Ridazz Get Registered

Cyclists Gather for a Group Ride in Front of Josef's Flying Pigeon Bike Shop

Bike licensing has become a hot issue in Los Angeles the past two weeks.  For those of you that haven't been following the story, some LAPD stations have decided to start enforcing an obscure law mandating that bicycles be licensed and registered through a state licensing program.  In response to ticketing of riders in the popular group rides, some Midnight Ridazz are organizing rides to LAPD stations on one of the few days every week the Central District station hands out licenses.

Last week Ubrayj02 attended the first of these rides.  He reports that for the most part, things went smoothly.

I arrived at the beleaguered 6th street police station later than I had hoped.

I rode a Flying Pigeon bicycle from my shop in Highland Park, stopping along the way to buy a tres leches cake at a bakery on Avenue 56 and Figueroa St. The bike was going to get licensed, the cake was a gift for the hard-working police who patrol downtown's Skid Row.

The bike made it to the police station in great shape, I wish I could say the same for the cake - which got a little smashed on the ride. The officers at the front desk appreciated the sentiment behind the cake, but didn't want what remained of it after a very bumpy ride in my front basket.
A cluster of fellow Midnight Ridazz were sitting on the steps outside the station. They had come for a variety of reasons.

Stephen Roullier, a regular on Midnight Ridazz rides stated, "I came to show support for the cyclists ticketed by Officer Alavarez on a recent ride through Downtown."

Other riders listed the benefits of having a cheap system of theft recovery, one of whom had his licensed bicycle stolen from him the night before! He hasn't heard anything from the police yet, but he is fairly confident that his bike will turn up eventually due to its having been licensed.

Stephen Box, from the Bike Writers' Collective, was at the police station to see that everything ran smoothly. The police handling the bike licensing were polite, tired, and a little frustrated to have to deal with such an inane request from the 10 bicyclists who showed up, en masse.

One of them asked that we coordinate a mass-licensing through the LAPD's public relations team.

The whole night demonstrated how incredibly silly the mandatory bike license law in Los Angeles is. It wastes the time of our over-taxed police. It wastes the time of citizens who should be, by default, considered lawful users of the road.

The option of bike licensing is great. If the program were uniformly enforced, it could potentially be of some use in reducing bikes lost to theft and generating a bit of money for bicycle projects. It is unlikely that anything like that will take place, judjing from the bags under the desk sargent's weary eyes last night and the multiple ranting homeless men strolling around the station yelling out bizarre proclamations to the yellow street lamps above.

A few of the Registration Ridazz rolled to the Spring Street Smokehouse to watch USC get beaten by Oregon, and to down a few beers and try a slice of the smooshed cake I bought.

Riding my Flying Pigeon home through Chinatown I ran my finger across the bike license's sharp foil edge. wondering if this little stunt was worth it. If it will help bring an end to the selective enforcement of this silly law, or better yet see that mandatory licensing is eliminated, then yes, yes it was worth it.

Photo: Ubrayj02/Flying Pigeon Bicycles