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
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.
And the award for Outstanding Commute to the Emmys goes to. . . Tom Smuts of Mad Men! The writer-producer may not have biked away with a golden statue (he was nominated as a producer of Mad Men for Outstanding Drama Series), but this LACBC member won many accolades for riding his bike to the Emmys today. (He just beat out talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, who took the subway in.)
For the first time in over 40 years, the annual television awards show was held on a Monday evening (instead of a Sunday), meaning that both Emmys traffic and regular weekday rush hour traffic would be converging at the Nokia Theatre in Downtown L.A. Mr. Smuts, who commutes by bike to his work several times a week, decided that he wanted to bike to the Emmys to show that it is possible to bike anywhere in anything and that it is so much fun. He did just that, riding 17 miles from his home in Santa Monica to Downtown L.A.
Mr. Smuts rode out with a mix of family and friends and folks from LACBC, the City of Los Angele Bicycle Advisory Committee, amd Mayor Garcetti’s office, who were stylishly outfitted in clothing from Rapha and riding trusty Tern folding bikes. Some steps we took to ensure that we looked their best for the red carpet: starting early so that we could ride at an easy pace, planning out a route beforehand that utilized bike infrastructure and calm streets (we took both streets with bike infrastructure like 4th St. and 7th St., as well as streets with proposed bike infrastructure like San Vicente and 6th St. in the Mid-City area), wearing clothing that both looked good and felt comfortable, carrying the proper tools to keep our bikes running and ourselves looking good, having pit stops (like the one at Loyola Law School) to freshen up at. We also had to improvise a bit, as we perhaps enjoyed ourselves too much at the beginning of the ride and had to speed it up towards the end to make it on time.
Mr. Smuts did make it in time to walk the red carpet this evening and looked dapper in his suit and bike helmet.
While not everyone will ride 17 miles every day, this ride reminds us of the possibilities of riding in our city. Bike to work, bike to school, bike to the grocery store, bike to a fancy awards show with the biggest names in television. Los Angeles is a biking city, and there is no event you can't ride to here. Plus, biking as a group to an event is the best kind of pre-party!
Thank you to Tom Smuts, his family, the Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee, Mayor Garcetti's Office, Loyola Law School, the Television Academy, Rapha, and Tern.
Action Alert: Hyperion Bridge Sidewalk at Risk for Removal
The long saga of the Hyperion Avenue Viaduct, connecting Silver Lake and Atwater Village over the Los Angeles River, continues. As Streetsblog reported earlier this month, the city's traffic studies show that the most progressive option (two sidewalks, buffered bike lanes and a three-lane road diet) move cars just as effectively as the current four-lane configuration. This option is safer for everyone, maintains pedestrian access and dramatically improves conditions for bicyclists. The Hyperion Citizens Advisory Committee, including representatives from LACBC and Los Angeles Walks, voted 6 to 3 in support of this option.
Yet a vocal contingent in Atwater refuses to let the facts carry the day, potentially derailing the best option for the bridge. Councilmember Tom LaBonge has already announced his opposition to a livable bridge, citing disproved claims about traffic delays and truck routes.
Now is the time for biking, walking and traffic safety advocates to be heard. Please send emails in support of Option 3 to Councilmembers LaBonge and O'Farrell, Mayor Garcetti and the Board of Public Works. A sample message is below:
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
CC: firstname.lastname@example.org, Kevin.James@lacity.org, Monica.Rodriguez@lacity.org, Matt.Szabo@lacity.org, Mike.Davis@lacity.org, Barbara.Romero@lacity.org
Subject: Save the Hyperion Bridge Sidewalk: Support Option 3
Dear Councilmembers LaBonge and O'Farrell,
I support Option 3 for the Hyperion Viaduct, which preserves sidewalks on both sides of the bridge and adds buffered bike lanes so that people can walk and bike between Silver Lake and Atwater Village in safety and comfort. Even though this option reduces a downhill traffic lane, city studies show that this road diet will not have any impact on traffic. Option 3 is the safest alternative, provides the most mobility for all residents and will let people walk and bike to a revitalized Los Angeles River that is currently inaccessible for many Angelenos. No other option provides all of these benefits for a more livable Los Angeles.
Please support Option 3 to have buffered bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides of Hyperion.