The Los Angeles City Council will consider an ordinance on Tuesday prohibiting people from mounting or dismounting their bikes in the public right-of-way.
A motion to have the ordinance written was moved by Councilman Joe Buscaino and passed by City Council 10-4 on February 8, Council members Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Nithya Raman, Curren Price and Mike Bonin s’ being opposed to it. Harris-Dawson said the potential law could have had him arrested as a child.
The draft ordinance is modeled after one already in effect in Long Beach to prohibit the assembly, disassembly, sale, offer for sale, distribution of bicycles and bicycle parts on public property or in the public hold.
Buscaino said it would prevent “bike hash shops,” in which people disassemble stolen bikes and sell the parts on sidewalks.
Harris-Dawson said before the February vote that if that order existed when he was growing up in Los Angeles, he “would have been arrested four, five or eight” times.
“Growing up in this town, I never had a new bike. Never. It was always a used bike, so I never got a receipt,” he said.
“I can’t remember how many times my bike broke and I had to fix it, or me and my brother had to fix our bikes, or me and a friend from my neighborhood had to fix our bikes,” he said. he added. “This wide web that says anyone fixing a bike on the street without being able to prove it’s theirs, one way or another, is being categorized as a criminal.”
Raman noted that the actions alleged as justification for the order — including stealing bikes and blocking the sidewalk — are already illegal.
Buscaino, however, said the order would give the Los Angeles Police Department a “necessary tool” to reduce the number of bike thefts in Los Angeles. His motion called for the city’s draft ordinance to be modeled after a similar ordinance in Long Beach, which he said describes a “chop shop” as follows:
— three or more bicycles;
— a bicycle frame with the gear cables or brake cables cut;
— two or more bicycles with missing parts;
— five or more bicycle parts.
Buscaino said his district, which borders Long Beach, “has seen a proliferation of bike shops.”
The ordinance must be approved unanimously to be adopted on Tuesday. If it does not receive the full support of the city council, it will be reconsidered the following week, when it needs simple majority support.