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Choose your sources wisely, reader tells Street Smarts
Dear Street Smarts, Q: On the topic of 'wrong way cycling,' Debbie Bulger had asked if someone with bike expertise might best address this issue. You chose to check with Steve Clark, a law enforcement officer. While I expect he may be informed on the law, I wonder if he is qualified as someone with bike expertise. My experience has led me to believe that most law enforcement is, to at least some degree, biased against cyclists. I expect this is because they are not cyclists themselves and because of that are not able to understand the issues that face cyclists. The fact that they spend their time on the roadway in cars make it hard for them to envision the reality that exists for cyclists. If you want to speak to someone with bike expertise, I would suggest that you might check with Cory Caletti, the staff adviser to the Bicycle Advisory Committee to the RTC. Alternatively, Leo Jed is certified to teach bike safety and I think he does so locally. Santa Cruz is growing in its prominence as a cycling mecca, and I hope that our local paper will agree that this will make it increasingly important for our community to participate in the conversation surrounding bikes and roadway safety for all users. I would urge both you and the editors of the Sentinel to establish some contacts with some of the numerous well qualified local members of the cycling community to be available to provide the cyclists perspective on issues related to cycling. Thank You, Bob Montague, Watsonville A: The reason I chose members of law enforcement to respond to Debbie Bulger's question is because they are traffic law experts charged with knowing the California Vehicle Code, enforcing it and responding when cyclists, cars and pedestrians collide. They can speak from every side of the issue, as many are cyclists themselves and advocate for events such as the Amgen Tour of California to take place in the county. Yes, we have a plethora of cycling experts locally and police officers are among them, as they see a whole lot more than we can ever imagine. Their stories are powerful and need to be told. And yes, there's a perception that police officers see the world from cars and are clueless to the plight of cyclists. Thus, my use of their expertise. The police are an untapped resource. Deputy Chief Steve Clark has been on the force for decades and has investigated his fair share of horrific traffic collisions. CHP Officer Sarah Jackson has her own experiences to share. Where else will Street Smarts readers -- drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike -- learn what those officers know? Clark and Jackson's input provide powerful food for thought that can act as a learning tool, thus a deterrent. If one person read their words, and those words sunk in enough to make that person change their bad riding habits, that is my goal. Teaching youngsters bicycle skills in Scotts Valley Youths in grades K-5 are invited to learn to bike smart at the Scotts Valley Police Department's Children's Bicycle Rodeo. The free event lasts from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 9 at Macdorsa Park and the Scotts Valley City Hall overflow parking lot, at 1 Civic Center Drive. Besides learning road rules, participants will receive bike licenses and a bike and helmet inspection by Scotts Valley Cycle Sports. There also will be a barbecue. Youths must bring a parent or legal guardian, as well as a bicycle, helmet and a completed and signed liability waiver. To register for the bike rodeo, call Lt. John Hohmann at 440-5653. For information on biking smart, visit www.bikesmart.org.