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Bike Medium, Episode II

I’ve had another dream…

Last month I wrote about my interview with the City Council regarding my application for the Newport Beach Bike Safety Committee; read “Listen In”. The gist of that post was that my interview hadn’t happened yet, but I wrote as if it had — I can report back to you that my actual interview this past Wednesday was amazingly on-script. It was like I knew the answers to all their questions…

This capability of predicting the future, I think I’m increasingly prone to ESP, or call it intuition, because starting around the holidays I got Apple TV and since then I sit mesmerized by the TV show Medium. Yes, it’s low-brow culture and part of me is reluctant to admit I love the show, but the whodunit aspect of each episode really grabs me. As a result I’m already into Season 5, which is a big investment of time on the couch. Is the intuition Allison Dubois is famous for rubbing off on me? You be the judge. I’m not seeing dead people, but I do seem to have a knack for predicting the future of the new Bike Safety Committee.

So call it a dream, as Allison does, and in this dream I see the Mayor; she’s walking past the Farmers Market. I call out, “Madame Mayor!” She stops to chat and I start telling her of the successful fund-raiser for the Orange County Bicycle Coalition. Then she’s talking to me about the applicants for the Bike Safety Committee — there are so many to chose from, she smiles as she tells me this and in my dream I reach over and give her a hug as she continues, “I know if you don’t get appointed to the Committee you’ll still contribute, so I get you for free. And there are so many interesting candidates; it would be good to get them involved.” In my dream I take this well; I recall my interview with Randy Neufeld, who says, “Build a nest of leaders.” So more fresh faces will appear on the Bike Safety Committee and as I’m just about to wake up I begin to think, “What will be my role?” Then the alarm goes off and I reach for pen and paper to write all I can remember…

My role will stay pretty much the same — I’ll be warming a seat in the audience, biding my time until Public Comments, while a new batch of committee members take the stage. I was on the 2009-2010 Bike Safety Task Force, so I understand the thrill of contributing to local government. Others will decide the weighty issues presented to the Committee; meanwhile I’ll still be here, blogging about the slow progress.

May I offer some advice? Yeah, I think I’m having another dream…

These new Committee members, they will come in eager to contribute, but perhaps some, if not most, will have a weak understanding of the issues in bike safety. In this dream I’m finding a way; yes, I’m putting it constructively and the new members are listening. I offer this advice:

      First, be present. The prior Committee suffered from poor attendance; one member missed more than half the meetings and another was a close runner-up. You’ll be successful if you make the effort to attend.
      Your opinions won’t matter unless you’re well informed and being a “well intentioned motorist who used to ride a bike” won’t get us where we need to go in terms of making Newport Beach a city with transportation choices. So do some homework; read a book. Try Jeff Mapes, Pedaling Revolution, for example, or Bob Mionske’s Bicycling and the Law. And start following some bike blogs, like bikeNewportBeach and BikingInLA, because the issues are newsworthy and it’s important to know how other cities are solving similar problems.
      Ride your bike to Long Beach. Go see what can be done when a city has Commitment From The Top. Ride the Sharrows on 2nd Street, the cycletrack along Broadway and see the great whimsy the City expresses in its bike racks. Dine in the parking space turned parklet, an extension of sidewalk, or is it in-street?, dining. And as you experience all these fine features of Southern California’s, or as they claim, America’s Most Bike Friendly City, you too will start to dream. You’ll dream of the wonderful possibilities you can now make happen here in Newport Beach.

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  1. The Mayor said ““I know if you don’t get appointed to the Committee you’ll still contribute, so I get you for free…” So Newport Beach pays their contributors to attend the Bike Safety Meetings? I’m moving to Newport Beach.

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