LOS ANGELES – Bicycle safety has a new special interest group. The League of Bicycling Voters is a political organization that kicks up a notch the thus far tame cries for safety help. Aiming at the ballot box, the voting cyclist now has a louder voice.
Special Interest Groups
Traditionally, special interest groups have a bad name. Frequently associated with ‘big’ tobacco, ‘big’ pharmaceuticals or ‘big’ business, various organizations are alternately blamed for destroying Los Angeles’ political process and unduly influencing voters. The League of Bicycling Voters is the latest member of the special interest groups, but there is little about this organization that would invite the derision its competitors earned.
The League of Bicycling Voters: Non-Partisan, Devoted to Bicycle Safety and Cyclist Issues
This special interest group appeared on Angelenos’ radar with the ominous heading “consider this your wake up call.” Citing the presences of 1.6 million registered voters in the City of Angels and pointing out that about 400,000 of these voters also belong to the cyclist group, it continues to crunch the numbers by reminding readers that only about 17.9 percent of Los Angeles voters actually cast a ballot in the last mayoral election. This translates into roughly 285,000 people. The implication is clear: if all cyclists voted in accord, this could lead to a vociferous cry at the ballot box.
Does Bicycle Safety Need a Special Interest Group?
As an L.A. cyclist you are likely aware of the copious cycling events put on by the Los Angeles County Bike Coalition and other organizations. In fact, each cyclist is reminded that May is national ‘Bike to Work’ month and special events, such as car-free Friday shop discounts, are a staple of the festivities.
Unfortunately, the number of accidents involving bicyclists paints a sobering picture about this fun pastime and potentially greening endeavor. The Reeves Law Group reveals that – nationwide – 57 million people rode their bikes in 2002. Cycling is noted in two percent of all traffic fatalities. The majority of traffic deaths involving a cyclist claimed a victim older than 16.
Areas of danger included intersections and night riding. Poor road conditions, right-of-way errors, motorists turning into a bike lane unexpectedly or an error in judgment mark the majority of these encounters.
The Cyclist at the Ballot Box
Founders of the League of Bicycling Voters issued a press release that announces the official first meeting of the special interest group. Its goal is simple: “help ensure safer streets and a more bike-friendly community for all of us.” Will it be a flash in the pan or become a force to be reckoned with? Los Angeles politicians are sure to watch.