NPR did a profile this past week about LA Bike Trains, a service that helps new cyclists feel more comfortable on the road by arranging commutes in groups. An experienced conductor leads the group along safe roads and the pack of cyclists inherently leads to more comfortable riders and better visibility.
Since launching L.A. Bike Trains in May with just a few routes and no budget, the system has grown to a dozen volunteer leaders, covering Los Angeles by bike by as much as 20 miles per trip each way, like the route from Silver Lake to Santa Monica.
Still, bike trains are far from seeing mass adoption.
Herbie Huff, a policy researcher at UCLA, says there are lots of obstacles to taking part in bike trains. Instead, Huff thinks infrastructure like bike lanes would be a bigger winner, or a concept like bike sharing could be an easier entry point.
“In order to go on the bike train, you need to already have made a commitment,” Huff says. “You need to already have a bike.”
The story isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, however, as it contained this particular disturbing nugget:
Perhaps the greatest obstacle to bike trains is that drivers don’t like sharing the road.
“It’s like they enjoy taking up the lanes,” says Jackie Burke, who has lived in Los Angeles her whole life. She says bicyclists drive her crazy when she’s in a car and has to slow down for them.
“It’s very frustrating, to the point where I just want to run them off the road,” Burke says. “I’ve actually done one of those drive-really-close-to-them kind of things to kind of scare them, to try to intimidate them to get out of my way.”
Via thebirdwheel.comTweet Print