LAPD Chief promises to protect cyclists

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.

5 Replies to “LAPD Chief promises to protect cyclists”

  1. “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.”

    I ask who is going to educate cyclists about traffic laws? To be fair, there a lot of cyclists in LA who blatantly ignore traffic laws and get all worked up when you point this out.

    Just because you are a cyclist doesn’t automatically make you an angel.

  2. I ask who is going to educate drivers about traffic laws? To be fair, there a lot of drivers in LA who blatantly ignore traffic laws and get all worked up when you point this out.

    Everyone on the road ignores some laws at some point. While that is certainly a problem, that isn’t the problem we are talking about here and the two are unrelated. A cyclist running a stop sign does not make it OK for an officer not to follow up on a hit and run because a $2000 bicycle was destroyed but no one was killed. this post is about how the LAPD has been uneducated and unconcerned about cyclists and the new chief realizes that is a problem and wants to fix it.

    But not to completely blow off your comment, most motorists are also uneducated on the traffic law and get all worked up when they try to yell at cyclists for what they think is a violation and are confronted with fact. CA law says cyclists are entitled to full use of the lane, yet most cyclists ride off to the side of the road to allow cars to pass, would you prefer that cyclists follow the letter of the law and take the full lane or would you get all worked up assuming they didn’t know what they were doing?

  3. To answer you question, I would prefer cyclists to use COMMON SENSE. While it is within the law to take the whole lane, common sense should dictate that this isn’t a good idea.

    Having the right of way doesn’t exclude you from doing the right thing.

    Case in point, I see people jaywalking all the time. I have the right of way, so I should just run in to them? Or, use common sense and use caution?

    Just so you know, I am a cyclist and a motorcyclist. I am not some wholier-than-thou Hummer driver that you apparently wish I was.

    LAPD unconcerned? Dude, look at the city around you. They don’t care about a lot more than just cyclists.

  4. So you want cyclists to follow the law, unless you don’t agree with the law, then you want them to follow what you think is common sense. Perfectly logical.

    Actually common sense would dictate that not putting yourself in a situation where cars are speeding past you with inches to spare would be a good idea, which is why the law says take the entire lane, which is safer for cyclist even if it’s more annoying for people in cars. But whatever, you don’t agree so who cares about the law or facts right?

    But again, that isn’t the point of this post. I didn’t ever say there aren’t unreasonable laws and I didn’t ever say there aren’t any other problems in this city for the LAPD to worry about. I said one specific problem that the LAPD has to deal with is now being addressed by them and that is a good thing. You are the one who jumped in here trying to point fingers.

  5. So you want cyclists to follow the law, unless you don’t agree with the law, then you want them to follow what you think is common sense. Perfectly logical.

    What? Now you are putting words in my mouth.

    You know what? Forget I wrote anything. I’m done with you and this elitist blog. Have a great life.

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