Open Thread: LA Newspaper Group’s Summer of Cycling

A couple months ago, the newspapers that make up the Los Angeles Newspaper Group declared that this would be the Summer of Cycling.

For better or worse.

The parent company of the Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Long Beach Press-Telegram, et al, promised an in-depth look at bicycle culture, laws and customs, traffic enforcement and the future of bicycling in the City of Angels and surrounding communities.

But two months later, they still don’t appear to have even spoken with the city’s many bike advocates who know the streets and issues best. Let alone the city officials charged with remaking our streets to accommodate all road users.

Instead, they’ve relied on an out-of-touch futurist to say no one will ever ride to work around here in the years to come, while trolling for comments from angry motorists. Along with an editorial board member who seems to have surprised himself with a pleasant commute from South Pasadena to Downtown LA.

Now they’re at it again, using a quote from John Forester, the father of Vehicular Cycling, to set up a discussion of whether bikes belong on the streets — obeying all the rules, of course — or separated bikeways.

Even though they seem to get Forester all wrong. He’d no more support bike lanes — which he considers dangerous, despite all evidence to the contrary — than he would a full conversion to enforced segregation on Dutch-style cycle tracks.

And the way the question is posed, it’s likely to draw as many comments from bike-hating motorists demanding bicyclists stay off the roads until they get a license, stop running red lights and pay for their own bike lanes as it is to capture considered comments debating the actual question.

So what do you think?

Is Los Angeles better off continuing to stripe bike lanes, or should the city invest in separated bikeways, despite the much higher expense? Or do nothing at all, and let riders continue to fight it out, Forester style, on often unwelcoming streets?

And what do you think about LANG’s self-ballyhooed Summer of Cycling?

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