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LAPD still giving out tickets for suspended bike license law

March 23, 2009 in Biking in LA, Law

Remember back in January when when the City Council suspended the bike license program after LAPD Chief Bratton recommended discontinuing the program all together? You might recall that since the program was suspended and no more licenses are being issued, the Chief issued a moratorium on the law until and can be officially removed. Well, turns out some officers don’t seem to care about that.

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This photo shows LA cyclist Alex Thompson being handcuffed Saturday night for, get ready for this, walking in a cross walk while there is a red hand showing. He was in cuffs for 20 minutes, but he wasn’t trying to cross when they grabbed him. He was trying to take a photo of another cyclist who was being cited by Officer Schube for not having a bike license. More details on West Side Bike Side -as you can imagine this one will be going to court. On the list of the worst people in the city to give a bike license citation to, the people who were actively involved with getting the law suspended 3 months prior are probably towards the top of the list. This one is going to be interesting…

[Photo of Alex Thompson in cuffs by Gary Se7en, used with permission]

City Council suspends bicycle license program

January 27, 2009 in Biking in LA, Law Enforcement

Following Police Chief William Bratton’s recommendation to discontinue the bicycle licensing program, our fine City Council voted unanimously today to suspend the program and, most importantly, the LAPD’s bizarre enforcement of it.

The LA County Bicycle Coalition has a post up about the news. And all I have to say is this:

Hallelujah.

LAPD Chief Recommends Discontinuing Bike License Program

January 9, 2009 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.

You can read the full report here. (pdf)