Bicyclists Ride for Justice, Chief Beck Hears All About ItFebruary 24, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 2 Comments
Tags: Anti-Harassment, bike rides, Collisons, lapd
This afternoon, bicyclists rode to City Hall to speak out against the unending number of hit-and-run incidents involving bicycle riders occurring across Los Angeles. Specifically they met in East Hollywood to ride the route that Ed Magos, an East Hollywood Neighborhood Councilmember and recent victim of a hit-and-run, would normally ride on any day heading to work Downtown. The ride stopped to point out the very location where Ed was struck and passed the places where several other bicyclists on the ride had been involved in what seems to be a right of passage for your average bicyclist in LA—incidents of harassment, hit-and-runs, and other absurdities of the dangerous streets most people casually brush off as accidents.
Arriving at City Hall, the afternoon’s Transportation Committee was scheduled for full Council Chambers in anticipation of the large bicyclist presence to speak with Chief Beck. As is usual at T-Committe meetings these days, the bicycle related agenda item was moved to the top of the list, and Chief Beck took the stage.
The Chief immediately jumped in with an impressive nod towards informing his entire police department to the “ever increasing” role of bicycles as a vital form of transportation in this City. Flanked by Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger, Chief Beck dropped the fact that he has spoken directly to the City Attorney’s office who will be reopening Ed Magos’ case to give it a second look.
“We hear you, we know that we can do a better job for you, we will do a better job for you,” the Chief declared. As evidence of inroads made toward this goal, the Chief pointed out his appointment of Commander David Doan as the LAPD’s liaison to the newly created Bicycle Task Force. The Chief spoke to a culture change underway here in Los Angeles, “a good culture change” in his words, capping what was quickly turning into a preach to the choir. “But!” Chief Beck reminded, “don’t just listen to what I say, watch what I do,” braodcasting an open call for bicyclists to keep on Chief Beck and his department about their commitment to improvements.
The floor was then opened to the bicyclists. Stephen Box came forth to speak and was commended by Chief Beck for his leadership in working with the LAPD on the issue of cyclists rights. LACBC’s Aurisha Smolarski engaged in a direct question and answer with the Chief, getting him to state that an internal document aimed at educating individual officers is nearing completion and will go before the Bicycle Task Force before it’s made official. Colin Bogart read a piece submitted by Ed Magos, who’s recovering but still unable to ride. Roadblock began a string of questions on how to advance the likelihood for prosecution of hit-and-runs, which eventually lead to a pointed back and forth with the present Deputy City Attorney.
Councilmember Rosendahl asked the Chief a number of questions, key among them one which stemmed from a conversation had with Stephen Box. A concern has been developing over a potential disconnect between the Chief’s staff on the tenth floor and the boots on the street. The Chief reiterated his commitment to educating his uniformed resources, to which Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger spoke about both his background and interest in maintaining a connection between bicyclists and LAPD (it was Chief Paysinger who initiated the LAPD’s bike-cop program).
It was a good afternoon for bicyclists, speaking directly to and interacting positively with the Chief of Police. If we can keep up on these kinds of actions, change on the streets of LA is bound to happen.