“The Times’ Editorial Page Is Pro-Bike.”

This weekend, the Los Angeles Times formally launched “Roadshare,” a specialized opinion page that focuses on bicycling, bike culture, and the controversy over creating safe space on the street for all road users. It announced this new web venture with an editorial, “Sharing the Road and an op/ed piece by Robert Greene entitled “Cycling in Los Angeles, The rants, the roads and the bigger picture.

“Sharing the Road” contains one simple sentence that is more important than it might look on the surface. “The Times’ editorial page is pro-bike.” They don’t mean they are professional cyclists, they mean that, “cycling reduces traffic, cuts fossil fuel use and pollution and improves the health of those who do it; in fact, it’s beneficial in so many ways that cities, especially those such as Los Angeles that are beset by automotive-related problems, should go to great lengths to encourage it. ”

This may not seem as though it is a big deal, a newspaper saying it’s pro-bike. Considering the hysteria our partners in New York City deal with on a near-daily basis from the New York Post and anti-bike zeaolts such as Marcia Kramer on the evening news, the Times’ declaration is important. And let’s not even get started on Dorothy Rabinowitz and the ongoing threat of the bike lobby.

Locally, the L.A. Weekly is the second most read print publication in the city, and their record on bicycle safety is mixed. On one hand, they seem to view cyclists as a special interest. On the other hand, their report on hit and run crashes was a major moment that changed the conversation in City Hall.

Whether you agree with it or not, media figures are important decision makers and they influence what happens in city halls and board rooms. The Times is the second biggest local paper in the country, and their support is important both inside and outside Los Angeles.

It’s why Streetsblog writes articles critical of the press, because we know that the media is important and we want them to understand our point of view. It’s both gratifying and important to know that they’re listening.

Greene pays homage not just to the bicycling movement, and both Streetsblog and Curbed in particular, but also asks the kind of common-sense questions that many of us have wondered (and expressed) for years. Including, “…how can one city department paint a lane for cyclists while another city department requires residents to put their garbage cans in the middle of it on trash pickup day?”

A couple of weeks ago, one of the opinion page editors reached out to me because the Times’ was excited about this new venture and wanted my/our feedback. We helped put them in touch with many of our readers, and it’s a little exciting to see where they go with the series from this start. Streetsblog will continue to work with the Times’ team as much as they allow to insure they have access to our readers, and vice-versa, as this series continues.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

LA Times Editorial: Councilmembers Should Not Be Tinkering with Bike Plan

|
I was excited to read yesterday’s pro-bike Los Angeles Times editorial entitled Some bumps in the road on the way to a bike-friendly L.A. The piece calls out Los Angeles City Councilmember Gil Cedillo for stopping the approved North Figueroa bike lanes. The Times supports the “worthwhile objective” of  implementing bicycle infrastructure to make “the city safe […]

Mandeville Canyon Crash Continues to Dominate Bike Discourse

|
The horrific July 4th Crash in Mandeville Canyon continues to be a focal point for discussions about bike safety. On Saturday, the Times published a remarkable editorial pleading with drivers to give cyclists their due respect on the road. Later in the day, Councilman Rosendahl’s office announced the cancellation of tonight’s scheduled meeting on bike […]

Editorial: Your Thoughts on L.A. Times “Roadshare” Series?

|
The L.A. Times has been running a series of opinion articles under the tag #RoadshareLA. The pieces are “an online exploration of the seemingly sudden arrival of cyclists as not just a cultural but a political force in California.” Yesterday #RoadshareLA concluded with a pair of videos showing what scares bicyclists and what concerns drivers. You […]

Road to the Bike Plan Stop 2: Chicago

|
Nice, It’s Even Cubs’ Blue Chicago made news last week when it’s #1 bicyclist, Mayor Richard Daley, introduced ordinances that would increase fines for reckless drivers who injure cyclists. The Chicago Sun-Times notes that "It’s designed to reduce the number of crashes involving bikes and motor vehicles. There were 6,000 such crashes in Chicago between […]

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 […]

The 2009 Streetsies – The Best of Times

|
I thought we would start with the good times of the year.  Tomorrow we’ll look at "the worst of times" and award our stories and advocate of the year awards.  Happy reading! Best Mainstream News Article The Panel’s Choice: Bicycling Magazine Looks at L.A.’s "D.I.Y. Bike Culture"My Choice: Times’ Editorializes for Congestion Pricing Following the […]