Police Crack Down on Bad Bicyclists

Thursday, September 20, 2012
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The state’s Office of Traffic Safety recently ranked Santa Barbara No. 3 out of 103 similarly sized cities for bicycle collisions, and during the past year the SBPD said it has seen an increase in bike crashes. So, on September 13, officers spread throughout the city on a safety enforcement mission, writing 59 tickets to riders for failing to stop at red lights and stop signs, wearing headphones, riding on the sidewalk, or heading the wrong way down a one-way street. Depending on the violation, the fines ranged from $150 to $400. No future crackdown dates have been announced.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Perhaps the fines may be a bit much, but this crackdown is a very good idea.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2012 at 1:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Agree with Bill, it's about time! Too many bikes are getting hit by cars and it is not all the fault of drivers, many of the bike riders are running red lights and stop signs and doing other kamakazi stunts. Not to mention they are dangerous on the sidewalk with pedestrians, I have been hit by people on bikes while walking on the sidewalk & have so many near misses that could have hurt me. Go get em SBPD!

santabarbarasand (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2012 at 6:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Any RWI (Riding While Intoxicated) in these arrests? Riding a bike while drunk is the same as driving drunk and carries the same in fines and imprisonment?

dou4now (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2012 at 8:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I usually commute by bike to my workplace, but I had to drive this morning when I witnessed a heedless racing bicyclist cut in front of a speeding-up semi...missed death by inches, and entirely the biker's fault. Crackdown is great, keep it up, SBPD!
yeah, it's the same scofflaw cyclists who careen down Romero Trail without bells or caution...

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2012 at 11:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I’ve lived three blocks from downtown State Street for ten years, use a bicycle exclusively for transportation every day, and follow the rules of the road 100%, including the State Street mid-block lights.

I’m thoroughly sick of the rogue bicyclists who not only endanger all three classes of travelers, but also cause motorists, with good reason, to treat all bicyclists they encounter as the criminal, rogue, and rude bunch until proven otherwise, thus slowing traffic for all.

Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles, including using left turn lanes and, in fact, taking entire motor vehicle traffic lanes (not sidewalks, most particularly in a pedestrian-heavy business district) anytime the bicyclist has good reason to not feel safe otherwise, or to pass.

A little courtesy wouldn't hurt as well; I routinely signal motor vehicle drivers when appropriate and when knowing doing so will expedite the motorist's travel.

Regarding the fines: they're the same as for motor vehicles, as they should be, especially in an area where a rogue bicyclist could seriously injure or kill a pedestrian.

jtieber (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2012 at 2:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Now that the SBPD has had a crack down on cyclists, I think it's about time to have a real crack down on Motorists using the same strict adherence to the Vehicle Code. Every day I see more and more law breaking by motorists, but almost nothing is done. I would like to see the SBPD pick a street a week, send a dozen officers there and ticket every lawbreaker they can. Motorist are by far the biggest scofflaws !!

mars (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2012 at 7:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Greenlight the motorcycle cops to unlatch those new assault rifles and just pick the ruthless bikers off in a turkey shoot. And let's put in more bulb-outs to slow the bikers down so we can draw a decent bead on them.

Beachgirl77 (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2012 at 10:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I love the bulbouts and roundabouts. People don't need to be speeding on surface streets.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2012 at 12:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Finally, one potentially logical use for installing bulb-outs; thanks Beachgirl. And unlike bulb-outs, roundabouts are efficient and work.
Although I drive my car to Goleta every day I also use my bicycle every afternoon. Comparing the overwhelming lack of adherence to traffic laws by bicyclists to motorists is comical. Bike riders do as they want when they want and if drivers were doing the same thing we'd have 20 people per day run over.
While cars are a lot more dangerous, rogue cyclists are a huge problem and the cops should crack down on both groups.
The fines are too high but they are too high for automobile infractions as well since they are now treated as revenue.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2012 at 6:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

italiansurg wrote:
"...if drivers were doing the same thing we'd have 20 people per day run over..."

Probably more road rage as well.

My favorite, while bicycling State Street downtown, is the very frequent occurrence of bicyclists who seem to suddenly become stupid when stopping at a red light, moving from the bike lane to the right turn lane for no useful purpose, thus blocking motorists from turning right on red.

As this is only annoying rather than dangerous, I'd support a fine of less than $400 ;-).

Seriously, I agree with italiansurg that traffic fines have become much too high, though maintain my view that they should be the same for both classes of traffic, as they have the same rights and responsibilities and are using the same space.

jtieber (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2012 at 8:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

italiansurg wrote:
"While cars are a lot more dangerous…"

Motor vehicles have been the least threat to me while bicycling, though I'm including my beach bikeway stats and so this isn't relevant if comparing only motorists versus bicyclists; also, the downtown area where I do much of my bicycling is particularly safe for bicyclists because motor vehicle speeds are low in comparison to other areas.

In ten years of nearly daily bicycling downtown and on the beach bikeway I've been involved in three minor accidents, only one of which — the least serious — was with a motor vehicle:

(1) A skateboarder on the beach bikeway suddenly veered into my lane; I was knocked down and hit my (helmeted) head on the ground.

(2) A child bicyclist on the beach bikeway suddenly veered into my lane causing a non-injury collision which necessitated replacing my rear wheel.

(3) A car traveling northwest on State Street approaching Victoria Street apparently misread my legal speed as I was traveling southeast (i.e. downhill), and initiated a left turn in front of me, causing a non-injury collision which did not knock me down and caused no damage to either vehicle (one of my rear panniers slammed into the car). (I replaced my brake pads the next day after I realized that, though the motorist was at fault, I probably could have avoided that accident with better brakes.)

jtieber (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2012 at 10:33 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Here's my list:

1. No headlights or reflectors while cycling in the dark.
2. Running stop signs with impunity and relish.
3. Riding two or more abreast on narrow roads or outside the bike lane.
4. Gonzo lane changing while cycling.
5. Blocking right turn lanes and impeding traffic while sitting on the saddle oblivious to reason.
6. Ear buds in ears musically sealing them off from that loud sound bearing down on them from behind or the side.
7. Riding on sidewalk illegally.
8. No helmets; no common sense.

Draxor (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2012 at 10:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

O.K. Since some are stuck in 2008 bicycle article time warp; lets advance a little. Above is a closer up to date article. I suspect it is Police tit-for-tat, a repercussion, retaliation for the Annual Fiesta to I.V. Bullcrap Beer Ride posed as a 'bicycle ride.'

Essentially the Fiesta Bicycle Ride is spontaneous floatopia type event, but on our city streets. It should be stopped or allowed by conditional permit. Perhaps the Fiesta Ride started out innocently enough but it is obviously out of control. I don't think it furthers the cause for safe democratic streets.

Here >>> <<< is a video posted earlier. I think the video is a self-promoting piece for the videographers on motorcycles (a gawdawful tranportation mode) and I understand that bicycle riders on our streets can be problematic. But the conflicts are primarily adaptations due to design, the design for autocratic or domineering motorized transportation modes.

Again I suspect that the police department bicycle sting probably is a reaction to the Fiesta Ride and pro-car council members pressure to act or over-react. Given the numbers of undetected DUIs after crashes, downed motorcyles, car collectors that dominate our streets with high-performance and racing activities, very often illegal activities, I think that this sting is a political motivated misplacement of police resources.

DonMcDermott (anonymous profile)
September 23, 2012 at 7:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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