
On the enforcement end, new Police Chief Charlie Beck has reached out to the bicycling community, most visibly in LAPD’s cooperation with last month’s Critical Mass ride.
On the side of infrastructure, the Mayor notes the recent set-aside of 10% of Measure R funds for pedestrian and bicycle improvement and the continuing adoption process for the 2010 draft LA Bike Plan.
While enforcement and infrastructure are both important in making Los Angeles safe for bicycles, a third component is education. Admittedly, “education” is a broad term when it comes to bicyclists/driver safety. It can encompass Ron Durgin’s City Cycling courses, the Watch the Road campaign, the Safe Moves rodeos for school children, or bicyclists educating themselves on how to make their city more bikeable.
For purposes of education, the webinar for the 2010 draft LA Bike Plan is something you shouldn’t miss. As we’ve written about last week, City Planning will host their first-ever webinar for the Bike Plan this Thursday. The webinar will give you the opportunity to not only hear all about what the Bike Plan means for Los Angeles, but you will also be able to give input and ask your specific questions about the plans’ implementation.
The plan currently has a model to make riding easier for dedicated bicyclists (the Citywide Bicycle Network, aka CBN), while also creating a infrastructure to encourage riders of all skill levels (the Neighborhood Bicycle Network, aka NBN). Also contained within the plan is a 5-year strategy to get 200 miles of bicycle infrastructure built.
You can register for both webinar sessions here. Make sure you register for both, as the first covers the overall plan while the second covers the 5-year implementation plan. LADOT Bike Blog has also heard from our friends in City Planning that the maps for the 5-year bike plan will be released online before the webinar for the 5-year plan.
The more bicyclists there are on the road, the safer we all will be. One of the best ways to encourage more bicycling is to build more infrastructure. Take some time out of your day this Thursday to learn more about how the City is going to build infrastructure where you live.