Readers vent about unlawful bicyclists; more education needed, they say
On Monday, Street Smarts published a letter from a reader who complained that bicyclists are not following the rules of the road. Below are emails from other readers who feel the same way:
- “Riders don't even know that they are obligated to the same rules as cars and motorcycles,” wrote Buss Marple, a motorcycle rider. “A Santa Cruz police officer in his cruiser was driving on Pacific Avenue and stopped as a college-aged girl went by him while riding the wrong way on a one way street. He couldn't believe she had done that. It's simple, she didn't have a clue she was in the wrong. I sit at Starbucks and see this daily. Someone should do a survey to determine the percentage of bicyclists that don't know the laws that govern their riding. Let all bicycle shops make riders sign a document confirming that they know the rules of the road.”
- “Trina Dinapoli is right: bicycle riders in Santa Cruz county are NOT riding safer or abiding by the rules of the road,” wrote Jeanne Thompson of Santa Cruz. “Check out 7th Avenue between Capitola Road and Murray Street. See how they run through lights or switch over to the cross walk and continue on their way, riding on the white line. I have never seen a bicycle rider get off his or her bike and walk across the street using the cross walk. And yes, they glare and cuss and flip you off -- even when a person is walking and using the cross walk as if the pedestrian is suppose to yield to the bike rider. And tell me, just how do you report them? No license or identification so far as I can see on bicycles.”
There are people out there working hard to increase knowledge of road rules. Among them are Theresia Rogerson of the county Health Services Agency and the Community Traffic Safety Coalition, which she staffs for the county. The coalition is a group of representatives from local health, law enforcement agencies, public works, transportation and concerned citizens working to make the roads safer for everyone who uses them.
"It's true that both bicyclists and motorists do things that can infuriate or endanger other road users, such as running stop signs and speeding. The Community Traffic Safety Coalition and law enforcements agencies are using limited resources for education and enforcement efforts to help all of us share the roads more safely in Santa Cruz County. Something all of us can do to improve safety and relations with others is to communicate our intentions to other road users and follow the rules of the road. This means being visible, using turn signals, obeying speed limits, passing safely, and coming to a stop at stop signs and red lights. Traffic safety advocates are working towards a common partnership of mutual respect between motorists and bicyclists to make the roads safer for all."
She added that there are local bicycle shops that work with the League of American Bicyclists to educate cyclists about road rules, as well.
By the way, Jeanne, you can report people behaving badly on the road, both cyclists and drivers alike, to the California Highway Patrol. Try to give as much description as possible. The number to call is 662-511.