Doing the heavy lifting

There are people in the Internet world who mainly blab, like me, and people who do the heavy lifting, like Ted Rogers of Biking in LA. In addition to continual bike advocacy, Ted does the tough work of going through news, local and global, to find the stories that are most relevant to LA’s largest and most important population of cyclists: Those who use bicycles for transportation. Ted does much more than aggregate news stories; he also investigates them. With a particular focus on cycling fatalities, Ted’s blog is almost always on the cutting edge of reporting bike fatalities in Southern California, and he tints his reportage with incredible sympathy for the victims and their families.

Ted’s advocacy has teeth, too. Although he’s fiercely partisan he’s also fair, and he never hides facts or twists situations to fit his moods — unlike one $2.99/month South Bay blogger I have in mind. After years of this kind of advocacy, Ted’s words have heft, and as a member of the board of directors of the LA County Bicycle Coalition, he devotes considerable time to action.

Fortunately, I disagree with Ted’s strong support of cycling infrastructure and believe instead that the best path for cycling is enforcement of existing laws that allow us to ride in the roadway. I say “fortunately” because there’s nothing more boring than having to read someone with whom you agree 100%. A little red meat always makes the veggies taste better.

Whether he’s keeping us up to date on which bicycle friendly candidates to support, or spreading the word about yet another cyclist trying to recover from catastrophic injuries, the Biking in LA blog covers the cycling waterfront. And something that tickles me deep down inside is Ted’s ferocious adherence to correct spelling and good grammar. I don’t think I’ve ever found a typo. In sum, his work is fair, it’s fierce, and it’s often fun, making BiLA’s work such an amazing contrast to VeloNews and Bicycling, puffy and ad-bloated rags that couldn’t do an investigative report on their own stool sample.

If Ted’s not on your daily read list, he should be.

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15 thoughts on “Doing the heavy lifting”

  1. Wholeheartedly agree – Ted’s work is relevant even to those of us living outside of greater LA. I actually agree with both of you: vehicles need to share the roads and be held accountable AND we need considerable investment in cycle specific infrastructure.

    1. Yep. I don’t mind riding in bike lanes when they’re there, but I’m not crazy about building more.

  2. On an odd tangent regarding the proposed helmet law, it occurred to me that the people who use a bike for transportation don’t typically have a helmet, if you’re riding a $20 bike it’s a bit of a contradiction to spend more on a helmet.

    1. When I first moved to Japan in the 80’s, bikes were the predominant method of transportation in the city I lived in. Never saw a helmet, never saw a rider get hit.

  3. Thanks, Seth. I’m going to have this entire piece engraved on my tombstone. Which will either require very small type or a shitload of marble.

    And I’m with seanoi. I believe in an all-of-the-above approach, with infrastructure for those who want or need it and better driver enforcement and education for those who prefer to take the lane.

    1. Hear hear! I’m a big fan of Ted’s work and what an apt description, Seth. Spot on!

      Speaking of red meat, the all-of-the-above approach is great except in all of the either-or situations.

      For example, you either have a door zone bike lane that the law (arguably) requires you to ride in, or you don’t have one and can legally ride outside of the door zone. You either have a cycle track and harassment for riding in the road instead of using the cycle track, or you have no cycle track and much less harassment for riding in the road.

      Having it both ways is at best a transition period on our way to kicked off of many or most roads by intimidation if not by law.

      Yes, it works reasonably well in Northern Europe where most bike trips are about 2 km. That’s not SoCal, at all.

      1. “Yes, it works reasonably well in Northern Europe where most bike trips are about 2 km. That’s not SoCal, at all.”

        I think it matters where one lives. I live 2 miles from downtown and practically everything is within reach. What makes a big difference is being 1/2 mile away from the Metro station too. Yeah this can’t be had by all, but ALOT of the infrastructure can be better built with a train system in mind.

      2. My problems with bike lanes and infrastructure are well documented!

        Glad you like Ted’s work as much as I do, and thanks for commenting!

  4. Pingback: Morning Links: Cycling in the South Bay makes me blush, and what you — and drivers — don’t know about bike law | BikinginLA

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