Los Angeles is now the largest city in the United States to have banned plastic bags. Over the next 16 months, plastic bags will be phased out of approximately 7,500 grocery stores — at which point shoppers will have to bring reusable bags or purchase paper ones for 10 cents each. According to the L.A. Times, “clean water advocates” estimate that California residents use 12 billion plastic bags per year, and only recycle about 5 percent of those. Despite the facts, some L.A. residents are perturbed by the fact that in less than two years, plastic bags simply won’t be an option at their stores. As one shopper stated in the L.A. Times article, “I wish we could use plastics bags,” she said. “I wish they could bring them back. I get it’s better for the environment, but it’s a lot to remember — bringing a reusable bag — especially if you’re in a rush.”
Many people — especially environmental advocates and those who understand the true impact plastic bags have on the environment — feel strongly that humans should be responsible enough to bring their own bag for the sake of the planet. For those of us who simply love to play outside, it’s becoming increasingly harder to take a hike, paddle a kayak or ride your bike in the wilderness and not see a plastic Ziploc or grocery store bag somewhere along the way.
A good time-lapse video may be just what you need to get over the mid-week hump. Or maybe it’s the collective 12,000 images of people riding their bikes compressed into just 1 minute and 50 seconds that will get your blood pumping. To us, this video is worth watching for the simple fact that it represents one simple act: people joyously cycling on a warm, beautiful day.
For a little more background on why we see people riding through the seemingly car-less streets of L.A. in this video, here’s the scoop. The above images were taken during a CicLAvia day on April 15th, 2012. CicLAvia is a temporary closure of streets in L.A. to cars, during which pedestrians and cyclists alike can take to the streets of their own accord. Inspired by a weekly street closure event that began in Botoga, Colombia (ciclovía), CicLAvia prides itself on being able to do the following (via the CicLAvia site):
Connecting communities and giving people a break from the stress of car traffic. The health benefits are immense. Ciclovías bring families outside of their homes to enjoy the streets, our largest public space. In Los Angeles we need CicLAvia more than ever. Our streets are congested with traffic, our air is polluted with toxic fumes, our children suffer from obesity and other health conditions caused by the scarcity of public space and safe, healthy transportation options. CicLAvia creates a temporary park for free, simply by removing cars from city streets. It creates a network of connections between our neighborhoods and businesses and parks with corridors filled with fun. We can’t wait to see you at CicLAvia!
What’s more, we hope to see more CicLAvia-like events pop up in more cities across the U.S. The more we encourage communities to leave their cars parked and hop on their bikes, the better.
Every Wednesday on Ditch Your Car we’ll be bringing you just another reason to spend more time on two wheels. Be it a photo, a statistic or an inspirational video, we want to keep reminding you about why riding is great!