LAPD to crack down on traffic laws, again


The Department of Public Safety and LAPD will be conducting a second bike traffic enforcement effort today, despite sentiment from many students that the first crackdown was ineffective and unfair.

The crackdown on bike traffic will focus on the intersections on Jefferson Boulevard at Hoover Street and at McClintock Avenue. It will mirror the enforcement effort on Sept. 18, when LAPD gave out about 120 traffic citations, according to DPS Assistant Chief John Thomas.

Ticket to ride · An LAPD officer issues a traffic citation to at student by the intersection of McClintock Avenue and Jefferson Boulevard during LAPD’s Sept. 18 traffic enforcement crackdown. LAPD will again be ticketing in droves on Wednesday. - Nathaniel Gonzalez | Daily Trojan

Ticket to ride · An LAPD officer issues a traffic citation to at student by the intersection of McClintock Avenue and Jefferson Boulevard during LAPD’s Sept. 18 traffic enforcement crackdown. LAPD will again be ticketing in droves on Wednesday. - Nathaniel Gonzalez | Daily Trojan

Since then, Thomas said, LAPD officers have sporadically come to campus and ticketed students, but Wednesday’s enforcement will be the first concentrated effort since September. Still, Thomas said he hopes the periodic citations have helped decrease the number of offenders.

“We’re expecting them to write fewer tickets this time, meaning the behavior is changing and students are at least more mindful,” Thomas said. “If we write more of the same number we’re not having the impact we need to see.”

Despite Thomas’ optimism, many students said they have not noticed a difference in biking habits.

“People still ride against the traffic and in the intersections and they just hope they don’t get caught,” said Jeremiah Forkkio, a junior majoring in business administration.

DPS Capt. David Carlisle, however, said the occasional citation efforts, even if they don’t make a noticeable change, help prevent collisions and other bike safety issues.

“If we don’t occasionally take action to impound bikes or give tickets the problems get worse and worse,” Carlisle said. “When the resources allow it, we need to keep some control and order with the traffic flow.”

Some students said they do not think it is worthwhile for LAPD to dedicate time and resources to patrolling the intersections.

“It seems like LAPD has a lot more problems it could be dealing with than if USC students are walking their bikes in the crosswalks,” said Alicia Johnson, a junior majoring in French and neuroscience.

But Thomas noted that it is LAPD’s South Traffic Division that enforces these traffic laws, and one of its primary tasks is ensuring traffic safety.

“Students say the officers can be doing something more important, but traffic safety is one of the most important quality of life issues in the city of Los Angeles,” Thomas said. “We have two of the most problematic intersections in our division, so it’s a good use of South Traffic Division’s resources.”

Other students argued that the cost of the citations is too steep given the magnitude of the violation.

Rachel Fuhrman, a sophomore majoring in international relations, was given a $212 ticket in September for failing to obey posted traffic control signals. But Fuhrman argued the signs were not clear enough.

“There was a sign that said, ‘Walk bike in crosswalk,’ which is pretty much illegible because the ‘bike’ part is graffitied out,” Fuhrman said. “It just says, ‘Walk in the crosswalk.’”

Fuhrman said she thinks tickets should be given just to students who are biking

dangerously. She does not think students should be ticketed for coming to a near stop and then slowly entering the crosswalk.

Still, Thomas said, officials must consider pedestrian safety when deciding whether or not to ticket.

“The crosswalk is an extension of the sidewalk,” Thomas said. “But with the number of bikers causing the people walking to get out of the bicyclists’ way, we consider that disregard for the safety of others.”

Thomas noted, however, that most of the citations issued were not for biking through the crosswalks, but for riding in the wrong direction.

Geoff Montgomery, a sophomore majoring in business administration, said he received a $174 ticket for biking against the flow of traffic. Montgomery plans to appeal the ticket in court, however.

“I think the city realizes that by making students jump through hoops, a lot of kids will just pay for it to avoid the hassle,” Montgomery said. “It would be one thing if it were a $30 bike ticket but it’s more than some speeding tickets that my parents have gotten.”

Despite students’ wariness of the enforcement efforts, Carlisle said they are worthwhile if they make even a small difference — and he thinks they have.

“We have noticed students walking their bikes in the crosswalk at Jefferson and McClintock and that may not have been the case in recent years,” Carlisle said. “It may be a small incremental increase in compliance but if that makes fewer accidents then we’re happy.”

  • mc

    Good Luck Mrs. Kendall this endevour of your is a three headed monster and no one wants tot take responsibility. Maybe we can get students to volunteer to tell other students to safetyly walk their bikes…they would quit after one lunch time rush and after a few flip off and FU’S;(

    • Christopher Miranda

      It seems like Mrs. Kendall and Sustainable Streets wants to take this responsibility. I do not believe flip-offs and FUs would help this problem.

  • Alison Kendall

    I am a USC parent and board member of Sustainable Streets, a non profit which aims to make Los Angeles more bicycle and pedestrian friendly. A month ago I wrote campus police suggesting that our organization, which provides bicycle safety and urban cycling classes, develop a curriculum for USC students. It would be wornderful if we could convince students that riding the wrong way down the street wearing flip flops without a helmet while talking on a cell phone is a dumb idea.

    Enforcement of bicycle laws can be effective at increasing safety, primarily if it focuses on real safety hazards. But we need to make sure students know how to cycle safely, and we need to redesign the campus and surrounding streets to accommodate the high volumes of pedestrians and cyclists they carry. Most importantly, we want to ENCOURAGE biking…its a healthy, fun, clean and ideal transportation mode.

    • Christopher Miranda

      I love this solution. Teaching bicycle safety while also redesigning streets to accommodate both pedestrians and bicyclists.

      It seems that USC discourages bicycling, though. Unnoticed by many students, at Gate 5 there is a sign which prohibits bicycles from entering. The only legal way for a bicycle to enter through Gate 5 is by walking through the crosswalk, then getting onto the sidewalk, which does not afford enough space for both bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

  • Mr. DB

    shouldn’t lapd be focused on stopping hit and run on adams?
    if USC students were more active in their community, they would take the city of LA to court for unfair practices – this is the same with parking tickets. parking enforcers are always on time only at usc.
    only at usc will you see lapd bring a chopper to break up a party on the row.

    • Christopher Miranda

      The only problem is that this is difficult to prove in court.

  • mc

    Sorry guys but the days of student bicycle terror on the USC campus are limited…and OMG you may have to walk a hundred yards to get to class…

    • Christopher Miranda

      We’re not talking about getting to class. We’re talking about crossing a street.

  • Eric

    @ Cory

    You’re close, but not quite right mostly because of LAMC 56.15 which says, “No person shall ride, operate or use a bicycle, unicycle, skateboard, cart, wagon, wheelchair, rollerskates, or any other device moved exclusively by human power, on a sidewalk, bikeway or boardwalk in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”

    Many cities do in fact prohibit riding bikes on sidewalks, but LA is not one of them. They have decided to allow it. Crosswalks, in this case, are extensions of the sidewalk, not the roadway and so it is not correct to cite portions of the CVC governing bicycle use in a roadway.

    The LAMC refers to the manner in which the cyclist is riding. The LAPD has instead invented a standard of “there are numerous pedestrians” rather than assessing whether the bicyclist is operating in a safe and respectful manner. On the pedestrian signal, pedestrians have and should have the right of way, but that does not mean it is not possible to ride respectfully and safely, particularly if one enters the vehicle lane on McClintock.

    That said, it will always be safer for bicyclists to ride on the roadway (in the same direction as traffic) and use the vehicle signals. If LAPD were interested in increasing bike safety, they would be instructing students to do this as they write their tickets.

    We need to figure out an engineering solution to make both the Hoover and McClintock intersections safer for bikes and peds. But with ambiguous and inappropriately applied laws, enforcement is not actually addressing the problem.

  • cory

    well according to Jeremiah Forkkio who’s quoted in the article “People still ride against the traffic and in the intersections and they just hope they don’t get caught,” and DPS Assistant Chief John Thomas who’s also noted states “most of the citations issued were not for biking through the crosswalks, but for riding in the wrong direction”. If they cited for that, then it would be a violation of California Vehicle Code (CVC) 21650.1. which states:

    ” A bicycle operated on a roadway, or the shoulder of a highway, shall be operated in the same direction as vehicles are required to be driven upon the roadway”. A Sidewalk is an extention of the roadway.

    Also for other bike laws check CVC 21200(a). That alone states that bicyclist are subject to the same rules that motorist do. There’s a lot of things that are illegal and I see it all the time. Having earphones on while bicycling, not stopping for the stop sign, going the wrong way etc. There’s cities who have local municipal codes agaisnt riding a bike on the sidewalk.

    I’m an avid bicycler. I don’t like getting tickets, that’s why I take time to study the law and find out what’s illegal. The information is out there, all you have to do is research it. As University students it shouldn’t be that hard for us to do.

    sources:
    California Vehicle Code
    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/waisgate?WAISdocID=59315614988+0+0+0&WAISaction=retrieve
    http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/vc/tocd11c1a4.htm

  • this is definitely not the most pressing issue in L.A., but does deserve attention.

    • David

      False.
      Crime in this area is a non-issue. Proof: I have not been robbed.
      So, get the students on their bikes.

  • David

    The cops are completely right in ticketing people biking through crosswalks. I would suggest that they set up a substation there to completely make biking a hassle 24/7 instead of the measly 2 or 3 hours that they did today.
    This is without a doubt the most pressing issue in the area, maybe even in LA. A few kids might get brushed by a bike, and this demands an LAPD presence.
    I, personally, also believe that bikes should have to walked when on the sidewalk. I’ve talked to some that say that bikes should be walked at all times, and although I am not yet of that opinion, it has some good arguments.

  • @Joe

    “… LAPD should similarly ticket walkers for disregarding the path of cyclists”

    I have to disagree with this. We’re focusing on the enforcement of laws right now and pedestrians have the right of way on sidewalks. Bikes have to yield to them. If pedestrians on the sidewalk or crosswalk are annoying you, then ride your bike as a vehicle on the street and wait for the green light.

  • Joe

    “The crosswalk is an extension of the sidewalk,” Thomas said. “But with the number of bikers causing the people walking to get out of the bicyclists’ way, we consider that disregard for the safety of others.”

    If the crosswalk is an extension of the sidewalk, than bicyclists should be allowed to bike across the intersection.

    And if bikers are getting ticketed for disregarding the safety of walkers, than the LAPD should similarly ticket walkers for disregarding the path of cyclists.

  • Jared

    Many of the people cited are not breaking any laws. THERE IS NO LAW saying that bikes cannot ride in a crosswalk. Crosswalks are an extension of the sidewalk and the LAMC gives bikes the right to ride on the sidewalks in a safe manner. If the cyclists are being reckless to those around them (I know plenty of riders that are), then they deserve to be ticketed.

    Saying it’s illegal to ride in a crosswalk is completely false and misinformation. I really wish the DT would read the corresponding municipal and vehicle codes and report on that. That would do more good for the community.

  • @cory

    Cory- which law is this that the students have broken?

  • cory

    you guys need to stop whining. this is the LAPD traffic division. that’s their job to enforce traffic laws. bicyclist aren’t excempted from the law. it sucks that some of you got tickets, but that’s the law.

    as far as LAPD riding a brand new BMW motorcycle, good for them. they need their old bikes replaced, just like their patrol cars. their equipment wears out with time like anything else.

    don’t want to get a ticket, stop breaking the law and follow the rules. simple. hopefully some of you will get the picture.

  • TrojanGirl

    We live in one of the worst crime areas in the country. Doesn’t LAPD have some gangs or a drug ring to deal with? Just because the state of California is facing a $21 billion deficit doesn’t mean that USC students are responsible for helping them pay it off. Just yesterday, I saw an LAPD officer riding a brand new BMW motorcycle. So glad LAPD uses our bike ticket money so effectively.

  • @Chris

    Sorry, Chris.

    The yellow-on-black signs are not enforceable on speed limit signs as they are advisory signs.

    Yellow signs that are not related to speed limits are still very enforceable.

    Nice try, though.

    • @ @Chris

      “Still very enforceable,” is gray. It either is, or is not. “Very” is not definite.

  • Kevin McDermott

    I’ve watched this go on and off for years, it’s always a sad spectacle, and ultimately very disrespectful of USC. But then USC Students are the easiest targets in South Los Angeles, as witnessed by recent events. Picked on by USC Security and the local police, abandoned by the USC Administration, they are just dollar bills with tennis shoes, right?

    The truth of the matter is; it’s not just the increased revenue that’s attractive, but that LA Traffic Cops like to talk to USC Co-Eds. I’ve seen it happen over and over again.

  • Joe

    As a longtime area resident, I’ve seen too many traffic accidents that involve pedestrians and/or cyclists.
    I don’t want the students to feel harassed by LAPD, and frankly, we need to redesign some of the streets and throughways to be safer for other-than-autos, but in the meanwhile, students really need to look out for themselves on our streets. Riding against traffic, with a cellphone or Ipod, inebriated, no lights, no helmet, etc – is a recipe for permanent disability or death.

    LAPD enforcement of good practices may seem a bit fascist, but tickets are totally avoidable if you simply follow the law.

  • roger

    There’s a big difference in upholding the law frivolously, and looking at the big picture. Being frivolous is when you go 2 mph over the speed limit, and Mr. police officer decides to give you a ticket just because he can. Frivolous is also when California is in a economic crunch, along with the rest of the country, so the city of Los Scandalous decides to find ways to generate revenues via giving USC students $485–that’s right–$485 moving violation tickets for riding your bike across the Jefferson and Hoover cross.

    I think DPS and LAPD need to focus on the BIG PICTURE. You know, kind of like preventing the 2 recent tragic events?

    Listen, giving out $500 tickets to students for trivial “bicycle infracions”doesn’t slow down the reckless drivers speeding to hit students like bowling pins, nor does it stop the thugs from acting violently.

    I’m disgusted!

    • A USC mom

      I completely agree. My son was given a $436 ticket for riding his bike through the same crosswalk. He tried to fight it and it was finally reduced to about $275. He decided to do community service instead of paying the fine, but now I’m worried about where he will have to do the community service in such a bad area, because the LAPD seems more concerned with ticketing USC students instead of spending their time dealing with real crimes in the area. I think the real reason the police officers are targeting the students is because California’s state budget is in the tank and they figure most USC students can afford to have their parents pay the high fines. He also received a ticket for not having a bike light on his bicycle. He got a bike light, and then had to ride to a separate inspection site to make sure he put the bike light on his bike. Additionally he had to pay another fine for having the inspection and a fine to “release” (the court’s wording) the infraction.

  • Chris

    Hey guess what! Yellow signs aren’t legally binding. I did my drivers’ ed homework; they are nothing more than “recommendations.” If you’re citing people for disobeying them, you could fight those and win.

    I’m still just.. outraged at this. I know you’re supposedly worried about safety, but you might stop a few scratches but pick up $10,000 in citations. Interesting ratio, that. Pull over just a couple speeding cars, and you’ll do more for safety. Pick up one armed robber, and you’ve done even more for safety. College kids on bikes? This is just pathetic. Sack up.

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