Thursday's meeting of the Cyclists/LAPD Task Force marked the 5th meeting of cyclists and LAPD brass, all in an effort to support cyclists on the streets of Los Angeles with LAPD policies and training that are relevant and effective. It's been a long journey but it has paid of and the LAPD has delivered.
Sgt. Krumer screened the LAPD's new online training module for patrol officers that clearly articulates the rights of cyclists and the LAPD's commitment to supporting cyclists on the streets of Los Angeles. It was rewarding to hear the LAPD's narrator say "All streets are a street that a cyclist will ride." The debate over "Ride where it's right" vs. "Ride to the right" is addressed and the training session concludes:
"As police officers, it is our duty to ensure the rights and the safety of all users of the roadway. Cyclists deserve a well trained police force that understands the law and its application. The Department is committed to supporting the cycling community and encourages all of its officers to educate both motorists and cyclists of their mutual obligations to respect each other and SHARE THE ROAD."Chief Doan then recapped some new LAPD policies, directives and a Special Order that address several of the issues that the Cyclists/LAPD Task Force has addressed over the last several months.
* Cyclists have long complained that the law requires them to ride in bike lanes (except in specific circumstances) yet the city turns a blind eye when motorists, production companies, armored trucks, or trash cans block the lanes, creating an obstacle course for cyclists.
The LAPD met with LADOT's Chief Jimmy Price of Parking Enforcement and has issued an Operations Notice clarifying the need to cite for "impeding/blocking bike lanes."
* Cyclists are often given conflicting information about the appropriateness of riding in the crosswalk, typically after an incident involving a collision with a motorist. The irony here is that the Orange Line takes cyclists from the protected Bike Path through intersections by using the crosswalk, yet cyclists get cited in some cases and a dead cyclist was blamed for her death because "she was riding the wrong way in a crosswalk."
The LAPD has clarified that crosswalks are extensions of the sidewalk and if sidewalk cycling is allowed, crosswalk cycling is allowed.
* Cyclists in Los Angeles sometimes encounter law enforcement officers from different agencies, all on the same streets. From the LAPD to the County Sheriffs to the Highway Patrol, it can sometimes be tough to figure out who to call and who's in charge. Recently, a cyclist was hit by a Metro bus, he then called LAPD but the LASD showed up and allegedly prevented the cyclist from obtaining the bus operators information. (LASD works for the Metro)
The LAPD has clarified and issued a Communications Division dispatch policy that the LAPD has authority over incidents involving the Metro on the streets of Los Angeles.
*Cyclists who are injured when forced from the road or when taking evasive action are the victims of a No-Contact Traffic Incident and the motorists who caused the incidents are responsible, even though there was no contact. The term "hit and run" applies to those who fail to "hit" but flee the scene. Two recent incidents highlighted the need to clarify the need to address this situation and the LAPD has issued a Special Order that clarifies the LAPD's responsibility and commitment to "No-Contact Traffic Reports with Injuries."
When the Cyclists/LAPD Task Force first met, it was at times a bit adversarial, with cyclists pushing and the LAPD defending, but this journey has paid off. As of this Bike Week meeting, the LAPD speaks the language of Bike Activists. This was the best Bike to Work Day event in town.