So I just got back from dropping out of the Woflpack early. I dropped early for three reasons. First, I’m weak! Second, I was ill prepared riding fixed without a break. Third, I guess I didn’t screw my lock ring in hard enough because I felt a little bit a slipping at the end of the ride. Tightened the bolt at home. Excuses are for whiny asses.
I’m sick of police officers who are ignorant of the law. If you’re a police officer who wants harass cyclists you presume to be breaking the law, be damn sure you know what you’re talking about. Cyclists, if you’re sick of it too, join me in complaining, as explained later.A perfect example of police ignorance arose on the 3rd Venice Critical Mass (which was a blast!) An officer of the LA County Sheriff’s department berated riders for leaving the bike lane when riders from the rear were overtaking riders at the front. “Ride single file in the bike lane and stay out of the road” she repeated over loudspeaker.
California Vehicle Code 21208 enables cyclists to leave a bike lane in several circumstances, including “when overtaking and passing another bicycle”. There isn’t anything in the vehicle code about riding single file.
The Sheriff’s ignorance of the law is similar to Santa Monica PD’s (SMPD) ignorant bullying of cyclists during Santa Monica Critical Mass (SMCM). One SMPD officer cited a cyclist for leaving the bike lane to pass a car inching along in the bike lane. The cyclist was legal, the motorist was violating the law, so SMPD cited the cyclist. Another officer cited a rider for walking his bike on the grass without lights. Worse, in the photo below, SMPD cited Alex Cantarero for “no front lights”, while 50 witnesses stood hypnotized by the dual front lights mounted on his pegs. This same bike cop was earlier joy riding with his lights off, and when confronted about his hypocrisy argued “police don’t have to adhere to the law.” INDEED.
While SMPD enthusiastically generates the record for a class action lawsuit the madness isn’t restricted to the Westside. Bike activists Stephen and Enci Box were thrown in hand cuffs when Stephen insisted that police record his wish to file charges against a bus driver who pushed him WITH THE BUS. Beverly Hills Officer Prenesti called a cyclist an idiot and cited him after the cyclist stood up to a motorist who nearly killed him.
I’m sick of it, and I’ve called the LA Sheriff’s department at 800-698-8255, and 310-482-6000 to to express my displeasure with their officer. Please pile it on by calling yourself.
If SMPD targeted you unfairly, on Critical Mass or off, complain with this form. For you, filing a complaint is painless. For SMPD it entails a investigation of the complaint that must be reviewed by the Chief of Police.
Cover his desk.
(SMPD Chief Jackman does a handless skid at the Bicycle Film Festival, faux photo courtesy of Midnight Ridazz)