Monday, November 29, 2010

Santa Monica Bike Action Plan, Public Open House Meeting, December 13th

(Document presented at environmental task force meeting reveals the plan for the process of the plan)
Santa Monica is updating it's bicycle master plan in the coming year, along with many cities that are either updating or drafting plans where one did not exist before. Santa Monica's previous bike plan, from 1995, has been long over due for an update. The new long term plan for all land use in Santa Monica, the LUCE, includes a number of elements pertaining to bicycling as a desired mode of transportation to reduce car trips, and includes a map of routes. The LUCE is a broad vision for a future Santa Monica, but the bike plan update, now being dubbed the bike action plan, will lay out more specifics, and set time-lines for improvements.

Monday December 13th at 6:30 PM, at the Civic Center, will be a big community open house forum to gather input for the plan. It's important we have as many cyclists as possible get involved. Both to show support for an ambitious bike plan, and provide detailed input on where improvements are most needed and what we would like to see. Having numbers will also help counter any nay-sayers with a wind shield perspective that show up and argue their personal convenience as a driver is more valuable than our rights and personal safety as bicyclists. So save the date, December 13th.


The full release from the city is below:



Bicycling is a critical issue in the City of Santa Monica right now because it helps us achieve goals in many critical areas: sustainable living, greenhouse gas emission reduction requirements, active living, open space/recreation, traffic & parking solutions and accommodating arts, cultural, commercial and civic activities without choking the City on cars. It is the fastest growing transportation mode for our largest employers, the City’s own pool bicycle fleet is now larger than its auto fleet and interest is growing in cycling not only in Santa Monica, but in the region and the country.

LUCE, the recently adopted Land Use and Circulation Element, includes a future bicycle network with goals, policies, and actions for bicycling. The Planning and Community Development Department is currently preparing a Bicycle Action Plan, which will set forth an implementation strategy for realizing the LUCE vision for bicycling. We need your help in prioritizing and identifying programs like bike education, safe routes to school as well local and citywide bicycle improvements that need to be made so that we can create a place where everyone wants to ride and feels comfortable doing it.

Please join us from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Monday December 13, 2010 at the Civic Center Auditorium east wing for an open house style meeting to discuss bicycling and provide feedback on issues and priorities for the Bicycle Action Plan. Feedback from this meeting, as well as a public survey, will be incorporated in the Bicycle Action Plan which will be issued next year. The Civic Center is accessible by Big Blue Bus lines 1,2,3,4, 7, Rapid 7, and 8. There will be additional bike parking for the event. Please contact Michelle Glickert for special arrangements or questions 310.458.2204.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Update On This Week's Council Meeting

The proposal to make certain violations, including sidewalk cycling, be classified so that they may be an infraction or misdemeanor was non-controversial with the council. This was a first reading so it has not been ratified as a change just yet. During my speaking time I also brought up other concerns about sidewalk cycling, the need for safer streets, and alternative enforcement and education possibilities.

I also brought up the bicycle registration ordinance, and after public comments the city attorney acknowledged Santa Monica is indeed not in compliance with state law on this. A change is being drafted, to be discussed as it's own agenda item in a future meeting. Kevin McKeown made a few comments about the need for a broader look at bicycling safety concern and sidewalk riding, and city manager Rod Gould indicating a cross departmental team would be looking at tackling bicycling issues, and that the police department would be involved in this. Having been critical of what always appeared to be a silo approach of every department treating bicycling concerns or problems in their own way, I was glad to hear the city manager emphasize the need for cross departmental collaboration.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tonight, City Council To Look At Amending Sidewalk Riding Ordinance To Become Infraction Rather Than Misdemeanor At Officer Discretion

Santa Monica Critical Mass December As I have discussed before, it is absurd that some local cycling violations, such as sidewalk riding. are classified misdemeanors, requiring a court appearance, and making them far more serious than typical traffic violations, usually given as infractions. I don't think the courts are too keen on Santa Monica's handing out a bunch of dumb misdemeanors either. The cyclist, Dan Beam, that I have been communicating with recently, who was cited for both sidewalk cycling and failure to show a bicycle license, both laws he was unaware existed, and was given a misdemeanor for both, finally went to court. He explained the situation and the judge promptly tossed out both charges. Just a big waste of time for all parties involved and a waste of tax dollars.

So we may finally see this absurdity become a little more reasonable soon. A first reading of an ordinance change is on the City Council agenda tonight, and will allow officers discretion in giving out an infraction or a misdemeanor for several local ordinances, including the sidewalk riding ordinance, and a few which are not related to cycling. I could foresee very few instances where sidewalk riding should ever be given as a misdemeanor, so imagine it would after this change always be given as an infraction unless a cyclist was being an especially serious hazard to pedestrians or caused harm to someone else.

However I do not see anything in the item report about Santa Monica's bike license requirement, currently also a misdemeanor. This also needs to change, to at least be in compliance with state law. However I think it should be canned all together or made entirely opt-in rather than a requirement. Giving out misdemeanors for not having a sticker most people have never heard of, or if they have heard of it, likely do not know is mandatory, is ridiculous and appears to violate the California Vehicle Code.

I'm going to go to the meeting tonight and use my 2 minutes to insist that the bike license program be canned or at least be changed to reduce the penalties in addition to the other changes proposed on the agenda. I'd also like to pitch again an idea I've been talking a lot about lately, which is to create a program for cyclists cited for moving violations to take a certified bike education class, which would do so much more to benefit public safety than going to court or just paying off a ticket. Austin and Portland are cities that are already doing this.

The meeting tonight starts at 5:30 pm, but the ordinance changes in question are deep into the agenda, item 7-B, immediately following further discussion on taxicab changes in the city, which has been a contentious topic. So if your interested in speaking up on this topic, don't come right away or you'll be there a while. I'll be posting twitter updates, and will try to give a heads up when it becomes clearer what time it may come on.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Santa Monica Budget Process For 2011-2012 Is Starting, Pico Neighborhood Meeting Tonight, More To Follow

(cross posted on Bay City Urbanist)

The Santa Monica budget for the next fiscal year is in it's preliminary stages, and local bicycling activists are working to ensure we get bicycling dedicated funding in the next budget. The more people we can get voicing support for this the better. City Manager Rod Gould has been hosting neighborhood meetings  to get residents initial thoughts on their spending priorities, and to present the issues with the city's budget management in light of the financial downturn and reduced state funding.

Two of these neighborhood meetings have already been hosted, and 3 more remain. The one for the Pico Neighborhood, which is where I live, is tonight, and I'll be attending. I encourage Santa Monica residents who come out for some of these and speak up. Particularly for bicyclists, having our bike plan go through an update (public input for a new bike plan will begin soon) doesn't do us much good if we still get the crumbs of table scraps in spending priority as we have had in the past.

Particularly regarding the Pico Neighborhood, Pico is often short changed, and when it comes to bike improvements and basic accommodation, is the least served neighborhood from my observation, even though there are probably more people living car free or car light around Pico. Particularly because of the community college and many students who rent apartments together in the area, including the building I live in.

None of the businesses along Pico accommodate cycling ( the very few exceptions all provide terribly designed, poorly placed or entirely non-functional bike racks), and the city makes no effort to provide for the need using public resources. I like to sum up the state of bicycling in the Pico Neighborhood with the following photograph of two bikes haphazardly locked to a shopping cart at the 99 cent store, for lack of anything much better to attach to.

The schedule and information for tonight's meeting and the following two neighborhood budget meetings are below. The web page with further information on budgeting is here, and there is also a form for making online submission of comments. This is a critical time to start getting involved, we don't get bike improvements unless we get dollars to pay for them, and in the big picture, the amount of money cyclists are asking for is peanut shells compared to what we shovel into subsidizing driving every year.

November 17, 7 p.m.
Cosponsored by Pico Neighborhood Association
Virginia Avenue Park Thelma Terry Community Room, 2200 Virginia Avenue

November 30, 7 p.m.
Cosponsored by Friends of Sunset Park
Grant Elementary School Auditorium, 2368 Pearl Street

December 2, 7 p.m.
Cosponsored by North of Montana Association
Montana Branch Library, 1704 Montana Avenue

Friday, November 12, 2010

Follow Up On Recs & Parks Bike Commitee Meeting

Bike It Day - 10-13-10 - SamohiOn the whole I think it was a good and productive meeting, raising a number of issues seldom discussed in the depth they deserve, and advocates presented a number of potential solutions. I passed around a document I prepared on my thoughts about sidewalk riding as a symptom of dangerous streets and approaches to reducing sidewalk riding. This was partly in response to complaints from seniors about sidewalk riders and the subsequent ticketing of riders by SMPD with overly punitive misdemeanor charges. I was glad at the very least the police acknowledged a misdemeanor was far too harsh and were lobbying to have the ordinance changed to the level of infraction, as most traffic violations are.

I also pitched the idea of programs in Austin and Portland were ticketed cyclists can opt to instead of pay the fine, pay for a certified street cycling course that teaches safe practices and local laws on cycling. I think that's far more productive then sending people to the LAX court house. There were high and low points, like one of the officers suggesting that accidents and bad driving were "inevitable". We really have a long ways to go in fostering a culture of safe streets in Santa Monica.

I can't entirely pin this all on the SMPD though. They are overwhelmed by an entire system that is failing, in engineering, education, other components of the legal system, and the failings of the state level. Improving traffic safety is complex, cross-departmental, influenced by culture, by media and every level of government. There is also the interplay of connected municipalities such as Santa Monica receiving much of it's traffic from the City of Los Angeles.

A complex problem requires multifaceted solutions, but if Santa Monica really makes it a priority to improve traffic safety for bicyclists and pedestrians, and as a consequence it would improve safety for everyone, even drivers, I believe a lot can be accomplished fairly quickly. We need to come together and tackle what is the biggest threat to life in this community.

I have become a firm believer in setting as the goal post, vision zero, an ethical standard that no death should be tolerated on our streets and that we reduce the body count to zero. If you think about our current system and culture, it is based on the premise that the high rate of people dieing in traffic is an unfortunate but accepted collateral damage for moving cars quickly, with the notion that we must all have cars and must move cars fast, to create economic prosperity. This collateral damage costs more American lives than our military engagements, and unlike other health risks, victims often have little or no control over their demise, such as when reckless drivers unpredictably strike or lose control of their vehicle. We are in need of a culture shock.

For a more complete synopsis of the bike committee meeting this week, check out the Santa Monica Mirror, which had a reporter at the meeting and covered the evening's discussion.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Santa Monica Recreation and Parks Commission Bike Committee To Discuss Bike And Ped Collision Statistics Tonight @ 6:00pm

Bike Lane Icon

The Santa Monica Recreation and Parks Commission Bike Committee is having a public meeting tonight at 6:00pm at the Ken Edwards Center to discuss bike and pedestrian safety information in Santa Monica. The recent and sobering statistics cited in the latest city Sustainability Report Card and in the California Office of Traffic Safety Rankings are topics that will be discussed. In addition to the committee members, representatives from the police department and city staff will be on hand to discuss the issues.

I've also heard there are some senior residents who are planning to come and express their frustration with sidewalk bicycling. I plan to come prepared to discuss why sidewalk cycling is a symptom of poor infrastructure design, poor education, and aggressive and often illegal bullying behavior from motorists. The problem of dangerous drivers trickles down to effecting everyone, and represents the biggest threat to all road users.

Crosswalk


Really cyclists and pedestrians should be allies with a common enemy in the automobile. In 2008, 110 cyclists and 105 pedestrians in Santa Monica were seriously injured or killed in traffic collisions, and it's certainly not because of cyclists and pedestrians occasionally bumping into each other. Which is not to say there is not an issue with sidewalk cycling, it certainly presents a hazard to pedestrians and cyclists alike. It reinforces the false, but widely held notion that cyclists don't belong on the road and encroaches on the rights and space of pedestrians, and does represent a potential for collision resulting in injury.

We need to keep the situation in context.  Some people on foot may be afraid of cycling on the sidewalk, but there is little to suggest it is all that dangerous to the pedestrian. There are some freak incidents in the U.S. were a cyclist has struck a pedestrian and the victim fell in such a manner as to die from their injury, but such incidents are incredibly rare, while drivers killing pedestrians is very common place, happening every day. Transportation for America has put out a report that compares pedestrians struck and killed by cars while crossing the street to being the equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing and killing all passengers every month.

Causalities involving cyclists struck by cars out numbers pedestrians being seriously hit or killed in Santa Monica, despite representing a smaller margin of the populace. Until we make the streets feel safe to ride a bike, no matter what the laws governing sidewalks are, how many tickets are handed out, no matter what cycling advocates say in encouraging street cycling, I think we will find some cyclists on the sidewalk. This is not to suggest bicycling is exceedingly dangerous as an activity, but many of the ways in which a cyclist can significantly reduce their risk of being hit are not being practiced by many riders, either because the cyclist doesn't know what safe riding practices are, are unaware of their legal rights, or are afraid to fully exercise their rights because of intimidation by motorists who either do know their rights, or do not respect them.

It's easy to lose sight of the bloody reality of transportation because the news media filters out most traffic casualties. Serious injury and death from traffic collisions are so common it's generally not considered that "news worthy". I think some people are surprised to discover the most common traffic death of them all is the single vehicle automobile crash, with a driver hitting a stationary object or going off the road. That's not considered interesting to news media unless the driver was famous or the car was very expensive.

We should not resign ourselves to accept traffic fatalities as fate however. Traffic, and traffic deaths are not weather conditions, they are not an act of God, it is a problem of our own doing, and one we can undo as well. There are cities that have made enormous strides toward improved traffic safety with concerted campaigns, enforcement and engineering. The life expectancy of New Yorkers has been going up by notable margins recently (1 year and 7 months increase) in part because of reductions to traffic deaths from their recent re-engineering efforts. Researcher and public health consultant Peter Jacobsen has made a call for a Vision Zero, a goal that we dramatically reduce traffic fatalities until there are none at all. America, with it's 30,000 - 40,000 traffic deaths a year has a long way to go to get there, but it won't change if we don't try.

Hopefully tonight's meeting can kick off a constructive dialogue in Santa Monica on improving the safety of our streets, for the good and livelihood of us all, regardless of what mode or means of getting around our city.

I'm Starting A New Blog To Focus On Urban Planning Issues and Livable Streets Movement In Santa Monica

The Park Is Open, The Parking Spaces In Front Of Swingers Never Looked So Good
(Santa Monica Spoke's Park[ing] Day Space At Swingers Diner)

First off I'd like to thank all of you, my readers, who have stuck with me during the development of this blog. From the days when I barely knew what I was doing but knew I was excited about bikes, to sporadic periods without much posting due to overtime work commitments. Slowly and gradually Gary Rides Bikes has grown in readership and influence. Even Los Angeles Mayor Villarigosa has checked out the blog.

As I've been consuming as much information as I could over the past few years on cycling, I increasingly saw the connections and importance of all aspects of transportation and land use planning in shaping how we get around in the city. I've been wanting to broaden my focus, and create more bridges between advocacy for bicycling, pedestrian, and public transit, inspired by Streetsblog and the L.A. Street Summit.

I'm not an urban planner by academic education or trade, I went to art school and now I make video games for a living. Though in my off time I've been building this second education for my self and developed an interest in shaping more than just a virtual reality. Besides bicycling specific books like "Bicycling and the Law", and "Pedaling Revolution", I've been going through the works of Jane Jacobs, who I was first exposed to from borrowing off of a friend's reading list in college. Reading "The Death And Life of Great American Cities" forever changed the way I looked at the built environment. Digging into the psychology and history of our driving culture, I've been reading books like "Republic of Drivers", and Tom Vanderbilt's "Traffic". I've also been stuffing every local and significant national blog on bicycling and transportation issues I could find into my Google Reader.

logo500px

Now I want to take some of that insight, built over the course of creating and writing this blog, and my desire to incite positive change, and apply it to covering various urban planning issues in Santa Monica. I'm calling the new blog Bay City Urbanist. If you're wondering how I arrived at calling it that, you can check out the about page. It will feature discussions on pedestrian issues, cycling, traffic, land use, public spaces, local transit, among other things, all with a Santa Monica focus.

I'm also interested and seeking potential co-authors or guest writers for Bay City Urbanist, so I can tap into people with more expertise on issues with which I am not yet as familiar as I am with cycling, or who have another interesting perspective to offer. As well as to maintain a higher frequency of content than I have time for on my own. If you'd be interested in contributing, or know someone who would be, who is knowledgeable on the topics, please let me know. Preferably a resident of Santa Monica, or at least someone who does or has spent time here frequently enough to have a local understanding.

As for what will happen to this blog, I have no intention to abandon Gary Rides Bikes, though the post frequency here may lower when I focus further on other projects. I would like to build a readership with the new blog which includes, but is not exclusively those interested in cycling. I'm hoping an offshoot of doing this will be bringing ideas from bicycling advocacy to an audience that may be less familiar with those issues, and cross pollinate energy.

When I feel like writing material that is really intended for an audience already both knowable and passionate about bikes, or material more related to the bike culture and my personal adventures within, such content will mostly still be published through Gary Rides Bikes. Since Bay City Urbanist will be very Santa Monica centric, when I feel like getting specific about bicycling issues outside of Santa Monica, or are less relevant to a Santa Monica discussion, those things will mostly be posted here at Gary Rides Bikes.

I also know that some people really like my occasional long ranting posts, some of them are my most read pages. However they can also be a little off putting for a broader audience, so that sort of stuff will most likely stay here. From time to time I may also cross post some things to both blogs when relevant or link between them.
 
So I hope you will check out the new blog, but stay tuned here, I'll keep updating Gary Rides Bikes, though likely not quite as often. Now it's time for the next evolution in my thought process, though bicycling will always be my first love when it comes to urban planning issues.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Update On L.A. Bike Plan & Planning Commission Meeting, A Victory For Cyclists

 09 Los Angeles City Hall (E)
At the L.A. planning commission meeting yesterday, cycling activists from all over the spectrum united in calling for the plan to have some key revisions made before being declared final. The meeting lasted forever, and I had to bail early for work, but Joe Linton has a run down of the whole day over at Streetsblog. Cyclists had a victory yesterday, with the plan being put off until the next planning commission meeting, with a sub-committee formed to iron out some of the final concerns with aspects of the plan. Items such as strengthening the definition of a "bike friendly street", shifting some of the priorities for the 5 year implementation plan, and defining a minimum car lane width as 10 feet instead of 11, bringing more bike lane projects into the realm of "feasible".

My thanks to everyone who actually sat through the whole thing and gave their speaking time, the perseverance has paid off.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

City of L.A. Bike Plan Goes To Planning Commission Tomorrow, Cyclists Encouraged To Show Numbers At City Hall & Voice Concerns

Little Kid On Little Tall Bike
( Some are saying the bike plan comes up a little short. )

For those who have not been following from other sources, the City of L.A. planning commission will be reviewing the bike plan update. Once approved by the planning commission, modifications will be more difficult to make. Cycling activists and organizations are all highly encouraging cyclists to show up to make our presence felt to the planning commission, whether that be in support or against aspects of the plan. Though many activists take issue with a number of aspects of the plan. While LACBC had initially encouraged cyclists to come support the plan and listed some positive aspects, they have also since joined the voices of activists like Joe Linton, Alex Thompson, Stephen Box and Josef Bray-Ali in calling for aspects where the plan is lacking or even weaker than the 1996 plan to be fixed before approval.

I have admittedly been more out of the loop on the L.A. bike plan developments than I would like, having been very busy and locally Santa Monica focused lately, so I apologize for the lack updates on my blog. I am going to try and make it out to the meeting tomorrow to add to the chorus and write in comments on the bike plan website. Whether you live in City of L.A. or not, if your in any of the municipalities connected to it, what the City of L.A. does effects everyone in the region. If you want to get up to speed on where the bike plan is at, and where it has been, Joe Linton's recent post for Streetsblog is highly informative and I recommend you check it out.

The meeting is tomorrow Thursday November 4th 2010 at 8:30am in the City Council Chambers on the 3rd floor of City Hall, at 200 North Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles 90012. If you can't make it out, but want your voice heard, I encourage you to write in a comment, they are looking at everything that comes in and gauging how people feel about the plan. The planning commission e-mail Planning@lacity.org

The Dark Side Of Bicycle Registration Rears It's Ugly Head Again

 Santa Monica Critical Mass December
(Photo from my first Santa Monica Critical Mass, ticket was written for not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign)

Over in Long Beach the police decided to crack down on a critical mass ride within minutes of it starting last week. As we saw in Santa Monica police crack-downs on critical mass in the past, back when it attracted much bigger turnout, tickets were written in mass, some for legitimate violations, others less clear, and some down right nit picky. The really overreaching and draconian part of this fiasco though, was the LBPD seized peoples bikes, which for some riders was their only or primary means of transportation.

This mass seizure of bikes was done under the guise of the bikes not being registered under the local bicycle registration ordinance and in some cases a lack of brakes.  Last time I checked when drivers fail to update their vehicle registration sticker it's a ticket, they don't impound the car. Also driving with dealer plates instead of valid license plates is so common it would be laughable if it were not such a serious issue of accountability with our abysmally high rate of hit and run crashes.

It should be noted concerning the bikes taken for lack of external brakes, that fixed gear bikes can be stopped under the definition of stopping in the CA bicycle equipment requirements when you lock your legs, and there is no clarification in the vehicle code of the definition of what a brake is. Though I think caliper brakes are a good idea for additional safety, if cities want to do away with fixed gear bikes not equipped with external braking power, there must be further clarification of what brakes are in the vehicle code. Cruiser bikes with internal coaster brake hubs are very common, especially in Southern California, and stop in a manner not all that dissimilar to a fixed gear bike. A judge in Oregon ruled that a fixed gear bike does not constitute having a brake, but it's hardly a matter that is settled, and there is still ambiguity in the law and it's interpretation. As Ted Rogers pointed out in comments, Long Beach judges have tossed out tickets given to fixed gear riders in the past concerning braking requirements.

As has been demonstrated several times now, bicycle registration as it exists, where it exists is so poorly implemented that most citizens have never heard of such requirements. Sometimes even cyclists trying to comply have a lot of trouble getting a sticker because the agencies in charge of distributing them are often unprepared to actually implement the registration. While bicycle theft recovery is the commonly stated purpose of such laws, in practice they can used to harass cyclists or add punitive punishments when police are reaching for extra penalties to stack when no other valid traffic violations can be found.

For more background on the critical mass situation in Long Beach, check out the stories on the Long Beach Press-Telegram, the LA Times,  and Ted Rogers of BikingInLA has a good round up of the points with links to pertinent ordinances, statements etc.  

The seizure of the bikes for something as petty as lack of a registration requirement that is so poorly implemented, is incredibly and excessively overreaching. I really hope the cyclists in Long Beach organize and sue the city.  I think as a group cyclists need to start drawing lines in the sand and explore options for law suits against governments which fail to provide for our safety through infrastructure, fail to educate the public on the rights and responsibility of all road users, abuse their police powers, and or them selves fail to comply with the law.

As many readers of mine are aware, I think that bicycle registration as implemented in Santa Monica is both sloppy and also unlawful according to the California Vehicle Code. I had tried to call attention to the issue a few times in the past, through e-mails and round-table discussion with city staff, after it was discovered the L.A. version of the law was being used to ticket cyclists who had violated no other traffic law, and widespread ignorance that the law even existed, both among citizens and public officials. The L.A. law was eventually put to rest after a period of back and forth on the issue while cyclists given tickets were in limbo.

In Santa Monica the law still stands however, but as written is still absurdly punitive and does not comply with state law. It fails to comply on two accounts, it can only be required of or enforced on residents, which the Santa Monica ordinance does not indicate, and it is currently a misdemeanor with maximum penalty of $1,000 with the possibility of jail time. However the C.A. C.V.C. specifies the penalties for such requirements is not to exceed $10. The Santa Monica law was also recently featured in a post by livable streets activist and L.A. city council candidate Stephen Box, on the topic of local governments, and government agencies, which have or have had laws or policies concerning bicycling, which are in fact in violation of state laws.

Previously had no luck finding anyone actually being cited for the violation in Santa Monica. That has changed. In the past week I've been exchanging messages with a cyclist that found me through a friend of his being a reader of my blog. He was cited for sidewalk riding, which he did not know was also an offense, and when he expressed that he had seen other cyclists use the sidewalk, something common in Santa Monica despite being prohibited, he was given a second violation, for failure to display a bicycle license, another ordinance the cyclist had no idea existed. Both cited offenses were listed as misdemeanors, more serious than most traffic violations, which are treated as infractions, and these citations have mandatory court dates, at the LAX court house.

While sidewalk riding is clearly not allowed in the Santa Monica municipal code, the city also does a pretty terrible job informing the public of that requirement as well. Should the penalty for this also be so serious as to require a mandatory court date? This seems particularly ridiculous given that Santa Monica shares sidewalk connections with the City of Los Angeles, which does not prohibit sidewalk riding. There are no signs indicating anywhere that sidewalk cycling is prohibited on city streets in Santa Monica. As I've said many times before, I am certainly no advocate for sidewalk riding, I am a vehicular cyclist all the way. However if Santa Monica is going to prohibit the practice of rolling on the sidewalk, it needs to do a better job educating the public that sidewalk riding is not allowed, and defending cyclist's right to use the roadway.

Seeing the disaster of police abuse in Long Beach, and finding a cyclist cited for lack of registration at home, has renewed my interest in having the law killed or reformed, as it is clearly apparent as written invites abuse of police power in addition to being unlawful. If it comes down to it, I may start consulting with a lawyer to make Santa Monica city comply with state laws whether it wants to be bothered with this issue or not. Hopefully this incident has motivated Long Beach cyclists to fight the law there as well.