CicLAvia: A car-free day in downtown LA


Not a car was in sight to compete for the right of way during CicLAvia, an attempt to get Angelenos to ditch their cars. Ten miles of streets in and around downtown were closed to cars.

The event, now in its third year, attracted tens of thousands of people mostly on bikes - from tandem and trikes to lifted and lowrider bikes - and organizers say it's only growing.

"I think there's a real demand in Los Angeles to be able to enjoy the streets and enjoy our neighborhoods and our cities the way they were meant to be enjoyed," said CicLAvia organizer Aaron Paley.

CicLAvia is based on a similar event that started in Bogota, Colombia, more than 30 years ago. It was a response to traffic congestion and pollution there. It has now grown to other cities to South America and the United States.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa strapped on his helmet to ride a bike through the city as well, saying the morning-to-afternoon event was a good break for a city that's "addicted to the single-passenger automobile."

Norma MacDougall, 86, came along for the ride. She sat on a small platform appended to her son's tricycle.

"It's absolutely the happiest day of my life. Yes, it really, truly is," she said.

People even brought their pets, like cockatiels named Barbra Streisand, Thelonious Monk, Billie Holiday that got a break from their cage.

"We had a great time last time," said their owner, Sibongile Les Golan of Burbank. "I take them riding to Griffith Park all the time. They love to go out and they stick their heads up and sometimes when a flock of birds goes by they join them and then I have to chase after them."

Los Angeles is becoming more bike friendly. The city plans to build 1,600 miles of bike lanes in the next 30 years. But on Sunday, cyclists didn't have to stay close to the curb on the route. All the lanes were bike lanes.

See photos from CicLAvia.

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