By GABRIELLA BOCK | Reporter
In an effort to make Sunset Boulevard safer, the Los Angeles Police Department has formulated a back-door approach to crackdown on illegal motorbike activity in Pacific Palisades.
On Thursday, Aug. 17, LAPD made a guest appearance at the Sunset Corridor Task Force’s commemorative meeting, revealing its plan for action.
Instead of focusing on speed crimes, which often don’t go to trial if not clocked by a radar gun, LAPD officers are citing motorbike riders with equipment violations.
This, say Palisadians, is inventive thinking: “When the cops could not arrest Al Capone for murder, they used tax evasion to bring him down. It’s all about using what works, and this is a smart gambit,” one seasoned observer of police stratagems said.
“Maybe setting the IRS on them is the next step.”
The citations, LAPD Sergeant Eun told the Palisadian-Post, can run upwards of $1,200 and result in an impound—well above the consequences of an average speeding ticket.
“Many of these club riders have ‘tricked,’ out-of-code bikes,” Eun explained. “They remove the bike’s side mirrors, turn signals and ride on bald tires so that they can perform stunts.”
And the costly citations only grow more expensive when you factor in the new equipment that the owner must purchase in order to get their motorbike back up to code.
“We believe this sort of tactic has a psychological approach on the other bikers,” Eun continued. “Several of them get busted and have to pay hefty fines […] they’ll tell their friends—a few rounds of this and they’ll go out seek out someplace else to ride.”
Spearheaded by Alphabet Streets resident Paula Leonhauser, the task force was devised in the wake of the fatal crash on April 2 between members of the Ruthless Ryderz and a vehicle carrying four teenagers at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Chautauqua Avenue.
The incident, which is still under investigation, took the life of 38-year-old Ruthless Ryder David “Babyface” Babylon and injured four others.
Since April, LAPD has conducted 10 task force nights on Wednesday and Sunday evenings, most recently on Aug. 16, where officers issued several equipment violation citations, impounded two bikes and arrested one suspect for driving on a suspended license following a DUI.
Approximately 20 residents from neighboring Marquez Knolls and the Huntington were in attendance during Thursday night’s meeting, including an 8-year-old who joined the conversation with inquiries about the legality of lane splitting and the dangers of speeding in school zones.
LAPD Officer O’Dea told the young girl that they would do their best to keep everyone in the community safe from disorderly vehicles—cars included.
“This task force isn’t just about motorcycles, there are people driving SUV and sports cars at deadly speeds as well,” O’Dea said. “But now, with dedicated enforcement, we’re really starting to crack down on dangerous Sunset cruising.
“Our goal is to educate the public so that we can make the community safer for everyone.”
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