Beverly Hills Commemorates…

Better Bike Beverly Hills has been kicking around the halls of the Civic Center and city email inboxes since last summer. We’ve patiently suggested to whomever would listen that it’s time to plan for bikes because the bike’s time has come. Sky-high oil prices, increasing rates for car insurance, clogged roads, etc. are all good reasons to seek alternatives.

Mostly our suggestions are met with patient courtesy as befits a small town, but too often they are tacitly sloughed off – perhaps as befits a town nevertheless characterized by very low levels of civic engagement and participation. Officials, then, seem to know that most stakeholder demands have such a brief half-life that they would surprise even a particle physicist.

Bike to Work Month Proclamation documentBut we’ve been on the job for better than a half-year with a consistent message and we seem not to go away. On the contrary, we just show up at yet another city meeting with our complaints in hand.

That’s why it’s so surprising that in all our contacts up and down the civic ladder, not a single city soul has mentioned that Beverly Hills commemorated National Bike Month back in 2009.

I myself wouldn’t have believed it had not cycling advocate and instructor Ron Durgin, of the Sustainable Streets organization, sent me what may be the only surviving image of the actual proclamation.

The proclamation recognizes the contribution of the bicycle to American life; notes the health and environmental benefits of cycling; and even heralds the importance of bike safety education. Yet like the City Council commemorations, the moment passed and what we’re left with is an embossed document. Or perhaps only an image of one.

One has to wonder, given the signatures of the Mayor, Vice Mayor, and the three other City Council members, why the city is so slow to take up the cycling cause then.

Beverly Hills sure knows how to proclaim Bike Month….even if the political will has not coalesced to substantively support the sentiment with the necessary facilities and programs.