There ought to be a law requiring bicycle licenses, reader says
Dear Street Smarts,
I have been inundated with the irresponsible actions of bicycle riders in the Aptos Village area. When are people going to become more responsible? I feel that if they imposed a license on every bicycle and some type of operating license, then it would be easier to fine those riders ignoring the rules of the road and make the roads safer for both vehicles and bicycles.
Three incidents happened in one week on Soquel Drive and Trout Gulch/Valencia Road in Aptos:
- A bicyclist was going north approaching the Soquel Street stop sign at Trout Gulch Road. I was starting to make a left turn onto Trout Gulch. A car was already stopped going northbound on Soquel Drive. A bicyclist was also going northbound and approaching the stop sign. The young man never slowed down, passed the car on the right in the bike lane and proceeded to run the stop sign with total disregard for the traffic rules. Fortunately, I drove defensively and did not strike the bicycle even though I was part way into the left turn.
- Four racing bicyclists were traveling on Trout Gulch Road towards Valencia Road. The bicyclists were riding two across in the bike lane, so a car passing them had to drive in the opposite lane to get past the bicyclists safely. This is another unsafe and inconsiderate move by the bicyclists and happens constantly. This occurs many times on Soquel Drive, as well.
- Two bicyclists were traveling single file against the traffic on Trout Gulch Road heading towards Soquel Drive in Aptos Village. The bicyclists were all young school age people except for the four racing bicyclists. Maybe a program needs to be put in service through the school system and also made part of DMV with specific training that includes a license for the bicycle, as well as the bicyclist, so they can be penalized if they ignore and break traffic rules.
The bicyclists that have followed traffic rules are those bicyclists riding for HIV from San Francisco to Los Angeles (in the AIDS/LifeCycle -- Ride to end AIDS
). They should be commended for their actions.
Shirley Coleman via email
"If the legislature passes a bicycle registration and licensing law, we will enforce it," said Officer Sarah Jackson of the California Highway Patrol's Aptos office. "Regarding the racing bicyclists on Trout Gulch, I would urge drivers not to pass in this situation. In most areas of Trout Gulch Road, the speed limit is 35 mph. It is very possible that these bicyclists were close to that speed limit, making it unsafe to pass them in any circumstance."
Meanwhile, while cyclists are not required to be licensed, they must adhere to the rules of the road
and can be cited for disobeying traffic laws.
In the meantime, I encourage you to send your suggestion to require bicyclists to be licensed riders to Senator Joe Simitian
, a democrat from Palo Alto. Each year, he presents his fellow lawmakers with legislation inspired by his constituents. Oftentimes, the bills become law. Contact his Santa Cruz office at 701 Ocean Street, Room 318A, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, or try calling 425-0401, faxing 425-5124, or send an email to him through his website at http://www.senatorsimitian.com/contact
Keep me posted on whether you contacted Simitian’s office. It would be interesting to see if your suggestion becomes law.
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