City Council “Passes” Cyclists Bill of Rights

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Stephen Box Discusses Cyclists Rights at the "Festival of Rights"

It's been an eventful 24 hours for those cyclists engaged in the battle for better recognition of cyclists rights.  Last night was the "Festival of Rights," the third annual protest of the ban on bicycles during the Griffith Park Festival of Lights except on special nights in November.  Today, the Los Angeles City Council gave a partial endorsement of the Cyclists Bill of Rights but will wait for reports from various City Departments before giving a final nod.

The purpose of the yearly yearly civil disobedience at the Festival of Lights is to show that despite the objections from city agencies, cyclists and drivers can share the road and legally the city has no right to bar cyclists from the festival.  Ride organizer Stephen Box wrote to me that most of the cyclists actually followed a police car through their festival on the way home with no issues.

This afternoon, the full City Council took up the Cyclists Bill of Rights, as written by the Bike Writer's Collective and as introduced by Councilman Bill Rosendahl.  Rosendahl read the Bill of Rights into the record, and after a brief Q and A with LADOT Bike Coordinator Michelle Mowery, the Council appeared ready to vote on the adopting the Cyclists Bill of Rights as a guideline for city agencies pending the outcome of the reports of city departments.

However, Councilman Tom LaBonge had some changes he wanted to see.  First, he found the "Third Amendment" which states, "Cyclists have the right to the full support of educated law enforcement."  While he didn't have a problem with the basic idea, he was worried that the language was inflammatory to the local police by implying that they were uneducated.  Mowery spoke to the large amount of laws that fit in the Motor Vehicle Code and that it's nigh impossible to know the entire code.  However, she stated that LADOT is working to continually educate the LAPD about the rights of cyclists.

LaBonge was also worried that children would get the wrong idea about cycling because the document fails to cover the responsibilities of cyclists as well as their rights.  He'll have a chance to edit the document before final passage.  The final document, after being examined by the LAPD, LADOT, Bureau of Street Services, and City Planning, will go through the Transportation Committee, which LaBonge vice-chairs, and Parks Committee, which LaBonge chairs, before heading back to the Council for a final vote.

Photo by Enci