Getting a Bike License

rain's picture
On Friday, 1/11/2008, I began my adventures as a Los Angeles bicyclist by abiding by the law and procuring a bike license.   (

When I arrived at the police station, the laugh-ability of my action became evident immediately. No one took me seriously.  Not only that, but after I waited in line and watched the sun go down outside (worrying all the while about my now-upcoming first ride in the dark), I finally stepped up to the desk and announced my purpose only to hear "I'm not sure if we have any" from the officer who greeted me!

Not sure if they have any?  But I called ahead to ask about the process! Fortunately, they did have at least one, which is now on my bike.

As he was filling out the paperwork, however, I asked him "When this is up for renewal, will I get something in the mail?"  He looked at me like I was an alien!  I felt like an alien! Finally, he responded: "Well, ma'am, you don't actually need to renew this.  In fact, you don't need a license at all.  This is just something we use to go after gang members.  Someone like you doesn't need one.  You know, spirit of the law, letter of the law type thing."

"Someone like me?"  Translate: crunchy-looking white female of non-intimidating age.

"Go after gang members?" Well, I'm guessing here, but.... Translate: yet another thing for which they can write up kids they think might, at some point in the future, cause "trouble."

I rode my bike home in the pitch black, all the while grateful that I was the dork with the giant tortoise-shell helmet and lights on the bike.  My thoughts on the way home: "only in LA."  At least, I hope that's true.