Motorcyclists everywhere are wondering, “So what happens now?”
Since last week, the Internet has been set ablaze with the outcry of an angered and disturbed public after thousands saw the horrific video posted on YouTube which showed several bikers chasing down a black Range Rover and pulling the driver, Alexian Lien, from the vehicle before the eyes of his terrified family still inside.
Several people have speculated through blogs, social media, news articles and forums as to what caused the sudden eruption of violence between Lien and the crowd of riders. Ultimately, at least two people were seriously injured, the results of which have left families "pointing fingers," and thus causing the overall public perception of motorcyclists to sink several notches on the social ladder. Several viral photos have infested social media depicting all bikers as “gang members” or “gangsters.” Regardless of what happened, motorcyclists might be left wondering how this negative image will affect large motorcycle gatherings nationwide and here in the Los Angeles area.
According to Media Relations Officer, Mike Harris, of the California Highway Patrol, there has been no official reaction by the CHP to crack down on riders in Los Angeles or surrounding areas and there are no regulations cascading down from the government that will change the way the CHP has handled traffic violations in the past. Officer Harris insisted that officers will continue to do “what they’ve been doing all along.” Additionally, Officer Harris said there is no law or regulation stating that a group of riders should have to ride in just one lane on the highway during a large group ride. “As long as they’re being safe and abiding by the rules of the road, it is perfectly legal,” Officer Harris said.
Additionally, Pete Terhorst of the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Media Relations department said, “We are not aware of any national or state laws that regulate the size of motorcycle groups in terms of whether they’re riding or congregating.” He did state, however, that some cities might have ordinances or require permits for motorcyclists to gather en mass on public property or public highways; but, it is “uncommon.” A representative from the Los Angeles Police Department Press Relations office confirmed this, stating that there were indeed no ordinances discussing whether motorcyclists could gather in large numbers on Los Angeles highways and to their knowledge, no permits were required for large motorcycle gatherings. This was the not the case, however, for Anaheim, CA.
According to Anaheim Police Department Media Relations Officer, Sergeant Bob Dunn, no permit is required if motorcyclists are gathering on private property like in the parking lot of a 99 Cent store, for example. But a permit is required if they plan to meet on public property, like a city park. “It’s on a case-by-case basis,” Sergeant Dunn said. He also mentioned that riding on public roads through Anaheim in mass does not require a permit and is not illegal, as long as riders are obeying all traffic laws and not impeding traffic.
So there you have it. As long as motorcyclists ride safe and within the limits of the law, as well as project a positive image, there is no reason why motorcyclists living in or near the Los Angeles area can’t gather for a large group ride and have a good time. Just as long as they remember to be careful what they post to YouTube.