Council Takes Aim at LA’s Bike Licensing Program

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(Editor’s Note: This is the second in a five part series examining the five bike-related items on this Friday’s City Council Transportation Committee Agenda.  The first piece looked at the city’s bike sharing program while the second discussed the Bike Rider’s Bill of Rights
If you want to join a group of cyclists traveling to the meeting, meet
at the Red Line Stop at Santa Monica and Vermont Boulevards at noon this Friday.)

Late last summer, the LAPD began sporadically enforcing a city requirement that all bicycles be licensed.  There was an outcry from some sectors of the bike community as most people weren’t aware they needed to have a bike licensed and many others found police stations unable to provide those licenses.

On Friday, as part of their Bike Themed-Council Meeting, the city council will start getting some answers that cyclists have been looking for.   A resolution, sponsored by Council Members Ed Reyes and Dan Ruiz, notes that the LAPD had declared bike licensing defunct in March of 2007 and demands to know why the LAPD has decided to enforce the program while only giving out licenses at two police stations.

According the a March 29, 2007 report from the Department of
Transportation, the City’s bicycle license program is nearly defunct
due to scarce resources. Bicycle licenses are sold intermittently by
some local police stations and a few bicycle dealers who purchase them
from the Office of Finance. Unfortunately, many LAPD divisions are
unable to sell licenses at the station counters due to the high volume
of other critical police duties.

While waiting for the City Council, some riders have taken matters into their own hands, organizing large group rides to the Downtown District headquarters to get licenses en masse.  While the district was able to sell as many licenses as were needed that evening, they weren’t happy to have their front desk area over run with people seeking to protect themselves from harrassment should they be caught without a certain sticker on their bike.  Shortly thereafter, the District ran out of licenses for nearly two weeks.

As before, any comments left below will be worked into testimony I will deliver at the hearing.

Photo: KIDD 240/Flickr via marino at Midnight Ridazz

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