SLO police to stake out bicyclists who break rules of the road

May 11, 2015

bicycles-70aSan Luis Obipso police will seek out and ticket bicyclists who violate traffic laws, as part of a traffic enforcement operation taking place Monday.

Police have mapped out where bicycle crashes and collisions involving pedestrians have have frequently occurred over the past two years. On Monday, the police department will send extra officers to patrol those locations and issue citations to offending drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Officers will look for drivers and bicyclists who speed, make illegal turns, fail to stop for signs and signals or fail to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Police will pay attention to pedestrians who cross the street illegally or do not yield to drivers who have the right of way.

Over the past three years, 241 fatal or injury collisions involving bicyclists or pedestrians occurred in the city, according to police department statistics.

In 2014, five bicyclists died in San Luis Obispo County crashes. That placed SLO County as the statewide leader in bicycle fatalities per capita.

SLO County ranked fifth among California counties for the most collisions per capita last year. Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara counties ranked first and second respectively.

California lawmakers recently passed a law aimed at reducing vehicle-bicycle collisions that allows officers to cite motorists who come within three feet of bicyclists while passing them. CHP data, however, indicates the bicyclist is more often at fault in vehicle versus bicycle collisions.

Of the 1,503 vehicle-bicycle collisions in California in 2011 and 2012, 61 percent were the fault of the bicyclist, 20 percent were the fault of the driver and the rest were undetermined or hit-and-run.

The SLOPD traffic enforcement operation is funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration by way of the California Office of Traffic Safety.

 

 

 

 

Usually bicyclist’s fault


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38 Comments

  1. diamond says:

    Not buying it. Just a statement to appease the complaints from the public regarding the many pompous kamikaze jerks who believe their divine right to terrorize motorists.

    If the police really wanted to protect bicyclists then why do they NEVER follow up on the helmet law when they see small children without helmets? The law requires helmets. You cannot take a drive without seeing a child without a helmet. Children do not think about safety and the parents should be cited for allowing the kids to go unprotected. As for the adult riders, yes they should be cited. it’s not going to happen.

    PR stunt 101

    (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
  2. mej says:

    Today, I was making a right into Costco. I followed the law and merged ahead of time into the bike lane. For some reason, I double checked over my right shoulder and there he was. A cyclist who was passing me on the right by traveling inches from the curb. Lame

    (10) 18 Total Votes - 14 up - 4 down
  3. ironyman2000 says:

    YAY! All law enforcement, not just SLOPD, needs to conduct this effort for far longer than
    a day. Long enough and wide enough in scope for the arrogant bicyclists to learn that they
    do not, indeed, own the road.

    (16) 20 Total Votes - 18 up - 2 down
  4. freshair says:

    Annual city bicycle registrations should be mandated, and the sooner the better. Every single cyclist should be held accountable to know the rules of the road. Safety awareness comes by way of education, not by after-the-fact litigation. Stop the nonsense!

    Sounds like a good topic for the SLO City Council to address during the bike month of May.

    (6) 26 Total Votes - 16 up - 10 down
    • OnTheOtherHand says:

      The bike registration process has a history of not being cost-effective for many possible reasons. Now that may not be enough to stop the SLO City Council given their history on other spending but don’t expect that will do much good.

      The insistence that cyclists be held accountable to know the rules of the road is a different matter. It should begin in elementary school but schools are already overwhelmed with stuff they are expected to teach kids. If you have a practical suggestion for getting kids educated about safe and legal bike operation, please put it forward.

      For adults, there really is no excuse except ignorance or misinformation as cyclists are expected to follow most of the same rules as motorists. There is (or was?) a program available locally to teach proper cycling. Maybe the courts could send the uniformed/misinformed to it (or something like it) as an alternative to fines. As for the cyclists who break laws due to bad attitudes, treat them just like impatient motorists who run stops or speed. If the costs get high enough, they will change their habits.

      (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
    • achillesheal says:

      Any citizen who demands more government programs simply baffles me. Whe the revenues raised aren’t enough to pay the 20 beaurocrats they hire to run the program, what do you think happens? That’s right, they take from the general fund and raise everyone’s taxes.

      (6) 6 Total Votes - 6 up - 0 down
  5. r0y says:

    Maybe it’s my pessimism or total lack of faith in the SLO PD, but when I was reading this, I just heard in my head: “Let’s use “bike safety” to collect some extra revenue today!”

    It reminds me of the cross-walk stings that go on every now-and-then. It’s all about “pedestrian safety” until you point out that a STOP sign is far cheaper than the sting operation itself, and the amount of fines collected could easily purchase one, but there still is no stop sign put up.

    Here, it’s all about “bicycling safety” until you read between the lines. Giving out more tickets and collecting more revenue is not going to help. They delude themselves into thinking it’s “raising awareness” (which, btw, is usually code for scamming tax-payers). Trust me: Awareness is there. Confiscating a driver’s (or rider’s) personal property (fines) is highly unlikely to reduce accidents, etc.

    Meh.

    (7) 27 Total Votes - 17 up - 10 down
    • OnTheOtherHand says:

      Consistent higher fines and penalties have reduced the incidences of DUI over the past few decades. Mandating seat belts & child seats has also greatly reduced the degree of injury in accidents. You can argue with these laws on a philosophical basis but they have had a beneficial effect from a practical point of view.

      Enforcing bike safety laws can also be effective but it will take persistence and patience. Such changes don’t occur quickly.

      (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
      • r0y says:

        I get that, I do. However, sometimes it seems like a pound of effort for an ounce of prevention. To some, it is easy to say “One is too many” (one life lost, one accident, etc), but do we no longer weigh the self-imposed limits vs. rewards anymore? You are right, it is philosophical at this point.

        (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
        • OnTheOtherHand says:

          I used to be more inclined to share your views on the subject but have been drifting toward a more “humanitarian” point of view lately. Getting soft-hearted in my old age? Maybe, but I am more willing now to accept the cost of having a civil society — as long as society isn’t too inefficient in achieving it and as long as it doesn’t make significant infringements on personal liberty in the process. That is a subjective judgment and one that needs constant re-evaluation in light of changing conditions.

          (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  6. indigo1955 says:

    The truth is—if I hit a bicyclist in my car because of their mistake—it will be ME who pays the price. I never want to hurt someone and it would be very traumatic to hit someone either in their car or out—but especially out–because they are so vulnerable to injury. I have seen people riding their bikes outside the bike lane many times, and sometimes I cannot get in the left lane very easily due to other vehicles. Not a good feeling. Makes me nervous.

    (21) 27 Total Votes - 24 up - 3 down
    • OnTheOtherHand says:

      Please understand that sometimes it is necessary for cyclists to ride outside the bike lane. I appreciate your not wanting to hurt someone but the way to deal with that situation is to just slow down if that is the only safe option. It goes against the ingrained habits and attitudes of many people but we all have bad habits we should work on — including cyclists who fail to be considerate of other road users too.

      (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  7. Mariposa says:

    Close to noon last Wednesday, I turned westbound onto Tank Farm Road off of Broad Street. Members of an apparent bicycle club traveling west in the westbound bike lane were arrogantly riding two and three abreast making it nearly impossible to keep from hitting them with my vehicle on this busy thoroughfare. Further west, another bicyclist not part of the group and carrying considerable “baggage” swerved into the westbound lane of traffic so he could look behind him (for what reason is beyond the scope of my imagination). He then lost his balance and fell over into the lane of traffic! I continued west to Farm Supply, pulled over, and dialed 911 which connected me with CHP who transferred my call to SLOPD dispatch. These types of encounters are not rare but they are unsettling and cause me to disdain driving even more.

    (21) 29 Total Votes - 25 up - 4 down
    • OnTheOtherHand says:

      I have seen what you describe too and it is one of the reasons I don’t belong to or ride with the SLO Bike Club. (Not that it was necessarily them in your case.) The other incident you describe was a case of inept cycling — possibly DUI. Be glad he wasn’t driving a motor vehicle as his lack of skill and/or focus could have been even more dangerous.

      There are all sorts of people riding bikes just as there are all sorts driving cars and engaging in many other pursuits. You will find the entire spectrum of human behavior and capabilities among cyclists just as you will find it among the population at large. Try to avoid generalizations based on the type of activity please.

      (-1) 7 Total Votes - 3 up - 4 down
  8. womanwhohasbeenthere says:

    These bicyclists cost the city a fortune in bike lanes and the result is they become more arrogant all the time – riding two abreast, riding quickly through crosswalks instead of walking through them, etc. I am so tired of money being poured into bike lanes instead of repairing our streets. Bicyclists claim they are “saving the environment” but the reality is, our air pollution comes from the 100,000+ cars driving through town on Highway 101. The savings from bicycles here is negligible!

    Since we license everything else, why don’t we require bicyclists to get a city license for $50 a year? It would help maintain the bike lanes that only they use but which all of us subsidize to the detriment of the majority who drive.

    As our population ages, fewer people will be riding bicycles. Maybe it’s time to rethink our priorities.

    (26) 46 Total Votes - 36 up - 10 down
    • achillesheal says:

      Womanwhohasbeenthere: The Federal Highway Administration mandates bicycle inclusion on projects that use federal funds: from their website

      “Walking and bicycling foster safer, more livable, family-friendly communities; promote physical activity and health; and reduce vehicle emissions and fuel use. Legislation and regulations exist that require inclusion of bicycle and pedestrian policies and projects into transportation plans and project development”

      I am a bicyclist who could care less about the environment. I ride to stay fit and because it is fun. I’m not a fan of 3 abreast bicyclists, etc…, but I’m even less of a fan of fat people who aren’t handicapped riding around in handicapped scooters, especially now since their healthcare is on the taxpayer.

      The licensing thing seems like a great idea, but don’t forget you are dealing with government and cities like Long Beach, Seattle, and San Diego have found that the cost of administering the program outweighed the revenues.

      (0) 18 Total Votes - 9 up - 9 down
      • mbbizpro says:

        Not everyone in the country is dependent on the Federal Government for Health Insurance. It just seems that way.

        (1) 9 Total Votes - 5 up - 4 down
        • achillesheal says:

          True.. only 625,000 Californians to date receive subsidies and 1.2 million more enrolled in Medi-Cal. Just a drop in the welfare bucket.

          It’s especially gratifying to pay for their high cholestor Lipitor prescriptions as 10 more ice-cream parlors open in down town slo.

          (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down

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