In response to concerns about bad bicycling behavior and a need for greater public safety, the city Police Department will conduct two days of targeted enforcement in the downtown Santa Barbara area on November 11 and 12. Among the state vehicle codes and city ordinances frequently abused, said Ed France, executive director of the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition, are the prohibitions against riding on the sidewalks and running red lights, and failing to stop completely at signed intersections or give pedestrians the right of way.
The increased police presence means drivers and pedestrians will come under similar scrutiny. A new state law requires drivers to give bicyclists a three-foot passing space, which often means waiting a few seconds before being able to pass a bicyclist safely.
The city program was formed in consultation with the Bicycle Coalition, which pointed out in its “Bike Blast” that survey data and bike counts show Santa Barbarans increasingly adopt bicycling, but the city is the second highest for bicycle collisions among cities of a similar size.