LADWP Festival of Lights Bikes
[click to biggify image from last year’s Festival of Lights Bike Night]

The bike advocate in me gets all bah-humbuggity at the City’s and the LADWP’s annual insistence in prohibiting cyclists from getting into the holiday spirit with each year’s Festival of Lights. That’s why it’s not much more than a small consolation that the powers that be with some diligent prodding by the L.A. County Bike Coalition finally acquiesced three seasons ago and programmed a “bikes only” night — a single solitary eve in which two wheels rule and four wheels drool… at least for a couple hours.

Well with little fanfare that night is upon us, scheduled to take place between 6 and 8 p.m. tomorrow (November 20):

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) in partnership with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition will be sponsoring a preview special night for bicyclists to enjoy the Holiday Light Festival at Griffith Park.

Avid bicyclists will be able to ride their bikes through the one-mile display of dazzling lights in a special lane. A separate family lane will be made available to families who would like to bring their children to ride along the route. The family lane will be open to bicycles, tricycles, non-electric scooters and parents accompanying their children.

No cars or vehicles will be on the route during the special Bike Night.

I don’t know about how “avid” a cyclist you need to be, and “dazzling lights” might be an equal overstatement, but I’ll cut the quibbling and leave it at how much I look forward to the day dream when the City and the DWP make the annual event a Festival of Enlightenment and finally prohibit the flagrant waste of all those untold gallons of precious gasoline idled away with the gridlock created by the thousands of vehicles that line up to wait sometimes upwards of an hour to creep along through the display.

Certainly I won’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen. And in the meantime my wife Susan and I will be out there tomorrow night on our bikes enjoying the one-night-only bone they throw us. Hope you will be, too. The more the merrier.

4 thoughts on “LADWP Festival of Lights Bikes”

  1. Hey, thanks for posting this! I didn’t know about it. I live very close to the park and love bicycling around there. I will take my 3-year-old son with me tonight!

    It’s really bad that bicycles are expressly prohibited from the Festival of Lights, except on this one “special” night. I agree that the system encourages a terrible waste of gasoline, not to mention contributing to air pollution in our wonderful park.

    Hope to see many fellow cyclists tonight!

  2. im kinda with you on this Will…

    i think this sucks! it pisses me off more and more with each year that passes. i wonder how much of the energy used is renewable?


    My choice to Ride my bike is a vote. Tonight i vote by not riding.

  3. 35mmlife… I’m sorry you won’t be joining in. While I can see where you’re coming from with your decision to abstain, I can’t help but feel that an unwillingness to participate does more to reinforce the status quo than it does bring about greater respect for cyclists and the recognition — however slowly — that a change’s gotta come. I reiterate: the more the merrier.

  4. I went with my son and it was great! I stayed for about 75 minutes, riding the length of the Light street a few times, up and down, and also hanging out in the little cordoned-off area where the LA Bike Coalition and KOST-FM (and the bike cops) were, chatting with fellow cyclists.

    Will is right; NOT participating in these things is worse than participating. The bigger the turnout, the more leverage cyclists can have to say “See, there’s a demand for bicycle access here”. If you didn’t bicycle the admittedly bone-they-threw-to-us, well then, what argument can you muster to the authorities?

    I try to go on every “officially sponsored” bicycle event there is in Los Angeles, because the numbers, the turnout, speak loudly to the powers that be.

    I’m now going to write an email to my councilman (LaBonge) and include some photos from my experience and urge him to do the right thing on every bicycle access-related issue that is before him (eg, Observatory policies around bicycles).

    Ride on!

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