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City Council puts bike license program on hold

Until recently, it's probably fair to say that most cyclists in the city of Los Angeles didn't know they were required by law to buy a $3 license for their bikes. The idea of the license program -- started many years ago -- was that licenses would make it easier for police to recover stolen bikes.

As some cyclists found out, not having a license also made it real easy for the LAPD to issue them a citation. Funny how these things work.

Well, the license program is no more, at least for the time being. Cycling advocates have been raising a stink about it in recent months along with some solid coverage of the issue over at Streetsblog Los Angeles. The City Council listened and last week the Transportation Committee voted to put a moratorium on the program. Here's a link to the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition's release on the suspension of the license program.

As a veteran of covering City Hall, I advise everyone that that "moratorium" doesn't mean "terminate." A bike lock license program, anyone?

UPDATE: As expected, the full City Council on Tuesday went along with the Transportation Committee's recommendation and suspended the bike license program.

--Steve Hymon

Comments () | Archives (11)

Is LA becoming a communist/socialist state?
We can't smoke, we can't park, we can't ride a bike!
But if you are in a gang, or are an illegal alien the skies the limit in LA!!!!

the city council is a sick group of people.

When this issue made noise last year, I bought a license. I got it by mail from Santa Monica (even though I'm an LA resident.)

I think that a *voluntary* statewide registry of bikes is a great thing for returning stolen property, but I can't see how it ever became, or how it should ever be, a requirement to operate a bicycle.

Thanks LA for stopping the foolishness.

The important thing is that a moratorium means the LAPD can no longer use the antiquated bicycle license law as a tool to harass otherwise law-abiding cyclists (which is what has been happening over the last several months). The LAPD also do not appear to have the resources (or will) to support and enforce an effective voluntary bicycle license program, so I would not count on recovering any stolen bike that happens to have a registration sticker on it.

I bought a bike recently and asked about licenses at the bike shop. Not only did they not have any, they hadn't heard about the recent enforcement. There isn't a reason in the world for L.A. to use the system that they do, except that it makes it more likely that the average cyclist will be violating it, without even knowing.

I own a bike business, and I've tried for several months to obtain the paperwork and stickers to issue bike licenses to my customers. When I registered my business in L.A., I knew nothing of this law. I found out about through coverage on local blogs.

So far, my efforts to comply with the law have been totally stymied by the LAPD, the LA Office of Finance, and the California DMV. I unable to stop breaking the law!

This is a crazy state of affairs. I hope this program is made voluntary.

Thank you Bicycle Coalition for your good work on this. As a bike commuter I depend on my bike as my primary means of transportation. I have heard horror stories of police harrassing critical mass cyclists and even cyclists riding on their own, and forcing them to abandon their bikes on the spot while they are cited and held. Their bikes are, naturally, stolen. The police in these situations act more like selfish motorists who don't understand cyclist's rights than officers sworn to serve and protect. Hopefully that is changing and more and more police officers will respect cyclists.

Thanks again LACBC!!

We are excited about this victory for cyclists that was due to the collaborative efforts of advocates throughout LA including people from Midnight Ridazz and Bike Writers Collective and support from some of our city council members.
I hope we can continue to see more positive action toward supporting the needs of cyclists in Los Angeles.
Thank you,

I appreciate the work the LA County Bicycle Coalition did on this and am supportive of the city's decision.

I recently started riding again and received a Rules & Regulations guide from Metro. I read about the required license, googled it and this was article first on the list. Thank goodness it is on hold. Although I don't think I would ever ride in the City of LA, I do most of my riding in the San Gabriel River Trail and the beach areas, this will show these other towns that a Bicycle License will not work.

BTW, the program is suppose to help recover stolen bikes? In what way? Although I am assuming the license is simply a sticker that can easily be removed.

The L.A. Bike license law has been on the books for years. It has been useless in its intended task since the late 60's. There are still cities in Orange County (Tustin) that require a bike license but do not enforce it so far. Maybe this will have those cities reevaluating their bike license codes.


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