What's Next for Bicycle Licenses? City Panel Discusses

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Photo by GarySe7en via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr

By Danielle Directo, Special to LAist

Although City Council repealed the bicycle license law earlier this month, the issue continued to be a point of discussion between officials and bike advocates. At the Transportation Committee meeting earlier this week, some cyclists said they don’t completely oppose a licensing program, but they would like to see a more efficient and easier process that would be “voluntary.”

Bikers had complained about the being ticketed by police for not having the license, which was difficult to obtain. One commuter recounted his “horrible experience” of trying to get a license, only to leave the office that issued them empty-handed because there were no more left. “(They) wouldn’t give me any sort of documentation that said I attempted to get a license,” he said, “and then (I) was pulled over again while leaving the station and told to get a license.”

“A bicycle license is not the answer” to address safety and the city needs to be better at “working with LAPD to inform them of how to support cyclists as opposed to antagonizing them,” said Aurisha Smolarski, outreach coordinator for the L.A. County Bicycle Coalition.

If the city decides to reinstate a bicycle licensing program, the city should consider private organizations that already have a licensing system set up to avoid giving the responsibility to the police department or a city agency and creating more bureaucracy, suggested, Bicycle Advisory Committee Chair Glenn Bailey.

The topic is up for further discussion at next week’s meeting.