Skip to Content
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Log In
Ad Nauseam

Ad Nauseum: L.A. County DPSS Thinks Bicycling Is Scary

2:58 PM PDT on March 20, 2017

Does depicting bicycling really stand for “when life gets rough”? Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Somehow the L.A. County Department of Social Services missed the memo that bicycling is actually really healthy and safe.

The DPSS ad, spotted last week on the Metro Red Line, communicates an important message: encouraging folks to sign up for Medi-Cal.

The ad depicts a fallen spandex cyclist. The text reads "When life gets rough." The ad falls into the all-too-common grim bicycling-equals-danger trope which shames cyclists and reinforces misperceptions about cycling safety.

Apparently because nothing says "life gets rough" quite the way bicycling does, right? Except maybe the depiction of, say, a car crash. Drivers kill more than 30,000 people annually in the United States. In 2016, driving's death toll was over 40,000 - the highest in nearly a decade, and a national disgrace. Car crash injuries are orders of magnitude higher, with more than 2 million each year.

Perhaps worst of all, the ad will likely be ineffective. Unless Medi-Cal is literally expecting disabled former cyclists will need their services, then it does beg the question of who they think they are targeting with this ad or how they think this message will reach them. To qualify for Medi-Cal, one must be 65 or older, blind, in a nursing home, pregnant, or meet other specific criteria. Not that folks in those situations cannot be spandex weekend warrior cyclists, but it is perhaps much less likely that the ad would register with the majority of people for whom Medi-Cal represents an important life-line.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Los Angeles

This Week In Livable Streets

Montebello bike plan, Midnight Ridazz, C Line construction, Alhambra transit, El Monte's Garvey Avenue plans, and more.

February 26, 2024

CicLAvia Melrose Open Thread

CicLAvia hosts its 50th open streets event - on four miles of Melrose Avenue from East Hollywood to Fairfax

February 26, 2024

Metro and Caltrans Quietly Canceled 110 Freeway Expansion Project

The 110 Freeway Adams Terminus Improvement Project would have extended a 2000+foot long ramp from below 28th Street to Figueroa Street near USC

February 23, 2024
See all posts