Good Sam’s 2018 Blessing of the Bicycles Honors and Humanizes Cyclists

Sister Yolanda Vega praying for safe bicycling at this morning's Blessing of the Bicycles event. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Sister Yolanda Vega praying for safe bicycling at this morning's Blessing of the Bicycles event. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Note: Metropolitan Shuttle, a leader in bus shuttle rentals, regularly sponsors coverage on Streetsblog San Francisco and Streetsblog Los Angeles. Unless noted in the story, Metropolitan Shuttle is not consulted for the content or editorial direction of the sponsored content.

Good Samaritan Hospital hosted its annual Blessing of the Bicycles event this morning. A crowd of about 150 attended to honor bicyclist leadership, to pray for cyclist safety, and to remember riders who have been killed or injured.

The ceremonies were hosted by Good Samaritan Hospital’s cyclist CEO Andy Leeka, alongside young Rowena Avenue safety champion Matlock Grossman. Former L.A. City Councilmember Tom LaBonge put in a cameo too.

Each year I have attended, I have felt touched by speakers at the Blessing of the Bicycles. As a cyclist navigating L.A. streets, I often feel that my presence is at best an afterthought for L.A. leaders. At worst, I am a nuisance blocking drivers’ supposedly inalienable right to speed to the next traffic signal. At the annual Blessing event, I feel that I am noticed, held, honored and respected – by a diverse group of religious leaders who have given me some thought and are speaking up for my health, safety and humanity. It makes me feel good.

This year’s Blessing featured invocations from a diverse group of clerics across many traditions, speaking in Spanish, Korean, Japanese, and English.

For me this morning, the most touching story came from the L.A. County Bicycle Coalition’s Executive Director Erik Jansen. Jansen mused on the biblical story of the good Samaritan – a parable told by Jesus in response to the question of just who is that “neighbor” in Jesus’ command to “love thy neighbor.” The Samaritan story takes place on the road, where a traveler has been injured. After several people pass by the injured traveler, he is helped by a man who would normally be his enemy. Jansen told the story as a call for empathy on today’s roads.

Metro representatives accepting the Golden Spoke Award. Left to right: xxx
Metro representatives accepting the Golden Spoke Award. Left to right: Good Samaritan CEO Andy Leeka, Metro Planning Director Dolores Roybal-Saltarelli, Metro Deputy CEO Stephanie Wiggins, cyclist Matlock Grossman, and Metro Communications Manager Dave Sotero.

Each year at the event, Good Samaritan Hosptial gives the Golden Spoke Award to leaders in the bicycling community. This year’s Golden Spoke honoree was Metro. Leeka recounted Metro’s work toward making the region better for cyclists, including the Rail2River multi-use path, Metro Bike Share, and, coming soon, extending the L.A. River bike path (which is funded, due in about a decade, and moving forward with a design/engineering contract slated to be approved at a Metro board committee meeting tomorrow.)

LACBC Executive Director Erik Jansen speaking on the meaning of the Good Samaritan
LACBC Executive Director Erik Jansen speaking on the meaning of the Good Samaritan

The event ended with cyclists receiving their ceremonial splash of holy water before a lap around Good Samaritan Hospital.

Good Samaritan Hospital's xxxx splashes holy water on cyclists
Good Samaritan Hospital’s Reverend Michael Bell splashes holy water on cyclists
Young tricyclists ready to blessed
Young tricyclists ready to blessed
xxxx
Rabbi Rami Sadeghi speaking at this morning’s Blessing of the Bicycles. Left to right are: Andy Leeka, Matlock Grossman, Reverend Michael Bell, Rabbi Sadeghi, Sister Yolanda Vega, Reverend Yein Esther Kim, and Reverend Ryuzen Hayashi

 

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Bike Week: Blessing Bikes, Talking Bikes, Bike Videos

|
There are lots of #BikeWeekLA events going on this week — way too many for our meager cadre of Streetsblog Los Angeles writers to attend. We did make it to a few events so far: the kick-off press conference, a panel, and a blessing. Good Samaritan’s 2015 Blessing of the Bicycles This morning Good Samaritan Hospital hosted […]

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 […]

L.A./Metro – Bike to Work Kick Off

|
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Deputy CEO Paul Taylor, Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) General Manager Jaime De La Vega and representatives from the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, C.I.C.L.E, Good Samaritan Hospital, USC and Safe Moves will announce a series of events aimed at getting more Angelinos to bicycle to work, school […]

Bike Week 2014 Kick-Off, LACBC Reports Bike Counts Are Up

|
Los Angeles’ Bike Week 2014 kicked off at a press event this morning at Union Station. Metro Deputy Chief Executive Officer Lindy Lee welcomed assembled cyclists and media. Lee expressed enthusiasm about Los Angeles’ bikeway facilities, now with “more miles than ever before.” She invited cyclists to take advantage of free rides on Metro bus and […]

The Times Looks at the State of Cycling in Los Angeles

|
Image by Ken Kwok/ Los Angeles Times Over the past two days, the Times has written five articles about bicycling in Los Angeles.  Because these articles appear in L.A.’s paper of record, and this is the largest look the Times has given to cycling in Los Angeles in recent memory, Streetsblog is going to take […]