During a 2011 405 Freeway closure dubbed “Carmageddon”, I helped a small army of talented cohorts organize a race between a JetBlue flight and a group of cyclists. The cyclists won, resulting in positive mainstream press for cyclists, and L.A. City Hall recognition. #FlightVsBike
In 2011, news of the 405's brief shutdown, dubbed “Carmageddon”, had the media and the mayor’s office warning Angeleno’s to stay home and avoid the area as significant traffic delays loomed.
When JetBlue offered a special Carmageddon promotional flight from Burbank to Long Beach, a small group of cyclists suggested that a cyclist could beat that flight to Long Beach.
After some discussion with fellow cyclists, I was immediately in touch with JetBlue reps, the Wolfpack Hustle cycling group, and influential cycling bloggers to help plan the #FlightVsBike challenge.
Our hastily-assembled team of cycling organizers launched a race vs. the flight that they would not only win, but result in positive international media coverage for cyclists, and recognition from L.A. City Hall.
I helped break the news and document the race as it unfolded on my blog at bikecommutenews.com.
As a result, future messaging from the city during freeway closings, including the following “Carmageddon”event, shifted greatly toward the positive. From then on, the city prompted Angelenos to get out on foot, bike, or public transportation to enjoy their neighborhoods!
Cycling and public transportation advocates saw the event as a huge win for bicycle advocacy.