WEATHER »

Two-Wheeled Menace


I’ve been closely examining every bicyclist I’ve come across while driving in the city for two years. That’s literally hundreds of riders. Discounting pedalers riding straight ahead in a traffic lane and those who stop at red lights on busy arterials, only one cyclist has executed a traffic maneuver legally. She signaled a turn with her hand.

All the other cyclists broke the law. All! Their violations: speeding, ignoring stop signs, ignoring stop lights, ignoring turning arrows, and using pedestrian crosswalks and signals as if they were on foot. Any of these is a moving violation for motorists and rightfully not tolerated by police.

But, never have I seen any CHP or city police officer pull over or ticket any bicyclist violator.

This is despite the fact that California law demands that bicyclists obey the same traffic laws as motor vehicle drivers. It’s as if nobody knows or cares. I don’t know which is worse. Either way it’s ridiculous.

Don’t get me wrong. I love cycling. I wish Santa Barbara’s streets were full of bicyclists. I visited Copenhagen and saw how great it could be. But, it’ll never happen here while bicyclists typically ride as if they’re drunken or deranged motorists, and the rest of us put up with it.

The figurative saying is that “the law is blind.” In this case, that is absurdly true.

event calendar sponsored by: