Founded in 1998, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) works to make our local communities fun, safe, and healthy places to ride a bike.
News and Events
Like any year, 2014 had its ups and downs, but LACBC continues to make steady progress toward a more bike-friendly region. At the beginning of the year, we asked you to sign on to our goals of bringing protected bike lanes to Los Angeles, appointing a bike-friendly LADOT General Manager, staffing up LADOT's bikeways and pedestrian groups, and increasing funding for walking and biking throughout Los Angeles County. Now as 2014 comes to a close, we are proud to say we delivered. This year, we secured the approval of Los Angeles's first protected bike lanes and commitments to traffic safety and greater funding. We laid the groundwork for a citywide network of next generation bikeways and welcomed a new leader at LADOT. Through it all, we hosted yet another record-setting River Ride, made a splash riding to the Emmys, and doubled the impact of Operation Firefly. Here are the headlines that made 2014 one to remember:
February: City Announces 180-mile Network of Family Friendly Bikeways. Los Angeles is in the midst of updating its transportation plan for the first time since the 1990's, and a citywide network of protected bike lanes is a key component. The City spent most of 2014 gathering feedback on the plan, which is scheduled to go to City Council in the spring of 2015.
March: Groundswell of Support Saves "My Figueroa" Protected Bike Lane. From January through April, we kept you up to date on the much-anticipated My Figueroa project, which will include Los Angeles's first protected bike lane. The project was saved at a March City Council committee meeting where over 60 pedestrian, bicycle and transit advocates from across the city showed up in support. Thanks to the diligent work of Councilmember Curren Price, Councilmember Jose Huizar and Mayor Eric Garcetti, the final appeal against the project was dropped one month later.
May: Bike Count Report Shows Bicycling on the Rise in L.A. Just in time for Bike Week, LACBC released the results of our 2013 bike count, conducted in partnership with Los Angeles Walks. The report found that bicycling is increasing overall, but primarily where the City is installing new bikeways. If you build it, they will come! Also in May, Councilmember Mike Bonin successfully authorized three new bike & ped coordinator positions at LADOT in the City budget.
Also Team LACBC Repeats as Top Climate Ride Fundraising Team. Our 14 team members rode through wine country and raised more than $74,000 for LACBC and environmental organizations! We'll be at it again in 2015.
June: Mayor Garcetti Appoints Bike/Ped-Friendly Seleta Reynolds to Lead LADOT. Livable streets advocates rejoiced at Mayor Garcetti's choice for LADOT General Manager. Seleta Reynolds came to L.A. with a strong track record implementing safety improvements in San Francisco, including innovative bikeway designs and safe routes to school projects. Reynolds started work in August after a smooth confirmation process.
July: Metro to Create Active Transportation Finance Strategy. In July, LACBC's normally behind-the-scenes policy work yielded a great step forward when the Metro Board of Directors endorsed our call for a countywide Active Transportation Finance Strategy to better understand the need for greater investment in walking and biking, which make up 19% of all trips, 39% of all roadway fatalities, yet receive less than 1% of transportation funding. For over two years, LACBC has worked side-by-side with the Safe Routes to School National Partnership to fix this funding disparity.
August: LACBC Bikes to the Emmys with Mad Men Writer-Producer and Nominee. People thought we were a bunch of mad men and women, but we joined Mad Men writer-producer, Emmy nominee, and LACBC member Tom Smuts on a little bike ride from his home in Santa Monica to Downtown L.A. for the Primetime Emmys.
September: LADOT Adopts "Vision Zero" to End Traffic Deaths by 2025. LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds released a revolutionary strategic plan for the department after only weeks on the job. While Vision Zero rightfully grabbed the headlines, the plan also dives deep into reforming the department to better achieve its mission, including often overlooked priorities like project management and staff morale, laying a roadmap for Reynolds's tenure at LADOT.
October: Metro Adopts Countywide Complete Streets Policy. Alongside the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, LACBC achieved a long held goal of a Complete Streets Policy for Los Angeles County's primary transportation agency. As the main funder of all transportation projects--including highways, transit, streets and bike paths--a well-written policy will affect projects throughout the county and its 89 local jurisdictions. LACBC will spend much of 2015 working to ensure this landmark policy is implemented.
November: New Season of Operation Firefly Launches with Goal of Doubling Number of People Served. With a new season sponsor in the Laemmle Charitable Foundation, our goal is to double the number of people we distribute bike lights to--from 1,000 last season to 2,000 this season. You can us reach our goal by volunteering or making a donation.
December: LACBC Hires Tamika Butler as New Executive Director. As we reported last week, LACBC is proud to introduce Tamika Butler to our members and supporters. Tamika has already hit the ground rolling, starting her first day with a tour of Downtown L.A.'s many bike lanes. We know that Tamika will accomplish great things in 2015 and beyond. Please help celebrate Tamika's arrival and commemorate Jen Klausner's seven years of service with an end-of-year donation. We have a goal of raising $50,000 to start the new year strong. Will you donate today?
2015: Our New Year's resolution is to continue our work to make Los Angeles County a healthy, safe and fun place to ride a bike. Stay tuned in January for updates on our campaigns for a safe North Figueroa, a complete Santa Monica Boulevard and a visionary Hyperion Bridge--all of which need your support. Now is a great time to renew your membership or donate to our end-of-year campaign so that we can come back in 2015 stronger than ever. See you in the New Year!
After an extensive national search, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is pleased to announce that our Board of Directors has selected Tamika Butler to lead LACBC into the next phase of continued growth as we further our mission to make the Los Angeles region a healthy, safe and fun place to ride a bike.
“I'm really proud of the process and results of the search and couldn’t be more excited about Tamika as our next Executive Director,” says LACBC Board President Steve Boyd. “Tamika is the ideal leader to write LACBC’s next chapter.”
Tamika brings to LACBC a proven track record of sustainably expanding and running programs and organizations, as well as a policy and advocacy background. She spent three years as an employment lawyer at the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center and most recently comes from Liberty Hill Foundation, where she was the Director of Social Change Strategies. She first made her mark in Los Angeles as the California Director at the startup policy and advocacy organization Young Invincibles, where she managed the west coast regional staff, was the media and policy spokesperson, organized and led coalitions, developed curriculum and trainings, and fundraised to expand the organization’s presence on the west coast. She also developed relationships with community leaders and state and local lawmakers to advance the organization’s policy goals.
"I am thrilled to have the privilege to become the next Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and look forward to continuing the success, growth and cutting edge work of the organization. Biking in Los Angeles County has personally changed my life and deepens my love of the region every time I go for a ride. We're lucky to live and bike in a county full of diverse communities that motivate this talented staff and me to push towards building a healthier, more vibrant Los Angeles County. I am excited to start pedaling, dig deep, and get to work with our members and partners, within and across sectors, as we race to the front lines of the nationwide movement to create bikeable, safe and sustainable neighborhoods." One of Tamika’s top priorities is to grow the diversity of LACBC staff and coalition membership.
When Jen Klausner started as Executive Director in 2007, there was only one other employee at headquarters and it was a real struggle to keep doors open. Jen and the organization faced an uphill battle at City Hall to pass the Los Angeles Bicycle Plan and get pavement striped with room for bikes. Seven years later, under her leadership, there are now twelve employees working on your behalf with a LOT of successes! Our growing roster of twelve local chapters will extend that reach even further as we strive to more fully represent the diversity of those who bicycle and want to bicycle in all neighborhoods across Los Angeles County. Tamika brings deep experience in social justice work and looks forward to working with the full range of communities across the county. We couldn’t be more excited.
Jen says, “Our new Executive Director Tamika Butler brings a fresh perspective to the leadership of LACBC, and one that is so relevant to the growth of the bike-ped movement and to important dialogues happening here and in cities across the nation. I am confident in Tamika's ability to take LACBC to the next level, and I, for one, will be staying tuned and keeping my membership current, because this organization is poised to do great things in the coming years. Please join me in extending a very warm welcome to Tamika!”
Jen Mishory, Executive Director of Young Invincibles, agrees that Tamika will make a great Executive Director: "Tamika is a dynamic, innovative leader who will be a huge asset to the LACBC team. She brought Young Invincibles to new heights and I know that she'll do the same in her new role!"
We look forward to introducing Tamika to our members, partners and supporters at the first available opportunity in January. Look for announcements of those opportunities in our weekly newsletter, on the website, and through Facebook and Twitter. And don’t forget—as part of our end of year campaign, any donation at the $250 level and above will get you an invitation to our January 22nd Donor Thank You Party—an intimate gathering with our brand new Executive Director, Tamika Butler, in attendance. Hope to see you there!
With the time change in early November, the 2014-2015 season of Operation Firefly is under way with bike light distributions all across the County! Team Firefly has already distributed lights in North Hollywood, Pacoima, and Atwater.
Thank you to the Laemmle Charitable Foundation for its sponsorship of the season.
We'd also like to thank our Team Firefly volunteers for distributing lights and bringing light to riders!
Volunteer for Operation Firefly
Join Team Firefly and volunteer to help distribute lights throughout the season and throughout the County. We have a lot more Operation Firefly distributions planned for January and February, so we're going to need a lot more volunteer help. If you're interested in volunteering and you've been thinking about helping with Operation Firefly, now is the time. Please sign up here.
Donate to Operation Firefly and Help It Grow
Operation Firefly is an education and bike light distribution program intended to make sure people riding bikes in Los Angeles are riding safely at night. According to 2012 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 48% of bicyclist fatalities in the U.S. were at night and 69% were in urban areas. The importance of night-time visibility for bicyclists is clear.
Help make this season of Operation Firefly bigger and better, so we can reach even more night-time bicycle riders. Last winter, we served 1,000 people during the Operation Firefly season. This year, we want to double that number to 2,000 people, county-wide. This means more street distributions, more lights and materials, and more funding that will be needed. Help us meet our expenses for running the Operation Firefly program.
There are several fun levels at which you can join Team Firefly and receive a premium - buy a set of lights and give a set for $25. Or, buy a set, give a set, and get an Operation Firefly bicycling cap for $50. You can also make a general donation to the Operation Firefly program. No amount is too small, or too large! Every donation helps and we need your help. Give the gift of light today!
Learn more and make your donation at: la-bike.org/OperationFirefly
Wednesday, September 3, 2014 - 4:00pm - 9:00pm
Update: September 18, 2014: Earlier today, LACBC filed a public records request with the District Attorney's office to determine whether Lacey has ever pressed charges for vehicular manslaughter in any case, not just Olin's. When people walking and bicycling (and driving) are killed almost every day in Los Angeles County due to distracted, aggressive, or negligent driving, all relevant agencies must do their part to reduce traffic violence. We continue to invite Lacey to host a town hall with us to hear from victims of traffic violence and discuss ways that her office can partner with law enforcement and the community to end this epidemic.
Update September 11, 2014: Yesterday afternoon, LACBC received a response from District Attorney Jackie Lacey to our September 3rd letter requesting reconsideration of criminal charges against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy who hit and killed prominent entertainment attorney Milt Olin while he was riding in a bike lane during broad daylight on December 8th, 2013. This case has drawn widespread media attention due to Olin’s high profile and the involvement of a sheriff’s deputy.
The District Attorney’s office is maintaining its position that there is not enough evidence to convict Deputy Andrew Wood of vehicular manslaughter, despite the fact that he was texting in the minutes leading up to the collision and, while typing into his mobile digital computer (MDC), left his lane, entered the bike lane, and struck Olin from behind. As outlined in our letter, vehicular manslaughter charges require evidence of negligent driving, defined as driving in an illegal manner, or in an otherwise legal manner which might produce death. That Wood failed to maintain control of his vehicle while distracted, engaged in a task that he knew to be “inherently unsafe” according to department training, and killed a man as a consequence of his actions, is evidently not enough for Lacey to press charges.
LACBC believes that Lacey is wrong in her analysis of this case, and that her failure to prosecute puts the lives of everyone who travels Los Angeles County’s streets at risk. In her response, she fails to distinguish between intent (no one is accusing Wood of intending to kill Olin) and negligence. In fact, her response fails to set any kind of minimum duty of care for drivers to not engage in behavior that is likely to kill.
Every traffic death is both tragic and unnecessary. When someone is killed or seriously injured on our streets, every contributory factor deserves consideration so that future deaths can be prevented: the design of the street, mechanical failure, and, most importantly, the behavior of all involved. When people walking and bicycling (and driving) are killed almost every day in Los Angeles County due to distracted, aggressive, or negligent driving, all relevant agencies must do their part to reduce traffic violence. The District Attorney is responsible for prosecuting individuals for behaviors that put our communities at risk, and using the threat of prosecution as a deterrent to others who might engage in the same behaviors. Our culture has decided to tolerate traffic violence. That acceptance of near-daily death, as if it were an inevitable cost of mobility, leads to insensitivity or outright hostility toward those most at risk--so-called “vulnerable road users”--including people walking and bicycling. In Milt Olin’s case, we are now witnessing a failure of our criminal justice system to protect victims of violence.
We cannot accept that traffic violence is OK and we cannot stay silent when our criminal justice system fails to protect victims. If the District Attorney won’t prosecute a case as clear-cut as Olin’s death, every potential victim of traffic violence is less safe. What happens when the facts of the case aren’t as clear? When a mom is hit crossing the street with her kids in Hollywood? Or a youth riding on the sidewalk in South L.A.?
We invite Lacey to host a town hall with us to hear from victims of traffic violence and discuss ways that her office can partner with law enforcement and the community to end this epidemic.
Please make sure your voice is heard. Please write to District Attorney Lacey to let her know that our lives matter.
September 4, 2014: Last week we learned that the L.A. County District Attorney's Office would not be pressing charges against the sheriff's deputy who struck and killed Milt Olin in Calabasas last December. The sheriff's deputy was typing on his mobile computer in his patrol car when he struck Olin at 48 miles per hour. Olin, a prominent entertainment attorney and former executive for Napster, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Last night, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, Yield to Life, and the Ghost Bike Foundation hosted a ride and vigil for Milt Olin to call on the D.A. to revisit the investigation and consider pressing charges. Thank you to the 120 people who came out. Some met us at the start in Calabasas, some at the L.A. Zoo, some in Grand Park by the Criminal Courts Building, a few at other points along the route--but it was all for the same purpose: to demand justice for Milt and to make our streets safer for all road users.
Many local media outlets (CBS, NBC, ABC, Los Angeles Times, Daily News, Los Angeles Register, Thousand Oaks Acorn, Streetsblog Los Angeles) covered the ride and interviewed the attendees about why they came. Several had stories of motorists hitting them while biking and being moved to participate in the ride and vigil to convey that this is enough. You can see photos from the ride and vigil on our Facebook page and read Tweets with the hashtag #RideForMilt.
Attendees also signed a banner addressed to District Attorney Lacey, urging her to revisit the case and adding personal stories of why this case matters. After submitting our letter to the District Attorney yesterday, we aim to get this banner to her. We also encourage you all to contact the District Attorney's Office as well.
Contact the District Attorney's Office
Here are ways to contact the County of Los Angeles District Attorney's Office:
2. Snail mail to:
District Attorney's Office
County of Los Angeles
210 West Temple Street, Suite 18000
Los Angeles, CA 90012-3210
3. Phone: (213) 974-3512
4. Twitter: @LADAoffice
Subject: Please File Charges; DA Case #34210485
Dear District Attorney Lacey,
Those of us that bike and walk on streets in Los Angeles County are at tremendous risk of becoming victims of traffic violence. In fact, nearly 40% of those killed on LA County streets are bicyclists and pedestrians, triple the national average. This is a problem with many causes, but not least is the role of negligent, distracted and aggressive driving. Milt Olin’s death hits very close to home for me. He was doing absolutely everything right: riding correctly in a bike lane in broad daylight. In contrast, the person who killed him was doing everything wrong: typing on a computer, texting his wife, speeding, and ultimately veering into the bike lane and hitting Milt from behind. As a result, Milt is no longer alive, leaving a grieving wife and two sons who will likely never feel comfortable riding a bike on the road ever again.
As a community, it is critical that we work in a coordinated effort to reduce traffic violence. It is one of the leading causes of death for all age groups and communities across the county. We all must do our part to behave responsibly while driving or riding, and support infrastructure changes to our streets to make them safer for all. Your decision not to prosecute Milt’s killer undermines all of our hard work to make our streets safe and humane. As a result, we can no longer feel safe to move about our communities--no different than if you had chosen not to prosecute any other violent criminal.
It is not too late to correct this injustice. Please reconsider your decision and file charges in this case so that those of us that bike and walk can again feel that we are protected by the justice system.
The Three Feet for Safety Act went into effect on September 16, 2014. The law requires motorists to give at least three feet of clearance when passing a bicyclist traveling in the same direction. The previous law required motorists to pass bicyclists while keeping a “safe distance." The new law defines “safe distance” as three feet. If not enough space is available, the motorist must slow down and pass when no danger is present to the bicyclist.
One key to making the new law effective is to make sure the driving public knows about it. LACBC has collaborated with AAA, Wire Media, and CalBike to create an “I Give 3 Feet” graphic for use to publicize the new law. This graphic can be downloaded from Wire Media here. We encourage all media outlets (big or small), bicycle groups, and interested parties to download and utilize this graphic, along with the associated bullet points about the law.
Key points to include with the Three Feet for Safety Act graphic are:
- The previous law required motorists to pass bicyclists while keeping a “safe distance."
- This new law defines “safe distance” as three feet when passing bicyclists traveling in the same direction.
- If not enough space is available, the motorist must slow down and pass when no danger is present to the bicyclist.
- Violators will face a $35 fine, as well as a $220 fine if a collision occurs.
- Law took effect September 16, 2014.
AAA has printed 10,000 window clings for public distribution utilizing the same graphic, and their roadside assistance will be handing out tip cards with the graphic starting in September. Our partners at CalBike are also offering two sticker designs to help promote the new law. You can request the window clings and the CalBike stickers directly from CalBike by following this link: https://calbike.org/bulkgiveme3form
Our work with AAA and CalBike is made possible thanks to the support of LACBC members and donors. Not a member? Become an LACBC member or make a donation today.