Community •

Lime Hero Spotlight: Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition

In 2018, Lime became the first micromobility operator to offer an opt-in donation module allowing riders to round up the cost of each trip and donate the spare change to a community organization of their choice. Since then, nearly 40 local nonprofits have been added to the growing list of charitable recipients.

One of those recipients is the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) in Los Angeles, California. Lime began partnering with the LACBC earlier this year because of their work to make all communities in LA County healthy, safe, and fun places to ride a bike through advocacy, education, and outreach.

Second Street sat down (virtually) with LACBC’s Executive Director Eli Akira Kaufman, to find out more about recent projects LACBC is working on.

Tell us about LACBC’s work.

LACBC was Founded in 1998 by bicycle advocates Joe Linton and Ron Milam, and has played a major role in the growing cycling movement in Los Angeles for the past 20 years. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and our mission is to make our streets safer for all, but especially the most vulnerable populations. At LACBC, it starts with how we show up for and support the mobility needs of low-income Angelenos, families, and people of color.

What are some of your current projects?

Now more than ever we’re focusing our projects on helping the communities most impacted by transportation injustices across the County of Los Angeles, which also tend to be disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

LACBC in concert with Sunset4All, a group of active transportation advocates that grew out of our Neighborhood Ambassadors program, is working to get protected bike lanes installed on Sunset Blvd through Echo Park, Silver Lake, & East Hollywood. One of the keys to the success of the campaign is to show local business owners that an increase in biking and walking generates more revenue for their businesses.

We have been encouraging our membership to support local restaurants feeling the brunt of the Safer at Home orders by ordering curbside pick up, via a delivery service, or even through a tax deductible donation facilitated through LACBC. We are showing that #bikesmeanbusiness!

LACBC also launched our #LACountyBikeMatch program to connect folks ready to donate bikes they no longer need to people who are in need of a new ride. We were also fortunate enough to receive a large donation of bicycle components that we are working with local mechanics to get assembled. Our bike shop and co-op partners that have remained open as essential businesses are answering the call to assemble these bikes to make sure needy riders throughout the County are ready to roll!

image1-5Of course, the #LACountyBikeMatch isn’t the only way that LACBC is supporting bicycle culture in LA. We along with our partners at LAUSD are reimagining bicycle encouragement programs around the district to adjust to our new distance learning reality by creating a virtual bike club program that will expose LAUSD students to the many benefits of biking safely especially in times like these. Our first session was with a special guest, Olympic Track Cyclist Giddeon Massie who spoke about the hard work and determination it takes to succeed at your goals.

Meanwhile, LACBC continues to push for safer streets for all road users, including cyclists, pedestrians, and even drivers. LACBC joined our partners LA Walks and Streets Are for Everyone (S.A.F.E.) in solidarity of LAPD’s push to encourage everyone to drive more carefully and slow down. Los Angeles has seen an increase in fatal traffic collisions, largely the result of increased speeds. The devestating result has been the unfortunately predictable increase in pedestrian fatalities in the month of April. LACBC, LA Walks, and SAFE are working to help law enforcement and city officials develop a strategy that addresses both the immediate epidemic of traffic violence by speeding, and also the long-term safety improvements in infrastructure that will calm streets Los Angeles in the first place to effectively achieve its Vision Zero goals.

What are some of the biggest challenges and opportunities for safer streets in LA County?

The COVID-19 crisis has so fundamentally altered our lives that it’s hard to recognize them as our own. And yet we are still in the early days of our response to the crisis and are just beginning to imagine what recovery might look like.

What we do know for certain is the unprecedented damage the health crisis has done to our economy, our health, and our people: millions of Americans have lost their jobs, hundreds of thousands are infected with the virus, and our most vulnerable communities are not only more likely to suffer from the impacts of the disease and economic fallout, but are also disproportionately exposed to the virus as health care professionals, grocery store workers, food processors, transit workers and other essential workers who are on the front lines of the pandemic.

At LACBC we too are grappling with the impact of COVID-19 on everything from our mission as a membership-based nonprofit organization that works to make all communities in LA County healthy, safe, and fun places to ride a bike to how we do the work to deliver on that mission. We are having to reexamine everything we knew about advocacy, education, and outreach since nearly all of our efforts in organizing, educational programming, and event production do not meet the CDC’s guidelines around physical distancing, sheltering in place and even wearing the personal protective equipment PPEs we are learning to make routine.

Along with the rest of the world, LACBC is trying to find the balance between serving the greater public health, economic and transportation needs of our community, and the goals that are specific to our mission as active transportation advocates committed to making bicycling a realistic transportation option for everyone in Los Angeles.

How can Lime riders get involved?

LACBC is made up of members throughout Los Angeles County. You can become a member of LACBC or one of our 13 chapters throughout Los Angeles. Our memberships operate on a sliding scale; we only ask that you make a contribution that is personally meaningful. Become a member here. LA Lime riders can also opt-in to Lime’s Lime Hero program to round up and donate to LACBC on their next ride.

You can visit learn more or sign up for Lime Hero in the Lime app.

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