By Carla Hall : latimes – excerpt
Damien Newton, bicyclist, bicycle advocate, founder and editor of Streetsblog LA — and owner of three bikes and one car — listens as I tick off complaints from drivers about bicyclists on the roads of Los Angeles: They blow through stop signs; they ride against traffic; they ride on sidewalks.
He’s not surprised. Or sympathetic.
“Pretty much anyone who uses the road breaks the law on a regular basis. But people excuse their own breaking of the law,” he says.
He turns from the cafe table we’re sitting at in Mar Vista (his neighborhood) and points to a car that just cruised through the bustling intersection. “No one was upset that that car blew through the red light. But if a bike did that, they would get upset — because they’re ‘the other.’ For a lot of people driving cars, bicyclists are the others.”.
FULL COVERAGE: Sharing the road in L.A.
He’s right, of course.
Despite the upbraiding that Streetsblog LA can deliver to city officials or commentators defending drivers’ right to road space (I’ve been on the receiving end of a tart rejoinder), its founding editor is less enfant terrible than amused observer of L.A. as it struggles to become a road-sharing city of drivers, bicyclists, mass transit users and, oh, pedestrians.
He doesn’t care if you’re on a bike; he cares that you stop thinking of bicyclists as an odd nuisance — and stop framing the debate as “drivers vs. bicyclists”:
“The subtext is ‘We need to get along with these weirdos, because they’re out there.’ ”… (more)