Screw bike riders.
That was the message sent last night by notoriously bike-unfriendly Beverly Hills in refusing to incorporate bike lanes in next year’s planned reconstruction of Santa Monica Blvd.
Even though the reconstruction gives the city a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fix one of the region’s most congested and dysfunctionally incomplete streets.
And even though it could be done for pennies on the dollar during the massive reconstruction project.
And even though it would connect the bike lanes that currently exist on the boulevard on either side of the city, completing the gap that exists between bike lanes in West Hollywood and Century City.
And even though Beverly Hills traffic already makes it the most dangerous city of its size in the state of California.
Oddly, several of the city’s council members expressed their concern for the safety of cyclists before voting to ignore their needs.
We’ll let Better Bike’s Mark Elliot, who led the seemingly Sisyphean fight in this over-privileged Mayberry tell the whole disturbing and dystopian tale.
The question is, what can we do going forward?
Personally, I think it’s long past time for a worldwide boycott of the Biking Black Hole, where the dollars of those on bikes seem to be valued far below those who arrive in Bentleys and luxury SUVs.
Maybe they’ll wake up if they start seeing hotel cancellations, as domestic and foreign bike riders choose to spend their money somewhere else. Or when the annual Gran Fondo gets moved to out of Beverly Hills because cyclists refuse to support a city that refuses to support us.
Or maybe the answer is to take a page from their own playbook, where seemingly endless lawsuits have attempted to derail the planned subway-sort-of-to-the-sea.
I don’t know if there are legal grounds to sue Beverly Hills for its hard-hearted failure to find room for bike riders on the rebuilt street, even if it does seem to conflict with the state’s requirement to consider complete streets in any road construction project. Or to accommodate all road users on streets that belong to more than just motor vehicle operators.
Maybe there’s a lawyer out there who’d like answer those questions.
But if nothing else, a lawsuit might delay their plans just enough to make it easier to compromise with bike supporters than fight.
It wouldn’t be cheap.
But that’s one Kickstarter I’d be happy to contribute to.
More on last night’s breaking news that the extremely popular Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Race has been cancelled, at least for this year.
And the way these things seem to go, possibly forever.
The finger is being pointed at a fear of liability in a notoriously risk-averse city. But as noted last night, I suspect there’s more going on behind the scenes than we may yet be aware of.
Like maybe a wealthy marathon operator upset about those damn bikes piggybacking on their event. Especially when they’re not getting the profits.
Meanwhile, word is some riders intend to crash the route anyway.
The LA City Council celebrated the city’s first Complete Streets Day on Wednesday.
Which seems odd, since so many council members seem to be actively opposing complete streets on Westwood Blvd, north and south Figueroa, and Lankershim Blvd, as well as a new and improved bike-friendly 4th Street.
I’m sure Councilmembers Koretz, Cedillo, Price and LaBonge wholeheartedly support complete streets.
As long as they’re in someone else’s district.
For years, bike and pedestrian advocates have called on police to increase enforcement of traffic laws in an attempt to rein in the wild west mentality on our streets, where too many drivers feel entitled to do anything they damn well please — too often to the detriment of those they share those streets with.
Finally, LAPD Chief Beck is in agreement, declaring this the “year of traffic” with stepped-up enforcement of traffic regulations, including a crackdown on hit-and-runs.
While that’s good news for cyclists who have share the road with dangerous drivers, remember the knife cuts both ways.
Representatives of the department have often said they are required to enforce the law equally. Which means if they see you go through a red light or stop sign, you’re likely to get a ticket, just like a driver would for the same offense.
Writing for Flying Pigeon, Rick Risemberg fears support for bicycling is backsliding under the Garcetti administration — echoing exactly what I’ve been thinking for the past several months.
Shockingly, the Weekly discovers a group of cyclists who like to get high and ride. Who could have ever imagined?
Bike safety is an issue around USC, as a cyclist is injured in a collision near campus.
Bikable streets spread further east as Pomona approves the city’s first bike and pedestrian plan.
The 84-year old Newport Beach driver who killed cyclist Debra Deem — claiming he just didn’t see her — entered a not guilty plea to a single count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. If convicted, he faces just one year in jail; Deem’s sister doesn’t think that’s enough.
Plans call for extending an Orange County protected bikeway.
You can contribute to help Riverside cyclist Travis Freeman recover from a serious cycling injury.
This simple bar chart clearly illustrates the relative affordability of protected bike lanes. And as long as we’re talking charts, this one from the UK kind of puts the relative risk posed by cyclists in perspective.
You could own Pee-wee’s bike, some assembly required.
It’s sad to think a bike advocacy group is going out of business after 40 years when bicycling is finally on the rise.
In what seems like at least a minor miracle, Brooklyn police begin ticketing drivers who park in bike lanes.
A Florida man waves at a motorist, who responds by plowing into him and fleeing the scene.
In what may be one of the most intentionally offensive public safety spots I’ve seen, Britain’s Top Gear attempts to teach cyclists the difference between red and green. While we all need to observe traffic signals, very few cycling fatalities are the result of riders blowing through red lights; far more often, it’s a driver who fails to stop and kills an innocent victim. So for the boys at Top Gear — and I say this from the bottom of my heart — fuck you. No, seriously.
A UK bike rider is the victim of an anti-bike terrorist attack when someone strings a rope across a walkway at neck level. Oddly, despite Top Gear’s insistence, there is nothing to suggest that she ran a red light before nearly being decapitated.
Finally, South African cyclists face charges in the road rage attack against a van driver. No matter how angry you are or how justified you feel, always — always — resist the temptation to resort to violence, as hard as it may be sometimes.
Which is not to say I’m an angel; I’ve called drivers every name in the book, including some I’ve made up on the spot.
Then again, they aren’t always the problem.