20 June 2008

Cyclists have a long way to go in LA

According to some estimates, there are over 3 million cyclists each year in Los Angeles.* Given that there are so many of us, you'd think we would have an easier time getting around, or that our city would work a little bit harder for us.

Enter yesterday's article from MSNBC and Forbes Traveler about the 10 Most Bike-Friendly Cities in North America. Make sure you read the full article, but for the purposes of our discussion, here's the list.

10. Chicago, IL
9. Minneapolis, MN
8. New York, NY
7. San Francisco, CA
6. Seattle, WA
5. Davis, CA
4. Montreal, Canada
3. San Diego, CA
2. Boulder, CO
1. Portland, OR


image courtesy of msnbc.com

You'll notice that Los Angeles is nowhere near that list. However, there are 3 other California cities that ARE on the list; every other major West Coast city in the US is on the list; San Francisco and Seattle have giant hills; Montreal, Minneapolis, and Chicago are, for all intents and purposes, a frozen tundra for half the year; and then of course there's New York, throbbing with people, taxis, buses, subways and the occasional elephant. My point being, what's the deal here, folks? LA has the perfect climate, and is largely flat, with wide boulevards and streets. Why can't our city be friendlier to cyclists? All of these other cities have major obstacles and much more daunting landscapes, and yet they are all more conducive to biking. Is it really that much to ask to give away some of our precious asphalt to bikes?

Mayor Daley is over in Chicago coming up with a long-term bike initiative called Bike 2015. Meanwhile Mayor Tony just got back from Israel where he gave the Prime Minister a Kobe Bryant jersey. Not that there's anything wrong with Israel or Kobe Bryant (well, that's debatable) but doesn't this city have some pressing transportation issues at hand?!?! I hope I speak for all of us when I say, have some vision, Los Angeles. Give us bike lanes, racks, freeways, and everything in between. I want to be on that list next year!

I mean, we got beat by Boulder. Seriously.


*I don't know where I heard this or even what "each year" means, but I did hear it somewhere. If anyone has a source, I would appreciate it.

1 comment:

erin said...

Do you remember my old Bike Commuter Index? It regularly hovered around 12.... now that I live in Seattle, it only gets that low when it's pouring outside. But this is just a guess, because I just couldn't keep up with the count.