Are You Bike-Friendly? Questions for County Sheriff Candidates

April 5, 2014 at 7:54 pm | Posted in Bike News | 1 Comment
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Patch_of_the_Los_Angeles_County_Sheriff's_DepartmentOver the past several years, Los Angeles County has made great strides toward making bicycling a safe and convenient way to travel, connecting diverse communities to make our county more livable, economically vibrant and environmentally sustainable. Elevating us to the next level will require all County agencies working together to make our communities better places to ride a bike. It is our hope that the next sheriff will partner with us to expand education, better target enforcement and improve data collection and reporting to track our county’s progress.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition invites all sheriff candidates to appeal directly to an engaged, thoughtful group of voters–our county’s bicyclists–by responding to the following questionnaire. Our growing list of local chapters spans all five supervisorial districts.

We will post responses to these questions here on our blog and in our weekly newsletter to thousands of voters across the county and region beginning on May 1st and thereafter as additional responses come in.  Please email responses to eric@la-bike.org.

Note: The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and cannot endorse candidates or engage in electioneering on behalf of a candidate. We are offering this questionnaire as a service to candidates to communicate with potential voters for informational purposes only.  All candidates have an equal opportunity to respond and responses will be distributed without bias in the order in which they are received.  If you have any questions, please call our office at (213) 629-2142 x127.

1. As the chief law enforcement officer in the county, the sheriff is an important authority for traffic safety education. What would you do as sheriff to better educate both motorists and bicyclists about the rights and rules governing bicycling?

2. Motor vehicle operators have long enjoyed the option to attend traffic school in lieu of paying a fine. Do you support establishing a similar traffic diversion program for bicycle violations to provide bicyclists with an opportunity to learn the rules of the road and increase their safety?

3. Our members have reported too frequent encounters with sheriff deputies that are unaware of bicyclists’ proper lane position or other traffic laws as they apply to bicyclists, resulting in general distrust of the sheriff’s department in the bicycling community. The LAPD has improved relations and resolved conflicts with the bicycling community by assigning officers to a bicycle liaison program, as well as establishing a Bicycle Task Force made up of senior officers and representatives from bicycling organizations. Do you believe there is a need to improve relations with the bicycling community, and if so, how would you suggest doing it?

4. One of the most common complaints of bike riders is that law enforcement officers sometimes lack a clear understanding of bicycle law, and that enforcement can vary widely from one jurisdiction to another. What, if anything, would you do to ensure every sheriff’s deputy has a good working knowledge of the rights and responsibilities of bicyclists, and that the law is enforced uniformly throughout the county?

5. It was recently revealed that nearly half of all collisions in the City of Los Angeles result in one of the parties fleeing the scene. What steps would you take to improve data collection on traffic crimes and reduce the rate of hit-and-run within your jurisdictions?

6. Bicycles do not respond the same way as motor vehicles do in traffic collisions, and usually leave little forensic evidence at crash scenes; in addition, bicycling victims are often unable to talk to investigators following a serious collision. Do you believe the LASD can improve investigation procedures for traffic collisions involving bike riders, and if so, how?

7. Is there anything else you would like to say to Los Angeles County’s millions of bicyclists?

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1 Comment »

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  1. Thank you for doing this questionnaire. The first question implies a false equivalence between motorists’ ignorance of the law (which endangers others) and bicyclists’ ignorance (which for the most part endangers only themselves, and even that only rarely).


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