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LAPD Takes First Steps to Train Officers on Bicycle Laws

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Photo by alexbcthompson via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr

Photo by alexbcthompson via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
Bicycle activism in Los Angeles made a giant step last month when LAPD Chief Charlie Beck met with cyclists, vowing to better protect them and train officers on cyclist rights. Part of his plan was assigning Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger to oversee the move along with the creation of Bicycle Task Force, which has met three times already.

Effective immediately is the enforcement of California Vehicle Codes pertaining to cyclists, according to an operations notice obtained by the The L.A. County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC). "Because cyclists are among the most vulnerable users of the roadway and are more likely to suffer injuries in a collision, they need to be recognized as legitimate users of the roadways," Paysinger wrote in the notice to officers. "Cyclists also deserve law enforcement personnel who are familiar with the laws that apply to both motorists and cyclists who engage in activists that endanger cyclists and the general public."

The notice listed various laws pertaining to cyclists, including 21200 (a)--"every person riding a bicycle upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle"--and 21202 (a)--"The 'Bike to the Right' provision does not require cyclists to travel in the 'door zone.'"

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It's a two-way street, however. Other laws listed indicated enforcement of issues drivers often complain about, such as cyclists running stop signs and traveling on the wrong side of the road. The full operations notice and laws can be read here (pdf).

Other issues discussed at the meeting were divisions assigned to collisions and a public safety campaign, noted LACBC.