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Thread Box:
Changing Bicycle Law
Thread started by la duderina at 05.23.09 - 10:55 am

Hello, I am La Duderina and you are not.

I would like to change California state law concerning bicycles. I believe going to the City for anything we want is futile and that we need the force of the state legislature behind us.

I think that bicycle laws need to be completely reformed. We are separate and distinct from motor vehicles and thus I believe the law should treat us as such. If we can get legislation passed, we can change laws such as YIELDING AT STOP SIGNS and increasing PENALTIES for hit and run drivers. We can try to get the state to give localities incentives to increase bicycle infrastructure -- basically, through subsidies, each city will have an incentive to make itself safer and easier to ride a bike in.

Los Angeles isn't giving us what we want, so I think it's time to go to the people who can MAKE Los Angeles give us what we want.

My plan is this:
1. Contact our state senators and assembly people -- and I am talking INUNDATE them with phone calls and emails...let them know this is serious and we are NOT backing down until we get what we want
2. Meet with the local state politicians -- offer them hard facts on why yielding at stop signs is safer, why hit and run drivers need stiffer penalties, why we need more bike lanes, etc.
3. Step three goes something like the "I'm just a Bill" episode of School House Rock
4. Yield at stop signs and be merry


Ok, so much much much much easier said than done. This could take years, but I am willing to put a lot into this if others are willing to have my back and fight the good fight with me. This will take an ARMY. What do you think?


reply



You are going to have to approach the non cycling community. Befriend wealthy and influential people in LA who are interested in representing your cause. The Portland bicycle committee is powerful because they have a lot of money and are represented by lots of older middle class people who are not necessarily cyclists but support the community. We need to win the minds of the citizens of our city that cycling rights and infrastructure are important for this city. However, you have a lot of resistance from people who are happy in their SUVs and get annoyed by cyclists that act militant and disregard street laws. So, Midnight Ridazz does influence a lot of people to get on bikes, but some of the behavior that happens on certain rides tend to backfire in our favor because regular non cyclists begin to think we are a bunch of thugs and ne'rdowells and don't want to relate to us.

It's a difficult task to change peoples views, but I think people are evolving and starting to embrace the bicycle more. We need to think of creative and more all inclusive ways to embrace the larger community to warm up to supporting us. But people with money and voting influence are key.

Have you read the Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell ? I recommend it.



Joe Borfo
05.23.09 - 11:43 am

reply


the beauty of my plan is that we don't have to change the minds of the citizens. We'd only have to convice the minds that make up the state legislature.

We could get more questions concerning cyclists put in on DMV tests, more signage, posters, etc...bicycle laws are all a state issue. We aren't going to get anything done dicking around with LA City Council if we want to see real change.





la duderina
responding to a comment by Joe Borfo
05.23.09 - 12:16 pm

reply


Makes sense to me. But doesn't the state legislature also represent the minds of the citizens?



Joe Borfo
responding to a comment by la duderina
05.23.09 - 12:24 pm

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Exactly, which is why we must BOMBARD them with phone calls, emails and meet with them and show them that WE are the citizens and that we are being hurt, we are being killed, and we need the state to do something about it because our local government sure as hell isn't.

We are citizens, too. They represent us. Citizens of California as a whole have an interest in getting more people on bikes...less pollution, less traffic, etc...

If we can get our assembly members and senators on our side..we can make some major changes. MAJOR changes.



la duderina
responding to a comment by Joe Borfo
05.23.09 - 12:29 pm

reply


Borfo is right.... so much depends on public opinion. And State legislators very much know what general public opinion is. They take polls and public opinion very seriously. Their business is to be in touch with their constituents.

When you say bombard that is a good thing but any small group can make noise, it depends on that groups ability to influence public opinion.... this is mostly done through the media but also through community organizations. Midnight Ridazz is a community organization but as Borfo says, there are differing opinions about what these rides accomplish....
Are people getting drunk and yelling at motorists? Are people swarming the entire street and being obnoxious towards the vehicles we share the road with? Yes.

So while at some points these rides certainly attract new riders, the actions of a few assholes on the rides can put off quite and few constituents who would otherwise support bicycle riding.....






Roadblock
responding to a comment by la duderina
05.23.09 - 1:18 pm

reply


Midnight Ridazz, while enormous, is just a small niche in a gigantic cycling world.

What I am proposing would not focus on MR at all, but on the safety and concerns of cyclists across the state. It would be a proposal to institute legislation that would create a safer environment for cyclists statewide, not just LA and not just for MR.

I did my research and if we want any real changes, we are going to have to go through the state. But it is going to take a collective effort and we would have to approach legislators as cyclists and bicycle commuters, not as Ridazz.





la duderina
responding to a comment by Roadblock
05.23.09 - 3:56 pm

reply


i like the idea of bicycle education starting in the classroom with driver's ed. it's a good idea to make everyone a little more aware of the collective presence of bikes on the road. so many ill-informed think cyclists belong on the sidewalk. everyone should be required to ride a bike and get passed really closely by a car to pass driver's ed.

go for the gold.



steph
responding to a comment by la duderina
05.23.09 - 4:08 pm

reply


+1 Steph!

We need to think big.



mr rollers
responding to a comment by steph
05.23.09 - 4:45 pm

reply


a lot of people will say they're on board with your plan but when it comes to actually bombarding the legislators mailboxes lots of people will not take the time to write out an email, it may be a good idea to create some pre-written messages that people can copy and paste from and hopefully add a point or two of there own.



sshagy
05.23.09 - 7:42 pm

reply


I'd recommend more focus. Pick one achievable goal, and then get everybody to work on that.

Saying "this will take an army" and "this could take years" basically means there's going to be the usual enormous amount of hot air, followed by very little changing for the long term.

Increasing penalties for hit and run sounds like a NO-BRAINER. Both motorists AND cyclists would appreciate this one, and there's not really a sound reason to oppose this one. Our state congresspeople LOVE the "get tough on crime" issues, and this is one that even the liberals could get behind.

Get a group together, focus on this single issue until something gets done, then use the group and the contacts you've made to make your next project that much easier.



JB
05.23.09 - 8:19 pm

reply


I agree la duderina. this is about something bigger than MR. any sort of movement would require the support of cyclists throughout california, and I think they'd gladly to do whatever they could to get the rights they deserve.

the key here is probably educating the public, which has been mentioned above, and raising awareness, be it through posters, op-ed pieces, radio appearances, blogs, etc. there's so much we can do; this group and community of cyclists has so much power, but we've yet to harness that potential energy. people have to know its there!

only thing is, legislators are probably a bit busy to be concerned with us UNLESS we show them, like duderina is saying, that we're going to fight for this til the end.

i hope people are willing.

i'm in, la duderina.



animal
responding to a comment by la duderina
05.23.09 - 8:49 pm

reply



Possible liasions...

-Bike Coalitions from San Diego to North of San Francisco--if they worked together to endorse a single 'bill' (direct pressure on gov't, public opinion)
-larger 'chain' bike sellers (performance, REI, etc.) (public opinion)
-advertising at larger scale bike rides (i.e. MS Ride, Aids Lifecycle, etc.) (public opinion)
-large/prominent urban cycling clubs (i.e. LA Wheelmen, and...)
-celebrity cyclists (??? a Lance-ish-Armstrong in CA) (public opinion)
-assemblypeople to back it/work together (direct pressure on gov't)



I think this vision has a lot of potential and you're in a more unique position, given your skills set, than many (not to knock previous efforts or talents that are all Herculean).

Good point too about getting funding for a ballot measure/referendum--gotta seduce th' bank

Good looking at analogous states/cities and situations--finding out what specifically what justification/arguments and data were put forth to argue for that legislative change is another good step.



hitsthepoles_ow
05.23.09 - 8:55 pm

reply


I'd be lying if I said I was not turned on right now.



la duderina
responding to a comment by hitsthepoles_ow
05.23.09 - 9:57 pm

reply


JB, I remember your advice about focusing on a single issue you posted in another thread and I took it to heart. That is why when someone brought up the yielding at stop signs issue, I jumped on it...here is a single issue that I could push for.

But doing the research on it I realized it might be easier to get something like that passed if it was part of something bigger - a comprehensive set of laws that serve as incentives not only for people to get on bikes, but for the localities to provide more for their cycling residents, and other ways to raise driver awareness concerning the laws about bicycles.

I'm not sure exactly how it is to go down, but I know that for right now we need to raise awareness in the political realm. I think that if we go to our representatives and show them that people are getting killed and hurt and nothing is being done about it, they will be willing to help us.

The model letter is a great idea. I will work on something to that effect. It's also as easy as calling a number and saying, simply, "I support cyclists being able to yield at stop signs." I did this several times to impeach George Bush (and we all see how well that worked! ha) I think that if we can get people to write letters and contact our representatives...they will be aware there is a problem. Then the idea is to actually meet with them one-on-one and see what they have to say.





la duderina
responding to a comment by JB
05.23.09 - 10:19 pm

reply


abide.



la duderina
responding to a comment by animal
05.23.09 - 10:36 pm

reply


Massive, long-hand, letter-writing campaign.

Phone calls and email inundation are one thing, but massive amounts of post-stamped envelopes with the stench of ink will really light a fire up under that ass.

Too bad Jerry Lewis kicked my West Point recommendation request to the curb in favor of some Eagle Snout, story of my life.



bentstrider
05.23.09 - 11:02 pm

reply


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tipping_Point

"The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts."





Joe Borfo
responding to a comment by la duderina
05.24.09 - 1:20 am

reply


JB's right about this. Everyone can get behind an increase of penalties for hit and runs, but you'll lose alot of people trying to convince them about yielding at stop signs. Heck I doubt you could get that big of a majority of the bicycling community behind this. Don't forget, alot of the bike community doesn't ride their bikes everyday. They're weekend warriors who drive most of the week. Even I'm not all behind this cause I've seen how some ride out there!

Work on smaller achievable goals and build on that. We all know there's a shit load of goals which to choose from out there!



User1
responding to a comment by JB
05.24.09 - 10:52 am

reply


That was very interesting. I think I'll check out that book.

@User1

Every cyclist I have spoken to about this (most of whom are not LA riders and are these weekend warrior types you speak of) agrees that being able to yield at stop signs would be a good thing. They think it has no chance of coming to fruition, but they still think it is a good idea.

I bet there was a lot of people who thought marijuana could never be legally used in the United States, too.....



la duderina
responding to a comment by Joe Borfo
05.24.09 - 11:37 am

reply


Every cyclist I spoke to has reservations about doing this, but instead of making these unsupported claims, why don't you just start posting this in different forums and see what the temperature is on people getting behind this? I'm betting it's lukewarm.

And you aren't trying to equate the decriminalization of marijuana to legalizing the running of stops signs are you? Other than they are both a struggle to legalize, I see very little similarities.



User1
responding to a comment by la duderina
05.24.09 - 12:09 pm

reply


User1, I am not advocating legalizing the running of stop signs.

The idea is to make the current widespread, safe, reasonable and logical practice of YIELDING at stop signs legal. I think most people who are against this, including you, misunderstand this point. You think that it will be ok for cyclists to just blow through stop signs as if they are not there and this is absolutely not the case. As a matter of fact, under Idaho law, recklessly riding through intersections carries an even higher penalty than when complete stops are required.

And your claims about support being "lukewarm" are as unsupported as mine. I actually did a lot of research, found several blogs and websites which I saved links to on a computer that I don't have access to at the moment, all of which supported the idea, with numerous comments also weighing in support of the idea.

and I am sorry, but I don't see how anyone who rides a bicycle could be against this. It only makes sense to insulate cyclists who ride in a reasonable and safe manner from getting tickets. Are you telling me, User1, that you come to a complete stop at every stop sign, putting your foot down and all, at every stop sign? Or do you, like most reasonable and safety conscious riders, slow enough to gauge whether you can safely cross the street and proceed slowly and safely, but without stopping, when the coast is clear? I, a reasonable and safe rider, do the latter.

I am not equating the decriminalization of weed with yielding at stop signs at all. My point was that I am sure that that Proposition got naysayed and naysayed and naysayed, yet we can now legally purchase weed in the state of California(with exceptions, *Hi PC!!*), can't we? Therefore, naysay all you want, this could still happen. That was the point I was trying to make.





la duderina
responding to a comment by User1
05.24.09 - 12:45 pm

reply


You have a gray area of what is blowing a stop sign and what's yielding a stop sign don't you? Not to mention that practically all non-bicycle riders view this as bicyclist wanting the right to blow through stop signs. So for all intents and purposes it's going to be viewed as blowing through a stop sign. Sure, unless bicyclist have a death wish they are going to show some caution crossing the intersection, but it's not going to be enough to appease the drivers. They're already pissed that we're on THEIR roads remember? Good luck getting even a quarter of that population to give you the right you're seeking!

I would be really curious on what the feedback would be from a cross section of the population you're asking to get their support from. Any chance of that? I already know what the answer is to what the bicycle bloggers have to say from your saved research.

And no I rarely come to a complete stop at intersection. I usually am doing what you advocate. Doesn't mean I support for others to do it. Doing this in a dense urban environment is far different than a city that doesn't even have a downtown! Where the city looks like suburbia at it's core! Speaking of which, didn't you mention that you didn't want to make the comparison Boise to LA on that last thread? Or was that someone else?

Finally I'm nay saying cause you asked for comment way at the beginning of this thread. I'm not going to try to stop you from doing whatever it is you want to do, but if you didn't want any negative comments regarding this, maybe you should have specified that at the beginning?



User1
responding to a comment by la duderina
05.24.09 - 2:27 pm

reply


In my mind the stop sign law change is another generation away. First thing I personally would concentrate on is the hit and run penalty. That's a slam dunk across the board in my mind considering the amount of hit and runs that occur, the recent killing of the usc students, the jesus castilla killing on glendale, the killing on glenoaks not long before.... not to mention the hit and runs for which people survive like my own, jen diamond and numerous others.

You can get anti-drunk driving groups all over this because its such a loophole for drunk drivers to escape their justice, every roadie would be on board considering the mandeville canyon incident.... its really easy to get support from police and city govt.... in fact can you name anyone who would be against it?





Roadblock
responding to a comment by la duderina
05.24.09 - 2:34 pm

reply


add to the list of possible liasons:

-motorcycle injury law firms (hit and run)
-insurance companies
-politicians wanting to look "tough on crime"

@la duderina
we need a core group of activists and a lot of creativity to build coalitions for each of our causes. if you tell yourself this will take years, it will probably take decades, so demand it today and expect it tomorrow.

we need these changes now but we'll need them even more when gas hits $5 a gallon again and a bunch of novice cyclists start getting hit and run on our city streets. this hit-and-run legislation was needed a long time ago. now lets take this anger we have and put it to fixing a bad law.

I think this goes beyond MR, or even cycling. What you're proposing is a reinvigoration of our democracy, and I think what you're proposing has been on a lot of minds and lips lately. you're asking people to get involved and to lobby for a great number of causes and to get involved with a great number of people.

what i see as being the greatest obstacle preventing us from getting it done are this:
-lack of coordination (too many separate groups who don't talk)
-lack of communication (nobody told me about the meeting)
-geography and transportation (i can never make it to the bike oven)

I know the LACBC is working on creating community meeting groups to discuss lobbying concerns, so rather than start my own group, perhaps we can use that as a forum or start an offshoot from it, and using their members and networking. the problem is that i didnt hear about it until the day before.

perhaps it's time for another bike summit?



tortuga_veloce
responding to a comment by hitsthepoles_ow
05.24.09 - 3:17 pm

reply


btw, that LACBC community meeting is called SPOKE. it's not on their website, but you can probably email Ken or Aurisha for more info. la-bike.org



tortuga_veloce
05.24.09 - 3:19 pm

reply


Fuck it, dude. Let's go bowling.



la duderina
05.25.09 - 12:42 am

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Fuck it, dude. Let's go bowling.

actually, you bring up a great point: rather than beating our heads up against a wall trying to change the laws, let's make participating in local government a fun social activity! to quote abbie hoffman, "revolution should be fun!"

mar vista lanes?



tortuga_veloce
responding to a comment by la duderina
05.25.09 - 2:50 am

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RB makes a good point of moving on more 'slam dunk' issues first (i.e. hit-run) and thinking of likely liasion

If the people/resources mobilized for the 'slam dunk' issues were down for a 'round two,' round x could be the stop sign yielding

Could start with a query from different bike coalitions re: what their biggest legilation concerns re: bicycles are... the move to start a non-profit dedicated to bicycle legislation change... maybe beg funds from bicycle coalitions (even nominal funds) and then move to try and get a friendsy/publicity/funding from departments of transportaion or MTA who does bike-to-work-week etc. (oddly enough Wienershnitzel is sponoring the ads for bike-to-work week for KTLA news--Junu and I were watching it on tv last night wondering how chili dogs could be bike food unless you're Sean Saxton)


time to bbq




hitsthepoles_ow
05.25.09 - 1:02 pm

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