Guess what? LAPD didn't get the memo.

LAPD didn't get the memo blown up

You heard it here first – LAPD is still issuing tickets for not having a bike license.

This after the Transportation Committee pressured LAPD to suspend enforcement while they worked to remove the bike license law (LAMC 26.01) from the books.  In January (Streetsblog), Chief of Police William Bratton issued this memo which reported that he had placed a moratorium on enforcing the law:

“I have directed that Emergency Operations Division develop correspondence implementing an immediate moratorium on the enforcement of Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) section 26.01 requiring that all bicycles within the City be licensed.”

I guess LAPD itself didn’t get the memo.  Especially Officer Schube, the memo averse officer who issued the ticket.

How do I know all this?  I spent 20 minutes in cuffs last night because I photographed it.  While I was cuffed, and cited for crossing a crosswalk against a flashing red hand (which I didn’t do), Tom was being cited for:

  • Not having a bicycle license
  • Having an out of date address on his drivers license

These are petty citations.  To cuff someone for 30 minutes, search their person and search their belongings for not having a bike license?  Or a current address?  Would LAPD ever do this to a motorist?  These citations were issued to cover for the fact that they had no defensible reason to cuff and search Tom.

Which is probably the same reason I was literally grabbed out of the crosswalk and issued a bogus citation for crossing the intersection when the red hand was flashing.  I’ll see you in court Officer Winter.

LAPD didn't get the memo

Alex Thompson

Bikerowave co-founder, Cyclists' Bill of Rights co-author, President of Bikeside, and Math Phd. HULK SMASH straight from Michigan!

29 thoughts on “Guess what? LAPD didn't get the memo.

  1. Cuffs? Illegal search? Go get ’em Alex. That sounds like several types of wrong. I’m curious what was the original violation they claimed in pulling Tom over since you can’t very well do so for what’s listed on the citation. Or did they pull that typical police rationalization of “doing him a favor” by not citing him for the original alleged offense?

  2. In SF this weekend, missed all the action…sorry you got ticketed, seems pretty bogus to me. Did everyone more or less cooperate? The less you fight, the less they will remember you, and the less likely the cop will show up to court. Best of luck.

  3. Fight it, Alex! And if I can, I’ll come for support! This is outrageous! It shows how little power the Transportation Committee has. They vote on something, shake your hand afterward, claim to be the friend of cyclists and the various departments completely ignore them and go on with business as usual.

  4. Stephen:

    I didn’t even know that a bike license until recently had been required in the City of Los Angeles. Other than the city’s need to collect the fee, why is a bike license needed? Is a test required? Do I have to know how to ride a bike in a circle? Do I have to know the bike speed limit?

    Jeffrey Berk

  5. Just to let you know… when you are on a bike, you are bound by all traffic laws, including red lights, stop signs, etc… it is also mandatory you ride to the far right of the road and have a light on your bike… your “innocent” ride last night sent 5 people to the hospital via ambulance, included an assault with a deadly weapon when a citizen was pulled out of his car and beaten, a robbery and a huge waste of already taxed police and fire resources that certainly had better things to do.

    If you go through the proper channels and learn the laws, the police will actually assist you with a “safe” ride including blocking traffic, etc.

    Just thought a little information might make you sound a little more intelligent.

  6. @concerned reader,

    The matter at hand is the fact that the LAPD issued bogus minor citations, and searched several individuals unlawfully.

    If the things you stated are such a problem why weren’t individuals cited for those infractions?

  7. Sorry you had to go through this, Alex. I second everyone except the so-called concerned reader, who sounds like just another bike-hating troll. However, I do have some major concerns.

    If, as you indicated, you were cuffed to prevent you from photographing what the officer was doing, he may have committed an actionable offense. You have a First Amendment right to photograph any police officer in the course of his duties, and you may not be prevented from doing so unless you are actually interfering with the performance of his duties. The officer had no legal basis on which to stop you from observing and/or photographing anything that occurs on a public street.

    Secondly, unless you threatened the officer or resisted in some way, I know of no possible legal justification to handcuff you for a simple crosswalk violation.

    I think your first phone call tomorrow morning should be to your council member to demand an explanation; your next should be to the ACLU.

  8. This cop should be sued in criminal and civil court and wrung out at internal affairs. Cops like this give good cops a bad rap. Get his badge revoked.

  9. It’s horrible to see how rude and careless people can damage a group’s reputation. And it goes both ways in this case. The cops were harassing you and the people around you, although you weren’t doing anything. However, there were cyclist out there that were breaking the law, damaging property, and if the concerned reader’s comments are true, attacking a civilian. On the other hand, cops need to enforce the law and if they hear about public disturbance on bicycles, they’re going to come down on people. However, your officers were just douches.

    Alex, I’m sorry to hear about you getting in the crossfire and glad you’re the kind of person to do your homework rather than bicker and say how all cops are stupid. Congratulations on being an excellent example of a cyclist.

  10. Actually, the best thing to do here is to make the system pay (literally) for giving the ticket. That’s with the method of delay, declare (trial by declaration), and de novo.

    First, postpone the ticket as long as possible. Basically, wait until the date written on the ticket, and a week or so before go to the LA Superior Court web site and extend the ticket date 60 days. Then, go to the courthouse sometime in the last week of the 60 days and request a night court arraignment. That will push the ticket back another 20-60 days.

    At the night court arraignment, request a trial by declaration. (You can also do so by mail within the 60 day extension period should you not want to show up to court. ALWAYS send anything to the court with certified mail… although you can hold the return receipt, as you can print out the proof of receipt online.) Yes, you will have to pay the cost of “bail” (or the cost of the ticket) at that time if you do it by mail (or you can convince the night court judge to waive that if you show hardship). Then fill out the trial by declaration form if you receive it, and write down why you’re not guilty. At this stage, most cops won’t bother to fill out the form, especially for a pedestrian or bicycle citation. And you’ve saved the cost of taking time off work to beat the officer.

    “De novo” comes in if, for some odd reason, the court finds you guilty. Basically, this means you get to confront the officer in court; a second bite at the apple. File the appropriate paperwork to request a trial de novo, which will be pushed out another 60 days away. Then see if he shows up. (If you’re really gung ho about this, if the trial is held in front of a commissioner, you can vacate the trial YET AGAIN and force a trial to be held in front of a duly sworn judge.)

    Remember that these violations are zero pointers. If you need help, use your LA Public Library card, log in, and look for the Netbook “Fight Your Ticket and Win in California.” No sense in making it easy for the system to work.

  11. While I’m 100% agreed w/Alex on the redonk citations; we CAN NOT glaze over the fact that there was a lot of douchebaggery on the side of the 500+ bikers (many of whom were either under-aged…being obnoxious…drunk…rowdy…and actually chided on the officers before, during and after the stop). At the beginning of that ride, NO ONE was f•ucking listening and moving to their right. All lanes were taken up. For my first ride, I felt like a prick in that crowd. It’s a two way street (forgive the pun).

    If we want officers to stop acting out of line; WE need to find a way to keep everyone else from acting out of line. Otherwise, it’s hard to point my opinion at least.

    PS: This you?

  12. Message from Glenn Bailey, chair of the City of Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee:

    As soon as I learned what happened to these bicyclists I contacted the LAPD Wilshire Area Captain, Eric Davis. We had a productive telephone conversation and he subsequently sent the email message below and gave me permission to share it with bicyclists.

    Email from Captain Eric Davis:

    Thanks for the feedback on this matter. With regards to the citations
    for no Bike License, the “No License” section has been canceled. And, in the spirit of the law the entire citation for the those two violators will be canceled.

    The policy for the moratorium on bike licenses has been discussed with
    my command. This is a lesson learned, your cooperation and understanding on this matter is appreciated.

    Hopefully, this event can be viewed as the start of constructive
    dialogue on the rights of bicyclist and the community. Wilshire Area’s
    main objective is to ensure and enhance public safety for everyone.



    ERIC T. DAVIS, Captain
    Commanding Officer
    Wilshire Area

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