Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Dangerous World of Cyclo-Commuting in L.A.

There was an excellent article about the dangers faced by Los Angeles cyclo-commuters in yesterday's Wall Street Journal. Rhonda Rundle, the author, describes cyclists dodging potholes and car doors. More intimidating are the "caffeine-infused psychotics" who yell at cyclists to get off the road. Even in my peaceful L.A. exurb, Santa Clarita, I have experienced this. It seems that many drivers throughout L.A. County have no patience for slowing down their SUVs, even momentarily, to accommodate cyclists.

The Thrills and Chills of Cycling in L.A.
Photo by Jason Varone,

The car culture in Los Angeles is so pervasive that almost everyone views bicycles as toys or exercise equipment. Cyclo-commuters are often looked at as silly and strange. These are cultural barriers which will be hard to break, but rising gas prices may be the catalyst we need to make the change happen.

View the full story here.


Nathan said...

I agree, I grew up in LA, and it's the strongest car culture anywhere.Lots of speeding and hotdogging going on too, bad for cyclists. Hopefully that will change. The weather makes it a pretty good place for cycle commuting however...

IgorTheCat said...

I commuted from Sylmar to Burbank for about two years and only had two nasty encounters with irate motorists. One involved a Tahoe who passed me, and cut me off to turn right into a driveway in front of me. I had a squeeze bulb horn on my bike and used it. He slammed on his brakes, stopping halfway into the driveway. Thankfully I am a defensive rider in was able to avoid plowing into him. He rolled down his window and shouted to me to stay on the sidewalk.

I took down his plate # and tried to report it to Burbank PD, but was met by a brick wall, and dropped the matter.