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Bicycle Riders Targeted in Santa Barbara Sting

A special enforcement by Santa Barbara Police targeted bike riders today after many issues with accidents and on going violations downtown.

Sgt. Mike McGrew says Santa Barbara is number two in the state for bicycle collisions compared to similar size cities.

A team of motorcycle officers were specifically working in the State St. district downtown today, and found many violators.

They included riders with headphones on both ears, riding no the wrong side of the road, and riding on the sidewalk. All are against the law, with the sidewalk violation specific to downtown, in Santa Barbara. Signs are clearly posted at all intersections.

Bike riders familiar with the rules, were walking their bikes on the sidewalks.

Other issues include riding through the mid block signal lights when they are red.

A city map with markings for bike related accidents shows the bulk of the problems in the downtown area.

McGrew says the police are part of a three part plan for engineering, education and enforcement to make the streets safer.

He says bike riders often do things on the road that create serious risks when they are trying to get around or through cross walks, signals or areas with stop signs.

“They may not think because they are not a car, and they can push it a little more so that’s what you see – sometimes people rolling through a red light. You know a car wouldn’t do that but maybe they will do it on a bicycle or at a stop sign,” said McGrew.

One rider who did not want to be caught by police dropped his bike, jumped a fence and left his wheels behind. It’s not known why he ran.

McGrew urged riders to wear reflective clothing, follow the rules of the road and anticipate problems with cars.

McGrew also said they are watching for drivers to yield to bike riders where they are supposed to, and also making sure they have a safe distance from the riders.

Last week over a thousand free bike lights were given out by the Santa Barbara Bike Coalition to help riders on dark nights who do not have a light as required by law.

Wednesday the special enforcement continues in areas without signal lights, and have mainly stop signs.

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