Monday, September 12, 2011

Dropping Science on Bike Policy & Politics

This morning, Heather directed my easily distracted attention towards a New York Times graphic showing cities with the highest percentage of workers who commute by bicycle in the United States.

Duh, Portland was #1 where the dream of the 90's is thriving like a thicket of Rubus armeniacus. Or course, Los Angeles, with a climate and terrain for cycling that beats out any of the leaders was nowhere in the graph. But what intrigued me most was the source of this data. A guy by the name of John Pucher actually gets PAID to count bicycles? How do I get into that industry!?

After I realized that I'd have to spend hours and hours sitting in classes, taking tests, writing a dissertation or 2, I figured I'd leave Mr. Pucher perched in his ivory tower with his chrome plated hand counter, ledger book and his #2 lead pencil.

But what else was he up to? A quick searched revealed a presentation made by Professor Pucher at the 2007 National Bike Summit titled "Cycling for Everyone: The key to Public and Political Support.

His report is a treasure trove of knowledge that proves the (apparently not so) obvious truth: riding a bike is good for you and your community. For example:

Who would have thought, driving a car makes you fat and unhealthy while riding a bike gives you sexy legs n stuff.

Or that if you spend a little more money on bike lanes, lots of people opt to ride a bike.

Here's some really complex things that will take LADOT at least 2 outside studies to comprehend. Better start now.

I particularly liked this idea: A "Green Wave" for cyclists. Stopping and starting, while a great form of interval training, is likely to put sweat stains on your freshly dry cleaned Paul Smith leopard knit sweater.

So what do you say, Los Angeles? Can we spare some shekels and make this city more bike friendly? The answer is yes. The bike plan passed last year is moving forward step by step, though not everyone gets how dope this is. Drivers commenting on every article on cycling in L.A. point to a very misguided and disturbing hatred for the velocipede. Mr. Pucher's presentation offers lots of ideas to improve that, and hopefully our elected leaders will take notes while reading over all of Professor Pucher's brilliant publications and presentations.  So get to work, Mayor V! Time is ticking!

1 comment:

Jackie Geschwind said...

you're welcome on the gallery love...and <3 bike commuters!