Los Angeles Newspaper Group Declares “the Summer of Cycling”

Last week, the Los Angeles Newspaper Group declared the summer of 2013 “the Summer of Cycling.”

To mark the occasion, the papers announced a series of in-depth looks and discussions of bicycling, bicycle culture, laws and customs, traffic enforcement and the future of bicycling. The publisher of papers including the Daily News, Daily Bulletin, San Bernadino Sun, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Pasadena Star-News and many other publications, the Newspaper Group is actually more read than the Los Angeles Times.

But just because the Newspaper Group is big, doesn’t mean they always do the best job covering bicycling and Livable Streets issues. Sure, there are some top notch reporters, the great Dakota Smith at the Daily News springs to mind. But when they announced the Summer of Cycling in concert with a discussion of the causes of road rage and promised a debate on whether or not cyclists should be licensed and taxed, we started to get a little nervous.

Yesterday’s moderated online discussion with Bike Nation CEO Derek Freitheim was a step in the right direction, but we still think the newspaper group could use some help. I know Streetsbloggers have a lot of good suggestions for what would make a good “Summer of Cycling” series, and I look forward to reading them in the comments section. If you want to see my suggestion, read on after the jump.

Dear Los Angeles newspaper group editors,

If you want the Summer of Cycling to have more impact than the Summer of George, you have to understand “both sides” of the issue. Because you insist on presenting the issue through the lens of “bike v car” or the suddenly world dominating “bike lobby v everyone else” you need to be able to place yourself in the shoes of “the other” which in this case is the cyclist. So I challenge each of your editors and writers who will take part in this series to do two things.

First, try biking to work for a week. If you don’t believe you can handle a ride to and from work, then couple up your trip with the local transit lines. It is possible, I promise.

Second, go for a ride with some of your local bike advocates. Let them choose the route. If you don’t know how to find them, email me at damien@streetsblog.org. I’ll find them for you.

Best of Luck with Your Series,

Damien Newton