Wed 6 Feb 2008
After work last night I blazed over to downtown for two reasons: 1) To stop throwing away $70 every month and cancel my seldom-used membership to the downtown YMCA, and 2) to attend the City of Los Angeles Bike Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting as a member of the newly formed Bike Writers Collective (BWC) whose first mission had been to craft a manifesto that was officially debuted to the members of said BAC committee:
Bicyclist Bill Of Rights
WHEREAS, cyclists have the right to ride the streets of our communities and this right is formally articulated in the California Vehicle Code; and
WHEREAS, cyclists are considered to be the “indicator species” of a healthy community; and
WHEREAS, cyclists are both environmental and traffic congestion solutions; and
WHEREAS, cyclists are, first and foremost, people — with all of the rights and privileges that come from being members of this great society; and
NOW, THEREFORE, WE THE CYCLING COMMUNITY, do hereby claim the following rights:
- Cyclists have the right to travel safely and free of fear.
- Cyclists have the right to equal access to our public streets and to sufficient and significant road space.
- Cyclists have the right to the full support of educated law enforcement.
- Cyclists have the right to the full support of our judicial system and the right to expect that those who endanger, injure or kill cyclists be dealt with to the full extent of the law.
- Cyclists have the right to routine accommodations in all roadway projects and improvements.
- Cyclists have the right to urban and roadway planning, development and design that enable and support safe cycling.
- Cyclists have the right to traffic signals, signage and maintenance standards that enable and support safe cycling.
- Cyclists have the right to be actively engaged as a constituent group in the organization and administration of our communities.
- Cyclists have the right to full access for themselves and their bicycles on all mass transit with no limitations.
- Cyclists have the right to end-of-trip amenities that include safe and secure opportunities to park their bicycles.
- Cyclists have the right to be secure in their persons and property, and be free from unreasonable search and seizure, as guaranteed by the 4th Amendment.
- Cyclists have the right to peaceably assemble in the public space, as guaranteed by the 1st Amendment.
And further, we claim and assert these rights by taking to the streets and riding our bicycles, all in an expression of our inalienable right to ride!
It could be argued that in the grand scheme it is a very little thing for a grassroots organization in its infancy pronouncing a list of truths for those they strive to represent — and to a somewhat powerless group whose members expressed varying degrees of interest in it. But I’ll tell you what: being there for it was a special thing. And while some might look upon the the photocopied page that BWC organizer and leader Stephen Box handed me upon my arrival as nothing special, it is a landmark keepsake I will cherish and its contents will be something I will work to promote.