Bikes On The Freeway, Again!

Last month a group of cyclists calling themselves The Crimanimalz took to the freeways in a daring demonstration showing exactly how inefficient driving a car in Los Angeles can be sometimes. They rode their bikes on the freeway. I said then that this move was equal parts stupid and awesome, and stick by that. Yesterday, they did it again…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoytnxm9Qr8[/youtube]

And there’s also now an entry on the ibikeyou wiki documenting this, what now seems to be reoccurring, display of fed-up-ness. Also as can be seen in this thread on Midnight Ridazz, it seems regular bikes were joined by roller bladers a one incredibly tall bike. Possibly with some kind of head mounted camera (that footage does not seem to have been released yet).

A few unconfirmed rumors, speculation, and bold faced lies:

  • While the first ride had around 12 people, this ride may have more than doubled and been closer to 30.
  • This ride may have been attended by Superman and Han Solo.
  • People in cars on the freeway may have been seen cheering the riders on and taking phone cam phictures.
  • A darring run from the police might have been involved.
  • It’s been suggested that there were over 7 cameras filming video of this ride, footage from which may or may not be edited together and released.

Shocking events for sure, what will happen next time?

2481574948_6615ed5d5e.jpg
Pic by alexbcthompson full set here. UPDATE! A few more pics and a brand new video after the jump.

Nothing to see here!

Nothing to see here!

Crimanimalz – The Freeway Ride II (Teaser) from Flunky Carter on Vimeo.

37 Replies to “Bikes On The Freeway, Again!”

  1. Oh how I wish this was legal. It would make my bike commute so much quicker.

    Go Crimanimalz.

  2. Amendment – just watched the video, the cars were going somewhat slowly (rush hour?), which probably made it safer. But, to counteract that, the bikes were jockeying back and forth between different lanes of traffic, which made it more dangerous.

    Still surprised that nobody got hurt.

  3. I’m sorry, but this is just asinine.

    Our freeways are dangerous enough without idiots like this adding to the mix.

    Good lord…

  4. Our freeways are dangerous enough without idiots like this adding to the mix.

    Agreed. These idiots need to take a cue from SF’s Critical Mass crowd and get police escorts involved. You can still make a point with a police escort and (bonus points here) stay alive in the process … wait, never mind … it’s illegal to ride a bike on the freeway.

  5. These idiots need to take a cue from SF’s Critical Mass crowd and get police escorts involved.

    One of the reasons I moved from the Oakland to LA was to get away from crap like this.

    Angelenos may be a tad eccentric but they’ve always been respectful of the law.

  6. This ride took place at 5:45. The 405 and the 10 were parking lots – as a runner I could have easily run at the pace of traffic – a sedate 8 mph. Ever ridden your bike through a parking lot? Then you’ve done more dangerous. As for the cutting cars . . . I’m closer to death everytime I ride to the grocery store. This was the safest 3 miles of my 200 mile week.

  7. Normally I try and avoid doing illegal things. I also have a rule about not putting anything on the internet I wouldn’t want my mom, wife, boss or the police to see. For these reasons, not to mention the fact that it’s a horrible idea, I won’t be riding my bike on the freeway.

  8. Sorry. What was this supposed to be a demonstration of (other than suicidal stupidity)?

    It certainly didn’t demonstrate any kind of inefficiency of the freeways, given that traffic seemed to pick up quite a little bit by the time they exited.

  9. This is exactly the kind of stuff we don’t need to try and encourage more people to think of bikes as transportation. I feel that it only reinforces non-cyclists’ incorrect attitude that cycling is a fringe activity for hooligans. If we really want people to think of bicycles as an effective means of transportation, we need to show them safe, (or at least what they perceive as safe) realistic alternatives, not XTREME!! publicity stunts like this.

    But I do agree with participants that this isn’t a particularly dangerous stunt for experienced cyclists. I ride a crapload of city streets like Los Feliz Blvd that are more of a “freeway” in terms of speed than what they were riding on during rush hour. I just don’t think it’s going to accomplish anything other than a novelty news item, as the un-indoctrinated will view it as crazy ass punk rockery and dismiss it outright.

  10. Any press is good press. In a city where the car reigns supreme and where people are so apathetic and lethargic that they will not leave their cars until gas is $100 a gallon and/or their kids are born with asthma, “radical stunts” such as this are totally necessary. As mentioned above, riding on the freeway during rush hour is probably no more dangerous than riding on Wilshire, all you’re doing is meandering through gentle giant hunks of metal, barely advancing.

    I pay taxes too. I deserve the same facilities that drivers get. If I ride my bike on residential streets, it takes me 20-30 minutes to get to work. If I ride on a major street like Wilshire, it takes me 11-12. What if I wanted to cruise downtown from the Westside? Why do I NOT deserve something similar to a highway to take me there? I don’t pollute and I take up a minimal amount of physical space. I currently am in excellent shape and I plan on being a monster up until the day that I die. I love my 9-5 job, and I look forward to cutting through rush hour traffic both ways on my way to and from work. Don’t be jealous.

    And for those that don’t see the politics behind this ride and think it’s sheer stupidity, you are truly blind.

  11. Jericho said “I pay taxes too. I deserve the same facilities that drivers get.”

    By that logic people in cars should be entitled to drive on bike paths and sidewalks.

    Bikes should have more facilities, but I don’t think it’s ridiculous to point out that bikes and cars are different types of vehicles and should be provided for with different types of infrastructure. What’s right for a bike path is not right for a highway, and vice versa.

    I bike through city traffic on a daily basis as well, and would love more bike-only passageways, but I don’t think that needs to be obtained by depriving drivers of car-only passageways. The solution is more infrastructure, not co-opting the pre-existing and pre-configured car-based systems.

    As a political stunt, I somewhat understand it, but as a meaningful way of life, I don’t think it’s smart.

  12. “but I don’t think that needs to be obtained by depriving drivers of car-only passageways”

    It should be pointed out again that as far as I can tell from the reports and footage the Freeway rides have never been about depriving drivers of anything, no traffic is blocked, no one is inconvenienced in any way. It’s simply pointing out the insanity that on roads that were designed to be the fastest ways to get anywhere by car (that’s why there’s no stoplights) sometimes it’s actually faster to go by bike.

  13. “It’s simply pointing out the insanity that on roads that were designed to be the fastest ways to get anywhere by car (that’s why there’s no stoplights) sometimes it’s actually faster to go by bike.”

    I think we all get that freeways are an often times inefficiant route of transportation (which is why I got rid of my car!). But, if I were driving in what looks to be 20/30 mph traffic on the freeway, where I would NOT expect to see any kind of traffic other than cars or motorcycles, I might easily miss a bike when changing lanes. Actually, someone on a scooter hit me once when I was pulling out of a parking space for that very reason. Anyway, if I happened to kill or seriously injure said ILLEGAL bicycle rider, who’s NOT wearing a helmet, even if it wasn’t my “fault” I would still have to live with it. And yes, people do get killed riding bikes all the time, I don’t care how much of an expert you think you are, accidents happen.
    It’s pretty selfish to put someone in the position just to make a point.

  14. I think your speed calculations are a bit off. Those bikes are going no faster than 15MPH tops (if you see the pics there’s a tall bike and roller bladders which are keeping pace with the other bikes, so 15MPH might even be a fast assumption), and they are blasting past the cars. I’d be surprised if any of the cars (with the exception of the ones on that onramp) are going anywhere above 10MPH.

  15. “I’d be surprised if any of the cars (with the exception of the ones on that onramp) are going anywhere above 10MPH.”

    Even so, you can make a lane change at 10pmh.

  16. I don’t think anyone is arguing that it’s the safest thing in the world, just that it’s no more dangerous than what a cyclist has to deal with on a regular basis riding on city streets. At least not insanely more dangerous as some people initially suspected.

  17. “It’s simply pointing out the insanity that on roads that were designed to be the fastest ways to get anywhere by car (that’s why there’s no stoplights) sometimes it’s actually faster to go by bike.”

    And yet it demonstrated no such thing. In the video above (I didn’t watch any others if they were available under various links), the traffic was running much faster than the bikes when they exited. In fact, it seemed like they might have exited sooner because traffic sped up. It seemed like the rider with the camera wasn’t expecting to exit there.

    I fully support equal rights and infrastructure (well, proportional infrastructure–I don’t support building a complete freeway system for bikes, but don’t see why there can’t be safe ways to integrate bikes into all of our infrastructure) for bicyclists. I remember how sympathetic I felt the first time a biker told me of what she had to face from cars. I also remember how quickly that sympathy faded when that menace was on the streets in front of me and blasting through red lights without a care in the world, and paying no attention nor heed to the vehicular traffic around her.

    I’m a runner. I know what it’s like when drivers are only looking for other drivers, but the solution isn’t for me to run on the freeway to demonstrate that we’re here too.

    This is a pointless stunt that is detrimental to your cause. You’ve actually made it worse as I once thought how cool these midnight bike rides must be until I read under one of the links about the practice of corking an intersection. You can be sure that someone would be swinging their bike lock at my car before the day was through if that ever happened to me.

    So, all this has done is reinforce in my mind that bicyclists are mostly unsafe menaces who take no responsibility for their actions and just want to whine about how cars should be abolished.

    Was that your objective? To turn people who philosophically support you into your opponents?

    Mission accomplished.

  18. “Was that your objective? To turn people who philosophically support you into your opponents?”

    Actually it was just to turn robb0995 against us. We had a big meeting of all the people who own bikes in Los Angeles and that was determined to be job #1, so we sent an elite team of specialists down a 1 mile stretch of a gridlocked freeway hoping that would be sufficient. And it looks like it was. Good work everyone, we can all sleep well tonight knowing this was a job well done.

    Get some rest, tomorrow is going to be a long day as we have to figure out how to turn that guy who works at the 7-11 on Rowena and Hyperion into our Opponent. And I hear he rides bikes so it’s going to be a tough one.

  19. :) Oooh, a friend of mine had a big dust-up with a clerk at that 7-eleven. You’ve got your work cut out for you!

    Seriously, if the purpose of political stunts is to raise awareness to change the minds of others, this one failed. As I look up and down these comments, I see a hardening of positions, not anyone learning of the problem anew and not anyone changing their mind.

    I loved the idea of Bike to Work day/week, but now I’m just reminded that there will be even more people out there taking the law into their own hands this week and that I need to be extra careful to protect myself from them.

  20. I hear you robb0995, and I’m not disagreeing with that fact. I do think it’s interesting that the hardened and negative reactions are coming from people who were not there. People who were there, bikers and motorists alike seemed to have a much more positive and inspiring take on the situation.

  21. this social action wasn’t really dangerous (except to big oil). As a motorcyclist, its my right to lane-share as long as I go within 10 miles of speed of traffic and don’t exceed thew speed limit. What drivers who don’t cycle or motorcycle don’t take into account is the amount of maneuverable space two wheelers have. In a car, I might feel like I’m right up next to another car in traffic but a bike would see that I have many feet of clearance. The more people who drive cars and bike can help build tolerance. Certainly those bikes were of no harm to the car traffic, which seemed to be going at maybe 10 mphs for those bikes to be passing as they did. Its a great statement. Had the bikes been in the middle lane while traffic was going faster than them, it would have been incredibly dangerous. It was illegal but actually safe.

  22. My main issue above was not necessarily that it wasn’t safe, it was that bikes were invading a space set aside for the exclusive use of cars (or motor vehicles). Just as we bikers wouldn’t be happy with cars driving on bike paths (even if done in a “safe” manner), likewise I think it’s reasonable for car drivers not to be happy with bikers riding on their highways. It’s simply not a space designed for mutual use, and trying to force the dual use on the space creates danger and, likely, resentment.

    I’m just guessing about the resent, and Sean Bonner above thinks I’m wrong, so maybe I have to give a little on that point.

  23. “invading a space set aside for the exclusive use of cars”

    Eeexactly, the last place where drivers can run to and act like they’re somehow more grown up or efficient or professional or better off has been violated.

    I won’t even bother to respond to robb0995’s comment that “traffic seemed to have picked up speed”. You must not be from LA or have never driven on the 405 or 10 between 4 and 7pm on a Friday.

    To me, this stunt is successful as long as it “wins people over” OR hastens the climax were drivers and non-drivers clash in a bloody civil war.

  24. Global warming, polution, foreign oil dependency, traffic, and obesity are some of the biggest issues facing our country right now. Biking seems to be a solution that will kill about 5 birds with one stone. I dont understand why so many people keep calling these guys morons, when they are bringing into the light a fantastic solution to such terrible problems. By no means do these guys want to legalize biking on the freeway,the goal is to push for more bikeways around los angeles. Some say that this could be demonstrated in a much safer way. Well if it was, do you think it would have gotten nearly this much attention? and isn’t that the entire goal, to raise awareness? Because of this video i plan on writing letters to the local government asking for bikeways around LA.

  25. bmn100: written like a clueless zealot with no idea how folks live who have children to haul around. Ride your bike — happy it works for you — just stay the hell off the 405.

  26. I don’t plan on ever riding MY bike down the freeway, I’m just saying that if there were bikeways around LA, and I could safely bike to work, I would do it in a heartbeat! I know this isn’t the case for everyone, ie people with a long commute, people who need to haul kids or work stuff etc, but every day I see hundreds of people sitting in their cars by themselves, commuting to work. But I would think you would appreciate the traffic that would be alieviated from having some cars off the road.

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