Looking for Solutions to San Leandro Bicycle Flash Mob Problem

Police in San Leandro, California, say that they have fielded over 107 calls from November 2017 to March 2018 about bicycle mobs in the city. According to callers, these bicycle mobs are knocking over trash cans, damaging vehicles and doing other damage. The police department is growing increasingly concerned because they say that the bikers do not obey traffic laws putting everyone in danger. Officers with the San Leandro Police Department say that they have confiscated four bicycles from juveniles, given two juveniles citations and placed one adult in jail. Officers say that they fear that as the weather warms up the situation will get worse. They also point that the situation may get worse as the school year draws to a close. The officers say that their orders are disobeyed and they have to send resources to handle these mobs that can leave other areas with less protection.

Others, however, say that the San Leandro Police Department is part of the problem. Youth in East Oakland say that officers with the San Leandro Police Department are harassing them. The youth say that they are members of the Scraper Bike Team and that they sometimes ride to San Leandro to have their bikes repaired. The team often performs tricks in parking lots on their BMX bikes, and they work together to make most repairs to their bikes.

The young men say they met at the 81st Avenue Library branch of the Oakland Public Library where Jason Wilkinson works as a security guard. Wilkinson says that for these men their bicycles represent freedom until they reach the borders of San Leandro where they report that they have been knocked off their bikes when police officers have opened their doors into them and have treated them bad. Wilkinson says that he believes that the young people need to be treated like the wealthier citizens of San Leandro who ride bikes, but that is not the case currently. Wilkinson who grew up in East Oakland says that he has even offered to teach bike safety courses that the boys could be forced to attend when they get into trouble on their bikes. He says attending these courses would be much more productive than giving a boy a ticket or impounding their path to freedom.

The San Leandro City Council has been studying a new bicycle master plan. They have applied for grants allowing for construction of bike paths throughout the city. The last plan was adopted in 2010 and revised in 2012.

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