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Police should write tickets to bad cyclists, readers say
Bicyclists should be ticketed by police for breaking traffic laws. That's the sentiment of a few emails written to Street Smarts. “I am a motorist who gets upset with bicyclists who don't follow the rules of the road,wrote Glenn Davis of Felton in an email to Street Smarts. “I am all for sharing the road. When I was a teenager in the 70's in New England, I rode my bike a lot. I was taught the rules of the road and I obeyed them. When observing bicyclists in this county at intersections, a good percentage of them will break the law by going through stop signs or red lights, riding on sidewalks and crosswalks, etc.” Davis, along with the other email writers, requested statistics showing that law enforcement officers are citing cyclists for such traffic offense. “I would hope that bicyclists would follow the rules of the road more if they knew that there was a good chance of being cited for a violation,” he continued. “I have never seen a bicyclist being cited for violating the rules of the road. I feel bad for them, for they are putting themselves in great danger. Now, we are seeing bicyclists KILLING pedestrians in San Francisco. So not only are they putting themselves in danger, but pedestrians also. I don't hate bicyclists. I don't like when they break the law and put people in danger. I would like to see and hear about more citations.” Officers are writing citations and those cyclists have the option of signing up for the county's Bike Traffic School, which is offered to traffic scofflaws as well as inquisitive members of the community. In 2010, 445 citations were issued countywide to cyclists who were caught not following road rules, said Sarah Harmon, of the Community Traffic Safety Coalition. About one in four of cyclists who are cited opt to attend Bike Traffic School, she added. “Since Bike Traffic School's inception in January 2007, more than 500 cyclists have attended the two-hour class, she said. And interest in the class is increasing, she said. “In the last six months, the number of registrants has doubled compared to the previous six months, and we have added extra classes to meet the increased demand,” Harmon explained. “More than 90 percent of attendees have stated that they plan to change the way they ride their bike because of what they learned at Bike Traffic School, such as obeying traffic laws and being visible and predictable.” About eight percent of Bike Traffic School attendees are members of the community who've not been cited, but are interested in learning about their rights and responsibilities as cyclists, Harmon said. This month, Bike Traffic School will be offered 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, July 17 and 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 21. The cost is $35. Learn more at www.sctrafficsafety.org/BikeTrafficSchool or by calling 454-7551.