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Good Samaritan Hosts 16th Annual Blessing of the Bicycles

This morning’s Blessing of the Bicycles. All photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

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This morning, Good Samaritan Hospital hosted its 16th annual Blessing of the Bicycles. The event takes place each year during Bike Week, and each year it manages to get me teary-eyed. As a bicyclist, I move through streets where I am at best an afterthought. It is a treat, for at least one day each year, to be in a setting where my bicycling is affirmed and upheld.

My favorite part of the event is when assembled clerics deliver various blessings and prayers - from many religious traditions, in many languages - all affirming those of us who bike.

Reverend Bell splashes holy water to bless cyclists
Reverend Bell splashes holy water to bless cyclists
Reverend Bell splashes holy water to bless cyclists

Good Samaritan's Episcopal chaplain Reverend Michael S. Bell, who splashes holy water on cyclists at the conclusion of the blessing, emphasized that all of us out there on the road "celebrate more in common" than our differences. His prayer included listing ways that bicyclists are embodying higher Godly values, including: respect for creation, vulnerability, humility, strength, and recognition of others around us.

Good Samaritan's cycling CEO Andy Leeka and the LAFD mobile medic unit
Good Samaritan's cycling CEO Andy Leeka (left) and the LAFD mobile medic unit
Good Samaritan's cycling CEO Andy Leeka and the LAFD mobile medic unit

This year Good Samaritan gave its Golden Spoke award to the L.A. City Fire Department's mobile medics unit, who patrol via bicycle. The unit serves as a first responder at various events - from CicLAvia to the L.A. Marathon to concerts - as well as daily patrolling LAX and Venice Beach. LAFD's bicycling medics are able to quickly get through crowds to respond to incidents, where they can administer initial care and determine the need for an ambulance. The mobile medics' work means fewer tied-up ambulances (often caught in congested car traffic) so that emergency response resources can be focused where they are most needed.

To close with, here is a portion of The Book of Common Prayer's prayer for travelers, which Reverend Yein Esther Kim delivered this morning in Korean and English:

...preserve those who travel - in particular by bicycle - surround them with your loving care; protect them from every danger; and bring them in safety to their journey's end; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The event concluded with a lap around Good Samaritan Hospital
The event concluded with a lap around Good Samaritan Hospital
The event concluded with a lap around Good Samaritan Hospital

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