Beverly Hills steps up — and stumbles badly — in their attempt to accommodate cyclists

First watered down, then at least partially down in flames.

Over the last year or so, the biking black hole of Beverly Hills has consulted with cyclists to develop a bike route pilot program.

And those cyclists have chaffed under a process that seemed designed to reduce participation, while imposing so many restrictions on the end result that hit hardly seemed worth the effort.

In the end, the ad hoc committee working on the program recommended five pilot bike routes that seemed to offer only a slight improvement over nothing at all. Which, oddly, is exactly the amount of bicycling infrastructure the city currently offers.

Then the city’s Traffic and Parking Commission proceeded to shoot two of the five routes off their low-hanging branch. And did it using the same old half and non-truths typically employed by anti-bike forces who have no idea what they’re talking about.

Like bikes impede traffic. We don’t belong in residential neighborhoods. We don’t deserve safe infrastructure — or even the modest improvements the plan called for — because cyclists run stop signs.

Never mind that traffic flow could be improved and the streets made safer if some of those stop signs were removed.

And members of the commission even asked whether placing sharrows on streets like Charleville would give riders a false sense of security. As if we could somehow forget that we’re riding in a city full of self-entitled motorists who believe they actually do own the road.

As Better Bike’s Mark Elliot, who has lead the Sisyphean task to make bikes more welcome — or even welcome at all — on the city’s streets put it, cyclists ended up with just three-fifth of half a loaf.

Which is better than nothing, I suppose.

But it does raise the question of why cyclists would bother to support the Rodeo Drive start of the final stage of the Amgen Tour of California in a city that so clearly doesn’t support us.

Or why the Tour of California would start their race in such a bike-unfriendly city to begin with.

………

Speaking of the Tour of California, Liquigas-Cannondale’s Peter Sagan overcomes a flat tire in the last five minutes to win the first stage; clearly, he and teammate Vincenzo Nibali did not come to California to take a stroll.

In other proc cycling news, the first Canadian to wear the pink jersey continues to lead the Giro d’Italia. Road.cc documents the day in Verona when U.S. cycling prodigy Taylor Phinney lost the leader’s jersey after suffering a bad ankle injury in a crash just days earlier.

And the witch hunt continues as prosecutors go after Lance’s former team manager Johan Bruyneel.

………

It’s the first day of L.A. Bike Week, with a full slate of rides, activities and Bike to Work pit stops scheduled throughout the week.

Or as they call it in Beverly Hills, Monday.

If you’re curious about biking to work this week, you could do a lot worse than brushing up on this bit of advice from KCRW chief engineer Steve Herbert.

………

The Times says bicyclists and pedestrians are remaking the city’s classic boulevards, as people demand more bikeable, walkable and livable streets. Writing for Momentum Magazine, Rick Risemberg asks if Los Angeles is a cyclists’ paradise regained. A cyclist is seriously injured after falling off a trail into a canyon in Porter Ranch. Long Beach ups the bike-friendliness a notch with new bike lanes and sharrows in new areas. A Carlsbad company trades bike to work for biking instead or working. The 75-year old Santa Cruz cyclist who was killed after going over his handlebars has been identified; and yes, he was wearing a helmet.

AAA and LAB team up to promote bike safety. A writer for my hometown newspaper says bike lanes add economic value; someday I hope to go back and ride those 38 miles of off-street trails and 112 miles of bike lanes myself. A Texas cyclist is recovering after being hit by a red light running state trooper. The Broward County FL sheriff’s department mistakenly says the first rule of bike safety is wearing a helmet; actually, it’s riding safely so you won’t need one.

Audi and Specialized team up to build a 50 mph ebike prototype. After getting laid off, a British Frisbee champion plans a 4500 km ride to Istanbul. A camera happens to catch it all as a black-clad woman rushes up to attack a bike riding man; is it just me, or does that camera placement seem just a tad too convenient?

Finally, a writer makes a very apt comparison between cycling and battered wife syndrome.

And in case you missed it over the weekend, you can find a much longer list of links here.

On a personal note, a personal childhood hero passed away Friday, when one of my older cousins sat down after mowing the lawn, closed his eyes for a nap and never woke up. Dick had been a champion open-wheel racer in the 60’s; his lifelong claim to fame was passing his rookie test at Indianapolis, then just missing qualifying for the Indy 500. His unsponsored, self-financed car may not have been fast enough to make the cut, but how many people can say they made the attempt on a set of tires borrowed from A.J. Foyt?

Rest in peace, cousin.

5 comments

  1. Sorry for your loss, Ted. Your cousin sounds like he was an amazing person!

  2. Mark Elliot says:

    >It’s the first day of L.A. Bike Week…Or as they call it in Beverly Hills, Monday.

    Zing! Thanks for the props. Keep in mind that in passing on two key corridors for bike-friendly improvements, the Traffic Commission wants you to share the road. But those commissioners know you’re going to disregard the law, don’t they?

    If you do ride in Beverly Hills, remember that our commission is fairly begging you to ride with respect for the law. We think that means riding in leisurely fashion, taking the full lane that’s yours (under the state vehicle code). And please don’t be hurried by impatient motorists – as if any existed! According to most of our commissioners, our happy drivers will wait patiently for you to safely move by. Heck, our drivers have never seen a cyclist they didn’t like!

    Thanks to Alexis Lantz, Eric Weinstein, Rick Riesmberg and WeHo’s Kevin Burton – all on hand to witness the anticlimactic contretemps. Even some neighbors showed up. But the spandexed sport-rider backbenchers? Always MIA.

  3. [...] Beverly Hills Screws Up Bike Plan (Biking In L.A.) [...]

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