Dozens of people gathered outside Los Angeles City Hall to protest an ordinance prohibiting people from assembling or disassembling bicycles in the public right-of-way that took effect today.
The ordinance was approved by the city council in June. Councilman Joe Buscaino, who proposed it, argued it would reduce the number of bicycle thefts in L.A. and prevent “bicycle chop shops,” in which people disassemble stolen bikes and sell the parts.
Eli Akira Kaufman, executive director of Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, told City News Service that the ordinance does not address the root problems of bicycle theft and targets vulnerable groups like the unhoused and people of color.
“For a lot of people who are down on their luck or — for whatever reason — find themselves under-housed, a bicycle becomes a key lifeline to getting around and navigating the region,” Kaufman said.
Kaufman agreed that bicycle thefts are a problem, but said “there are so many other ideas that haven’t been explored before this draconian ordinance gets laid down.”
The ordinance is modeled after one in effect in Long Beach to prohibit the assembly, disassembly, sale, offer of sale, distribution of bicycles and bicycle parts on public property or within the public right-of-way. Under the ordinance, a “chop shop” is defined as:
Buscaino said his district, which borders Long Beach, “has seen a proliferation of bicycle chop shops.”