Alex Baum, a Los Angeles bicycling advocate who over decades successfully pushed for bike paths, bike lanes, and a greater consciousness of bikes as legitimate transportation in a sprawling city built around cars, has died. He was 92.
Baum’s death Sunday in a Los Angeles hospital was caused by a bowel obstruction, his daughter Danielle Gardner said.
Baum was a former member of the French resistance who was imprisoned in a Nazi labor camp and immigrated to the United States after the war. By trade he was a caterer, but he was more well-known for his involvement in sports organizations, including the committee that organized the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
For more than 30 years, Baum was head of the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee -- a group he organized under former L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley to work with city transportation officials on cycling issues.
“He was a voice for cyclists at a time when cyclists had no voice in L.A.,” said Michelle Mowery, the city transportation’s department’s senior bicycle coordinator. “He used to call us the poor stepchild of transportation.”
Without Baum’s lobbying, the city’s 56 miles of bike paths and 369 miles of bike lanes would probably not exist, she said. Current plans, which Baum was instrumental in developing, call for 1,680 miles of bike paths, bike lanes and bike-friendly streets.
A memorial service for Baum is planned for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Santa Monica Synagogue, 1448 18th St., Santa Monica.
A full obituary will follow at www.latimes.com/obits.