The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday considered a new ordinance, which would prevent people from mounting or dismounting their bikes on public sidewalks.
The ordinance, modeled after one already in place in the City of Long Beach, was drafted by Councilman Joe Buscaino, whose 15th District borders Long Beach.
He hoped the ordinance would reduce “bike shops” on city streets, where people are supposed to disassemble stolen bikes and sell the parts.
He also hoped that by passing the ordinance, the Los Angeles Police Department would have an additional tool to reduce the high number of bike thefts already reported, after noticing a “proliferation of bike shops” in his district. .
The ordinance would define a “chop shop” as follows:
- three or more bicycles,
- a bicycle frame with the gear or brake cables cut,
- two or more bikes with missing parts, or
- five or more bicycle parts.
A motion to have the ordinance written passed 10-4 in February, with only Council members Mike Bonin, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Nithya Raman and Curren Price opposing.
Harris-Dawson explained his opposition, saying that when he was a child, a similar order would have led to his arrest multiple 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 down 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.”
“This broad band 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,” he added.
Tuesday’s vote resulted in a tentative agreement, with an 11-3 vote, after Harris-Dawson opted to change his vote.
To be adopted, the ordinance must have obtained the unanimous approval of all the members of the municipal council. Since it is not, it will be tried again next week when it only needs majority approval.