Just Another Sunday Morning in Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills car crash

Except it’s like so many other days in Beverly Hills: a violent crash on local streets. Just like the previous Thursday.

Beverly Hills car crash

One wag asked in the comments over at the department’s Instagram, “Why is everyone hauling ass and crashing in BH?”

That’s a great question! It is a question we’ve asked time and again of our Traffic & Parking commission and police department officials. Why can’t the department enforce our traffic laws? Read our memo to the commission about traffic safety in Beverly Hills. Consider the longtime decline in enforcement. Then ponder some more crashes as seen through the BHPD lens.

Beverly Hills car crash

Beverly Hills car crash

Beverly Hills car crash

Beverly Hills car crash

Beverly Hills car crash

Beverly Hills car crash

Beverly Hills car crash

Beverly Hills car crash

Beverly Hills car crash

Beverly Hills car crash

Not one of these Beverly Hills Police Department Instagram posts came with the standard police advisory: “Slow down, speed kills.”

Qataris Behaving Badly? Let’s Focus on the Homegrown ‘Sheikhs’

Qatari scofflaw and his Ferrari

The infamous Qatari scofflaw and his Ferrari as ‘captured’ by Adam Bornstein.

What’s more ridiculous than wasting ink on the now-departed Qatari sheikh who hot-rodded around Beverly Hills this August? The fact that no ink is spilled about everyday reckless driving tolerated by city policymakers and police officials. Forget Mideast sheikhs behaving badly in their Ferraris and such; we’re got a homegrown haute bourgeoisie who feel entitled to spin around at high speeds on quiet residential streets in off-the-shelf sports cars. And they garner nary a glance from the cops. For come sunset, there is no traffic enforcement in Beverly Hills. Continue reading

Hazardous Intersections That Need a Safety Upgrade TODAY

Crossing guard on Wilshire at Santa Monica Blvd

According to BHPD, at this 9th most dangerous intersection in Beverly Hills you take your life into your hands. Better to cross with a crossing guard!

A couple of weeks ago we reported on a genius LA Times interactive called Walking in L.A. that mapped 817 of the “most dangerous” intersections in the county. As we noted with no surprise, several of most dangerous county intersections (and clusters) are right here in Beverly Hills. Despite the long histories of crashes, not one of them has been made more safe. City of Los Angeles several years ago acknowledged the problem, though, with a plan to stripe 53 problematic crossings for high visibility. Three years later, KPCC asks listeners, Are there others in need of a fix? Continue reading

BH Traffic Report for 2013: Little Progress on Road Safety

Traffic report thumbnailWhen we learned that Office of Traffic Safety ranked Beverly Hills worst among small cities for bike and pedestrian safety, we wanted to deep-dive the data* to understand how our city could do more to make streets safe. After digging into collision and enforcement data we come to the conclusion that city officials aren’t even trying to improve our low standing. The 36 bike-involved collision injuries reported to police last year even exceeds our 5-year annual average.  Shouldn’t we be making progress in reducing the harm? Continue reading

Beverly Hills: The Most Dangerous Little City in California

To read the Beverly Hills vision statement is to get a sense of the high regard in which civic leaders hold our city. “Beverly Hills offers the highest quality of life achievable,” we are assured. Our “world-class community” is known for “leading edge” thinking and “innovative” government. Those “alluring and distinctive hotels, retail stores, restaurants, and entertainment” make us exceptional. But Beverly Hills is exceptional in another way too: we’re the most dangerous little city in California. Continue reading

Victoria Chin’s Day in Court: Anticlimactic

Livingston's BikeOn 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. Continue reading

Beverly HIlls 2012 Log: Collisions Hold Steady, Enforcement Declines

chart of BH traffic data for 2012

Injury collisions hold steady while enforcement takes a nosedive.

Beverly Hills Traffic & Parking Commission received their usual monthly update from the Police department last week. According to last year’s data, injury collisions in Beverly Hills have held steady throughout 2012 with monthly fluctuation. But steady nonetheless. Police enforcement shows a decline throughout the year in three of four citation categories, however, and they seem to take a curious dip at the height of the summer in June (reference the light grey behind the trendlines). They also dip during the holiday season. While a decrease in collisions suggest less traffic on December roads, and possibly fewer violators, what could explain the sudden rise in citations so early in the year?

Getting Right with the Law: BHPD Pay Attention!

We follow up on our recent discussion about new laws signed by Governor Brown with a look at how our existing laws are sometimes mistakenly interpreted by law enforcement professionals. Beat officers don’t always have an intimate knowledge of every corner of the vehicular code, and perhaps those sections that do apply to those who choose to bicycle may not get a frequent workout. The problem is that when they do get a workout often it is to the disadvantage of those cited. Sometimes clearly biased or vindictive action by an officer that raises hackles. More often it’s simply unfamiliarity with the nuance of the code. Whatever the cause, the burden of proof is on the poor soul who is cited. It pays to know the state laws and local ordinances! Continue reading

Let’s Make Safe Passing a Reality Here Too!

State safe passing laws map

Courtesy the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Let’s return to our recent post about the National Conference of State Legislatures analysis of safe passing laws across our 50 states (and the District of Columbia). Their survey of legislation showed that nationwide our laws vary considerably to create a patchwork of protections (as reflected in the map). Coming out near bottom is our very own State of California with no 3-foot passing law and only a general ‘due care’ provision on the books. We can do better! Let’s take a look at some of the states that do better as we look ahead to safer streets for cyclists. Continue reading

When Riding to the Right is Not Practicable

Santa Monica Boulevard pavement irregularities

Have a look at Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills. This corridor presents every kind of challenge to the cyclist, including poorly striped intersections and the occasional sheared-off lamppost  waiting to impale a rider gone astray. This road varies in width, is crossed by many streets, bears heavy traffic (50,000/day) and is plied by several bus lines. And yet the poor cyclist also has to dodge grates, broken pavement and potholes.

Breaking News: Worst of SM Blvd. Gets a Touch-up

Santa Monica Boulevard pavement irregularities

Though Beverly Hills Dept. of Public Works has been adamant over the past year about NOT fixing Santa Monica Boulevard until fully reconstructed (sometime in 2015), the corridor got some much-needed care when a crew came out today to lay down some new blacktop. Regular riders remember how the hazards compromise travel for them while offering motorists a nice ride (at right). Finally cyclists may enjoy this segment too. And it’s gratifying to see something finally happen here after hearing no, no, no to our pleas for help. Perhaps it comes just in time to prevent a car-bike collision, but not too soon for the pileup just last week on this spot after a westbound driver braked hard upon approaching … Continue reading

Beverly Hills CCTV Network: Your Collision Black Box

CCTV cameras in Beverly Hills

We’ve just received a map of Beverly Hills CCTV cameras. These are very high-def cameras posted at key intersections and they come in very handy if you’re seeking visual evidence after a collision with a motorist. Take a look at this growing network of cameras! The data is retained for 6-9 months and is available via public records request. So don’t be shy: when you’ve been harassed or struck in the vicinity of one of these eyes-in-the-sky, don’t hesitate to chase down the tape!

Summer is a Time to Ride, a Time to Crash

bike jump

Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day holidays are the traditional signposts of summer. Each respectively marks a change in the national mood, from optimism at the opening of the season, then the high point of leisure & recreation, and finally that abrupt return to our regular rhythms. But each is a reminder to causal riders and committed cyclists alike that it’s time to get out and ride. These long days and warm nights of summer are made for cycling whether to the grocery or the beach or simply to run that errand in town. But Summer is also the season when America’s favorite pastime is more likely to result in bike-related injuries. Let’s take a look at the trends.

Update on our Motorist Battery Case

BHPD logo

We now mark 13 weeks since we provided the BHPD with an accurate plate # in a harassment, threat and battery case. Two weeks ago we looked at mug shots. If you file a traffic-related collision or batter report with BHPD, please let Better Bike know! < That was our original post. Now we have an update on our attempt to hold a hostile motorist accountable, but unfortunately to no satisfactory resolution. Read on!

Never Say Accident


A recent story on fed investment in bike facilities from Public Radio International repeated the canard that “accidents” keep people from cycling. If carelessness, negligence, depravity reign, a collision owing to reckless operation of a motor vehicle is not an “accident” so let’s not call it one.