Mobile Billboard Operators Exploit Loopholes in Law, But Time May be Running Out

A bicycle attached to a mobile billboard on Cahuenga Boulevard on the Cahuenga Pass | Photo by Zach Behrens/KCET

First it was sleighs. Then bicycles. Now mopeds. Los Angeles this year implemented a new law aimed to satisfy a barrage of complaints regarding the blight and dangers of unhitched mobile billboards that dotted San Fernando Valley streets. The law, however, was about freestanding signs, so mobile billboard companies, unwilling to give up their trade, have taken a creative route, hitching the advertisements to a variety of conveyances.

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The Daily News' Dana Bartholomew spoke an owner of one of the companies:

"I know we're stepping into it," said a man who identified himself as the owner of Road View Ads after noticing visitors by his moped and sign. "(But) small businesses need advertising. It is legal.

"They have the right to have business come through their door in this economy," said the 30-something ad man who declined to give his name. "They have the same right as everyone else that lives in the city."

Things could soon get tougher for Road View Ads and others. Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, who authored legislation last year giving cities like L.A. the ability to ban unhitched trailer signs on city streets, has a new bill working its way through the capitol to close the loopholes.

Assembly Bill 1298 would redefine a mobile billboard as an "advertising display that is attached to a mobile, nonmotorized vehicle, device, or bicycle, that carries, pulls, or
transports a sign or billboard, and is for the primary purpose of advertising." The law would also give cities the right to limit the time a mobile billboard can be parked on a street.

The bill, already approved by the Assembly, awaits a vote in the Senate.


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