Will Rush Hour Trains Be the Next Bike Battleground?




Crowded Bike Racks Below Metro HQ. Picture Taken at 9:00 A.M.

It is long standing of Los Angeles MTA to not allow bikes on trains from 6:30-8:30 every morning and 4:30 to 6:30 every evening. However, the law is never enforced and when I’ve asked LA County Sheriffs checking tickets on trains about it, they say they don’t know what I’m talking about.

If rumors are to be believed, all that might soon change. Last week during the Metro Board meeting I was pulled aside not once, but twice, to be warned that Metro would soon begin enforcing the peak hour restriction. That this ban is on the books at all sends a confusing message, after all wasn’t it just last month Metro was encouraging people to bike to work and offering free rides for a day?

Conversely, enforcing this ban, especially since many Metro facilities still don’t have adequate bike parking, is a great way to discourage cyclists from taking Metro in a time when people are flocking to bikes and transit because the financial cost of driving is too high.

While I’ve been unable to get a confirmation through an official channel about enforcing the ban, the rumor has spread among cyclists throughout the county.

With renewed focus on their bike policies Metro has done nothing to squelch the rumor. Instead, spokesman David Sotero tells the Bottleneck Blog that cyclists should just get a folding bike. Folding bikes are exempted from the as yet unenforced ban.

LA City Council President Eric Garcetti introduced a motion asking Metro to get rid of the ban altogether last week. Garcetti’s staff denies the motion is a response to the rumor. Because several of his office staff bike to work on a regular basis, it’s not a surprise when bike friendly legislation comes out of his office.

Unfortunately, Garcetti doesn’t have any authority over the actions at Metro. Of course, there is one city official who’s about to have a lot of say in how Metro does business. Maybe at the next Metro Board meeting cyclists will get the chance to tell them how they feel.

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