Los Angeles vs Orange County Attitudes


So close, but a world away.

Every year, CiclaValley makes a pilgrimage down to San Diego with college friends to catch a ballgame for a one night stay.

Four of us live spread across LA County, but the fifth is down in Irvine, so that’s the collection point for the carpool.

I’ve always pushed the taking the train angle for the trip, but cost has always come up with the group so jam into a car it is.

As we were pulling out of the townhouse compound, a group of about twenty cyclists crossed in front of us when my friend from this paved wonderland exploded knowing my cycling background:

“Why are these people out on the road? There’s a perfectly good bike path right next to us.”

It’s pretty easy to match anger with anger, but I’ve been to this rodeo before.

“Why not? They’re allowed to.”

“Why not on the bike path? Don’t they not want to get hit?”

That’s pretty much a rhetorical question. Who likes to get hit?

I know this isn’t really a conversation about traffic safety, but about getting cyclists off the road so drivers can have it all to themselves.

I just moving the conversation to, “well, you’re not supposed to hit them. We have a right to be out there just like you anyways.”

My friend laughed it off and tried figuring a way to say we shouldn’t be out there, but relented before he sounded like a this-is-my-roadway elitist.


We have the same laws, but it’s funny how divergent attitudes are when you have a roadway built for cars, not humans.

These people weren’t even slowing our progress, but just their mere presence highly irritated my friend.

What’s amazing to be Orange County is there are way too many lanes and too far of a distance between places in Orange County that all this square footage of asphalt lies dormant a majority of the time as cars wait from red light to red light.

Waiting two minutes for a traffic signal to go through all its left turn cycles are fine, but if a cyclist slows you down for two minutes, it’s blasphemy!


“Look at these jerks making better progress and causing less traffic off the freeway” – me

For the rest of the trip, I mockingly spouted out the typical hated whenever a cyclist when by so my friend got the point how silly it sounds.

On Sunday, we left San Diego around 10am only to hit the typical major traffic pockets that made our movement a virtual halt.

Going through Camp Pendleton, do you think I pointed out the number of cyclists that were making better progress than us?

And oh yes, do you want me to tell you how many trains passed us too?


  • I’m pretty familiar with bike routes in Irvine, so I’m curious about where your friend thought the riders should have been on a bike path. If you give me a nearby intersection I may be able to add some OC bike rider perspective.

    By the way, the bike infrastructure in Irvine, and south county in general, is heaven compared to some of the older cities in the northwest portion of the county.

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  • David

    I live in LA

    Riding in OC is a pleasure compared to LA. I wish that I could live there.

    I take my bike down to OC as much as I can, and ride with a few clubs there.

    It’s plain dangerous in LA even with polite drivers, poor roads, lack of bike lanes, lack of shoulder in many places, high traffic, narrow roads, etc, etc.

    I find that OC residents are in better condition on the bike than LA because they can get out more often.

    OC’s negative is traffic is very fast on modern roads so injuries can be more severe if hit than LA where its hard to go more than 30 mph in a car.

  • Peter

    You talk to those in the cycling community and ask “What should be done to improve safety for cyclists?” and they will tell you, “Dedicated cycling infrastructure.” At the minimum, we’re talking about bike lanes. Ideally, though, we’re talking about separate bike paths for cyclists to use. This way cyclists and cars aren’t sharing the road. This is safer for cyclists, so we’re told over and over.

    So you build bike paths so that cars and cyclists don’t have to interact. And yet cyclists are still on the road, even though there’s a bike path. Why is this?

    I’d imagine that this is what your friend was wondering about.

    The real answer is that those 20 people weren’t just cyclists–they’re athletes! They’re training for some century or double metric century or some such thing and, frankly, 20 competitive cyclists trying to squeeze onto your typical two-lane bike path probably wouldn’t work very well (not to mention having to stop at each intersection). The road offers them better abilities to draft, pass, and pretend that they’re riding in the Tour de France.