Candidate campaign page:

Mario Olmos is a well-known fixture of Los Angeles’ bike community, familiar to many through his participation in social rides and advocacy for safer streets. His exceptional response to Bike The Vote’s questionnaire shows a depth of understanding of the issues facing safe streets, thanks to his first-hand experience as someone who travels by bike throughout the city on a regular basis. It’s clear that his experience as a ‘sweep’ on group rides making sure that no one is left behind has directly informed his political viewpoint when he declares, “I am running a no drop campaign.” What a spectacular commitment for a politician to make.

Bike The Vote L.A. 2017 Primary Grade: A

(See below for full candidate questionnaire response)

1. What future do you see for active mobility, and public transit in the daily lives of Angelenos, particularly those who lack access to cars and rely on these other modes as their primary way of getting around?

My primary reason for running for office is to focus on the prevention of sexual abuse of children. I want children to be safe when they are home from abuse. That being said, I also want every person to be safe getting to and from home from anywhere.

I consider myself to be a cyclist and I am always trying to get people to try riding for the first time again. I know that through my riding I have encouraged many to also begin riding, or walking or hiking. I have a choice to ride or drive my car. Others don’t have that choice.

I see a future with safe routes to school, including Bike-to-school & Walk-to-school programs. Local government agencies mapping out and addressing unsafe intersections and corridors. Better Community Coordination with LAPD and direct relationship with LAPD Senior Lead Officers to encourage creation of bike and foot patrols to get officers out and visible in the community. One that expands transit options by coordinating sidewalk repair, curb ramp installation, bus shelter construction, with LADOT DASH bus routes.

I see more frequent Metro-like service along Metrolink with enhanced bus service as envisioned in the Mobility Plan (more frequent service, curb-extension waiting areas, etc.) I see safe street plans for all our major commercial corridors to eliminate traffic deaths. I see safe walking, mobility impaired, and bicycling access to parks, schools, commercial districts.

We also need to create more space such as the Rose Bowl where people can go to safely walk and bike for just the purpose of exercise. I know that I began my bike riding experience just going around the Rose Bowl. Places where one can develop their skills in walking or bike riding will enable people to carry that confidence and skill and venture into using commuting as a regular method of transportation. I have experienced many who tried to begin riding by starting off in busy dangerous routes and be so traumatized that they never attempted this again.

2. Do you support Vision Zero, an approach to street safety that treats each fatality as preventable and seeks to eliminate traffic deaths on public roads?

As an avid bike rider who enjoys social rides as much as centuries there is nothing that impacts me more than the placing of Ghost Bikes at places where cyclist have died. I once rode from the Beach to Dodger Stadium on Sunset Blvd and there were several areas where I was putting my life in danger. The district I am running for is one that should be easily converted to provide functional roads that eliminate the epidemic of injuries. We should not accept deaths as the price of progress. The automobile industry is making strides to protect passengers in cars. We should be making it a practice to protect commuters outside of cars.

3. In Los Angeles, low-income communities of color are disproportionately burdened by the impacts of streets designed primarily for cars, without receiving proportional funding for their mobility modes like walking, biking, and quality mass transit. Would you support legislation to add a ‘complete streets’ policy to SB 1, California’s newly augmented gas tax, to direct revenues to projects and programs that benefit pedestrians, bicyclists and transit-dependent communities?

I am running a no drop campaign. Just like the no drop rides I partake in where I am usually the sweep making sure the riders all the way in the back aren’t left behind or get lost. I am an avid supporter of complete streets. We not only need these projects to get people walking, biking, skateboarding, to get from one place to another. We need this for the sake of our health. I have seen firsthand what a healthy biking lifestyle has does to reduce weight, blood pressure, cholesterol. Besides the physical aspects the emotional aspects of socializing and being out reduces depression and assists with other mental health issues.

One of the common comments when I try to convince people to start riding with me is that they are not that good at riding and would not want to have the group have to wait for them. I let them know that we were all beginners at one time and that there are several groups who are more excited about new riders coming out than how fast they get to where they are going.

We need to be a society that brings out new walkers and riders. We need to get people to get out of their cars once in a while to get to work. In order to do this we need to first make it safe.

Yes, I support programs that support direct revenues to projects and programs that benefit pedestrians, bicyclists and transit-dependent communities.


4. In 2017, Assembly Members Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and Jay Obernolte (R-Hesperia) introduced AB1103, a bill to enact an “Idaho Stop” adjustment to traffic code that allows cyclists to safely yield right of way at stop signs. This bill would help to reduce subjective traffic stops by law enforcement for a practice that is common by people on bikes and was endorsed by the L.A. Times Editorial Board. Will you commit to support an “Idaho Stop” bill that allows people on bikes to safely yield at stop signs as it comes up in the 2018 legislative session?

If you ever do a group ride you know how many people get separated from stops signs and red lights. There is safety in numbers and if we could roll through stop signs SAFELY as a group we would be able to stay together and be safer on the road. For those of you that ride in communities with hills being able to safely roll past a stop sign so that you don’t have to stop your momentum is beautiful.

I have ridden through cities that I will not name, where there are police officers ready to ticket bike riders who do not make a complete stop and put a foot down. I have seen officers pull over entire groups and attempt to ticket all of them.  I think some of these cities do this to discourage groups from riding in their streets. Passing this law will eliminate the subjective out of the enforcement and make it safer to ride together as a group where we are more visible to vehicles. On a personal note I ride with a friend named Estela who was hit by a car two miles from completing the Cinderella Ride in Pleasanton, CA.  The vehicle ran through a red light most likely while texting. I believe had Estella not been separated from a group because it takes her a bit longer to get going after a stop that she would have been much safer and easier to spot in a group of riders.

5. Would you support expanding state funding for bike share, and providing incentives for low-income individuals to afford high quality, family-friendly bikes that empower more economical mobility such as electric bikes and cargo bikes?

Yes, I would definitely support expanding state funding for bike share, and providing incentives for low-income individuals to afford high quality, family-friendly bikes that empower more economical mobility such as electric bikes and cargo bikes.

I would take it a step further and support non-profit organizations like East Side Riders and One More Move who are dedicated to get families especially in economically disadvantaged communities riding. Organizations like this give away bikes to kids and families and some establish community, family friendly rides on a regular basis.

I would also sponsor legislation to give employers incentives, or tax credits that have a public transportation plans and reward employees who walk, bike or take public transportation to work.

I would also create a state tax incentive for individuals to get a tax credit who use public transportation to commute to work.