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Cyclists should follow the rules of the road, reader says
Dear Street Smarts, Q: Thanks for your column dealing with our local traffic issues. It's always an interesting and informative read. I have two issues and/or questions regarding bicyclists -- of which, I am one. My first question comes as a result of two close calls in the last two weeks. In both cases, a bicyclist paralleling my direction of travel -- riding appropriately in the bike lane -- quickly turned in front of my car into a crosswalk, requiring a very quick stop on my part. The cyclists did not stop nor get off their bikes when entering the crosswalk, only glared at me while continuing to ride across the street. It seemed like a bad move on their part as they were counting on auto traffic to immediately stop for them. I've had this experience quite a few times in my 40 years of driving, so was aware that each of these cyclists might do this. A less aware driver would have hit these people! It's my understanding that bicyclists must follow the vehicle code regulations. So, when a bicyclist is riding across a crosswalk, are they a vehicle subject to vehicle code regulations or are they considered a pedestrian? Secondly, a reminder to night time bicyclists. Put on as many lights and reflectors as you can possibly clip to yourself, in front, on your side, and to the rear. You are not nearly as visible to other traffic as you think you are! Joel Wilson of Santa Cruz A: "Bicyclists are subject to the very same rules of the road as vehicles," said Deputy Chief Steve Clark, of the Santa Cruz Police Department. "If a bicyclist found the need to transition to pedestrian status, they would have to dismount the bicycle and walk along side. They would then be subject to rules that govern pedestrian behavior. The situation as described by your reader seems to be one of inappropriate behavior and a violation of rules of the road."