Breaking News: LAPD Recommends Discontinuing Bike License Program

In a report to the City Council, Chief William Bratton of the LAPD recommends to the City Council the discontinuation of the wildly unpopular bicycle licensing programming and announces that the LAPD will no longer enforce bicycle licensing unless the Los Angeles City Council. That the Council would push for the implementation of this program seems unlikely as two councilmembers basically yelled at an LAPD representative to kill the program when the LAPD was still defending it.  The City Council Transportation Committee will hear the LAPD's reccomendations next Wednesday.

However, just to make sure there is no confusion as to the LAPD's intent, here is the exact wording from the report:

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).

Reaction to this afternoon's news has been quick as the Los Angeles County Bike Coalition has already thanked and congratulated everyone involved in getting this law repealed.  Executive Director Jennifer Klausner wrote:

LACBC was very pleased to see the correspondence from LAPD today and we thank all the agencies and individuals involved in conducting the research that lead to this decision.

Over at Midnight Ridazz they are slightly more succinct.  A poster going by i_junes responds to the news by simply posting:

VICTORY!

If you're new to Streetsblog and want to read why everyone is so happy, read on after the jump:

Late in the summer of 2008, Roadblock, one of the organizers for the Midnight Ridazz, was ticketed for not having a properly licensed bicycle while observing the police ticket another rider.  This led to a reaction of both confusion and anger from almost all parts of the disparate bicycle community with some preaching defiance of the law, some anger at the LAPD and many confusion that there was a requirement to have a bike licensed in Los Angeles.

Bike activists and bloggers got to work investigating the law.  What we discovered was the LAPD did indeed have statutory power to ticket people for not having a bike license, but the maximum fine was $10, not the nearly $200 that Roadblock received.  While the cost of getting a license sticker for your bike was only $2 a verhicle, licenses weren't available at most precincts ever and not at consistent hours at the few that did distribute them.  The Midnight Ridazz organized a ride to one of precincts that did license with 50 riders and shortly thereafter, that precinct ran out of licenses.

When the City Council Transportation Committee questioned the police about the program, LAPD Deputy Chief Paysinger seemed confused as to what was happening on the streets.  He came prepared to discuss protecting children's bikes from theft and instead ended up hearing a laundry list of complaints about the program from literally a hundred cyclists.  Councilmen Tom LaBonge and Bill Rosendahl requested that the program be suspended, but Paysinger refused promising to update the program early this year.

And update it they have.  The report, dated December 29, 2008, effectively ends this feud between cyclists and the LAPD.  Hopefully it is the start of a better relationship in the year to come.

Any comments on this story will be printed and handed to the Council Members at Wednesday's hearing.