Santa Ana Activist to Fight ‘Bicycle License’ Ticket

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As Santa Ana tries to become a more bike-friendly city, a local activist says his experience doesn’t jibe with the city’s rhetoric.

Igmar Rodas, an outspoken activist on homeless and police issues, was cited by Officer S. Lopez on May 20 for riding an unlicensed bicycle and cycling on a sidewalk in the city’s Civic Center.

Rodas, who runs a Facebook page titled “SAPD – Stop Abusing People’s Derechos,” plans to fight the ticket at a hearing in Orange County Superior Court on Wednesday. The hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. at the Central Justice Center, Department C46.

It’s unclear how often the city issues such tickets; the police department hasn’t yet allowed Voice of OC to inspect bicycle license and sidewalk cycling tickets sought in a July 2 public records request.

While state law requires agencies to give an estimated date the records will be provided or request an extension within 10 days of a request, Santa Ana police officials have not yet done so after 25 days.

A section of the Santa Ana municipal code prohibits riding a bicycle that hasn’t been licensed with the city or has another state-approved license. The Santa Ana law was enacted in 1975 and last updated in 1989.

Another section of the municipal code prohibits riding a bicycle on “a sidewalk within a business district.”

Proponents of the license requirement have argued registration makes it easier to recover stolen bikes. Cycling advocates, meanwhile, say the law is too often abused by police to cite cyclists who are unaware of the requirement.

The city of Long Beach, which many biking advocates consider a regional leader on bike-friendliness, eliminated its bike license requirement in 2011. Los Angeles suspended its licensing program in 2009.

You can reach Nick Gerda at ngerda@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

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