Our Campaign for Better Transportation Choices
Better Bike is all about making our streets safe and accessible for people who choose to walk or ride a bicycle. We believe that the option of human-powered mobility should not come with intimidation or the fear of injury or death at the hands of a careless driver. Driving is a privilege not a right, after all, but getting about town whether by bike or by foot safely is very much a right and must be afforded as an option to anybody who chooses not to drive.
We took a look at the city’s Bicycle Master Plan to understand why all road users don’t enjoy safer streets. Isn’t there a part of our General Plan that speaks to making streets safe for those who ride a bike? You bet there is: and we found our 1977 bike plan (as in disco-era 1977) better than we expected it to be. It called for a bike route network and streets prioritized for safety but it has never been implemented. Today our old bike plan is tucked away into our General Plan’s Open Space appendix where it won’t cause our transportation officials any trouble. Is this any way to plan?
The First Step to Safer Streets is a A Real Bike Plan
Since 2010 Better Bike has harangued officials in Beverly Hills for a real bike plan and the creation and implementation of policies and programs that would make cycling safe and convenient. We’ve asked for dedicated bike lanes, intersection improvements, safety signage, and bike parking – all measures to signal that our city is bike-friendly. This isn’t rocket science. Cities all around us have rolled out new plans and created the policy and facilities infrastructure to make their streets safer for, say, kids and adults biking to school, work, and shops.
We can look back to that 1977 bike plan for guidance and from it we can see the beginning of a citywide bike route network emerge.
We believe that at a minimum a Beverly Hills bike route network should include:
- Routes that connect our five city schools and our key business districts;
- Pavement markings and signage that show motorists and cyclists alike how to safely traverse major intersections;
- Marked bike lanes on key corridors and shared-lane markings called “sharrows” on all secondary streets;
- Bicycle racks where people need them and bike rack ‘corrals’ at high bike traffic points;
- City-sponsored riding skills & road safety classes for all age groups and integrated into our Summer recreation program; and,
- Changes to transportation and development policies to discourage auto commuting and encourage mass transit with the bicycle providing the proverbial ‘last mile’ connection between work, home, and transit.
Where Are We Now?
Three years ago our Traffic & Parking Commission created an ad-hoc Bike Plan Update committee to make some changes. But a go-slow approach and pro-motor bias means that the commission and the Public Works department have failed to deliver on a single bike-related improvement to date. Three years! Our streets remain as perilous as ever.
By generating attention to the safety hazards of cycling in Beverly Hills we hope to highlight the challenges of simply choosing to ride a bicycle. We also hope to collect your best ideas for making our streets safer. Do you have any suggestions? Let us know.