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League of Bicycling Voters Organizational Meeting

For immediate release: May 7, 2010

Los Angeles cyclists prepare to Bike the Vote on May 15th — introducing the League of Bicycling Voters L.A.

It’s not hard to have a big influence on local elections. In fact,only 17.9% of registered voters — slightly more than 285,000 people— cast ballots in the last election for Mayor of Los Angeles.

Now consider this:  According to a 2002 survey sponsored by the U.S.Department of Transportation, 27.3% of all Americans over the age of 16ride a bicycle, which means that somewhere around 400,000 of the city’s1.6 million registered voters ride bikes. In other words, over 100,000more than voted for all the candidates in the last mayoral electioncombined.

That holds true throughout the Los Angeles area, where statisticssuggest that over 1 million of the county’s 4.2 million voters arecyclists — making it one of the largest untapped voting groups inSouthern California.

That’s about to change.

On May 15th, bicyclists from throughout the County of Los Angeleswill be coming together to form the League of Bicycling Voters LosAngeles.

Patterned after the highly successful League of Bicycling Voters inAustin, Texas — which saw their entire slate of candidates elected tooffice in the last citywide election — the group is being formed at atime when bicycling is more popular than ever.

Yet many cyclists, both beginners and experienced riders alike,believe they have have been ignored by unresponsive local, county andstate governments, their safety needlessly endangered by roads andregulations that weren’t designed for bikes and policies that ignoretheir needs.

“For years we’ve tried playing nice, going along to get along,quietly sitting at meetings, waiting to be asked onto the floor for adance,” explained Josef Bray-Ali, owner of the Flying Pigeon LA bikeshop in Highland Park, and one of the founders of the local League ofBicycling Voters. “We’ve learned that the only place we can get ourelected officials to pay attention is at the ballot box.”

According to the group’s website, the League of Bicycling Voters “isnot liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. It does notrepresent any one group or style of cycling.” Instead, it representsLos Angeles-area bicyclists of every type and description “to helpensure safer streets and a more bike-friendly community for all of us.”

Ted Rogers, author of the blog BikingInLA.com and another of thegroup’s initial founders, along with UCLA lecturer Dr. Michael Cahn,stressed that the League won’t conflict with other existing bicycleadvocacy organizations, such as C.I.C.L.E. and the Los Angeles CountyBicycling Coalition.

“This group is a purely political organization. Our purpose is tohost forums and debates, get candidates on the record for their standson bicycling issues, and to endorse and support bike-friendlycandidates and propositions — which groups like the LACBC areprohibited from doing due to their non-profit status.”

However, he explained that they do intend to work closely with otherbiking groups to support similar goals whenever possible; in fact, bothRogers and Dr. Cahn are on the Board of Directors for the LACBC, andmany of the initial members belong to other cycling organizations, aswell.

The initial organizational meeting is scheduled for 10:30 am onSaturday, May 15th in Room 1347 on the ground floor of the UCLA LawSchool on the Westwood campus. Anyone who rides a bike and is eligibleto vote in the County of Los Angeles is encouraged to attend.

Website: http://bikevotela.org/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=105179589521909&ref=ts

Google Group: http://groups.google.com/group/bikevotela

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