L.A.’s Bike Week: Blessing Bikes, Talking Bikes, Bike Videos

There are lots of #BikeWeekLA events going on this week — way too many for our meager cadre of Streetsblog Los Angeles writers to attend. We did make it to a few events so far: the kick-off press conference, a panel, and a blessing.

Good Samaritan’s 2015 Blessing of the Bicycles

Good Samaritan Hospital's 12th Annual Blessing of the Bikes. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Good Samaritan Hospital’s 12th Annual Blessing of the Bikes. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

This morning Good Samaritan Hospital hosted its 12th annual Blessing of the Bikes. Even though the format changes very little from year to year, I still very much enjoy attending. Each year, there is a free delicious breakfast, bike schwag, recognition of fallen cyclists and cycling leaders, a gathering of religious officials praying for cyclist safety, and a ceremonial ride circling the hospital. Each year, I am moved by the religious leaders’ adaptation of ancient religious teachings to apply them to contemporary cycling. In the past, a priest recited the biblical passage about “a wheel within a wheel.”

This year I really enjoyed hearing Jihad Turk, Imam at the Islamic Center of Southern California and President of Bayan Claremont Islamic (Seminary) Graduate School, recite a traditional prayer the prophet Muhammad taught his followers in the 7th century, about 1,400 years ago:

سبحان الذي سخر لنا هذا وما كنا له مقرنين، وإنا إلي ربنا لمنقلبون‏.‏

Which he translated to:

Glory be to the One who has enabled us to ride these (bikes), and, Our Lord, allow us to return safely back home to our families.

Panel Discussion On the Future Of Bicycling

Is Bicycling In Your Future? panel discussion.
Is Bicycling In Your Future? panel discussion.

Last night, I attended the “Is Bicycling In Your Future” panel discussion hosted by Metro and Caltrans. The panel was moderated by KCRW’s Frances Anderton, a bike commuter and host of “DnA: Design & Architecture.” The panel featured:

  • Laura Cornejo, Metro Project Manager
  • Tamika Butler, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition Executive Director
  • Maria Sipin, Multicultural Communities for Mobility Boardmember
  • Mike Flynn, LAPD Sergeant
  • Gary Slater, Caltrans Deputy District Director for Planning

Panelists generally acknowledged that transportation culture has changed a lot in Southern California in recent years, but that there are still a lot more advances to make. Various speakers acknowledged CicLAvia as one important program that has enabled people to think differently about cycling, though questioned how much impact it has had on getting people to bike on other days of the week.

In discussing how to get people who don’t usually bike to do so more often, Butler urged governmental agencies to emphasize safety, including the Vision Zero efforts to end all traffic deaths. Butler emphasized that safety improvements need to address current disparities where some modes and some people experience more than their share of injuries and fatalities. She stressed that for communities of color, it is more dangerous to everything: to bike, to walk, and “even to carry Skittles.”

Slater and Cornejo outlined how their agencies are serving cyclists. Cornejo spoke about Metro’s upcoming bike-share, bike parking hubs, and education programs. Slater drew attention to Caltrans’ distribution of governmental funding by administering the state Active Transportation Program.

Various panelists asserted that connectivity, education, infrastructure – including protected bike lanes, transit connectivity, new language, and even redefining cycling in pop culture will expand cycling to become more widely accepted in L.A.

Metro Bike Week Videos

In case you missed anything, Metro has been releasing a series of bike week videos – below is a sampling.

Yesterday morning’s Bike Week L.A. kick-off press conference:

Tips on how to dress while bicycling:

This one needs no introduction:

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Mary Ann Blackwell at the location where she was punched by a motorist last week. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
STREETSBLOG SF

Punched for Riding a Bike

|
There's another “perp” Blackwell holds responsible for the incident: the city engineers who designed the street. “This is poor infrastructure,” she said, motioning to the door-zone bike lanes, which contribute to conflicts between cyclists and motorists.