Cops Watch for Flash Mobs on the 405

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The LAPD will have extra patrols during Carmageddon in case anyone ignores the signs and gets on the freeway. (Published Friday, Jul 15, 2011)

    A bicycle rider headed south on a car-less San Diego (405) Freeway was escorted off the road in West Los Angeles Saturday.

    "We were surprised to see that," California Highway Patrol Officer Brandon Sherman said. "Obviously, it's not something common that you see on the freeway,"

    The rider, on racing-style bike, was spotted at 8:36 a.m. near the Montana Avenue in Brentwood, Sherman said. A CHP motorcycle officer shadowed the man and persuaded him to pull off the freeway near the junction with the Santa Monica (10) Freeway about 10 minutes later, he said.

    Extra: Carmageddon Survival Kit

    All along the 10-mile shutdown site, LA's finest and CHP officers are on the lookout for these unwelcome guests, although they are geared up for more than a cyclist.

    "We have officers patrolling the area, not only the on-ramp, but we'll be monitoring the side streets," said Bruce Borihanh of the LAPD.

    The area around the closed section of the freeway has been divided into 13 divisions, each having police, fire and transportation officers, said police.  The bulked up police presence is in response to reports online that flash mobs may try to take a ride on the demolition and construction sites.

    "If there's an emergency we will get to you. Traffic will not stop us from getting to you throughout the weekend," said Dep. Chief Kirk Albanese.

    Part of the plan has the LAFD using Carmageddon to test a motorcycle pilot program.  Two teams of two firefighters are riding Kawasaki motorcycles 15 hours a day during the closure.  The bikes are packed with 100 pounds of medical equipment and supplies and can run on smooth road or rough terrain.

    Fire officials say the two-wheel approach provides a fast first response in case alternate routes are choked with traffic.

    "The way we look at it, this is the most mobile we can be in the fire department," said Capt. Chris Hart of the LAFD.

    Once the freeway reopens Monday morning and the pilot program ends, the motorcycles will be returned to Kawasaki, and the overall success will be evaluated.

    It was unclear if the bike rider would be cited, or where he got onto the freeway.

    A group of riders had sought permission to plummet southbound through the pass while the freeway was closed, but that request was denied.