Tag Archive for bike licensing

Northridge West NC tables ridiculous $150 licensing proposal after no one speaks in favor of it

L.A. Bicycle Advisory Vice Chair Glenn Bailey reports on the absurdly punitive proposal to charge cyclists a $150 annual licensing fee, which was tabled on a technicality in the middle of debate at last night’s Northridge West Neighborhood Council meeting.

According to Bailey, not one person spoke in favor of the proposal — including the author of the proposal, who was sitting in the audience.

A proposal to charge $150 annual bicycle “license” fee was abruptly tabled last night in the middle of public comment being heard by the Northridge West Neighborhood Council board.

After several cyclist stakeholders made comments strongly opposing the measure, NWNC President Tom Johnson announced the item would be tabled because “the motion needs to be presented by a Board member” and that it was an “oversight” that it was placed on the agenda.  Johnson asked the remaining speakers to “save it for a month” but that was objected to and comments continued.

Residents, stakeholders, and cyclists unanimously spoke against the proposal, listed on the agenda as 13v. Motion: NWNC Requests LA City to Encourage Bicycle Violator Citations and Reinstitute Bicycle Licensing (Bicycle license fees must be at least $150 per year to reflect their shared responsibility for the cost of maintaining the roads and their safe use).

The measure was repeatedly called “ridiculous” in that it would “become a barrier” to cycling and thereby hurt public health and the environment.

Glenn Bailey, vice-chair of the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee reviewed the reasons the City repealed its previous licensing ordinance two years ago and told the board that “we should be encouraging, not discouraging, cycling.”

He asked the board not to “waste any more of our time” by giving any further consideration to the proposal, which speakers pointed out was in violation of the California Vehicle Code.

NWNC stakeholder Ron Wengler, whose name was on the agenda as proposing the motion, was in the audience but did not speak in favor of the item.  In fact, no one did.

The 93 Neighborhood Councils in the City of Los Angeles are advisory bodies established under the City Charter and are governed by boards elected by the stakeholders within the boundaries of each NC.

Although many emails were sent prior to the meeting, additional comments may be directed to all NWNC board members by emailing board@northridgewest.org

As Glenn points out, the proposal is ridiculous — and illegal — on its face, and should be dead on arrival, with no attempt to revive it at the next meeting.

And writing for Cyclelicious, Richard Masoner artfully eviscerates Wengler’s proposal, and warns him to be careful what he wishes for, because he just might get it.

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?

An open letter to the Santa Monica City Council on bike licensing

Santa Monica has made great strides recently in its effort to become one of Southern California’s leading bike-friendly cities. Something that has been recognized by a bronze level award from the League of American Bicyclists.

But for every step you take forward, your city seems to take an equal step back.

While the city experiments with sharrows, it continues to list Lincoln Blvd as a Class III bike route, enticing cyclists to ride a dangerous street far beyond the ability of most riders. And one that even most skilled riders usually prefer to avoid.

Santa Monica offers one of the nation’s most popular bike paths along the beach, yet fails to provide adequate signage or enforce restrictions on bike-only sections, rendering it virtually unridable much of the year.

You ban riding on sidewalks, going so far as to ticket school students who choose the sidewalk over cycling on busy streets they — and their parents — consider too dangerous to ride. Yet you fail to adequately inform cyclists of that ban in most parts of the city, turning much of Santa Monica into the cycling equivalent of a speed trap as less-informed cyclists and out-of-town visitors are subject to a law they don’t even know exists.

Yes, ignorance of the law is no excuse. But there also needs to be an adequate effort to inform the public so it’s possible to obey the law.

That also applies to bike licensing.

As you have recently become aware, Santa Monica has long violated state law by imposing a penalty for failure to license that goes far beyond the maximum $10 fine allowed by law.

While the expressed purpose of bike registration is to create a database to facilitate the identification and return of stolen bikes, it has more often been used as a bludgeon to penalize cyclists when police are unable to find other violations — just as it has been in Long Beach and Los Angeles, until L.A. wisely repealed its licensing requirement.

It is also ineffective, in part because the law is difficult to enforce and many, if not most, cyclists are unaware of its existence. In addition, an isolated, citywide registration is meaningless in today’s modern age, when thieves can sell bikes online or simply cross city limits to a different jurisdiction where the Santa Monica licensing law does not apply.

If the program is effective, the SMPD should be able to provide detailed statistics on the number of lost and stolen bikes recovered through the city’s registration database. If they can’t, it should be considered prima facie evidence of its ineffectiveness.

There are also better and more effective alternatives. Both Bike Revolution and the National Bike Registry offer cyclists the ability to register their bikes for free, while offering non-removable registration tags at an affordable price. They also offer the advantage of a database that goes far beyond city limits to identify a stolen bike anywhere it might be found or sold.

I’m sure either would be more than happy to work with your city to establish a more effective, voluntary registration program at little or no cost to the city — and could even bring money into the city coffers through the sale of registration stickers. Or better yet, you could work with the City and County of Los Angeles and other cities within the area to establish a regional program that would protect any bike stolen within the greater L.A. metro area.

Finally, the existing licensing requirement gives cyclists a reason to avoid your city, as many riders are familiar with anecdotal reports of cyclists simply passing through being ticketed for failure to license their bikes in Santa Monica, even though state law expressly prohibits ticketing cyclists from other jurisdictions. More than a few cyclists have been known to carry a copy of the state law with them when they ride through the city in case they get stopped by a police officer for whatever reason.

I therefore urge you to immediately repeal the unfair and ineffective bike licensing program, and demonstrate that you are serious about reaching the next level of bike-friendliness.

Or simply being deserving of the one you already have.

Sincerely,

Ted Rogers
BikingInLA.com

The licensing requirement is schedule to be discussed at today’s Santa Monica City Council meeting at Santa Monica City Hall, 1685 Main Street. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 pm, item 7B on the agenda. Learn more at Gary Rides Bikes, Bikeside LA, Santa Monica Spoke and the Scandal in Santa Monica Facebook page.

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