Friday, September 23, 2011

Today! Think Bike LA Closing Session


Yesterday was my first time ever visiting the Council Chambers at City Hall


I attended the ThinkBike LA Opening Session hosted by the Netherlands Consulte based in San Francisco. How nice of them to come to Los Angeles and share their expertise in designing communities that are healthy, safe and navigable, something Los Angeles is working towards.


Hillie Talens gave an inspiring presentation. Her overview of cycling in the Netherlands was comprehensive and thorough. Here's just some of the insights she brought to Los Angeles:
Cycling is not a hobby in the Netherlands, it's a mode of transport. 
In the Netherlands, 27% of all trips are made on a bike. 
Teenage girls use bikes more than any other group, and it's easy to explain. It's their ticket to freedom! Girls average 4 miles per day on a bike.
Emotions are an important part of why cycling is so popular. People are happiest riding a bike than using any other form of transportation.
The fastest way to get around in Amsterdam is on a bike (and the same for Los Angeles, arguably!)

Cyclists live longer than drivers, 3 years on average, and spend their last 10 years in better health.

Merchants love cyclists because they spend more money in shops than drivers. They come in more often to buy goods.
Why do the Dutch cycle? It's:Cheap

Requirements for Bike Infrastructure in the Netherlands rest on 5 key pillars:

Bike routes are given priority over car routes. They design bike routes to be faster than car routes, on purpose!
Roundabouts are safest type of intersections because traffic moves in same direction at a safe speed.
In the case of accidents between cars and bicyclists, the car is always at fault. At best, the driver is always at least 50% at fault. This makes drivers very safe.

Good Stuff! I'll take everything!

At 3:30pm in downtown, the results of a 2 day session with Dutch bikeway design experts will be presented. 3 teams were sent out to ride bikes and then brainstorm on ways to improve cycling in their area of study. The public was not invited.




So I walked around admiring the architecture and symbols adorning the floor


A Spanish Galleon hauling treasure to the old world? How interesting?


I also alerted police to a suspicious package outside Councilman Alarcon's office.

Anyways.... Won't you be curious to see what they come up with? My hope is that the ideas presented will be given the respect and attention they are due.

Join Me!

Los Angeles Police Department
Deaton Hall Auditorium
100 West 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012


maurits said...

>In the case of accidents between cars and bicyclists, the car is always at fault

Not true, the burden of proof is for the car.

Alex said...

@maurits not sure if you're referring to Dutch law or international driving law or CVC, but I can tell you as someone who closely watches these matters, here in Los Angeles, the burden of proof is almost always for the cyclist to show she WAS NOT to blame. Even the use of a helmet can be used as evidence.

maurits said...

@Alex, I am referring to the Dutch situation and the quote made by the Dutch consulate, which is either an over simplification, or a miss quote. Or somebody is mixing up insurance, civil and criminal proceedings.

But the most important thing she mentioned is this. A bike is a mode of transport, just as a car and an airplane. It is not a hippy alternative thing. And with more bikes than cars, pretty much all car drivers are also bikers per definition.

Excellent, well designed infrastructure ( not some 80 mile an hour road with half cycle lane painted on ) make that bikes and cars don't interact at all, or much safer.

Also, even though the dutch have an any thing goes reputation, traffic laws are strict and happily fanatically enforced compared to other countries. Reckless driving? Felony. Potentially(!) endangering traffic, felony ( and loss of license while the DA muses on what to do with you). etc etc

Alex said...

@maurits Sounds Great! Where do I sign up? :)