Los Angeles Moves to Promote Bicycle Laws and Rights
More and more people are doing the Los Angeles commute on two wheels instead of four, highlighting the need for more people, including law enforcement, to be experts on bicycle laws and bicycler's rights in order to avoid bicycle personal injury.
As reported by the LA Times, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck has committed to a group of bicycle advocates to ensure that officers know how to properly deal with accidents and incidents that are bike-related. His support comes at a time when Los Angeles bicyclers feel that their rights are being violated by vehicle drivers, making cyclists, "our most vulnerable commuters."
The LAPD is acting to show they take bicycling safety seriously. Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger said officer training would include an official department policy explaining officers' responsibilities to cyclists on LA roads, and a mandatory computer-based "e-learning" agenda that would help officers better identify typical issues concerning bicyclers. The LAPD will also appoint an official liaison to the police department that will handle all incidents with cyclists within the bureau's traffic division.
The group of bicycle advocates, including representatives of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, that came to meet with Beck first completed a ride on a route their friend used to complete daily, by bike, before he was injured on January 6th in a bicycle hit-and-run accident. Although the motorist eventually went to the police station after fleeing the scene, he was not charged with a crime. The ride called for justice for victims of hit and run accidents and to protest the unfair treatment of cyclists by law enforcement.
It is especially important, as well, that cyclists are aware of city laws applicable to bicycles, as they vary from one city to the next.
According to Los Angeles law CVC 21200, all bicyclists have all the rights and responsibilities of vehicle drivers. Riding on sidewalks is allowed though must be done with regard for the safety of pedestrians and property.
Riding is not allowed on Ocean Front Walk in Venice. Bicycles must have at least one working brake, have a white headlight attached to the front of the bike or rider, a yellow or white reflector visible from the side, and a red or white reflector on the rear.
Bicyclists traveling slower than the speed of traffic must ride as close to the right side of the road as possible, except when passing, making a left turn and under dangerous conditions.
Bicyclists under the age of 18 must wear an ANSI or Snell approved helmet. Cyclists must travel on the right side of the roadway in the direction of traffic, are not permitted on freeways or toll bridges where prohibited and may not wear earplugs or a headset covering both ears.
Many are hopeful that in the not too distant future the rights and laws governing cyclists will be well-known, respected and important to all on the road.
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