The Santa Barbara Police Department will crack down on bicyclists, motorists, and pedestrians on Friday, February 19, in a daylong effort to enforce bicycle safety laws. Based on statistics from the past three years, officers will focus on specific motorist and cyclist violations at intersections previously the sites of bike crashes. In the past three years, the police press release states, the department has investigated 341 bicycle accidents involving injuries — two of them fatal.
In its most recent study, California’s Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) ranked the City of Santa Barbara second highest in fatal or injury-causing bike collisions, as well as collisions involving pedestrians older than 65, compared to 103 similarly sized cities. The city ranked the highest for alcohol-fueled collisions involving motorists, cyclists, or pedestrians.
A desirable place to bike to work and ride for personal enjoyment, the State of California has a higher rate of cyclist deaths than the rest of the country. The 141 cyclists who died in California bike accidents last year comprised nearly 5 percent of the state’s total traffic fatalities. The national average hovers around just above 2 percent, said the police press release.
Last December, a cyclist riding eastbound on Carrillo Street did not stop for a red traffic light at the busy intersection with Castillo Street. He was hit by a car traveling southbound on Castillo. Suffering pain in his neck, back, arms, and legs, the cyclist was transported to the Emergency Room. He was without a helmet and functioning brakes at the time of the accident, according to the police.
In preparation for the day of enforcement — funded by OTS through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — city police urge motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians to review the rules of the road.