Los Angeles 2010
"Midnight Bicycle Tour" Japanese news article about Midnight Ridazz
Around about midnight, a group of cyclists are riding through major streets of Los Angeles. Here comes "Midnight Ridazz", who gather for a bicycle group ride posted on their website.
The existence of cyclists are not well acknowledged here in the States, where motor vehicles rule. Merciless car drivers barely give any space on streets for cyclists who share the same street with them. A mass group ride makes cyclists doubtlessly visible and enables them to ride safely in the city.
The Midnight Ridazz, started by eight cyclists in February 2004, has been taken place every 2nd Friday of the month, and it drew new participants every time and now has 1500 of members. In addition, each ride leader organizes his/her own ride on other days.
"XL", a gentleman in his 30s and working in music entertainment industry, joined his first ride to reduce some wight and later started weekly ride on Tuesdays with his friends. "I lost 70lb, I found lots of cool spots I could never find from a car, and it's like the same old Los Angeles became a whole different city." said XL.
XL's Tuesday ride exhibits various routes and events based on the theme of the week. A college student, Natalie Magdanela encountered a large group of cyclists who make strange noise along with the loud music. The moment she saw midnight ridazz, She thought it seemed cool and fun, so she bought a bicycle. "I like it because I don't have to care about cars while riding with other riders." said Natalie. One of her most memorable episodes was to visit former NFL star in a ride and took a photograph with him.
Highly visible lights are required for safety. Loitering and tagging are prohibited. The front leader of the ride follows the traffic signals but the rest of the pack follows the leader even after the signal turns red. Such unique rules exist in their community.
In state of California traffic law, motorists are required to keep a safe distance between a cyclist and car. However, in reality, the law is not well enforced because the "safe distance" has not been determined. In this summer, a representative of the Midnight Ridazz participated an event with Los Angeles Mayor, Vyragosa, to pick a slogan "give Me Three" for the awareness of the three feet safe distance. XL explains "this high popularity of the Midnight Ridazz is the reactionary activity against LA's highly motorized society".