Cyclists Set To Swarm Light Festival

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.

3 thoughts on “Cyclists Set To Swarm Light Festival”

  1. The display is tacky, and if I had to wait an hour in line, or idling in my car to see it, I’d say it’s downright dumb. But, as a walking or biking excursion, it would be brilliant and fun. Alas, its a shame the cars aren’t banned outright, and instead possibly have people walk the route and have a hayride/shuttle to return people to a parking area (and provide the handicapped with a way to see it).

    I know thats a long stride away from even allowing bikes to access the Lights more freely, but I find it downright moronic that the city and DWP are promoting energy conservation and being ecologically sounds with an event full of cars slowly chugging along, spewing emissions into Griffith Park.

    In other, much, much colder cities, they have events like these that are for pedestrians only. Why we can’t make this a carfree event in LA is beyond me.

    And the twist is, putting people on foot would open the event to larger fundraising opportunities – think hot chocolate stands and t-shirt sales for starters.

  2. I actually had a lot of fun attending Bike Night; you can cruise along at a perfect speed to see the displays. I saw families out in full force, all on bicycles, and the kids seemed to be having a blast.

    Will, thanks for posting this! My friend Richard is the one who’s organizing the Midnight Ridazz portion of this swarm. Thanks for the support and I hope to see you out there.

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