By Nic Cha Kim.
Since 2010, hundreds of thousands of Angelenos have pedaled the streets of Los Angeles at one of the largest alternative transportation events in the nation.
Named after Ciclovia, the weekly car-free event that originated in Bogota, Colombia, CicLAvia late last year held a South Los Angeles event, a region where the biking community rate is twice that of the general city average, according to Naomi Iwasaki from the health advocacy nonprofit Community Health Councils. At the event, individuals are encouraged to utilize not just bicycles, which tend to dominate CicLAvia, but different modes of movement like skateboards, roller skates, and scooters.
While the interest in alternative forms of transportation is there, what’s missing is the infrastructure needed to account for the growing number of cyclists in South L.A. Some are lobbying for safer roads and additional bike lanes in order to reduce the number of collisions.
But CicLAvia isn’t solely intended for the purpose of car-free streets. It’s also a chance for communities to get outside and learn more about the health and environmental benefits of mobility and alternative transportation, explained Iwasaki. It also addresses obesity, a big issue for South L.A. “One of the simplest and easiest ways to manage obesity is through physical activity,” she said.
Reporter Nic Cha Kim pays a visit to CicLAvia’s first event in South Los Angeles between Leimert Park and Central Avenue in this episode of “SoCal Connected” and interviews newcomers, bike and health advocates, and activists who support the benefits of open street biking.