When cyclists must follow rules for cars, pedestrians

Dear Street Smarts, Q: On Thursday morning, while biking with my kids to DeLaveaga Elementary School, I was scolded by the crossing guard for riding my bike against the crossing signal, which had a red hand up. The light at Fairmount Avenue and Morrissey Boulevard was green, so I thought we could go. It's confusing here, because all bike and/or pedestrian traffic use the same side of the road. I asked a police officer at school the rule and was told if riding, I follow the same rules as a car but if I get off the bike, I'm expected to follow the hand signals. This intersection is confusing and dangerous. What is the rule here? Sincerely, Bob Egan, Santa Cruz A: The police officer is correct. If you were riding your bike, you must follow the rules as they apply to cars but if you get off your bicycle to walk it across the street, you are then a pedestrian and must follow those rules. If the red hand is solid, pedestrians are not to cross. That is their stop light. The thinking is, the traffic signal could change at anytime, increasing the danger risk to the pedestrian left in the middle of the road when cross traffic gets the green light. Learn more about rules of the road as they pertain to cyclists at http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/LocalPrograms/bike/codes.html. Laurel Street paving project begins Laurel Street is getting smoothed out beginning Oct. 6. Santa Cruz Public Works will be rehabilitating and resurfacing that well-traveled road Mission to Front streets, extending approximately 200 feet onto Laurel Street Bridge. Expect intermittent lane closures, traffic delays and limited parking during the project, which is to wrap up in November. Starting Sept. 8, sidewalk and ramp improvement work will begin. Pedestrians should expect some sidewalk closures as a result. Updates about the project will be posted at www.cityofsantacruz.com/publicworks. Questions and concerns may be directed to Hoi Yu, Assistant Engineer, at 831-420-5179. 'Drive Safely Work Week' The Networks of Employers for Traffic Safety has declared this week Drive Safely Work Week. The goal is to encourage employees and their families to prevent traffic collisions that occur both on and off the job. Employers seeking more information on ways to spread the traffic safety message among workers can visit http://trafficsafety.org/.
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