“Operation Firefly” (Operacíon Luciérnaga) is an education and bike light distribution program intended to make sure people riding bikes in Los Angeles are riding safely at night. When riding at night in California, a white front light and reflectors are required by law (CVC21201). More importantly, riding without lights and reflectors is dangerous. According to the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 69% of bicyclist fatalities in 2012 in the U.S. were in urban areas, and 48% of the bicyclist fatalities occured between 4:00 pm and midnight (NHTSA “Traffic Safety Facts” April 2014 DOT HS 812 018). Our goal is to seek out people riding without lights for various reasons, especially riders who may not have the means or time to acquire lights on their own.
SPONSOR OPERATION FIREFLY!
We need your support to help make Operation Firefly bigger and better, so we can reach even more night-time bicycle riders. Below are some fun levels at which you can join Team Firefly and receive a premium. And volunteers are always welcome!
Lights, hats and vests will ship beginning the first week of November 2014.
BUY A SET OF LIGHTS, GIVE A SET OF LIGHTS - $25
BUY A SET, GIVE A SET, GET A HAT - $50
GIVE 25 LIGHT SETS - $250
BUY A SET, GIVE A SET, GET A VEST - $300
Orders for the vest must be placed by September 10th in order to be shipped out in early November.
Please see the sizing chart prior to selecting a size. Vests tend to run a bit small, so please size up!
HOW DOES OPERATION FIREFLY WORK?
LACBC organizes groups of volunteers to meet for “street distributions” at undisclosed locations throughout Los Angeles where night-time bicycle ridership is expected to be high. The volunteers stop people who are riding bikes without lights in order to give them front and rear lights along with an information “spoke card” that explains the law for riding at night as well as tips they should know for night-time safety. The spoke cards are printed in English and Spanish and our “Team Firefly” volunteers always include at least a few people who speak Spanish (as well as female members to encourage female riders to stop).
For the most recent season, we typically allocated 50-100 light sets for each street distribution, depending on expected bicyclist volume. Our goal was to hand out all the lights or continue for two hours, whichever came first. In many cases, we ran out of lights before we ran out of time.
OUR 2ND SEASON SPARKLED!
LACBC launched Operation Firefly shortly after the time-change in November 2013 and continued the program through the winter to the next time-change in March 2014. We distributed light sets to more than 1,000 people, doubling our reach from the previous season and meeting our goal for growing the program. At least six of our local chapters conducted Operation Firefly distributions and we received support from three City of Los Angeles Council Members: Tom LaBonge, Mitch O’Farrell, and Jose Huizar, as well as Long Beach Council Member (now mayor) Robert Garcia. We collaborated with two cities - West Hollywood and Huntington Park - and lights were also distributed through six different bicycle co-ops: Bici Libre, the Bicycle Kitchen, the Bike Oven, Valley Bikery, the CSUN collective, and the Bikerowave. Roughly 114 volunteers helped with Operation Firefly distributions county-wide, for a total of 385 volunteer hours. We also partnered with the Los Angeles Police Department South Traffic Division for the highest volume distribution of the season, exceeding 130 recipients at the intersection of Vermont and MLK in one evening.
Consistent with our previous season, light recipients were asked to complete a short survey to help us understand who we were serving. Of the people we surveyed, we learned that most were male (85%), the average age of the recipients was 33, and that 24% of them cited Spanish as their primary language. Most importantly, we found that 20% of our recipients had been in a collision while riding at night and that 51% of those people had been riding without lights. This confirms for us that we’re providing lights to those who really need them. We also found that a full 22% of our recipients either didn’t know or didn’t think that front lights and reflectors are required while riding at night. This reinforces the educational component of the program which includes discussing the importance of riding with lights and giving every recipient an informational spokecard. Join us and support Operation Firefly today!