Students participate in LA bike tour with CicLAvia

Students and community members gathered on Trousdale Parkway Sunday morning in preparation for the Bike on Fig to CicLAvia event, which gave riders a chance to explore the heart of Los Angeles on “car-free” streets. The event was coordinated by BikeSafe USC, a coalition of several different campus groups, and also featured booths from Transportation, Sustainability and Student Wellness.

Bikers met on campus at 9:30 a.m. to participate in bike safety activities, learn new skills and prepare for the ride to CicLAvia. CicLAvia allows cyclists to explore popular neighborhoods such as Downtown, Chinatown, Little Tokyo and East L.A., without regular automobile traffic.

“I hadn’t done the original Heart of LA CicLAvia — although I’ve been here for four years now and have participated in [other] events over [the past] three-and-a-half years — because I’ve always been sick or out of town,” said Lena Uszkoreit, a Ph.D student in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism studying communication. “[I’m] really excited about doing the original one.”

Community member Uzoma Mmeje said the event allowed him to learn more about safety protocols, and also to register his bike on campus.

“Now, any time we’re on campus, we can actually have that record,” Mmeje said.

According to BikeSafe USC coordinator Alison Kendall, the project was funded with a city of Los Angeles grant and also had a consulting team with expertise in biking to help and inform bikers. Student groups, including the Environmental Students Assembly and the Associated Students of Planning and Development, also helped coordinate and publicize the event.

Kendall said the event was designed in anticipation of the MyFigueroa project, which intends to improve streets around the area.

“The MyFigueroa project is incredibly exciting for Los Angeles because it’s what’s called a ‘complete streets project,’” Kendall said. “It’s one of the few street improvement projects that actually prioritizes pedestrians, cyclists and transit users over car drivers.”

In addition to promoting the project, Kendall hopes that the Bike on Fig to CicLAvia will encourage more students and community members to use bike riding as their form of transportation.

“Biking is a great way to have fun, stay fit, get around and also use your car less and pollute less, so it’s just wonderful on every single front,” Kendall said. “What we hope is that people become good bike citizens, that they become aware of how they can stay safe and how they can protect the pedestrians.”