Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Cyclists cited, bikes impounded in Long Beach Critical Mass ride

Police in Long Beach shut down a recent Critical Mass bike ride of about 85 cyclists and seized more than 20 bicycles for various offenses, including riding unlicensed bikes, officials said Monday.

The Critical Mass ride is an international event that takes place on the last Friday of each month in hundreds of cities around the world, said Ronnie Sandlin, of Long Beach, a spokesman for Pedal Movement, a cycling rights advocacy group.

The Long Beach ride was shut down because organizers said riders lacked a special events permit, and many broke traffic laws, said Sgt. Dina Zapalski, a Long Beach Police Department spokeswoman.

The ride began at Cal State Long Beach and within 20 minutes cyclists met officers at the intersection of Anaheim Road and Palo Verde Avenue, Sandlin said.

Riders thought police were there to help move traffic along, but instead cyclists were cited and their bicycles impounded. About 60 citations were handed out to riders without proper night lighting, for running stop signs or riding unlicensed bicycles, among other violations, Zaplaski said.

Of the bikes seized, 11 did not have brakes, Zapalski said. To lawfully ride a bike on city streets, bicyclists must register their bikes with the city and have it inspected by the Fire Department.

“We take bicycle safety seriously in Long Beach and will not stand by idly while any person or group acts with blatant disregard for the safety of the residents of our community,” said Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell.

Those who lead the ride attempted for two months to secure a permit and tried to get the word out to riders to follow all traffic and bike laws to not “give the cops any reason to hassle us,” Sandlin said.

He was cited and his bicycle was seized for lacking proper registration. Sandlin said he had tried repeatedly to register his bike, only to be told by the city that it had ran out of stickers for the year.

Ride participants are organizing to retrieve their bicycles en masse Tuesday from the city warehouse where they were impounded. They also plan to attend the Long Beach City Council meeting Nov. 9 to voice their concerns.

“Not having a bike is a big deal for us,” Sandlin said, adding that for many riders, it is their only form of transportation.

-- Stephen Ceasar

Comments () | Archives (93)

I'm left wondering how a maximum $10 fine for no registration (as dictated by the CVC in this case) is cause to impound a bicycle worth even $200. Something is terribly wrong with this and the chief should be ashamed of their behavior.

Wait, didn't Long Beach proclaim itself "The Most Bike Friendly City in America" not long ago?

I'm confused, someone please explain. Maybe McDonnell didn't get the memo.

I am calling on all Bicyclists from Lance Armstrong to the 100,000 bicyclists who recently rode in Los Angeles' CicLAvia (who spent $5 million in five hours). Close your wallets to Long Beach. Boycott every business and the city itself. Do this until the Long Beach City Council and the LBPD changes it policy. This like the racial discrimination of the 1950's. A bicyclist is not a second-class citizen.
Stop the hate against bicyclists...or suffer the economic consequences.

I am so glad our brave cops arrested these dastardly criminals during the commision of their unspeakable crimes.I wonder if they brought out the swat team and tasers to control these violent monsters, literally bicycle riding Hell's Angels? I wonder how much overtime our brave servants of the law were paid for their selfless sacrifice and for putting themselves in harm's way? If there is a Congressional Medal of Honor for public display of courage each of them should get one, or maybe two.

Ride your bike all you want, just follow traffic laws as if you were in a car and no one will be pissed at you.

To all cyclists commenting about the license issue:
Ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it. If you don't agree with the law then petition a lawmaker to write a new one or change existing ones. If that's too much effort then perhaps you should just accept the punishment if you get caught.

And lastly to the group that organized the ride and decided to proceed after no permit was issued:
Great decision...what did you expect? Are you going to pay to get all the bikes out of impound?

Don't taze me, bro'!!!! Thank God the cops used non-lethal force during their daring mass arrest, I wonder how many crimes went on in the North Long Beach area while these criminals on bicyles were being aprehended? I feel sooo...safe, now that these green hooligans have been put in their place. I can't think of a better way to spend Long Beach's dwindling public funds.

Thanks for the info. We'll have many more LAites to support the next LB ride. Those who are angry at cyclists and not getting exercise need to think about their blood pressure and health.

feel-good story here - people hate these jerks

Oh yes the rule breaking cyclists who deserve to get killed because they are in the way of innocent drivers being slowed down by other human beings. Last year I was on my bicycle, waiting at a stop sign, when two idiotic car drivers both tried to jump a red light and then crashed and then came hurtling into me. The impact broke my back, gave me cerebral bleeding in my brain, and left me in hospital with huge bills for weeks. When I get out, not only do I find that the police does not press charges, but that the scandalous insurance companies are limited to paying measly compensation based on 40 year old minimum liabilities. so here I am with a broken back, severe pain a year later through no fault of my own and you drivers have the gall to wish we would get off the road. you and the insurance criminals you prop up ARE killing us right now. but I bet in your sense of self righteousness you feel quite alright about that.

Sweet, kudos to the LBPD, I say do it again the next time they mob up and clog traffic.

I'm a bicycle commuter/advocate, but have never taken part in Critical Mass because of the head-to-head that seems to happen with PD, so can't say much about what happened in LB. But I have tried to register my bike in my city, and was told that they don't register bicycles any more. So what happens if I ride into another city and the PD feels like checking my status? Ridiculous if not all jurisdictions have the same requirements.

Cyclists with the bad attitude that seems to be pervasive with the en masse events don't help underscore the importance of cyclists' rights. And of course there are drivers who hate sharing the road, but they'd find something else to complain about if not for cyclists. There are ways of riding a bike in a lane that might irritate drivers, but it's for our safety that we "take the lane" to stay away from opening doors, hidden driveways, cars that pass to close within the lane, etc.

Arrogance, yelling at cars, and ignoring vehicle laws will simply push others farther away from respecting our place on the roads.

If they ran out of stickers riders who tried should be excused. Further more bikers have given greatly to help those in need. In all groups there are bad eggs. I will be praying for those people who lost their bikes. Regarding running red lights the laws should have a closer look at those some rules may not pertain to such a group. Bikers have a bad name. The discrimination against them should stop. Closing the roads to them can be damaging to business in the local area. Hotels, gas stations, camp sites, and bars all stand to lose out on the deal. This means Uncle Sam and the owners. Before posting please be informed.
God Bless You All.

That sign as you drive into Long Beach that says "Welcome to Long Beach. Bike friendly city" seems ironic now as I pass it every day on my way home from work...

One thing is clear from reading these comments, for some reason many people hate cyclists. I don't understand it myself. Reading online in other forums you see cases on a regular basis where passengers lean out of cars going by bikers to push them over with both hands, trying to topple them. Egads, what hatred, and what it drives people to do. They probably hate people in general, and hate other car drivers, but since they are driving a car as well it's tit-for-tat and not as easy to criticize.

"Ride your bike all you want, just follow traffic laws as if you were in a car and no one will be pissed at you."

Even if a cyclist follows all the laws (which many motorists probably have no clue about as to cyclist laws) these haters in cars are not going to be satisfied.

Complaining about the inconvenience caused by cyclists causing "roadblocks" and "gridlock", because cars never do... And on and on and on... It's clear that for some reason the issue is people's growing dissatisfaction with other people, total intolerance of anyone else, but the car->bike issue makes the car user feel superior.

Now, rather than criticize only auto drivers, there are indeed many inconsiderate *cycle riders out there, but as a society our collapse is sure if we don't do something to abate this "I am the most important person in the universe" mentality that seems to be ever-increasing in every area of life.

To bike licensing and safety inspections... Well, licensing is not too far from car licensing, and if you are on public streets/paths, then why not? But safety inspections? We don't have those for cars, so why for bikes?

I find it ludicrous that a permit is needed for a group of people to ride bikes, though... No permit is needed when the street is full of cars blocking traffic. Just more examples of the hatred for anything different than the "norm" as seen by the person doing the hating.

Next up: Shoe licensing. Got to make sure those are safe to wear as well.

I was on this Critical Mass ride, and it was pretty interesting too see what was happening from the back of the group. I understand past riders, and organized rides have fallen ill-ridden with unlawful actions. But on the October critical mass ride, many of you don't understand the circumstances and what actually happened on that day.

Anaheim Road and Palo Verde Avenue, is a very small street that leaves the campus of Cal State Long Beach. There are 2 stop signs, on that street, in direction of the ride the group was too head south and turn left on Anaheim road. Which at the stop, there was multiple officers already there. Blocking traffic, so I believe the group leaders thought they where leading the cycling group pass, since the group is one big moving vehicle. The group pauses at the stop and the officer still continued in "park" at the stop sign. So it was easy to say they where letting the cycling group pas through too then stop on East Anaheim.

On the next stop, I believe that's where the problem occurred. Since some people where falling from the group and the cycling group was bigger then the length of the 2 stops. That's when police would have no chance in identifying which riders stopped or not. So multiple officers trailed behind, and multiple officers speed passed the stop heading east too gather the front of the group. Same technique used in herding cattle. Being at the near end of the group and watching all this action play out was pretty interesting.
The 6-7 people around me at end all stopped at the 2nd stop sign. Then proceeded east bound. But I'm sure the officers are unable too identify whom did what the rustle the entire group and give citations.

Some of the officers gave random citations and some had too pull out there code books because they didn't know what they where actually citing for. Which is understandable, a couple of the officers where very young, and where just doing what they where told. I did witness many random attitudes within some of the officers, and a close friend was cited because she was instructed too pull over which she had done and she turned off her bike light.
She has multiple bike lights and neon also on the for added affect just for the ride. The citing officer said ,he was citing "her because her bike light was not on, and it had to remain on". The bike was very extremely visible. But he also thought it would be comedic to also issue a citation for no reflectors also.

My citing officer (Morosco) stated my lights where not good enough. Ive been riding for awhile now and just recently moved too Long Beach never had this issue and even received by bike license under inspection. Never had an issue in San Pedro, Hermosa Beach, Venice Beach or even in LA.
I feel that this was waste of time and possibly the dumbest way too raise last minute dollars for the end of the month.

If anything of I'm guilty of not updating my bike license, but I have brakes, I have lighting, I have a suitable bike for road use. With witness, I stopped at that stop sign. I believe bicycle riders do need too obey the traffic laws, just as vehicles need to also. But I don't believe if 10 red cars pass a light and 3 of them pass light. That doesn't give you the right too pull all 10 cars over, and cite them all. Even if you know they have done nothing wrong.

If the city doesn't like one-a-month critical mass, do it every week. In Athens, Greece, we have both a monthly critical mass, and a "Freeday" every Friday night where hundreds of cyclists ride around the city all night long for about 30-60 km:

By the way, Athens has no bicycle lanes yet (just 20 km scattered in neighboring suburbs), but at least our lawmakers abolished the anachronistic bicycle license requirement in 2007.

« | 1 2 3 4


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: