The two day bike enforcement action by the Santa Barbara Police Department has resulted in nearly 100 citations for both bike riders and drivers.
Police and city transportation officials have been working on reducing collisions. Santa Barbara is currently listed as number two in bicycle collisions in California compared to similar size cities.
Yesterday and today, a team of motorcycle officers set up positions where traffic laws are often broken by bike riders. Tuesday it was State St. and Carrillo, where signals are in use. Today it was Canon Perdido and Garden St., which has stop signs in all directions.
In just a short time, the number of tickets written backed up the statistics. Many riders were failing to stop at the stop sign,and they were riding with headphones on both ears. Both are common violations.
Officer J.C. Hunter said he sees bike riders often going full speed or coasting through stop signs, and after accidents he says, “every time you investigate a stop sign intersection (collision) they say they didn’t see the car coming. Because they didn’t see the car, that is why you are supposed to stop.”
The Bike Coalition says bicycling is a legitimate activity, “we have a legitimate right to the road and there’s responsibility that comes with that.” The group recently gave out 1200 free lights for bikes that were not lit up after dark, as required by law.
Over the two days during this specific enforcement, Sgt. Mike McGrew said the final stats were 87 citations issued, 69 bicyclists cited and 18 motorists cited.
The Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition has been involved in the process of making bike riding safer in Santa Barbara. The group has printed over a thousand small cars in English and Spanish with bike safety tips. They say, obey the rules of the road, be predictable, be visible check you bike before you ride and be kind to drivers and walkers.
It can also be found at www.sbbike.org.
“To get respect you have to show respect, ” said Ed France from the Santa Barbara Bike Coalition.
The local bike riding numbers are up, with more people riding to school and work. Many more will have bikes as Christmas gifts. The Bike Coalition is working on developing safety classes that can be offered in the future to help new bike riders of all ages, especially those coming and going to schools.