Open Thread: So, How’d I Do?

Click on the image to go to the video.

(Note: First, read this story in the Los Angeles Times interviewing me.)

A couple of weeks ago, Carla Hall, an opinion writer at the Los Angeles Times asked if I would sit down with her for an interview. While Hall and I have gotten along pretty well, and I was gushing over the Times’ approach to cycling on its opinion page, I was wary. After all, the first time I ever wrote about Hall, it’s just possible I could have been nicer.

But, as I pointed out to her, Steve Hymon made me do it.

In the end, we had a spirited two-hour conversation and she invited me down the the Times’ for an on-camera interview to go with her piece. There, a nice woman threatened to rap me on the fingers if I didn’t behave, and I got a taste of what a traditional news room looks like, complete with a cast of characters huddled around a computer screen trying to make sense out of something that had happened in City Hall.

But while I had a wonderful time and got to make my family proud by being featured in the Los Angeles Times, the real measure of the experience is how well I did making my points and what points I chose to push. Streetsblog is not the Times and vice versa, so for many people this might be the only time I have a chance to reach them.

Which leads me to one question, and one only all of you can answer: How’d I do?

  • Juan Matute

    Good job. Well done.

  • Erik Griswold

    We’ve got to figure out a way for the International House of Streetsblog to get you a Christiania Bike (or the like) for transporting the kiddos.

  • grrlyrida

    If I read one more time about how bicyclists have to grovel and beg for respect by following every rule of the road that benefits cars, I’m gonna scream. Drivers can roll through stop signs, blow red lights and leave the scene of their carnage with impunity, but we have to be beyond reproach to use the roads. Who cares whether drivers respect me.

    I’m glad you spoke up and said everyone breaks the rules, but only bicyclists get blamed for it. I think you said what needed to be said. Good interview, Damien.

  • Brendan

    “while I don’t think it’s the safest idea…” to ride on a sidewalk…

    Please don’t voice this Forester cult talking point. LA has vast areas within the city limits where the sidewalks can be safer than the roads, sometimes immensely safer. And that will be true until the day we get high quality *barrier protected* bike lanes/cycle tracks with Dutch or scramble intersections. How about this alternative – riding *too fast* on a *narrow* or *busy* sidewalk might not be the safest idea, especially where there are blind driveways.

  • Ed C

    Thanks for the advocacy and making our voices heard. Just a few suggestions to augment your message.

    First, don’t fall into the false equivalency of bike vs car when it comes to “safety.” I have to be trying really, really hard to kill someone else whilst riding a bike but it takes simply mixing up the gas and brake pedals to become a mass murderer. Societal consequences of bad behavior aren’t even close.

    Second suggestion: if you haven’t already, read Traffic by Tom Vanderbilt:

    Disclaimer: you may never play in traffic on a bike again after reading that book.

    Please keep up the great work.


City Council Unanimously Passes Anti-Harassment Ordinance

When Streetsblog first began publishing in Los Angeles, there would be Transportation Committee hearings where I was literally the only-person in the room that wasn’t either city staff or a lobbyist.  The scene at City Hall couldn’t be more different these days as advocates for cyclists rights and infrastructure are a common site in the […]

Interview: Mike Gatto Talks Hit and Runs and Why Jerry Brown Will Get Behind a “Yellow Alert” System

Last week, I conducted a phone interview with Assemblyman Mike Gatto, best known to Streetsblog readers for his tireless work fighting for tougher laws to prevent hit and run drivers. While Gatto’s efforts have proven popular with safety advocates, his center piece legislation to create a statewide hit and run alert system was vetoed last […]

Streetsblog Interview: Andres Tena

Back on the bike: Tena after the "Bike Not to Work Day" ride last week. Late one Thursday night, or early on Friday morning depending your point of view, this April an H3 Hummer hit a cyclist, and what followed is a controversy that fuels emotions that rivals last year’s Mandeville Canyon “Road Rage Doctor” […]

My First Time Hitch Hiking

Since my first trip using Metro, when I gave them an enthusiastic "A" for quality of service, I’ve had an uneven time riding the bus. Today was one of those experiences that really takes the cake. The 14 actually drove past me while I was standing on the side of the road, about 5 feet […]

Streetsblog Interview: “Retired” Ridazz

Photo of the first Midnight Ridazz, including Ma Bell at the back/right via (editor’s note: This interview was recorded last Friday afternoon, hours before anyone was shot.  If we had talked afterward, you can bet that would have come up in our conversation.) It’s Friday, and that means throughout Los Angeles, cyclists are gearing […]

Beutner, Garcetti, James, Perry and Greuel on CicLAvia

Before CicLAvia, Streetsblog reached out to the five major declared candidates for Mayor of Los Angeles in the March 2013 elections.  All five wrote responses of some sort, and they are listed below in the order in which they are received.  We asked the candidates to describe their day on Sunday, but not all were […]