CicLAvia and cycling in Los Angeles; a better FDA; a non-Facebook person
Taking to the streets
Re “A quiet revolution on streets of L.A.” Oct. 11
The CicLAvia event was more than a bike ride; it was an adventure. I saw Los Angeles as I have never seen it before, and areas that I thought I knew well, I saw in a completely different light.
The diversity was a real reflection of Los Angeles — young and old, rich and poor, and people of all races and colors. CicLAvia got us out of our cars to actually share this adventure with our neighbors, something valuable that cannot be measured just in dollars and cents.
I can’t wait for the next CicLAvia, and I hope that the organizers plan to open up a different part of L.A.
What a difference: Two Sundays ago I spent a fruitless hour and a half trying to drive my car across a no-crosspoints barrier bisecting central Los Angeles created for 2,800 expensively trained triathletes.
In contrast, I spent a pleasant 45 minutes on a
7 1/2 -mile course with thousands of my inexpensively outfitted fellow travelers on this CicLAvia, socializing with them as we waited patiently for cars to pass at some of the dozens of convenient crosspoints.
CicLAvia was a win-win for both participants and for the drivers needing to get across town.
I woke up that day proud to be an Angeleno. The streets were alive with goodwill. People were not cloistered in their cars. It was a safe space for all to enjoy, which is especially needed as our city sorely lacks park space and transportation options.
And thanks to The Times for its wonderful coverage, which captured the event’s essence
We rode the route from end to end four times. We stopped at some of the businesses along the way for food and drink during some breaks. It was great to see so many people out, bringing the kids out riding and enjoying the day.
Thank you to everyone involved with setting up the event, and thanks to the city for allowing such a cool event to use the streets for an afternoon.
Bicycles and cars can coexist
Re “Bike lanes stop drivers short,” Column, Oct. 9
Change is hard, no doubt, but it is also the only constant in a maturing city such as Los Angeles. Any change that calms traffic and makes our dangerous streets safer for humans is a step toward the future.
L.A. streets are congested regardless if there is a bike lane or not; in fact, this congestion is the best argument for improved bicycle infrastructure.
This “minority mode of travel,” as one councilman calls it, is the cheapest, most sustainable, cleanest way to travel from point A to B in our neighborhoods. But as long as it is not safe, parents will be stuck in cars, stuck in traffic, “rushing kids to school.”
As other cities embrace this futuristic form of self-propulsion, Los Angeles is being left behind thanks to the shortsighted thinking of some council members and columnists.
Angelenos cite safety as their No. 1 concern when riding a bicycle. More bicycle lanes mean more people riding bicycles. More people riding bicycles means a healthier community, less pollution, fewer cars on the road, a smaller trade deficit and fewer international conflicts.
Bicyclists are indeed a minority user of the roads here in Los Angeles. Yet they are a legitimate group of users whose practice extends back into the 19th century and whose numbers today are in the hundreds of millions worldwide.
That their needs as a part of transit planning here in L.A. have been systematically ignored should not be construed as the surrender of any rights.
In the same way that our universities are not the exclusive domain of the privileged, neither are our roads such for auto users.
To the motorists whom these plain facts frustrate, I suggest that each time you get behind the wheel, you anticipate a problematic experience and begin repeating this calming mantra: I am part of the problem. I am part of the problem. I am part of the problem. It works every time for me.
The column refers to “auto-addicted Los Angeles.” I wouldn’t characterize use of the most efficient form of transportation ever devised by man as an addiction. I would call it common sense.
I tried riding the bus in 1974, figuring I could save money. Horrible experience: slow, smelly and uncomfortable. The fact is, any transportation device that takes you directly from your home to your destination is by definition the most efficient.
As for cars, fuel efficiency and safety continue to rise and pollution continues to decline. How about improving the system we’ve got rather than forcing social engineering on folks who just want to get to work without wearing Day-Glo tights and a helmet? Or how about opening bike lanes to rush-hour traffic twice a day?
Thanks for your article on bike lanes and the occasional disagreement within the motoring community over their sudden appearance in place of travel lanes. It’s understandable but not justifiable.
Indeed, as a motorist and a cyclist myself, I am often literally on both sides of the white line. Most cyclists are motorists too. On four wheels I am rarely inconvenienced by bike lanes; yet on two wheels, I always feel sheltered by them. That seems like a worthy tradeoff.
Sex study hits home
Re “Americans are branching out sexually,” Oct. 5
Imagine my surprise — according to “the first comprehensive snapshots of Americans’ sexual activity in almost two decades” — to learn that “experimenting with same-gender sex” is occurring “more often.”
Imagine my disappointment that this article didn’t elaborate on the “same-gender” aspect. No specifics on what those “same-gender” folk are actually doing in bed — those specifics remain cloistered.
Imagine my heartbreak to read an article in The Times that eloquently described the suicide of a college student humiliated by images of him engaged in “same-gender” sex broadcast on the Internet.
I imagine this disconnect is part of a larger picture; one that ostensibly perceives “same-gender” sex as part of the mainstream as long as the sexual nuts and bolts, so to speak, remain invisible.
When homosexuality becomes authentically sexual, the deadly combination of shame and fear can result in a person jumping off of a bridge.
Not alone and not on Facebook
Re “Facebook, I just can’t quit you,” Opinion, Oct. 7
Funny, I don’t feel invisible. In fact, my other half, who sleeps later than I do, just waved good morning to me. I have a number of friends, relatives, co-workers, and others who will vouch for my visibility.
What I feel is complacent and lucky — luckier than your columnist, at least — that my identity, or worth as a human being, is not contingent on the artificial intimacy of an Internet social network or the false conviviality of knowing and being known by several thousand people I’ll probably never meet in person.
A better FDA
Re “Under Obama, a renewed FDA,” Oct. 10
It is encouraging to hear that the FDA is stepping up regulatory activity. The market has been flooded by harmful products that have been allowed by the agency chartered to protect the public. We need an FDA, but we need one that has its priorities straight.