A timely and logical question looms large regarding one mode of transportation in Los Angeles County, given all the recent hype and accolades (and, yes, criticisms) piled upon transportation-related strategies for the metropolitan area going forward.
And that is this: What does the future bode for both actual and would-be bicyclists who seek to regularly traverse regional streets and roadways?
The Los Angeles City Council’s announcement earlier this year regarding a decades-long strategy to make the area friendlier for car-alternative (read bikers and pedestrians) options certainly didn’t go unnoticed. Many Angelenos have been paying great attention to the vision of city planners, with bicycling enthusiasts and organizations strongly hoping that material changes will lead to greater opportunities for riders.
As noted by one enthusiast who recently penned an article in the Los Angeles Times chronicling his bike forays on city streets and trails, there is both joy and fear linked to bicycle travel in the L.A. metro area.
The former is closely tied to the adventure and the sheer anomaly associated with eschewing motorized transportation.
And the latter? Well, here is some troubling data linked with bicycle transport in California and Los Angeles, respectively: California tops all other states for bicycle fatalities, and L.A., as noted in the above article, has a “reputation for cycling danger [that] is arguably the worst in the state.”
Indeed, the perceptions of many would-be riders regarding bike travel in the metro seem to be laden with fear. Reportedly, only about 1 percent of county residents ride bikes to commute to work.
In time, that may change. For change to come, though, biker-friendly infrastructure improvements will need to vastly improve riding conditions that one bike advocate likens presently to a “roller derby.”