The fact that the statement, Black Lives Matter, must be made in the first place just shows how far we are from being truly free to move freely without fear for our lives regardless of whether we are on bike, foot, transit or in a car. We can’t expect all lives to matter until we acknowledge that Black Lives continue to be treated like they matter less. Each Black Life that is maimed or ended by police, often accompanied by graphic videos, is an assault on safer streets, period. And yet, more names get added to the list of victims of racism every month.
We’d like to take some time to reflect on the sanctity of the lives of local members of our community like Andres Guardado, killed by a deputy sheriff on June 18, and Anthony McClain, killed by Pasadena police on August 15 as police brutality continues to plague the nation at large. Five days ago, on August 23rd, Jacob Blake was shot seven times by a Kenosha, Wisconsin police officer. Three days ago, a 17 year-old white man shot and killed two protestors and walked right by Kenosha police while armed with a rifle, highlighting in stark contrast the different treatment of a white man and a black man by the same police department.
As far as we can tell, none of these incidents have a direct connection to cycling. As a bicycle advocacy organization, many think we should just “stick to bike lanes” and refrain from speaking on the toll racism has on some of our most vulnerable communities. However, we can no more ignore that systemic racism makes our streets unsafe for Black and Brown people than we can claim that these same streets are safe for bicyclists. Which is why we must recognize that Black Lives Matter to our advocacy for a safer, healthier, sustainable and ultimately a more livable Los Angeles for everyone.
We’re stronger when we work together
LACBC partnered with advocacy groups from across the state to push back against legislative overreach in AB1286, a bill aimed at regulating shared mobility platforms. The bill, as originally written, would have imposed an unprecedented elimination of liability waivers for bikeshare and other shared mobility providers. It was clear that this portion of the bill would make it nearly impossible for most shared mobility providers to operate in CA, eliminating an entire set of mobility options for our communities. LACBC joined other coalitions from around the state to sign onto a joint letter with CalBike, but we also sent our own letter to dozens of State Senators. On Monday, our very own Kevin Shin joined a call with the bill’s original author, State Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, and shared our concern that while the intent of the bill to protect consumers was admirable, the ultimate impact that might result in shared mobility disappearing from CA would be much more harmful to those same consumers.
In the end, our efforts paid off as Assemblymember Muratsuchi and other bill sponsors agreed to pull the contested liability provision from the bill! They credited the show of strength from the advocacy community for convincing them that the way the bill was written might prove more harmful than helpful. Thanks to all of you who took part in our action alert on this item and reached out to your State Senator. We couldn’t have done it without you!
Metro exploring getting the price right
In a stunning announcement at yesterday’s meeting of Metro’s Board of Directors, Metro CEO Phil Washington announced that the agency is assembling a task force that will begin work on September 1 to study making all Metro bus and rail entirely fare free! Yes, that means that Metro is seriously considering the possibility of allowing community members in the greater LA region to ride Metro buses and trains for absolutely free, a key tenet of equitable transportation access. This would allow more of our community to consider public transportation a viable option for their daily travels. We applaud Metro’s decision to study this model and believe that it will lead to greater transportation access across our region. LACBC has been a part of the many voices pushing for this important change because we believe that by making transit options more accessible to community members, it would encourage more people to give alternative transportation a try, resulting in less congestion and an improved quality of life for many.
Building Power with Chapter Leaders
This past weekend, LACBC held it’s quarterly chapter leader/bike ambassador caucus, where we had a chance to connect with our amazing Chapter and Bike Ambassador Leaders to learn from and celebrate their efforts. The lively discussion gave us a chance to hear about some of the inspiring efforts taking place from across the City of LA and the County. A few key highlights:
– Walk Bike Burbank reported that their city council recently approved the city’s Complete Streets Plan, which we hope will improve safety for communities all throughout Burbank.
– Bike West LA shared that Councilmember Mike Bonin, a noted supporter of bike infrastructure, would be hosting a series of placemaking workshops focused on Venice Blvd. The schedule for those should be available soon and we will share when more details are available.
– Slow Streets or open air dining programs should be rolling out in communities ranging from the San Fernando Valley, Culver City, and many others in the coming weeks. Keep an eye out for these opportunities for the community to reclaim our roads for people.
– Santa Clarita Valley Bicycle Coalition shared an upcoming volunteer event at the Santa Clarita Bike Park to add some cool new features!
Speaking of SCVBC, be sure to tune into BikeTalk this evening when SCVBC Chapter Leader, Nina Moskol, appears as a guest to discuss the exciting work happening out in the deep valley.
Our Chapters and Bike Ambassadors continue to do amazing work so if you are not yet a supporter of your local chapter, go to our website and join them as a member!
Family Friendly Ride – Plants & Fire: Santa Fe Dam to base of San Gabriel Mountains
This 11.1 mile ride starts at Santa Fe Dam Recreational Area and heads North along the San Gabriel River Bike Path, providing a view of the San Gabriel Mountains for the first half of your ride. The ride back offers views of the hills that make up Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights and other communities. The route is mostly on a Class 1 bike path, meaning it’s separated from traffic.
This route also offers a view of some of the aftermath of the recent fires in the area, offering an opportunity to learn about fire ecology in Southern California.
For a link to the self-guided audio tour, a write up with cue sheet and Ride with GPS link, as well as a list of all our Family Fun Rides, go here: https://la-bike.org/bike_ride/summer-family-friendly-rides/.