Ghost Bikes of L.A. will open this weekend, and the show will be the first gallery display of the memorials, which have served as a unique and positive response to bicyclist fatalities on city streets.
This year marks the 10th anniversary the first Ghost Bikes erected in St. Louis, Missouri. Quickly adopted in other communities as a way to memorialize fallen cyclists, ghost bikes have established an important place in bicycle culture as an icon of community and solidarity among cyclists, and a powerful public awareness tool that communicates value for human life and safety to all street users. Often, ghost bikes are installed through the collaboration of community bicycle advocates and the family and friends of fallen cyclists.
Year-to-date, more than 70 cyclists have been killed on roads in Southern California alone, making this a particularly sensitive subject in Los Angeles and surrounding areas. The Red#5Yellow#7 gallery is partnering with families and the Los Angeles bike community to recognize and reflect on the international movement and how it has contributed to the way cyclists respond to and engage with the communities they ride in.
Several public discussions and events will take place as part of the show:
Sunday, Oct. 27: noon – 4pm family members speak + How to make a Ghost Bike
Saturday, Nov. 2: Ride to Hollywood Forever’s Day of the Dead
Thursday, Nov. 14: 7pm LA Memorial Ride on Anthony’s Candle Light Vigil
Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013: 4-8pm Closing Reception
To learn more about ghost bikes and their role in the Los Angeles cycling community, listen to an interview with Jesse Ramon of GhostBikesLA.
More than 300 individuals representing 80 organizations gathered in New Orleans for the 10th anniversary of BikeBike, revisiting the city where volunteers and organizers gathered at the first BikeBike, setting the wheels in motion for a cross-cultural exchange with biking at its center.
An opportunity to share ideas, stories, and support, the 4-day conference brought together a wide range of people and projects that represented the efforts of a collective bike community from across North America and reaching as far as Austria.
“They come from so many different areas and places,” said Vincenzo Loconte, “from places that are very religious and conservative to places that are very anarchist or liberal, very high-income to very low. You hear a lot of different experiences from everywhere.” Loconte, who volunteers at two Los Angeles coops (Bici Libre and the Bikerowave), shared his knowledge in education through a workshop on how to use the bicycle to teach concepts in science, math and other areas.
In an effort to support the broad scale phenomenon of community bike projects and promote a greater level of exchange, this year’s conference included a third day of workshops. Topics ranged from teaching the basics valuable to newer organizations such as how to acquire shop tools to knowing when to grow, to detailed presentations on how to take a volunteer who knows nothing about bikes and turn them into a confident volunteer, to creating better exchange between other organizations, from bike shops to local community groups and businesses, as well as within and among other projects.
“This year was part of a concerted effort to expand it a little bit, because the past few years it seemed like there wasn’t enough time,” said Victor Pizarro, executive director the New Orleans-based community bike project Plan B, the host organization for this year’s event.
“There’s nothing better than face to engagement,” said Momoko Saunders of Portland, Oregon’s Bike Farm. “Particularly around some of the more touchy subjects of privilege, of sexism, creating safe spaces.”
The topics addressed at BikeBike each year reflect the current goals and challenges of the various community bike projects that take on different forms in different environments. Accordingly, the focus has grown from solving internal organizational issues to building a network that can leverage shared knowledge and resources between groups.
“Global cross pollination is one of our long term goals,” said Pizarro. This theme reappeared in workshops throughout BikeBike, and built upon mutual shop-collective support, collaboration among projects, comparing notes on different cultural settings and facilitating national and cross-border exchange.
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One of the more common reasons the general public resists the addition of bicycle lanes and pedestrian enhancements is the (false) thought that it will increase traffic congestions. On the contrary, getting people out of cars and onto bikes, public transit and their own two feet lessens congestions, making automobile traffic move easier and faster. Everyone wins. Streetsblog reports on the latest NYC DOT transit survey results:
After several blocks in the heart of Times Square were pedestrianized and protected bike lanes were added to five avenues in the middle of Manhattan, motor vehicle traffic is actually moving more smoothly than before, according to the latest release of NYC DOT’s annual Sustainable Streets Index.
In Manhattan below 60th Street, predictions that reallocating space to walking, biking, and transit would only worsen traffic have not come to pass. In fact, average traffic speeds have picked up. GPS data from yellow cabs below 60th Street show that average speeds are up 6.7 percent since 2008. The average speed of a taxi trip, which was 8.9 mph in 2011, inched up to 9.3 mph last year.
Read more at www.streetsblog.org
Cyclists are people too; that’s the ultimate message of this campaign by BikePGH meant to humanize bike riders and counter the “us vs. them” attitude too common between drivers and riders. Local riders are featured in all of the placements, including Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown who has been known to ride his bike to practice. Featured on billboards and bus shelters, the campaign is reaching those that traditional bike advocacy misses — non-riders. Share the message and help to bridge the divide between motorist and cyclist while on the roadways. Check out short video interviews with the featured riders at www.bikepgh.org/care
Through Minneapolis’ Cycles for Change Community Partners Bike Library people are learning to ride bikes and expand their access to education or health opportunities. You know, and all of the great people and fun experiences bikes bring us. This is what bike advocacy is all about.