LAPD Chief Recommends Discontinuing Bike License Program

(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)

9 thoughts on “LAPD Chief Recommends Discontinuing Bike License Program”

  1. No problem. It wouldn’t surprise me if the cops had done a FAIL in directing you to Parker Center since there was so much major cluelessness about the program on their part. I count myself lucky in that both times I visited Central — once to license my road bike and next my single speeder — I came away with licenses.

  2. Good News indeed. Bratton is an amazingly senseable administrator when compared to his predecessors. We’re lucky he’s in charge, and not the dopes that directed the enforcement of the fabled and rarefied California bike license.

  3. Nice to see them save a couple of bucks for the bikers in our midst. More importantly the hassle and fines if you forget they are due. Every now and then cooler heads prevail.

    I wonder if City Hall agrees as thats a few pennies out of the revenue stream. Given Joz’s post on increased parking fees to help bolster the general fund I’d hope they’d let it go too.

  4. David, that’s a huge problem too. The department was actively enforcing a law that had previously been ignored and doing so without doing the slightest bit of education on behalf of the citizens. If they hadn’t harassed the Midnight Ridazz en masse, we wouldn’t have found out so soon. Even after the public demonstrations began, they STILL didn’t do a single thing to notify the citizens of LA that this law was being enforced.

    I imagine they didn’t because then people might actually get bike licenses and they wouldn’t be able to hand out tickets. :)

  5. When in finally ponied up the big cash to buy a serious bike, I looked into licensing it and my local station was so useless I figured the LAPD didn’t even do this anymore. They better discontinue ticketing folks for not having a licensed bike ASAP, or the LAPD is gonna get the pants sued off of the City (the LAPD does not have to pay its own legal bills, unlike every other City department – when they fuck up, everyone else pays).

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