Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bike Writers Collective at Transpo Committee

Yesterday's Transportation Committee endorsement of the Cyclists' Bill of Rights was a significant victory for the Bike Writers Collective and marked the culmination of a journey that began in January of this year when the BWC was formed and when we first set out to change the world, one bike right at a time.

The rights articulated in the CBR already exist and are guaranteed by Federal, State and Local laws, regulations and policies so the City of LA endorsement is not necessary in order to "create" or codify any of the rights but is instead a significant symbolic gesture that informs the cycling community and affirms to the Community as a whole that cyclists ride as equals and with the support of our leadership.

The Transpo Committee's Special Meeting had much more on the agenda but for me, it was all derivative of the endorsement of the CBR.

Item #1 on the Agenda was the LADOT report on the Bicycle Master Plan. Our complaint has long and loudly been that efforts to engage the community were feeble...

CBR #8 Cyclists have the right to be actively engaged as constituent group in the organization and administration of our communities.

Item #2 was the LADOT report on the possibilities of a Bike Share program for Los Angeles, a program for which I have no confidence the LADOT could administer let alone simply sub out. Keep in mind, this is the department that can't simply provide bike parking at city owned facilities, all of which is already required by Municipal Code.

CBR #10 Cyclists have the right to end-of-trip amenities that include safe and secure opportunities to park their bicycles.

Item #3 was the Cyclists' Bill of Rights. Nuff said! Endorsed and sent to the full City Council with the blessing of the Transpo Committee.

Item #4 was a request for a report on the City's bikeway infrastructure and proposals to increase biking opportunities as a viable transportation option.

Duh! There was a SRO crowd of cyclists there to offer a report..."It sucks!" As for increasing opportunities to increase biking opportunities...?

CBR #1 - 12!!!

Seriously, treat cyclists as equals and support equal access, provide educated law enforcement, prosecute those who endanger, injure and kill cyclists, provide routine accommodations, involve cyclists in the process, provide signals and signage, proved mass transit access, get serious about providing bike parking and always defend the 1st and 4th amendment rights of cyclists.

Item #5 was a motion relative to the current status of the City's bicycle licensing program.

This one will get a post of its own, it's such a hot topic, but for now, suffice to say...

The current bike licensing law is simply an opportunity to harrass cyclists by enforcing a law that is badly written, contradicts the state's Uniformity Code and is thereby invalid, has no real purpose other than loss prevention, can't be followed because the LAPD is incapable of providing the licenses...

CBR #11 Cyclists have the right to be secure in their persons and property, and be free from unreasonable search and seizure, as guaranteed by the 4th amendment.

(This item allowed us to see the cavalier nature of the LAPD as Chief Paydinger simply rejected the Committee's admonitions to refrain from enforcement until the Council had rules. LaBonge asked and then backed down when rejected. Rosendahl asked loudly and was rejected. Parks interjected that the LAPD was acting appropriately if they acted to refrain from enforcing until the issue was settled. Paysinger smiled and ignored the Committee!)

Item #6 was a report relative to a Shared Lane Pavement Markings (Sharrows) pilot program.

CBR #2 Cyclists have the right to equal access to our public streets and to sufficient and significant road space.

(This item allowed the LADOT to show its colors as they reported that "painting the sharrows and encouraging cycling might interfere with the movement of the motor vehicles and would subsequently cause traffic congestion.")

The last three items on the agenda dealt with the Rand Corp's report on "Short-Term Strategies to Reduce Traffic Congestion in Los Angeles" (ride a bike!) a report on the Dodger Stadium shuttle service and a report on charter bus services.

I have no comment on the last three because we were all in the hallway celebrating the endorsement of the Cyclists Bill of Rights!

It was a great day! PC, Danny, Luis and Alan came up from the LB/San Pedro, Alex, Candy Cane and Sara rode over from the Westside, Sexy Jr. & Sr. came from the NW Valley, Rhode Bloch, Angle, Trickmilla, Mr. Rollers, Rev. Borfo, DJ Chickenleather and Veronica, cyclists from Caltrans, cyclists from the Metro, cyclists from Reyes and Garcetti's offices, loads of familiar faces and lots of new faces (Ted) all showed up and spoke up and took a huge step to changing the world as we know it, one bike right at a time!

"See you on the Streets!"

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