To date, Better Bike has tried to work with City Hall behind the curtain. We’ve communicated to departments and commissions what we hear from our followers, and made a few suggestions of our own concerning bike lanes and bike safety signage. We have even offered to create a bike safety page for the city’s website. But we have gained little traction with city transportation officials. Beverly Hills is no more bike-friendly today than it ever was. In the March 5th city election you have the opportunity to make a difference.
At present Better Bike can’t make an endorsement in the city election.* We’re affiliated with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (as a local chapter) and that organization’s nonprofit status precludes our support for specific candidates. But we can suggest that you take a good look at the four credible candidates running for three open City Council seats and make your own informed choice at the polls (full candidates list here).
Yes, gaining a grasp on the candidates’ views on road safety is a challenge. We Beverly Hills residents find our mailboxes stuffed with flyers that promise leadership on issues like education and the public purse, but these missives are often light on substance. Few address transportation in any detail and no candidate has to date taken a stand on road safety in particular. Will they champion on-road facilities (like bicycle lanes) and safety signage as we see implemented in surrounding cities? Will they call for on-street bicycle racks to accommodate the increasing number of people who choose to ride instead of clogging our streets with a car for a local errand? We can only put these questions to the candidates directly.
We will start this morning with council member (and Vice Mayor) John Mirisch. We’re co-hosting a coffee for cyclists and renters at the Coffee Bean, 233 S. Beverly Drive, at 11am. To date, he’s the only candidate in this election who has reached out to the cycling community, and in the City Council’s review of the Pilot bike route proposal showed his concern for the safety of those who ride.
We can’t endorse at present, but in the coming weeks we can take a closer look at each candidate beyond the messages they choose to send in their mailed materials. Running in this election are Vice-Mayor John Mirisch, Mayor Willie Brien, Brian Rosenstein [link now disabled] and Nancy Krasne. We should ask each of them whether they support measures to make Beverly Hills safer for those who choose to ride.
(*Note that this post has been updated since posting this past Friday to adhere to our obligation to not endorse any candidate pending clarification of responsibility to our nonprofit affiliate which precludes candidate endorsements.)