Los Angeles City Council Forbids Bicycle Assembly on Sidewalks

Bicycle Chop Shops

Last Tuesday, the Council approved an ordinance to ban people from assembling (or disassembling) bicycles in the public right-of-way. The measure wants to prevent “bicycle chop shops”.

Copying our Long Beach Neighbors

The ordinance was first introduced by Councilman Joe Buscaino last February. The motion passed so, once it was drafted, had to be voted again. After two more ballots (as the first one was not unanimous) it has now been decided to approve the ordinance.

The law is modeled after one that is currently in effect in Long Beach, that bans the “assembly, disassembly, sale, offer of sale, distribution of bicycles and bicycle parts on public property or within the public right of way.”

Preventing “Bicycle chop shops”

The general idea of the ordinance is to prevent the cases in which people disassemble stolen bikes and sell the parts on the sidewalks.

Per definition, a Bicycle chop shop possesses three or more bicycles, five or more bicycle parts, two or more bicycles with missing parts, or a bicycle frame with the brake or gear cables cut.

One of the opposers to the motion, Nithya Raman, who represented District 4, considers that those actions ‘are already illegal”.

Los Feliz and Atwater Village neighborhood councils also opposed the motion. What they think is that, in most circumstances, the motion would illicit the street sale and repair of all bicycles, and cast suspicion on street vendors of non-stolen bicycles, affordable for low-income riders.

Buscaino, however, responds that the ordinance would give the Los Angeles Police Department a “necessary tool” to reduce the number of bicycle thefts.