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Santa Monica Police Will Not Throw you in Jail if You Don't Have a Bicycle License, Says Official

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Photo by alexbcthompson via Flickr

Photo by alexbcthompson via Flickr
Although Santa Monica's outdated bicycle license appears to directly contradict state law, officials recently have been promoting the city's bicycle licenses because of a rise in thefts in the Southbay. "We do try to get people to get licensed because it makes the return of stolen bikes easier," explained Don Patterson, the manager who oversees the division that issues bicycle licenses.

"Concurrent with that, we recognize we are a tourist city and if you ride your bike into Santa Monica... we're not going to just stop for not having a bicycle license and throw you in jail," Patterson continued.

Santa Monica's bicycle license law has been on the books since 1995 and states that "any person" riding on city streets is subject to the law. However, state law says cities that choose to require bicycle licenses may only apply it to residents.

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After LAPD officers began using the Los Angeles' bicycle license law as a reason to detain cyclists in handcuffs earlier this year, it was struck down by the L.A. City Council because the spirit of the law was to aid in recovering stolen bicycles.

Bicycle bloggers worry that the law will used by Santa Monica police to stop any cyclist if the law isn't changed. Patterson said there has been no discussions in regards to updating the law.

The worst punishment for not having a license is up to six months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines. But according to the California Vehicle Code, a 1983-written limit for such a violation is up to $10.

To obtain a bicycle license (details here), you can call (310) 458-8745

Previously: Jail or up to a $1000 Fine for Not Having a Bicycle License in Santa Monica