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September 24, 2006

LACBC is Building a More Bikeable LA County

A long time ago, in a Century far away.... I was, for a little while, a member of a fledgling advocacy group based out of downtown LA.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition...

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) is a membership based, non-profit bicycle advocacy organization. Members volunteer countless hours for the LACBC. We receive funding from members, donors, foundations, government contracts and from events. We formed in August of 1998.

We envision a Los Angeles County that is a great place for everyday, year-round cycling. Bicycles are accepted as an integral part of our transportation system, culture, and communities. People of all ages, abilities, and cultures travel as cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists safely and simultaneously. Cyclists enjoy equal access to roads and trails, and share the same rights and responsibilities as other users. Air is cleaner, streets are safer and quieter, and people and the environment are healthier.

Those were heady times for a handful of well intentioned activists with big ideas, and plans to do something about them.

I remember leaders such as Ron Milam, and the people I met at a couple meetings I attended, and on the couple of Critical Mass Rides I went on ( Positive experiences before my eyes were later opened up, and I changed my opinion of the Movement. )

I think my interest in cycling activism got its kick start with my limited involvement, through reading the newsletter, Bicycle Times, and occassional chats with Ron, who was an easygoing, cheerful, guy that I liked talking to.

It is now 2006, and Ron is gone, but the ideas, and plans, are still coming thanks to fresh blood, and years of hard work, and numerous successes.

Over the last 5 years much has happened that has given the group recognitions, and influence, that might surprise the unknowing when they discover the headquarters is smaller than a studio Apartment. ;-D

The LACBC has grown, and matured ( I say that inspite of the amusing Talking Water Bottle! ), over the years and, after my recent visit to the HQ ( Thanks for adding a link to the Dude on your website, gang!! ), I think it's time I check out their website, and share my thoughts about what I find.

The main page of the website is a busy piece of work with links of various types in both sidebars, including that rather talkative water bottle mentioned earlier, and the following:

1. Info about A Resource Guide: The first-ever Bicycle Resource Guide for Los Angeles County. "Designed to debunk the common myths about bicycling in L.A., it provides information on the benefits of cycling and helps cyclists roll out on the road safely."

2. The Sharrows Campaign: An update in the aftermath of 365 response recieved on a survey, and plans for where to focus the campaign next:

"Already successfully used in other cities like San Francisco, Shared Use Arrows (Sharrows) are road markings placed in regular traffic lanes, away from parked cars. Studies have shown that they are an effective way to provide a safer environment for cyclists and drivers to co-exist. They indicate where it's safe for bikes to ride, promoting awareness for both drivers and cyclists. Safer roads will encourage people to ride bikes more often.

The sharrows campaign is a volunteer-based effort coordinated by LACBC, Cicle.org, and the Bicycle Kitchen. The idea is to engage bicyclists and encourage local government to implement a pilot program to test the effectiveness of sharrows in Los Angeles. The goal is to get sharrows painted on three routes."

Learn more about Sharrows here.

3. The annual Los Angeles River Ride.

4. An info page about the LACBC-MTA Enhanced Public Outreach Plan.

5.  A link to a PDF version of the informative newsletter it calls Bicycle Times that it distrubutes to members, and to shops, around the county.

The meat of the page is filled with current news, and announcements related to cycling, Action Alerts, LACBC Headlines, an events alert, news about Bike Culture in the Media, and info on how to get involved in your community.

With all of this it will surprise some that there is more to dig into.

The Get Involved Page has a collection of Organizations, and Campaigns active in the county.

The News page has stories going back a year, plus more current stories of interest.

The Biking Resources Page is a good place to find out how, and where, to get member discounts,  area cycling maps, and info on Cycling safety, and access to free bike lockers.

The Links Page has a nice collection of State, National, and International site links, including yours truly.

For anyone living in Los Angeles County, and who is interested in cycling activism, the LACBC is a great place to start getting involved.

You may not agree with all their activities, and stances, but don't let that stop you.

Heck, you don't agree with EVERYTHING your Political Party of choice espouses either, I'm sure, and that hasn't caused you to switch now has it? ;-D

September 24, 2006 in Pedaling Advocacy | Permalink


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