A Letter from Bill Rosendahl to the Bicycling Community

Bathed in light, Bill Rosendahl addresses Bikeside Speaks! last May at the Bikerowave. Photo:Sara Bond/Bikeside

Today, we approved a Bike Plan which provides more opportunities for people in Los Angeles.

More opportunities for people to discover the benefits of combining public transportation with a bike to finish that last mile.

More opportunities for parents and kids to ride safely on streets.

More opportunities for people to switch from gas to pedal power, burning fat instead of fossil fuels.

More opportunities for visitors to experience our wonderful weather on two wheels instead of four.

More opportunities to decide between a car and a bike for short trips.

And more opportunities to turn fear into confidence for those who are just plain scared to share the road with cars, like me.

6_6_10_rosendahl.jpgRosendahl has a history of supporting the counting of all transportation modes. Here he’s at the kickoff of the LACBC’s bike count project last year. Photo:boc/flickr

Sure, these opportunities currently exist for some, but not everyone. The Bike Plan establishes 200 miles of bikeways every five years offering greater mobility by extending the reach of the current network.

With this plan, we created more opportunities, and when I say we I really mean you. The vocal, organized and passionate bike community who demanded a better blueprint for bikeways in LA.

Your commitment and tireless work paid off. After several months of hearings, committees and revisions, our city has a bike plan that some say is as good or even better than most major cities. Because of you, the wheels are in motion for a truly multimodal city.

I want to publicly say thank you to all the people who took part in the civic process:

  • Glenn Bailey
  • Alexis Lantz
  • Joe Linton
  • Allison Mannos
  • Aurisha Smolarski
  • Kent Strumpwell
  • Alex Thompson
  • Don Ward

And the list goes on…

There are many, many people to thank for their vision and ability to re-think and re-imagine. Because of you, we developed the framework for a multi-modal system, providing for all modes of transportation and not just the automobile.


  • He forgot to mention the part of the plan where people that like to ride their bikes in City parks are discriminated against because of a powerful minority.

    More horses and less bikes…….

  • Rosendahl listed a bunch of substantive policies, laws, and programs the City is now working on the help bikes. He has really taken the charge since the Mandeville Canyon incident.

    With that said, I’ll be eating more Taco Bell tacos in the hopes that I can keep the horse population down.

  • f ron miller

    I love riding my bike in the city and applaud everyone’s efforts to make the streets safer and more hospitable for cyclists. Gotta say though, the the last thing I really want to see are cyclists ripping up the parks to get their ya-yas out. Let the horse people be. They deserve their traditions too.

  • Yeah, I understand that point, but I do a fair bit of business with the working class guys in my neighborhood – and they all get their ya-yas by drinking on the weekends and riding their mountain bikes on off-road trails.

    There needs to be a place to mountain bike legally. With all these great, old, parks nearby (in North East LA) the temptation is too great for your average bunch of dudes.

    But let’s not resolve this issue too soon, I’ve got some kickin’ t-shirt designs in the making:

    Make Glue, Not War
    Bikes Not Buggy Whips
    Meat Pylons Suck
    Your Horse Just Whispered on My Trail
    No Moutain Bikes? Horse Shit!

  • I apologize in advance for the slogans written above. Cheap laughs are cheap.

    I actually support maintaining existing trails in Debs, Griffith, an Elysian parks MTB-free. But I do think we need to provide some places for people to practice their sport, or provide some fire-road access to mountain bike users.

  • @Josef

    I am sure you wouldn’t be against Mountain Bikers in the City parks if your shop sold them……..

    or maybe Dutch bikes only belong on Bike paths since they are really designed for such.

  • You bring up a great point: there are a bunch of bike shops that focus specifically on mountain bikes in LA. This was a sad day for them, as people like me basically sold out recreational off-road cycling to win (what we see as) a larger victory. I have a feeling that history will be unkind to current day advocates, but I also think there is a slight chance that the MTB community will unify and figure out a reasonable solution to this ban.

  • f ron miller

    Pitting their desires over the established equestrian community is hardly the way to do it. I’ve got a preservationist’s heart and something like keeping horseback riding in the city wins my vote. (This is the west after all.) I don’t really know what the conflict is about (though from what I read it was the ONLY conflict) but surely there’s a way to let horse trails stay horse trails. To take them away smacks of selfishness.

  • f ron miller:

    By advocating for these trails to be SHARED by all users by no means takes trail mileage away from horse enthusiasts. Hikers already have full rights to all trails in the park network why not cyclists?

    What you call selfishness is what it is. But not on the part of the cyclist who want the same access to their public land, but selfishness on the part of equestrians who feel they own the land.

    and yes your comments show “I don’t really know what the conflict is about”

  • As I’ve said before right here, horses can be trained to tolerate cyclists–after all they were used in war up until around 1945. Cannons, machine guns, grenades. shouts, cars, trucks, aircraft, etc. If they can be trained to put up with that, they can be trained to put up with MTBers. A lot of horses on the trails right now are spooked by hikers! It’s the owners’ fault.

    BTW, MTBs are allowed on most state park trails right now–along with horses and hikers. I regularly hike the Backbone Trail and meet both. I sometimes bike Dirt Mulholland, open to bikes as well as hikers and horsefolks too. There are standard right-of-way signs to help sort out traffic, and there don’t seem to be any major problems. I don’t see why there should be in city parks either. Individuals who are out to shred should NOT do so on shared trails, but that applies everywhere. Cyclists, hikers, and equestrians presently coexist on state park trails within the city of LA. The horse people are being disingenuous.

  • f ron miller

    I appreciate what’s being said here and the points are well taken. Still, I think that not permitting vehicles on trails in city parts which currently provide for walking people and animals should stand.

  • f ron miller

    correction: “city parks”

  • @f ron miller:

    In the state of California (according to the CVC) a bicycle is defined as a device and not a vehicle. So in your terms a bicycle would be allowed on the path?

  • f ron miller

    In my terms? A vehicle is a bicycle. Let the city park paths be set aside for walking people and animals. As stated up thread there are other places in the county where mountain biking is permitted. I’ve already professed my lack of complete understanding in the conflict and I’m willing learn. I personally don’t see the need to turn city park trails –namely Griffith park over to cycles. I love to cycle the city streets and I love to walk the city park trails. I’d like to see each promoted and preserved, not infringed upon.

  • Let me try to make this as clear as I can:

    The LA Bike Plan is intended to be a TRANSPORTATION document that will be referenced by CITY PLANNING to build CITY STREETS, NOT the DEPARTMENT of RECREATION and PARKS, who has jurisdiction over city parks, thus, TRAILS.

    The conflict between mountain bikers and equestrians has no place in a discussion of the LA Bike Plan because whether or not the mountain biking element is included in the plan will make ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENCE for either side of the debate.

    (I suspect that a mountain bike section has been shoehorned into the bike plan for the last several decades so that the city could give lip service to all of the annoying bike zealots in one fell swoop).

  • The dude abides


    Sure sounds like the same rhetoric from every bike advocate. But the bike plan is more than just transportation. The focus is also clearly on recreation. In fact, if you think it is only about transportation the you need to strip out all of those expensive class 1 bike paths as those are techinically recreational.

  • @dude

    Absolutely true—class 1 bike paths are primarily designed (and legally designated) as recreational facilities. That’s why cities like LA need thoughtful planning and a comprehensive Backbone Bikeway Network to be truly functional for utilitarian cyclists.

    However, I wouldn’t ask for class 1 bike paths to be removed, because I’m all for recreational cycling.

    My specific point, though, was that the mountain bike element in the LA Bike Plan is completely impotent, and all the racket made by the equestrians opposing it being included in the plan is a huge waste of everyone’s time.


    They’ll be more to worry about than pedal power especially with this new Dept of Justice ruling on ADA access allowing “power driven mobility devices” for people with mobility disabilities on trails used by individuals whether hiking, biking, or horsing. Think segway or even ATV! It maybe a law worthy of those truly disabled. The problem here is that power driven devices enable you to be more disabled…

  • Don Ward

    Bill Rosendahl honestly supports bikes and pedestrians. He doesn’t just say things, he does things. Thank you Bill.

    I was able to point to your Anti- Harassment ordinance in a dispute between myself and an aggressive school bus driver that occurred within an hour of the council approving it. The whiff of a civil suit proved a useful tool in alerting the bus company that said driver was putting them at risk and that education was needed. The bus company paid attention where as in the past without that ordinance, I don’t think they would have.

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    Every bus in the nation should have this unit. Email for more information at travel360biz@yahoo.com. Put “P62 Information Requested” in the subject line.


Rosendahl’s Mandeville Road Bike Issues Canceled!

MONDAY’S PUBLIC FORUM ON CYCLING ON MANDEVILLE CANYON ROAD IS CANCELLED Rosendahl to Form Task Force of Residents, Cyclists and City Staff   LOS ANGELES – In response to escalating tensions over a July 4 incident that sent two cyclists to the hospital, Councilmember Bill Rosendahl is replacing a public Town Hall meeting with a […]