Advocacy and Endorsements, the Next Step for Bike Advocacy?

Since L.A. Streetsblog started publishing twenty-six months ago, we’ve seen a boom in bike advocacy.  Joining the LACBC; C.I.C.L.E. began doing more advocacy work, the Bike Writer’s Collective began pushing the Cyclists Bill of Rights to Neighborhood Councils and the City Council, the Bike Working Group decided to write their own Bike Plan, and more recently two groups have formed to, amongst other things, endorse candidates and ballot measures that promote bicycle friendliness in a way that a 501(c)3 cannot.

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The first of these groups is Bikeside, a 501(c)4 meaning they can endorse candidates, which has gotten rave reviews for its efforts to map crash data, both LAPD data and cyclist reported crashes, promote the Bicycling Backbone Network.  Now the group is endorsing candidates for Mar Vista, Venice and Westside Neighborhood Councils and holding candidate forums for Congressional candidates.

The main force behind Bikeside is Alex Thompson, who has a long list of activist achievements and was the writer of the "hyper opinionated" Westside BikeSIDE (which now redirects you automatically to Bikeside).  Thompson is joined by Enci Box, Stephen Box, Eric Knutzen, Mihai Peteu and Sara Bond with most of the heavy lifting.  In addition to the work maintaining and updating the Bikeside website/blog, they’ve also marshaled large groups of cyclists for Bike Working Group meetings and City Council meetings.  If you want to help Bikeside spread the word, you can do so by volunteering at their website.

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Our second group is the newly announced League of Bicycling Voters, Los Angeles; which was announced earlier today at Biking In L.A.  This group is basing their efforts on the model provided by the Austin based League of Bicycling Voters, another 501c(4).  This group, being spearheaded by Biking in L.A. author Ted Rogers, fellow LACBC Board Member Dr. Michael Cahn and Josef Bray-Ali, is in its formative phases and is looking for your help to decide what path it should follow to make the biggest impact.  They’re planning a big meeting at UCLA on May 15 (check back for more details), but in the meantime you can join their Facebook Page or Google Group to get more updates.

At the aforementioned Facebook page, Dr. Cahn estimates that there are 300,000 cyclists in Los Angeles, but only 285,000 people voted in the last Mayoral election.  If anyone doesn’t believe that these groups can make a difference in who this city elects to lead us, the cold math tells us that an organized bike community can make the difference.

  • Thanks for the write up Damien. Don’t forget, Erik Knutzen is on Bikeside’s board. He’s busy writing a book right now, but he’ll be back someday.

    Look for a broadening and deepening of the LA Bike Map project in the coming months.

  • I realized I forgot Eric while I was out picking up tomorrow’s beer…you beat me by about two minutes! Damm you!

  • Metrolink would like to announce that “Resistance is Futile” is a trademark already claimed for our upcoming mandatory passenger personality test program and hopes that BikesideLA can come up with a tagline that causes less confusion.

  • I’ve been tooling around in Photoshop with “Resistance is (probably) futile” as an alternative, as well as “Futile Resistance is futile” and “Feudal Resistance is fertile.”

  • As the Governator might say, “I’ll be back,” soon. Not in time for the beer, sadly. Been watching all the transit action from afar. From what I’ve been reading Los Angeles is beginning to look like Portland, albeit with slippery sharrow paint. All the marijuana dispensaries certainly make it look like Amsterdam. Add a few more bikes and Bob’s our uncle.

  • skd

    Didn’t Genghis Khan trademark the “Resistance is Futile” tagline in 1220?
    It’s public domain. I’m just saying…

  • I’m working on the Amsterdam bit with the Dutch bikes. I’m glad to see everyone else doing their level best with the devil weed. Now all we need are some canals and glory glory we’ll be in the promised land.

  • Great news! Good luck with your efforts and let us know if you need any help…and we’ll do the same.

    Rob D’Amico
    President, League of Bicycling Voters (Austin!)

  • 300,000 voters in Los Angeles ride bikes? Where did this statistic come from? From facebook? Can someone explain the methodology behind this estimate? I see bicyclists all the time, but I have no clue whether they’re voters or not.