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Blog: Enough with Defending Bicycle Riders — the Worst Vehicle Code Violators on the Road

Bicycle traffic violations need to be addressed with the same intensity as automobile traffic violations.

Are you sick and tired, as I am, of seeing bicyclists constantly violating the California Vehicle Code and having our somniac, apparently vision-impaired law enforcement officers doing NOTHING about it even though the violations happen right under their noses?

Now Sunnyvale has stupidly passed an ordinance that virtually puts all the responsibility for the safety of these errant cyclists on the motorists. Idiocy!

I cannot drive two blocks anymore without seeing bicyclists failing to stop for red lights or stop signs, riding on the wrong side of the road, riding on the sidewalks, cutting in and out of traffic, making improper turns without signalling, riding at night without lights, riding (not walking their bikes) in pedestrian crosswalks and more.

In fact, during the newscast announcing Sunnyvale's loss of sanity on TV, a bicyclist was seen riding on the wrong side of the street right behind the reporter! And I'm not necessarily talking about juveniles. A large portion of these riders have grey hair! Also, some of the worst are what appear to be veteran riders with the tight shorts, colorful club jerseys, and helmets.

It seems that almost all of the cycling population, as well as our law enforcement officers, are totally ignorant of the fact that there is a large section of the California Vehicle Code that is dedicated entirely to the regulation and proper operation of bicycles on our roads.

Basically what it says is that bicycles are to be subject to the same rules of safety and proper operation as automobiles. I am also assuming that, because of the existence of this section, it is assumed that law enforcement officers are bound to uphold it, something that is NOT happening.

If I, with my automobile, violated as many of these laws in a day as I see cyclists do, I would lose my driving privileges for a very long time. Yet, for some unknown reason, cyclists put themselves and motorists in positions of jeopardy and danger almost on a minute-to-minute basis and get a free pass!

I am not a stranger to bicycling. I rode for many years, even riding my bike to work on a daily basis for a period of time until a health issue caused me to stop riding. Now my transportation is primarily by automobile but, all to frequently, I have close encounters with bicyclists because of their irresponsible actions named above.

And I implore the police to possibly save some lives by doing ALL of their sworn duty and citing dangerous bicycle operation with as much vigor as they do errant motorists. After all, isn't their job to enforce ALL the laws, not just the ones that they choose, which seems to be their present mode?

While all this is very critical of bicyclists, it is not intended to let the motorists off the hook. I see drivers do some very stupid things, not only around bicycles but also around other motorists. We all have to share the same roads so let's try to make it better and safer for everyone but obeying the rules.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Brent Sacrey August 23, 2012 at 06:58 PM
It seems to me that there are a myriad of other issues in this world that could benefit from all the intellect being expended on whether or not a cyclist makes a complete stop at a stop sign or not. The blog's subjects intention of sparking the police to focus more time on making sure that a small percentage of cyclists, that are riding amongst the car crammed streets of our town, are following proper California traffic laws. Is really reaching for a rant worthy issue and petty in-comparison to a ton of other issues that our community could, and should be concerned about. I personally would prefer that the police busy themselves with far more important issues like, um... crime! As far as the ordinance that was "stupidly" (choice descriptor) passed in Sunnyvale. It makes perfect sense! The reason is, if a car and a cyclist come in contact on the road. No matter who is at fault. The cyclists chances of being hurt or killed are far more likely than that of the driver of the car. I would be far more concerned with Sunnyvale's level of intelligence if they passed an ordinance that was reversed.
Nancy Leigh-Smith August 24, 2012 at 04:03 AM
I think an article that begins "Are you sick and tired of..." and "vision impaired law enforcement officers" is going to get comments that push back. I am not a bicycle rider, but I was, long before there were any bike lanes. I was slapped in the behind by a passing motorist and had a car door opened right in front of me over which I sailed and landed on my face. As a pedestrian, I see very scary actions from drivers, whose vehicles obviously have a weight advantage. Aside from aggressive driving and expressions of motorized resentment toward walkers and cyclists, there are people who are texting while driving forward, backing out of parking spaces and turning on green lights while people are in the crosswalk. I vote for the system that I saw in Germany in the 80s: very wide sidewalks with a pedestrian icon in one portion and a bicycle icon in the other; pedestrians were free to walk in the bike lane until hearing a bell. Everyone knew this system. It makes much more sense for walkers/cyclists to share a space, and leave the roadways to cars. Until something like that happens, I think the onus is on the motor vehicle operators to exercise care and compassion for people with no hard shell to protect them.
Tamerlane August 28, 2012 at 03:17 PM
I'm a cyclist and my main objective is to STAY SAFE and ALIVE. I have ridden with other people who scare the heck out of me, weaving in and out of traffic, sailing through intersections.... No, I don't ALWAYS come to a full and complete stop at every sign, but I will never ever assume or demand to be given the right-of-way, when it would not be mine if I were in a car. The point is that people often are not able to see cyclists and it is the responsibility of the cyclist to keep that in mind. Personally, I would find NO satisfaction or comfort in the knowledge that the person driving the car that maimed me should have seen me and anticipated my moves. Where is your sense of self-preservation, people????
Ken Martin November 14, 2012 at 03:04 PM
How did this drivel get in here? Does anybody even understand it?
Pete MacKay December 03, 2013 at 04:40 AM
Nowhere in Sunnyvale's anti-harassment ordinance does the law defend a bicyclist who is breaking CVC, or as you say "puts all the responsibility for errant cyclists on motorists." You clearly did not read the ordinance, or at least comprehend it. It basically recognizes that harassment of cyclists exists, just as hate crime laws recognize that the root cause of some crimes are due to the victim being Jewish, black, homosexual, etc. The ordinance does not define a criminal charge above and beyond any existing laws against menacing, assault, or physical or verbal threats. It simply reinforces a civil avenue. I can assure you the behaviors you describe are far more threatening to other bicyclists than they are to drivers, and I'd readily challenge the number of offences you witness because, frankly, even at a 30% annual increase in ridership around here there just aren't that many cyclists on the road. Because your rant targets bicyclists directly (and lacks any statistical reinforcement), it ironically demonstrates the need for ordinances that recognize this kind of directed hatred - especially if you take this emotional energy out on the road with you.

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