January 9, 2009 at 2:47 pm in Biking in LA
(Ok, so this is my first “real” post).
Damien over at Streetsblog just broke the news that, thankfully, Police Chief William Bratton has recommended that the LAPD discontinue our fractured bicycle license program and the stilted enforcement of it that has followed.
In the chief’s own words:
I recommend that we follow other large municipalities and discontinue our bicycle licensing program. Additionally, I have directed that Emergency Operations Division develop correspondence implementing an immediate moratorium on the enforcement of Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) section 26.01 requiring that all bicycles within the City be licensed. It is important to note that per Information and Communications Services Bureau, they were only able to identify five such citations issued by Department personnel. If this recommendation is approved, the Department will move forward with eliminating the City’s bicycle licensing
requirement (LAMC section 26.01).
As someone who spent nearly two weeks trying to get a bike license after I saw my fellow riders get slammed with fairly expensive tickets for not having one, I am elated that our police chief is finally making some much-needed sense. The tickets, which carried a fine of $160, became a new department priority back in August and I was personally a witness to the absurdity of the ticket process on a Midnight Ridazz ride, where ridazz were harassed for not having licenses.
Since that incident, I was once pulled over by an LAPD officer and asked to show my bike license. (No, seriously. Seriously.) Of course, I’d already been to the Parker Center downtown in Skid Row Central Division three times before that and managed to finally catch the department prepared the third time. (Yes, you read that right. Two previous times I’d tried to obey the law and license my bike and the Parker Center simply did not have a single license to give out. !!!!!!!!!!!)
If the system were more organized, available online, available everyday, available at every police station, and wasn’t used to harass riders, I might support it. But it was enforced without logic and without public safety in mind.
If the department does discontinue the program: Good riddance.