Greening too much of a good thing, council finds 

Hermosa Beach has installed bike racks on the sand side of The Strand wall to accommodate bike riding beach goers. Photo by Kevin  Cody

by Kevin Cody

During a party last month for Hermosa’s newly elected council members, a Strand resident complained to Police Chief Paul LeBaron that e-bikes riders speeding on The Strand aren’t being cited. “Not true,” another Strand resident who overheard the remark said. He complained he had recently been cited.

E-bikes are perceived as both liberating (free parking, anywhere), and a menace (10-year-olds riding two to a bike, with no helmets, blowing through stop signs).

Chief LeBaron acknowledges e-bikes, because of their speed, are more dangerous than pedal bikes. But during a December 13 report to the city council, he said data shows e-bikes to be less dangerous than popularly perceived. 

Of the 15 bike accidents reported through October of this year, only four involved e-bikes. None of the four resulted in serious injury, he said.

Their growing popularity is evident from the fact that there are more Hermosa shops selling e-bikes than there are selling surfboards.

To address e-bike problems, real and perceived, the city launched Bike Smart Hermosa in November. The campaign enlists three E’s to encourage bike safety– education, enforcement and engineering.

If nothing else, the program should end complaints about e-bikes speeding on The Strand. The engineering leg of Bike Smart Hermosa calls for barriers on The Strand at 11th and 14th streets that will force riders to stop and walk. 

Electric car charge back

Hermosa Beach’s effort to combat climate change by encouraging residents to drive electric vehicles became a victim of its own success in 2022.

For the past decade, the city has offered electric vehicle owners free charging at city charging stations, free parking at most parking meters, and free residential parking permits. In November the council voted to eliminate the incentives.

The Council consensus at the November 29 council meeting was that rising gas prices, and declining electric vehicle costs have made the electric vehicle incentives unnecessary. 

Today, 1,100 of the 13,500 vehicles (8 percent) registered in Hermosa Beach are electric, according to a report prepared for the council by Enviornmenal Programs Manager Doug Krauss. Statewide, electric vehicles represent 18 percent of new car sales, (versus six percent nationwide, and 80 percent in Norway).

Krauss’s report estimated that allowing free charging for the city’s 409 privately owned electric vehicles at the city’s 39 public charging stations cost the city $70,000 last year. The report estimated the free residential parking permits cost the city $16,360 last year. ER

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