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Will a new grass-roots campaign for bicycle awareness give L.A. the attitude adjustment it needs toward cyclists? [Reader poll]

July 27, 2011 | 12:58 pm

Bicyclists 1

Cyclists and motorists seem to be in a constant battle for the road. There are drivers who make it obvious they don't want to share "their space" with a slower-moving two-wheeler; and there's a segment of riders who further antagonize the situation by breaking traffic laws. It can make for a contemptuous atmosphere on the road, which adds yet another element of danger for drivers and cyclists alike.

What if cars and bikes could share the road in harmony? The bicycle master plan, which will more than quadruple the city's bikeways, should help. So too should a new city ordinance that places a bigger penalty on reckless drivers who endanger cyclists. On the other hand, the law may agitate drivers more, which was made more than clear on a recent episode of "Airtalk." Needless to say, we're still a long way from the mentality in Portland, Ore.

TYFSM What this city really needs, as columnist Hector Tobar recently pointed out, is an attitude adjustment toward cyclists. And perhaps Kat Fowler, a newbie in L.A.'s cycling scene, may have found a way to help.

Fowler recently launched Thank You For Seeing Me, a grass-roots campaign that focuses on positive communication. It's a simple message on a T-shirt -- hearts included -- that thanks motorists for being aware of them. It has the potential of becoming the apparel equivalent of a friendly "hello" or a disarming smile. We’re interested to see if Fowler’s tactic can create a more compatible relationship between motorists and cyclists. At the very least, we hope it helps shine a light on the many law-abiding cyclists so that the focus can shift off of the few rogue riders.

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-- Alexandra Le Tellier and Samantha Schaefer

Top Photo: Cyclist Dustin Woodard holds a patch custom made by cyclist Kat Knox-Davies in memory of the crash that left 11 cyclist injured in Culver City in the early hours of June 16. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Bottom photo: The "Thank You For Seeing Me Logo" care of Kat Fowler

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