Back in 1900, where in the world could you expect to find bicycles making up 20 percent of the transportation mix, with protected, and in some cases, elevated bicycle lanes? In fact, this city’s newspaper once said, ”There is no part of the world where cycling is in greater favor…”
Most people would assume the city in question is in bicycle friendly Europe – but in fact, the above describes Los Angeles in 1897. The pleasant and temperate climate of southern California allowed “wheeling,” as cycling was then known, to become a normal and respected means of getting around.
It’s hard to believe that LA was once a cycling haven with dedicated infrastructure. Now, it’s one of the most car-dense places in America, suffering the country’s worst traffic congestion (usatoday, 04.05.13). In 2013, you have to go to Denmark and the Netherlands to find extensive bicycle infrastructure and a biking culture to go with it. So how did they get to that point? What brought cycling front and center in planning policies?
read more: triplepundit, 15.10.13.
Los Angeles Bicycle Police Squad. 1904. Broadway past 6th St. Los Angeles Public Library Photo Archives.
more 1900s los angeles cycling photos: copenhagenize, 08.01.12.