In what has to be a first, new LAPD Chief Charlie Back not only listened to a group of cyclists at a transportation committee meeting last night, but agreed with them and promised to better train the officers on the force to help protect cyclists, who he referred to as “our most vulnerable commuters.”
I can’t be the only one completely shocked by this. The LAPD has a long standing history of not only failing to protect but going as far as outright harassing cyclists in this city. As shown in the photo above, last year LAPD officers frequently detained and cited cyclists even after Chief Bratton specifically issued a moratorium on such activities. More recently it’s become clear just how often cyclists are involved with hit and runs in LA and the little follow up work that is done by police. The fact is most officers simply do not know the laws concerning cyclists, and until now had no reason to brush up on them which leads to much of the confusion.
From the LA Times:
Beck’s statements come amid growing complaints from cyclists that their rights are being infringed by drivers. It marks the first time top LAPD brass has publicly addressed the issue.
Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger said the training would include a document that would be included in official department policy outlining officers’ responsibilities in dealing with cyclists on the road. He said it was still unclear what would be in the document but said he hoped to meet with bicycle groups and have it ready within 30 days.
Paysinger also said that in less than 45 days the department would create a computer-based “e-learning” agenda that would be mandatory for all police officers to help them better recognize problems and issues involving cyclists.
This could be a great step for Los Angeles.