Update: Santa Monica takes a big step forward in becoming truly bike friendly

Yesterday, I saw the blue screen of death.

No matter what I tried — and as an experienced Apple Computer user, I tried everything —I couldn’t revive my laptop. Then suddenly, on its own, it came back to life after being dead for over two hours.

I can only assume that my computer is now among the silicon undead. And that this is the beginning of the long-dreaded Mac zombie apocalypse, as hordes of hip, user-friendly computers will soon by crawling through the streets in search of brains.

Or maybe processors.

So while I spent my evening in the local Apple Store, where my Mac inexplicably got a clean bill of health, other cyclists were storming Santa Monica City Hall to protest a bike licensing law that had been used more as a punishment for cyclists than as a means of recovering lost or stolen bikes. And with a penalty that far exceeded the $10 maximum allowed by state law.

By all accounts, they were remarkably successful.

According to LACBC-associate Santa Monica Spoke, the council voted to continue the current bike licensing program on a free, voluntary basis — which means no one, resident or not, will get a ticket for not having a license.

And that, as Gary points out, neither he nor anyone else will be a criminal any more.

The city will also work with cyclists to establish an alternative registration program that is more focused on actually recovering bikes — and preventing theft to begin with. Ideally, they would work with the LAPD and City of Los Angeles, as well as the county and other cities in the area to come up with a regional solution, since bike thieves seldom confine themselves to a single jurisdiction.

Spoke and UCLA Bicycle Academy member Dr. Michael Cahn offered a detailed report on last night’s meeting.

Tonight the Santa Monica City Council voted unanimously to discontinue the Bicycle License Ordinance, to allow free registration for an interim period until staff develops an alternative plan (based on collaboration with SMPD and Bicycle Community) on how to do the right thing: to facilitate return of lost bikes and reduce theft. YEAH!

Great outcome, much shaking of hands and expressions of good intentions. Speakers tonight were Richard McKinnon, Michael Brodski, Gary Kavanagh, “Per Se,” and myself. Councilor Kevin McKeown reported on his romantic childhood attachment to bicycle licenses, and it transpired during the meeting that evidently for some years in the past he must have been one of the very few owners of a valid license. Mayor Bloom told the story how he bought a bike at a police auction for 2 dollars when he was so small that the auctioneer could not see his raised hand, being just a little boy.

Thanks everybody for making this possible! A great foundation for our future work as SPOKE. Thanks to everybody, bloggers, speakers, email writers, well wishers, and meeting room searchers ! The city council has heard us and extended us a hand. Now we need to grasp this hand and move along. Calmly and determined.

Watch it tomorrow by clicking here, (select agenda item 7B).

Well done Santa Monica Spoke, well done everybody!

Let me add my own thanks to everyone involved in getting this law changed, including the Spoke’s Cynthia Rose and Bikeside’s Mihai Peteu, both of whom are rapidly climbing the list of the area’s leading bike activists.

And thanks the officials in Santa Monica, who came to the meeting with an open mind and clearly listened to the concerns of cyclists.

And that, in my book, is the single most important feature of any bike-friendly city.


Another day, another front in the battle to make the coastal area friendlier to bike riders and other humans, as LADOT and the LACBC make the case for a road diet to transform Venice’s Main Street in a more Complete Street that will benefit everyone, as opposed to just cut-through drivers. Both groups will present to the Venice Neighborhood Council tonight in an effort to get everyone onboard and avoid the silly and unnecessary controversy that followed the Valley’s Wilbur Ave road diet. Cyclists are urged to attend to show your support; the meeting begins at 7 pm in the auditorium of the Westminster Elementary School, 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice.


Lance Armstrong remains confident and defiant despite a grand jury investigation into allegations of doping on his semi-federally funded U.S. Postal Team; on the other hand, it’s hard to make the argument that he defrauded the government when it spent $32 million in sponsorship but received over $100 million in value? A UCI committee member calls for a 2-year ban for TdF champ Alberto Contador. And Floyd “I was lying then but I’m telling the truth now, really” Landis calls it a day.


LADOT’s Bike Program launches Twitter and Facebook accounts. A 70-year old cyclist was seriously injured when he was hit by a car in Arcadia. Last week, someone wrote me looking for a bike to rent; next time, I might have a better suggestion. Hearings for the South Bay Bike Plan continue this week, including tonight in Hermosa Beach. Cyclists argue for Class 1 bike paths on the rebuilt Gerald Desmond bridge. The Claremont Cyclist notes the 40th anniversary of the death of Ireland’s first great international cycling champ. Where else can you bike and ride the rails to the slopes? Sonoma confronts the classic battle of bike lanes verses parking. A Martinez CA judge denies a defense request to exclude vital evidence against a driver charged with the hit-and-run homicide of a local cyclist. Response to the Levi’s GranFondo was so great, it crashed the servers on the first day of registration. Ross del Duca — author of one of California’s best bike blogs — adds his own thoughts on bike licensing.

Elly Blue asks what it means to ride responsibly. You may be insured on your bike after all. The makers of a new brake pad promise an end to endos. Lane markings can warn cyclists while also welcoming us to the road. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords spent her last night before the shooting on her bike. An Oregon state legislator survives the slings and arrows of bike activists after calling for a ban on carrying children in, on or around a bike. Washington continues to move forward with Vulnerable User and Complete Streets laws. Virginia’s proposed reckless cycling law could be ripe for abuse. An NYC councilman says cyclists brought his licensing proposal on themselves, while the anti-bike debate goes on. One of the astronauts scheduled for next month’s space shuttle flight is injured in a bike accident. Why you should be proud to ride like a girl.

An Ottawa cyclist says if bike lanes ghettoize cyclists, then by all means, ghettoize her. A 67-year old Gloucestershire cyclist is killed when she’s hit by a van & trailer while on a club ride. Aussie cyclist Amber Halliday is critically injured after crashing in a Down Under tour women’s crit.

Finally, at least one car manufacturer gets it, as Kia says why own the road when you can share it?


  1. “…one of California’s best bike blogs…”

    Wow – thanks a ton! Guess I better live up to that reputation now 😉

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Santa Monica Dude, Ted Rogers. Ted Rogers said: Santa Monica earns its bike-friendly status by dismantling an unfair and illegal bike licensing requirement: http://bit.ly/dO90kt #bikeLA […]

  3. […] January 18, 2011 Examined Spoke Leave a comment Go to comments Santa Monica’s repeal of its bicycle licensing ordinance last night prompted me to look at the rules for Beverly Hills, […]

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