LAPD and Critical Mass

September 24, 2010 at 9:15 am | Posted in Bike News | 2 Comments
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LACBC has been part of a Bicycle Task Force that has been meeting regularly with the LAPD to discuss and work on important issues related to bicycle and LAPD relations. We are pleased to say that the relationship has been very positive.

Ever since the incident where an officer was caught on video kicking a cyclist at a Critical Mass ride in May, 2010, the LAPD and the Bicycle Task Force have been discussing how to better the relationship between the LAPD and group rides. We have been educating the LAPD on group ride culture and working on more effective ways to ensure that the group ride is safe and that the relationship is a more harmonious one.

In June, the LAPD facilitated the Critical Mass ride, which proved to be a welcome addition for many riders.  Since LAPD has become involved and attending Critical Mass rides, the numbers of riders has been steadily increasing.

Last week a group of community ride leaders and advocates met with the LAPD to discuss how to better enforce the rules of the road on group rides. On Wednesday evening, the LAPD hosted a press conference where LAPD Chief Beck, Patrick Miller (Midnight Ridazz), Carlos Morales (The Voice) and Glenn Bailey (BAC) announced that despite improved relations between cyclists and LAPD, there are a still some important rules of the road that need to be followed in order to create safer and more enjoyable rides for all.  Behaviors such as riding against traffic (1:35) or inside supermarkets are not acceptable.

At tonight’s Critical Mass ride, LAPD will start to increase enforcement and the Bicycle Tasks Force and LAPD would like to send out this important message:

Please follow the rules of the road, be safe and enjoy yourself.

No Corking – you may be cited
Do Not Run Red Lights
Do Not Create Gridlock – keep intersections clear
Follow the Rules of the Road
Stay to the Right of the Yellow Double Line

Bicycle Awareness and Safety Campaign

August 9, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Posted in Bike News | 9 Comments
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In April of 2010, LACBC launched the Bicycle Awareness Safety Campaign in partnership with Midnight Ridazz, LAPD, the Mayor’s office and LADOT. Phase one of this campaign consisted of creating a bike safety ad that would be posted at bus shelters and Public Amenity Kiosks (PAK) throughout Los Angeles. The public participated in a slogan contest and the winning slogan was chosen by members of Midnight Ridazz, LACBC, LADOT, LAPD and the Mayor’s office. The poster, designed by Geoff McFetridge, has been finalized and should be printed by next week. LACBC and the Mayor’s office are currently organizing a press conference to announce the slogan contest winner and unveil the Bicycle Awareness Safety Campaign poster.

Phase two of the Bicycle Awareness and Safety Campaign will develop an ongoing safety program with the Mayor’s office. We have proposed that the Mayor do a series of bike awareness and safety public service announcements (PSAs) in English and Spanish for television, radio, local newspapers, magazines, and other media outlets. We are also suggesting the Mayor and Chief Beck do a joint anti-harassment PSA.

LACBC is pushing the Mayor’s office to update and create better links to online bicycle resources on various city websites. Currently it is extremely difficult to find bicycle safety and information resources from the main city website, LADOT’s home page, and the LAPD home page. We would like to see links for bicycle resources clearly indicated on the home pages of LADOT, LAPD, and LA City, as well as link from the online 311 search tool.

Our hope for phase three of this campaign will be for the Mayor and Councilmembers to sponsor quarterly bike education and safety courses around the City of Los Angeles. We would like to work with other advocates who have expressed similar ideas to make this as comprehensive a program as possible. In addition, we would like to see the Mayor’s office work with LAPD in establishing a comprehensive system to facilitate reporting bicycle incidents. And finally, LACBC proposes that the Mayor lead a Celebrity Bike Ride in conjunction with the Ciclavia event in October.

Stay tuned for more information on how you can get involved.

How to Make Reports With LAPD

July 13, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Posted in Resources | 12 Comments
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Click to Enlarge

What to Do in Case of a Collision
Make a report regardless of how minor the incident. It is important for LAPD to track all collisions involving cyclists and motorists.
1. Call 911. Remain calm, and don’t move if you’re hurt.
2. Don’t assume you’re not injured; you might have internal injuries.
3. Get the following information from all involved drivers: name, address, phone, license number, plate number, make of car, insurance company and policy number, and visual identification of driver.
4. Get names and phone numbers of all witnesses.
5. Get the police report from the officer at the scene.
6. Write down how the incident happened while it’s still fresh in your mind.
7. Keep or photograph any damaged clothing or equipment.
8. Know your rights under the California Vehicle Code and the local Municipal Code.

What to Do in Case of Harassment
Throwing objects at cyclists, bumping cyclists with cars, specific and unquestionable imminent threats are all considered crimes and reportable to LAPD. Verbal harassment and violations of the vehicle code (passing too closely, improper use of horn) can also be reported.

Email Sergeant David Krumer, LAPD bicycle liaison. He will be able to help guide you.
To get connected to your local precinct, call 1-877-ASK LAPD and they can direct your call.

Injury or no injury?
If there is an injury, regardless of if there is contact, a Traffic report will be completed.
If there is no injury (regardless of contact) there is no report.
If there is an allegation that the driver purposefully struck/attempted to strike the cyclist a crime report will be completed if the elements of the crime are articulated.

No report will be made for violations of the vehicle code or rude comments made by drivers.

What to Do if Your Bike or Bike Parts Get Stolen
You should always make a report for anything stolen from a bike, even if it’s just your chain, or seat. LAPD needs this information to track thefts and to better address the issue.

If the theft is currently happening and the suspect is still at scene:
• Call 911.
• Let them know that the theft is in progress and the suspect is in the area.
If the theft has already occurred:
• Call 911 to take a report,
• or call local precinct to make a report,
• or call 1-877-ASK LAPD.
Things to check: maybe getting your bike back –D.I.Y. style
• Craigslist – you may want to check San Diego and San Francisco listings as well.
• Used bike shops and pawn shops

Critical Mass Ride – A Success

June 30, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Posted in Bike News | 4 Comments
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Friday, June 25th marked a first in LA group ride history, where LAPD joined LA cyclists on a Critical Mass ride.

Cyclists and LAPD met at Wilshire/Western Metro stop, where critical mass has been gathering  for years.  At first there seemed to be a lot of misgivings  and unanswered questions of how LAPD and cyclists would interact on this ride.

It turned out to be a very peaceful and positive experience. Amongst the many hundreds of cyclists, people were expressing appreciation and thanking  LAPD for “corking” or “road guarding.”  There was even a sense of astonishment that the ride was going so well.  LAPD and LA cyclists’ rode along side one another respectfully and having fun, yet not forgetting some of the recent tensions from last month’s Critical Mass event and other past incidents.

The ride started at Wilshire/Western and meandered westward through the streets of LA.  It  stopped at Pan Pacific Park before heading  east, then  down Hollywood Blvd. to end at end at the Farm Fresh Ranch Market parking lot on Hollywood and Western.  As riders, we felt recognized not only by LAPD but by pedestrians and even some motorists.

We would like to thank LAPD for taking initiative and making  such a visual effort to ameliorate the relationship with cyclists.  This means a lot to cyclists, and marks the beginning of what we hope to be a new and respectful relationship between cyclists and LAPD.

Mayor Villaraigosa’s Response to LAPD’s Brutality Against Bicyclists

June 7, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Posted in Bike News | 7 Comments
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Last Friday, we composed a letter to Mayor Villaraigosa and delivered it in person to his office. We called for him to show leadership on the city of Los Angeles’ response to  LAPD brutality caught on video at the May 28 Critical Mass bike ride. What follows is the Mayor’s brief response to our letter, which he asked us to post on our blog:

Bicyclists have every right to use our City streets and to be treated with courtesy and respect—both by drivers and law enforcement.

I fully support LAPD Chief Charlie Beck’s efforts to improve the relationship between cyclists and police officers, and I was very   disappointed  to hear about the confrontation in Hollywood on May 28.

The video from that night is disturbing. The LAPD is conducting a full investigation of this incident, and I have complete confidence in Chief Beck’s commitment to making the City’s streets safe for everyone.

—Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

We invite you to post your comments about this alarming incident, and how you think that the mayor and the city should respond.

The Time is Now for LAPD to Take Its Negative Track Record with Group Rides Seriously

June 1, 2010 at 11:48 am | Posted in Bike News | 5 Comments
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Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger is unhappy about Friday night's happenings, but bicyclists are looking for more from the LAPD than just hurt feelings, photo: streetgangs.com

What is quickly becoming the hottest bicyclist story this spring took a quick turn for us here at LACBC. We received a message from Assistant Chief Paysinger of the Los Angeles Police Department in response to the now infamous video of an LAPD officer attempting to kick a bicyclist off their bike at last Friday’s monthly Critical Mass. Bicyclists may remember Chief Paysinger as the official who conducted the second half of the LAPD address at City Hall during the ride to demand justice for Ed Magos, and as the man who initiated the LAPD’s bike-cop program.

In that video, an officer can be seen waiting until the very last bicyclist in the Critical Mass ride to make the kick-seen-’round-the-bicycling-world. The bicyclist appears to be doing nothing illegal. In the background, a group of officers huddles around other riders who are being handcuffed on the sidewalk. As the person taking the video begins to loudly ask why the officer tried to kick someone off their bike, he’s quickly taken down from behind and his camera falls to the floor to reveal two LAPD officers with nightsticks roughing him up.

After a conversation with Chief Paysinger this morning, a few things are clear. Chief Paysinger stated that, “what was depicted on the video is troubling and disturbing and I have personally launched an investigation.” An LAPD press release from Saturday went public with this investigation and Paysinger has told us that the officers involved in the altercation have all been identified.  But there is a lengthy discipline process that has now been initiated (the following are notes taken directly from our conversation with Paysinger);

A  series of allegations will be compiled  based on information gathered from officers at the scene and victims involved. The outcome could go from a verbal reprimand to a dismissal based on the findings. The allegations are forwarded to the officer’s Captain in Hollywood, Capt. B Girmala. She will see if allegations are sustained, then either agree, disagree of modify them. These then go to Superviser Chief Debby McCarthy who will also either agree, disagree or modify the judgment of Capt. Grimala. Then the judgment will go back to internal affairs and everything will ultimately be reviewed by the Chief. We suspect that the inspector general will also be a part of the review process, which could take a number of months. Officers have the right to evoke legal representation which will also delay the process. But this process removes any notion of a lack of objectivity and legitimacy.

While we have faith in the LAPD to complete a thorough investigation, we have been leery as the number of rogue officers committing the LAPD to a continued track record of anti-bicyclist behavior have piled up, even in the face on growing LAPD–Bicyclist relations. Paysinger assured us again that the LAPD is committed to making the changes already promised to bicyclists and that, “if Chief Beck and I say it’s gonna happen, then it’s gonna happen.” The Assistant Chief also told us that an edict was already issued to officers telling them to handle group rides with more respect, but that change in the department is going to take time.

If edicts issued from the Chief aren’t making waves in the LAPD, it’s clearly time for a more serious approach to LAPD’s interaction with group rides. While a specific policy addressing group rides would take time to go through the police commission, and would have to be compiled with bicyclist input, that is an approach that LAPD should be considering. We know of much more amenable Critical Mass–Local Police relations that exist in Chicago, where bike cops often show up to the rides and participate like any other rider—even helping to cork intersections when drivers get aggressive.

Whatever the approach, we’ll be waiting to hear what comes from Commander Jorge Villegas, the officer assigned to speak on the issue at today’s Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting at the Hollywood Neighborhood City Hall at 7pm. The time is now for LAPD to stand up to its commitment to better protect bicyclists in this city, and to address their disturbing track record of aggressively handling group rides.

Start Biking and Celebrate it in Los Angeles!

May 19, 2010 at 9:29 am | Posted in Get Involved, LACBC Events | 1 Comment
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Here at LACBC we are celebrating Bike Week in full force.  Monday, our Executive Director Jennifer Klausner and Communications and Campaigns Director Aurisha Smolarski attended the Bike Week Kick-off at LAPD Headquarters.  LAPD Police Chief Charlie Beck was present and spoke about bike safety.  He and Metro even released a spiffy PSA aimed at drivers to promote safety.  In addition Streetsblog reported that Metro announced they will be removing their rush-hour restrictions on bicycles coming this summer.
Yesterday morning, our Events Manager, Erica Yoshimoto, was at Blessings of the Bicycles, attended by 50+ folks.  A highlight was that DA Mary Stone, the lawyer who prosecuted the infamous Christopher Thompson, the doctor who slammed his brakes in front of two cyclists in Mandeville Canyon, was honored with the Golden Spoke Award.

Today, there was a bike ride starting at Olvera Street South Plaza at 8am.

Thursday, there are plenty of bike-to-work day pit stops all across the County, but if you’re in downtown LA, stop by the LACBC Headquarters at 634 S. Spring Street- we’ll be there from 6am-9am with special Clif Bar Mojo Bars, a special raffle, and Go Mambo Gift Bags.
Friday is Bike to School Day and Saturday there are three rides to choose from- Culver City Family Ride, Pasadena FAB Ride and Glendale Historical Ride.

Streetsblog has done a terrific job covering Bike Week LA events thus far.

If you don’t have a bike and want to start, enter to win a free bike from People for Bikes:

And of course with that new bike, you can do the LA River Ride!

Bicycle Awareness Ad Slogan Contest – Submit Your Slogan!

April 21, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 5 Comments
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LACBC, in partnership with Midnight Ridazz and Geoff McFetridge, is launching a Bicycle Awareness Ad Campaign. And we’re kicking off the campaign with a slogan contest! Enter into the contest and submit your safety slogan by May 5th!

We’ve been working with the City of Los Angeles and LAPD to produce a bicycle awareness and safety ad campaign. Ads will be placed in bus shelters and Public Amenity Kiosks (PAK) throughout the city. The goal is to help make drivers more aware of bicyclists in order to create safer streets for all.

The winning slogan will be transformed into a design by Geoff McFetridge, an internationally acclaimed graphic designer and visual artist who is also an LA cyclist, and a prize from Orange 20 Bikes will be given to the wining entry.

Remember, May 5th is the deadline, so don’t miss out.   Los Angeles will soon have bicycle awareness ads throughout the city—and your idea can help make it all happen!

LAPD Receives Bicyclists Input on Los Angeles’ Worst Intersections

March 29, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Posted in Bike News | 3 Comments
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After receiving more than 11,ooo views and mapping over 70 problem intersections, our map asking the bicycle community which intersections they thought were in most need of LAPD assistance has been digested into a short report we forwarded to the Police Department today. We’re still collecting data so add your intersection if you haven’t already and comment below with any input for this ongoing effort.

We’re happy to note that last week, we sent LAPD a preliminary list of informal suggestions, and within two days we spotted an LAPD officer at the corner of Park and Glendale Blvd monitoring the speed of vehicle traffic. Though correlation does not imply causality, we’re happy nonetheless, especially considering most bicyclists rarely break posted speed limits.

That being said, as we have seen in other parts of the country, when the relationship with local police grows, like all relationships, there are ups and downs. We won’t soon forget Chief Beck’s statement at last month’s T-Commitee meeting that “the LAPD is not a perfect organization, but it is one that strives to be.” What we’re most cautious of is a story out of Portland, OR, where, as bicyclists had successfully raised the awareness  of their plight on the city’s roadways, the police then took to a sting operation targeted at bicyclists.

Portland and Toronto bicyclists have seen increased police attention--both positive and negative.

We’ve informed the LAPD that to perform such stings at this formative period in the relationship between police and bicyclists would be disastrous. As well, many intersections in Los Angeles are designed in ways that are absolutely hostile to bicyclists, pavement quality often favors riding safe over riding “lawfully,” and the all around lack of bike infrastructure finds bicyclists performing extralegal maneuvers just to get where they need to go. The department has responded that discretion will be left to individual officers, which gives us hope that orchestrated bike crackdowns are not on the schedule.

What we can say for sure is that, with rights come responsibilities. As bicyclists become an accepted part of the transportation mix in this city, more and more attention will be placed on our behavior on the streets. We know that no bicyclist in their right mind runs a red light in the middle of traffic, but we know even better that every light in this city is timed for cars and no one else. We will continue to contend that the most effective way to get bicyclists riding lawfully is to increase the amount of dedicated bike infrastructure, to ensure the safe passage of all bicyclists on all streets, and to educated the general public on the virtues of safe, effective, convenient bicycle riding.

LAPD Task Force Meeting Update – Internal Code Enforcement and Education Released

March 11, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Posted in Bike News | 3 Comments
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Today the LAPD Bicycle Task Force met with LADP Commander Doan and Sgt. Krumer for the 3rd time.  Those present were LACBC’s Aurisha Smolarski and LACBC Board member Ted Rogers, Stephen and Enci Box, Alex Thompson, Glenn Bailey and Carlos Morales.

LAPD provided a document signed by Chief Paysinger outlining the 1st step in educating officers on the California Vehicle Codes as they pertain to bicyclists’ rights. It is effective as of March 10th and  will be circulated to the assigned officers.

The Bicycle Task Force was offered the opportunity to provide input on the internal training PowerPoint that LAPD is preparing for their officers. They are expecting it to be released on March 28th.

LAPD has notified us that they are in the process of switching the responsibility of investigating traffic-related incidents to the 4 traffic divisions. This would mean that the 4 captains of those divisions would be held accountable to responding to all bicycle related incidents, including collisions and assaults. According to Doan, this would benefit cyclists because traffic divisions have more experience in vehicular activities, it would allow the information to be more focused and would keep the same people working on the assigned problem areas. It would also allow officers to be trained in specific areas of bike law,  giving them greater expertise in bicycle-related matters.

LACBC will be taking the lead in developing a safety campaign with the Mayor’s office and LAPD to create educational ads that will be placed in bus shelters throughout the city. Similar messages will be used for Public Service Announcements that LAPD hopes to launch around Bike to Work Week. Stay tuned for how you can get involved in the development of these messages!

LACBC also requested that they set up a blog inorder to better communicate with cyclists and they have agreed to look into it.

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