After L.J. Williamson’s excellent column decrying the sad irony of bikes being prohibited from the reputedly eager-to-green LADWP Lights Festival appeared in the op-ed pages of Monday’s L.A. Times I was pleased to see Kevin Roderick give it a sentence in his Morning Buzz post on L.A. Observed that day, even if said sentence — “Riders are still banned from the tackiest holiday display in the city, and still unhappy about it.” — had been written by Roderick with a bit of a rolling of the eyes at us silly cycling types.
In doing so, he sidestepped the point — at least as I see it. I’m certainly not arguing that the festival is tacky. It is on several levels, from the kitschy displays on up to its cumulative impact on the immediate traffic grid and the environment, and I wouldn’t miss it if it were done away with totally or moved elsewhere. As a regular bike rider I care less about the festival than I do about its presence each year which begats the perpetuation of a half-baked exclusionary clause that leaves me prohibited from accessing a public roadway — and one with a striped bike lane. Councilman Tom LaBonge and the suits at LADWP and the Department of Recreation and Parks couch such a discriminatory — and ultimately unenforceable — practice in concerns about the safety risk of cars and bikes being in such close proximity, and to that I say to them if they want to see the true safety risk of two – and four-wheeled machines in close proximity come check out what it’s like any given day along Hyperion between Rowena and Fountain. Badass nasty! Where’s the concern there, eh Tom!? But I digress.
It’s no surprise to me that motivated and energized members of the cycling community such as my favorite bicycling advocationalistaz Stephen & Enci Box, have used Williamson’s article as a springboard to rally others to long-overdue action, and as things stand it looks like a ride (being promoted here, here, and here) will mobilize at the Mulholland Fountain at Riverside Drive and Los Feliz Boulevard this Friday night at 7:30 p.m. for a good old-fashioned and good-natured swarm ‘n storm through the park.