Two-Wheeled Menace

Saturday, August 17, 2013
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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.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Totally agree, and I am an avid cyclist. Group mentality takes over with these riders. I ride with a small group, and we do slow to a stop at red lights and stop signs, make eye contact with car/truck drivers, and try to get their acknowledgment before all proceeding through an intersection. Sadly, most riders don't do this, and think they can automatically blast through an intersection. I don't need to be anywhere so fast that i jeopardize my safety. As my buddy always says; "It's the law of tonnage, a car outways you and can hurt/kill you, even if you're in the right."

SBLover35 (anonymous profile)
August 17, 2013 at 3:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Where I work I see them barreling through the stop sign rarely even slowing down. Yes, there are good cyclists, but the entitlement mentality of these people is sickening, and what is even more sickening it the tragedy that result when one of these Lance Armstrong wannabes collides with a 1 to 3 ton four-wheeled vehicle.

Good letter B.M.G.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
August 18, 2013 at 2:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm not defending cyclists who don't obey the law or ride recklessly, but some perspective is sorely missing in this letter.

Speeding ... what percentage of bicyclists are ever moving fast enought to do that? Most of the daily bike riders I see on the east side are poking along on side streets. And yet I'd estimate at least 30% of freeway motorists speed on my daily commutes to/from work. That's THOUSANDS of drivers each and every day. How many of them do you think get ticketed?

The same goes for cell phone use while operating their autos - I see lots of that. Not nearly as many as the speeders, but they have a higher probability of causing an accident.

As the author says, "the law is blind" but I'd argue automobile users "benefit" much more than cyclists every day.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
August 18, 2013 at 8:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Bike snobs all too often crowd the motor vehicle lane why?

Adonis_Tate (anonymous profile)
August 18, 2013 at 8:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I've seen plenty of this, AT, in Berlin too where cyclists are extremely aggressive...pretty amazing. MG, is it likely the same thoughtless out-of-control cyclists may be the same idiotic drivers, texting all the while...?

DrDan (anonymous profile)
August 18, 2013 at 10:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I've stood at two busy intersections in Santa Barbara for one hour each at counted & tracked cyclists, for the annual Bike Coalition's bike count.

By and large *everyone*, both cars & bikes, obeyed the law.

The main noticeable effect was: 3/4 of cyclists are afraid to make a left turn in traffic, and they get off on the right side of the road and then make two crosswalk crossings.

There is no doubt cyclists disobey stop signs regularly, sometimes dangerously. Frequently, however, car drivers get quite irritated if they arrive just after a cyclist, and then have to wait for a cyclist to stop, put their foot on the ground, and then get going again. It is about 20 seconds and I've had cars honk and holler at me for being so slow. I think it is safer to slow down, make eye contact, and glide through.

I've seen lots of cyclists getting ticketed by the CHP in IV, and also on the UCSB campus.

snugspout (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2013 at 8:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"She signaled a turn with her hand."

And how many motorists use their turn signals? I'd wager 50%, which is literally thousands of drivers each day. Again, this letter lacks perspective.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2013 at 9:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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