SANTA MONICA—This month’s focus for the Santa Monica Traffic Division is on the faulty driving behavior of bicyclists who fail to follow the same rules that vehicles must follow while on the road.
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Each month, the Santa Monica Police Department will pay particular attention to certain driving behaviors to help eradicate dangerous happenings on the road. Last month, the Traffic Division’s primary focus was phone usage (texting and calling) while driving. In December, they will take elevated notice of bikers who are disregarding the rules of the road that everyone must follow, regardless of form of transportation.
According to the DMV, over 100 people are killed a year in the state of
California alone from bicycle collisions while thousands more are injured. During January 2012 until November 2012, the Santa Monica Police Department recorded 129 bike collisions. Though most bicyclists are determined not at fault upon completion of investigation, when it is their fault it is most often when one fails to stop at signs and signals, riding on the wrong side of the road, making unsafe turning movements, riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or riding at an unsafe speed. The DMV requests that bicyclists ride on the right side of the road, but not too far too the right as not to hit the curb and cause steering into traffic.
Tickets issued for violating these rules via bike are subject to the same fine as violating them while driving. For example, a first offense DUI charge can result in a fine ranging anywhere from $390 to $1000, 6 months in jail, 6 months of a suspended license, along with other penalties. A DUI issued to one riding a bike is not immune to such penalties.
While it is forbidden for bicyclists to ride on the sidewalk in
Santa Monica, Bicycle Liaison Officer Peter Lashley asks that if one chooses to transport via bike, he or she must follow the same rules as drivers by law of the California Vehicle Code Section 21200. This states that while using a bike or pedicab on the road, you are entitled to the same rights as automotive drivers and the same provisions applicable to drivers.