City Issues Statement on Bicycle Safety in Long Beach After Critical Mass Event

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pair-of-bikes Statement on Bicycle Safety in Long Beach

Photo by Matthew Trentacoste

As a Bike-Friendly City, bicycle safety is of utmost importance to Long Beach.  On Friday, October 29, 2010 Long Beach Police issued over 70 citations to Critical Mass cyclists who disobeyed the rules of the road.

Long Beach welcomes and supports bike organizations that promote bike awareness and ride our streets; however, as a Bike Friendly City we take bicycle safety seriously and Long Beach must ensure our laws are followed to protect our community and our cyclists.  Cyclists that do not follow the rules of the road create motorist animosity towards cyclists, which directly conflicts with Long Beach’s goal of being America’s Most Bike-Friendly City.  Riding responsibly is the duty of every cyclist, just as we expect every motorist to respect our cyclists.

In Long Beach, we have completed the following to help make Long Beach more bicycle friendly and safe:

  • Installed 35 miles of new bike routes in the past two years, with 45 more coming in the next year.
  • Promoted cycling and walking to encourage a healthy, active lifestyle and create a more livable community.
  • Launched a safety education campaign to improve bike safety and increased awareness by going into every elementary and middle school in Long Beach, and teaching safety education and awareness to adults to encourage all to share the road safely.

Created innovative bike infrastructure:

  1. Green Sharrow Lane on 2nd Street in Belmont Shore that opened in June, 2009.
  2. Bike Boulevard on Vista Street between Temple and Nieto that will open in November.
  3. Separated Bike Lanes on Broadway & 3rd Street from Golden to Alamitos that will open in February.
  4. Installing over 2,000 custom bike racks citywide, including bike corrals.

Long Beach thanks all of our cyclists who are riding safely and respectfully and helping Long Beach become America’s Most Bike-Friendly City.

Background on the Critical Mass Event:

On Friday, October 29, 2010, Long Beach Police issued over 70 citations to Critical Mass cyclists who disobeyed the rules of the road, including running stop signs.  The group was stopped in the area of Anaheim Road and Palo Verde Avenue and was cited for violating rules of the road as well as safety issues.

In the case of the Critical Mass event, the City’s Special Events Bureau and Long Beach Police Department attempted to work with the organizers in advance of the event.  City staff explained what would be required to safely conduct the event, but Critical Mass chose not to apply for a City permit.  The group was informed by the Police Department that the City would not allow violations of City safety laws.  Twenty-one bikes were impounded that night for not having required safety equipment (including bikes with no brakes).  Appointments for pickup can be made by calling 562.570.1075.

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4 Responses to “City Issues Statement on Bicycle Safety in Long Beach After Critical Mass Event”
  1. This article misses the main point. Every citizen in Long Beach should rally against this type of police behavior. Chief McDonnell. grossly abuses his police powers to illegally seize personal property of over 30 Critical Mass riders.

    Lets not argue about bike safety, this is not the core issue. When Chief McDonnell feels it right within 6 months of him receiving this position to intimidate and harass citizens using tax dollars, then he can pay for his next shenanigans out of his own pocket.

    We are going to be requesting how much this fiasco cost taxpayers on a night that real crime was being committed.

    We have video of North Division police (who shouldn’t be in the East Division) getting paid time and half to harass citizens.

    Now tell me people is this a bike issue, or a police missuse of tax payers money, and abuse of police power issue??

    Ill leave it up to the readers to decide…

    Ronnie Sandlin

  2. Keeping critical mass from disrupting traffic and angering motorists so they act out later on other bicyclists is a good idea as long as the police do not violate the law themselves. The reason LAPD has been so lax is due to the fact of liability involving improper use of force instead of just writing tickets. I do not believe there is a law that allows the seizure of public property for a minor traffic violation. I know that the state of CA allows its cities to make bicycle licensing laws but limits this to the cities residents. I could not afford to ride a bicycle across country if I had to have a license for every city I drove through. Where would I put all of those stickers. If you do live in San Diego and are sited for no bicycle license the fine can be no more than ten dollars according to the state of CA. I totally agree with the other traffic violations of running stops and also no lights if they are on the road.

  3. Andrea Serna says:

    I support Chief McDonnell and the LBPD 100% in their efforts to enforce bicycle safety and make the streets and sidewalks in Long Beach safe for motorists and pedestrians as well as cyclists. The city has obtained nearly $2 million in federal grants to create an extensive bike system. Critical mass seems to think that their recreation can take place outside of the law. Why did we build these bikeways? Apparently Critical Mass made a decision to challenge the city and law enforcement. As a motorist, a pedestrian and a bicyclist I demand that our laws be enforced. Seizure of property and of illegal vehicles is the best way to send a message that the rules of the road will be enforced. Thank you Chief McDonnell. I have been asking my city council representatives, the LBPD and the bike commission for this action for at least a year.

  4. kkimo says:

    Critical Mass events are aimed at disrupting the normal flow of traffic for cars by innundating an area with bicycles. I am an avid cyclist, but I disagree with their methods.
    That said, Long Beach may have the goal of becoming the most bike friendly city in America, but regardless of any program enacted by the city, it will never come close if the LBPD aren’t on board. Ask any rider in the city, they aren’t.