Malibu Surfside News

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

City Council Approves Public Safety Commission’s Bicycle Safety Workshop

• Doubts Cast on Event Efficacy by Sheriff’s Department

BY BILL KOENEKER


Despite doubts cast by the Sheriff's department, the Malibu City Council, this week, gave the green light to authorize the Public Safety Commission to schedule a special meeting on a Saturday morning to conduct a three -hour bicycle safety public workshop and approved the allocation of overtime pay for staff required to attend.
The purpose of the meeting, according to city officials, would be to try to sort out the differences of opinion that have arisen during several past commission meetings about interpretation of the law.
Commission Chair Carol Randall told the council a public workshop would provide a much more informal atmosphere to offer a dialogue between cyclists and motorists.
Councilmember Laura Rosenthal said she wanted to make sure the event is publicized for both motorists and cyclists. “Let's do an outreach,” she said. Rosenthal said she would attend the meeting. Councilmembers Lou La Monte and Pamela Conley Ulich said they would also be there.
Commissioners agreed to inviting leaders from cycling organizations and members of the cycling clubs in the Los Angeles area, the council PCH safety subcommittee, representatives from the Sheriff's department, the Automobile Club of Southern California and other experts in the field of traffic safety.
The staff report contained some revealing information about the sheriff's department's stance on the meeting. Council members did not discuss law enforcement’s reaction.
“It should be noted that the Sheriff's department expressed concern about whether a workshop would be a benefit to the city's goals of improved safety. During previous discussions with members of cycling organizations and bike clubs, the Sheriff's liaison stated that the cyclists continued to disagree with the Sheriff's interpretation of the law. There was additional concern expressed that the goal to open communication between motorists and cyclists would not likely be achieved through the workshop as it is doubtful that many non-cycling members of the public would consider attending,” the staff memo adds.
A three-hour time limit for the workshop was agreed upon to keep the city’s costs to a minimum.

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