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News Release

Wednesday, August 16, 2000

Media Relations

Bicyclists Arrested for Reckless Driving

Wednesday, August 16, 2000

"Bicyclists Arrested for Reckless Driving"

Los Angeles: On August 15, 2000, at approximately 5:30 PM, a group, identified as "Critical Mass" was scheduled to assemble at Pershing Square, ride to the Convention Center and then return to Pershing Square. LAPD officers assigned to monitor the demonstration observed the group of approximately 100 cyclists congregate at 5th Street and Flower Street, several blocks from Pershing Square, their designated point of origin. The large group of bicyclists were blocking the intersection and interfering with vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Officers ordered the bicyclists to clear the intersection and move to the sidewalk.

After initially complying, one of the bicyclists yelled obscenities at the officers and waved the other bicyclists to follow him. Los Angeles Police Officers, assigned to a Bike Detail, activated their lights and siren in an attempt to stop the group. The bicyclists refused to comply and instead, continued eastbound 6th Street to southbound Broadway Avenue, to westbound 7th Street to northbound Figueroa Avenue, and then eastbound 6th to southbound Hope Street. They spreaded out, occupying both the north and southbound lanes and center dividers. They occupied east and westbound lanes, zig-zagging back and forth between vehicles and pedestrians. Throughout this episode, they displayed a wanton disregard for public safety. The bicyclists/demonstrators violated several Sections of the California Vehicle Code, including but not limited to, 21650 VC - Failure to Ride on the Right Half of the Roadway, 21651(a) VC - Riding Across a Divided Highway, 21650.1 VC - Failure of a Bicycle to Operate on a Highway in the Same Direction as a Vehicle and 21453(a) VC - Failing to Stop at a Red Phase Tri-Light.

Based on the seriousness of the violations and the actions of the protesters, the decision was made to arrest the violators. Fifty-one individuals were arrested in the area of 18th Street and Flower Avenue and twenty individuals in the area of Pico Boulevard and Hope Street. All, except one, were booked for 23103(a) VC - Reckless Driving. The one juvenile, was cited and released to his parents/guardians.

For information in regard to these arrests, please contact Media Relation Section at 213-485-3586.

This press release was prepared by Officer Eduardo Funes, Media Relations Section.

For Release 11:00 am PDT
August 16, 2000