And the Beat Goes On….

Yesterday was cold and cloudy all morning, which is perfect bicycling weather if you ask me, but…people who think in shallow clichés might be surprised to see folks out on bikes when it isn’t shorts-and-flipflops warm. I am glad to report that LA seems to be growing beyond its reputation as a sump for weather wimps.

The local powers-that-be still can’t convince themselves that bikes are actually transportation devices that deserve accommodation on our public roads, and every bit of infrastructure that we do win, no matter how modest and disconnected, seems to be cause for celebratory blog posts, Tweets with half the character limit occupied by smilies and exclamation points, and semi-organized tours of the latest quarter-mile-long door-zone bike lane and squad car parking zone. Yet when a smidgin of room is reluctantly sequestered for the use of bicyclists, an amazing thing happens: bicyclists use it!

They not only use it, they also use the community around it: shops, offices, restaurants, and, as in the photo above, LA’s growing transit system. The rack array you see is a Metro installation at the South Pasadena Gold Line station, which you can see in the background. The image may look familiar if you read this blog, because I’ve photographed this rack many times. The intersting thing is that it is always full. South Pasadena is only three and a half square miles, but this capacious (for Los Angeles) bicycle parking facility is always full. This is good for the cyclists, good for South Pasadena (whose little streets can’t handle much car traffic), good for the Gold Line, and ultimately good for the region, as more people free themselves from the confinement of cars, and at the same time free their cities from the expenses, both fiscal and environmental, that private driving imposes on the citizenry.

Not to mention the health costs of sitting in a car so much: Great Britain estimates that raising its bicycle mode share from 2% to 10% would save the National Health Service £250m a year, simply by getting people off their buts and cutting smog a bit.

And the beat goes on: as more and more bicycle infrastructure inches its way onto LA’s public thoroughfares, people start to use it, and life gets better. We still have a long way to go, but study after study shows that it’s a trip worth taking…on your bike.

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