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Cycle network plan for Los Angeles

Los Angeles has approved a plan that aims to get the notoriously car-loving city out of its cars and onto bicycles.

It hopes to link its sprawling communities with an extensive network of cycle paths and trails.

The bicycle master plan unanimously approved by the city council sets a long-term goal of some 1,680 miles of interconnected cycle paths and calls for a new 200 miles to be added every five years.

The city currently has fewer than 400 miles in a patchwork of segments.

"We've always given the automobile the priority, and the bicycles were secondary," councillor Ed Reyes said. "Now we're changing and we're having a cultural shift."

Bike enthusiasts had lobbied vigorously for the plan, arguing that sharing streets with cars, as most do now, was too dangerous.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also became a fierce advocate for designated bike lanes last year after he shattered an elbow in a bike accident with a taxi cab.

"We are investing in bicycling as a viable transportation option and in the process encouraging Angelenos to lead healthy, active lifestyles," he said.

"Los Angeles is on the path to becoming a world-class city for bicycling."

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