AKA Hotels, a new, upmarket extended-stay hotel chain with a new outpost here in Beverly has added “complimentary use of exclusive AKA bicycles” to its service roster. It’s the first hotel in town to offer bikes, and we think it’s a great idea. We’d love to see our tourists riding about town! But there’s a problem: according to Beverly Hills Police Department data, 45 people have been injured while riding a bicycle in Beverly Hills over the past year. Thirteen of them were struck within an easy half-mile of the AKA hotel and four within a block or two. We sure hope they’ll be wearing AKA helmets!
While AKA Hotel is doing its part to reduce car traffic by putting tourists on bicycles, it sure looks like it is ground-zero for bike-involved injury collisions! Have a look at the past year’s bicycle-involved collision injuries near the hotel:
Six of the incidents citywide were hits-and run – not even including the recent April 3rd incident only seven blocks from the hotel wherein a motorist attempted to kill a rider with a vehicle then fled. That driver is still on the loose.
We applaud AKA for stepping forward to encourage cycling when our city is loathe to encourage anyone to ride. But maybe City Hall knows something that we don’t. Until we saw this data, we didn’t know how dangerous the streets really were in our ‘hood. But City Hall knows. Without bike-friendly streets and nary a posted ‘share the road’ sign, you know, maybe Beverly Hills is to dangerous to ride. We sure hope hotel patrons are provided a complimentary AKA helmet when riding around town. It looks like they’ll need it.
City of Santa Monica is reaping rewards from its considerable investment in bike infrastructure: it snagged silver-level ranking from the League of American Bicyclists. And it is deserved: high-profile road diets and well-marked bike lanes are changing the mobility picture there, while the hundreds of new racks means never hunting a pace to park. It pays off: cycling is big there. Guys, you’re making Beverly Hills look bad! Read more at SM Spoke!
Call us local government enthusiasts: we like when light is shined on the black box that is City Hall. Then we learn how past policy decisions shape today’s challenges and potentially constrain opportunities tomorrow. In City Council’s budget session on Monday [mp3], we gained a clear picture about how the decision to offer two hours of free parking in city garages not only “drained” (the Treasurer’s term) our general fund of $16 million, but put us on on the hook for almost $5 million more every year. The ‘high cost of free parking’ indeed!
Six Weeks after a motorist attempted to kill a cyclist in a Beverly Hills alley, “the public leads have dried up,” BHPD Lt. Hoshimo told us today. Aside from a second video and even a third (all posted on the BHPD vimeo page) there are no further developments. “It’s still under investigation,” he said. Seen the car? Know of a “male/Middle Eastern or White, mid 30’s with dark hair and dark eyes with a thin build” behind the wheel?
A reminder that next week is Bike Week, and the LACBC has posted a useful summary of events. We’ll see you at Tuesday’s Blessing of the Bikes and Friday’s Hammer Museum Bike Night. And don’t miss LACBC’s Road Rules for Bicyclists from Four Perspectives the following Weds.
A proposal to turn our city’s ‘in lieu’ parking fee policy into a lease-type arrangement for a Beverly Hills restaurant & club didn’t survive Council scrutiny this past Tuesday. But it did show in a nutshell the policy contortions involved when trying to accommodate too many cars in our compact business triangle. For one thing, it seems that we’re not clear on the problem that we need to address. It’s not a parking problem, it’s a motoring problem. We simply have too many visitors to Beverly Hills who choose to drive. But the Council discussion suggested another issue too: what is the appropriate role for parking minimums when a program designed to sidestep them might be further relaxed for an … Continue reading
It seems like the bomber with a manageable payload has recognized in the bicycle a practical means of delivery in crowded urban areas. As we showed last summer, bombings in which the bike plays a key role are a staple in media reports from the insurgent front lines. Bike bombings may be overshadowed by more spectacular attacks, but the bicycle remains so banal a delivery device as to make it both particularly effective and downright “dastardly” (as India’s Prime Minister said). Recent attacks to remind us that the bike is not only practical transportation but an increasingly useful means of inciting terror.
Recently we received an online survey invitation from Bikeside, the LA-based bike advocacy organization that brings data smarts and mashup skills to its quest for safer streets in the region. Bikeside organizers Alex Thompson and Mihai Peteu (among others) have been on our radar for years for advocating real-world pro-bike improvements and also more accountability in the political sphere, where decisions are taken and resources apportioned. This survey plies the seam between those worlds. It asks your opinion: How can we make it more bike-friendly? Take a minute to register your view.
In light of the Traffic and Parking Commission’s seeming disinterest in cyclist injuries, we’ve asked the BHPD for bike-involved collision data from 2012 as provided to CHP. BHPD’s response: merely a bare-bones list of March-to-March crashes packaged in an image-based PDF that’s impossible to copy. So much for government transparency! Stay tuned.
Remember the attempted murder & hit-and-run on a cyclist in Beverly Hills back on April 3rd? You’d think a crime like that would garner significant media attention seeing as it was captured by CCTV video. That it would generate concern among commissioners on the Traffic and Parking Commission. That the body receiving a standing monthly police report on collisions and citations would bother to ask. Today we tuned into the live commission broadcast to learn that commissioners wouldn’t be wrestling with this threat to public safety because they had other pressing business. Like the assault never happened.
Mayor John Mirisch’s transparency-focused Sunshine Task Force (agenda) held its inaugural meeting this past Tuesday. A handful of folks from all corners of Beverly Hills came together to talk about what can be done to make City Hall more open and to make public information more accessible. The mission as framed simply by the Mayor: “To shine a light upon the workings of city government to encourage public participation.” With two sitting councilmembers, two former mayors, various neighborhood leaders and a bike advocate at the table, there was no shortage of diagnoses or suggestions for a cure.
On June 12th 2011, Paul Livingston was riding his white Bianchi eastbound on Santa Monica Boulevard when he was struck from behind by motorist Victoria Chin right at Beverly Hills City Hall (Crescent Drive). She fled the scene. This serious collision not only totaled the bike – taco wheel, bent frame, cracked saddle – it sent Mr. Livingston to the hospital with a cracked pelvis and factured vertebra. Fortunately he’s not totaled and Paul and a handful of cyclists attended today’s preliminary hearing to – for the first time – hear the defendant face up to her crime.
The League of American Bicyclists kicks off Bike Month today with an awareness campaign to promote cycling, a push that originates back in 1956. Smack in the middle of Bike Month is Bike Week, the officially-designated (if brief) period when we can proclaim our exalted status as a two-wheeled champions with pride. Throughout Bike Week are a series of events to get us back in the saddle. Running from May 13th to the 19th this year, Bike Week finds much to do in the Southland. Here are a few of the events we’ll be attending.
The bike rider’s favorite foil, the Automobile Club of America, has just released data showing that the cost of car ownership and operation are up 2% over last year, making annual upkeep for the average midsize sedan at $9,122/yr. Contributing to the rise are maintainence (up 11%) and insurance (up 2.7%). The study finds the average insurance bill to be about a grand – a reality check for Angenelo drivers who we bet pay twice that. This makes car ownership possibly the worst mobility bargain on the planet (download the AAA costs flyer).