Tag Archive for Beverly Hills Ad-Hoc Bike Plan Update Committee

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Streetsblog benefit in SaMo, Walk It or Lock It in Long Beach, better biking in Beverly Hills & outrage in TN

I’ve got a long list of legal matters to catch up on — including reader insights into last week’s road rage assault in Santa Monica, first reported by Mihai Peteu on Bikeside.

As well as a letter written by the underage, allegedly drunk driver who nearly killed cyclist Adam Rybicki in Torrance earlier this year. And the driver who called police pretending to be a witness to the collision that killed cyclist Hung Do before being arrested for the crime himself.

But in the meantime, as I rush from riding to meetings to work and back again — let alone trying to squeeze in a little sleep into to process — let me offer a reminder about today’s Streetsblog benefit at Santa Monica’s Library Alehouse.

As it turns out, I won’t be able to make it this time. But if you can make it, I strongly recommended heading to 2911 Main Street for some New Belgium beer, raffle, auctions and a cargo bike worth of fun. Along with a lot of good people having a good time for a good cause.

And yes, there will be a bike valet.

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Long Beach is kicking off the Walk It or Lock It campaign to remind cyclists that it’s against the law to ride bikes on the sidewalk in the city’s business districts.

Police will be handing out safety cards to instruct riders to either walk their bikes or lock them up in areas including Broadway and Pine Avenue in Downtown Long Beach, Atlantic Avenue in Bixby Knolls, Second Street in Belmont Shore, “Retro Row” on Fourth Street, and Cambodia Town on Anaheim Street.

And if you haven’t already, Long Beach residents are encouraged to take five minutes to complete the city’s 2011 Bike Safety Survey.

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Hats off to what — hopefully — will soon be the former Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills.

Along with a number of other bike advocates and local residents and business people, I attended last night’s meeting of the city’s Ad-Hoc Bike Plan Update Committee.

For a town that currently lacks a single inch of biking infrastructure, the representatives from Beverly Hills were surprisingly committed to changing the situation and getting test projects off the ground — or rather, on the ground — as quickly as possible. And remarkably open to suggestions, including innovative ideas that are just starting to gain acceptance elsewhere.

Make no mistake. They have a very long way to go, and still have to sell the idea of biking infrastructure to a city government and populace likely to cast a wary eye on two-wheeled interlopers in their city.

And the toughest challenge, recreating Santa Monica Boulevard in a format that will be inviting to cyclists — or at least less likely to risk our lives — still awaits discussion down the road.

But they’re off to a good start. And with a far more positive and approachable attitude than many other cities I could name.

If you live or ride through Beverly Hills — or would like to if it was a little safer and more inviting — sign up with LACBC affiliate Better Bike to get involved and stay abreast of the latest happenings.

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Finally, allow me a moment of sheer outrage, as a Tennessee woman is threatened with arrest for the crime of allowing her 10-year old daughter to ride her bike to school.

According to Bike Walk Tennessee, Teresa Tyron of Elizabethton thought her daughter had a reasonably safe 7 – 9 minute ride to school in the tiny town near the border with North Carolina.

Evidently, the authorities disagreed.

Teresa Tryon said, “On August 25th my 10 year daughter arrived home via police officer, requested to speak to me on the front porch of my home. The officer informed me that in his ‘judgment’ it was unsafe for my daughter to ride her bike to school.”

She followed up by contacting the mayor and chief of police. But instead of getting the apology any rational person would have expected, she was told that the officer would be contacting Child Protective Services — and that she could be arrested for child neglect if she allowed her daughter to ride to school in the meantime.

So let me get this straight.

A town of just 13,000 people is so dangerous that children can’t safely ride their bikes on the streets.

Of course, they don’t say whether the danger stems from the horrible traffic conditions, which surely must be far worse than those of the Los Angeles area, where children are encouraged to ride to class, though few actually do.

Then again, maybe the town is so overwhelmed with child molesters and other criminal sorts that it is unsafe for anyone to ever be outside of their homes day or night. Let alone a child.

Or maybe city officials have their collective heads so far up their own collective asses that the entire collective city government would have to visit a proctologist just to get their glasses cleaned.

If the problem is the condition of the streets, it’s up to the mayor and other city officials to make them safe — not parents to keep their children off them. If it’s a fear of criminal activity, the police should stop harassing parents and start arresting criminals until families don’t have to be afraid to let their children go out alone for less than 10 minutes on the way to and from school.

But if it’s the latter problem — which I would highly suspect — local residents should seriously consider riding the police chief, mayor and anyone else involved in this idiotic process out of town on a rail.

And replace them with far more rational people who understand that riding a bike to school isn’t a crime, and should in fact be encouraged in this day of rampant childhood obesity. And willing to do their damn jobs to make the streets safe for everyone.

Maybe they could use a little gentle encouragement to see the light.

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