06-25-09 Officers Increase Education/Enforcement of Cycling Laws
Despite recent collisions, media education, officers still seeing many cyclists making obvious safety violations.
Boise, June 25, 2009 - Boise Police Chief Michael Masterson is working with other BPD officers to step up education and enforcement of cycling laws.
According to the Chief and other BPD employees, despite recent collisions that have killed three cyclists in the last six weeks, a good number of cyclists continue riding behaviors that are not only dangerous, but against City and State laws.
"If we can better educate cyclists that their riding in a way that's dangerous, hopefully we can prevent future collisions and injuries," said Chief Masterson.
"Boise officers have worked with local media in presenting dozens of news stories recently detailing bike safety laws and related motorist responsibilities. But officers, including myself, continue to see cyclists riding against traffic and breaking other laws. We also know more cyclists are on the road and many may be new, trying to save money on gas or help the environment. Some of these cyclists may not be aware their riding is dangerous and illegal," said Chief Masterson.
"You see much more of this behavior when your actually focused on looking for it. So that's what I'm asking officers to increase, is their own awareness of this problem, and to remind officers that we, as our community's police department, have the responsibility and authority to immediately begin doing more about it." said the Chief.
Boise Police have also been cracking down on aggressive driving, including speeding, tailgating, failing to yield, and running stop sign or red light signal violations. Aggressive driving, as well as distracted driving ar major factors in causes of collisions.
MOST COMMON CYCLING VIOLATIONS OBSERVED by BOISE BIKE OFFICERS:
1. Riding against traffic - Position on Roadway (by far, say officers, the most frequently observed violation) - Boise City Code 10-14-06 (A) , Idaho State Code 49-717 (1). You'll notice the Boise City Code is more specific and actually cites "riding against traffic", however, this law is in place statewide. Fine = $46.50
2. Going through "Stop" sign without slowing for traffic - ISC 49-720 (1). Though a cyclist can go through a stop sign without completely stopping, they are required by state law to stop for traffic that's close enough to be an "immediate hazard". Many cyclists are seen by officers not slowing at all. Fine = $46.50
3. No headlight at night - BCC 10-14-03 (D), ISC 49-723. Headlights are not for the vision of the cyclist but so the cyclist can be seen by others! Fine = $46.50
4. Riding through "Don't Walk" signal at crosswalk - BCC 10-14-08, ISC 49-721 C. Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as pedestrians when riding on sidewalks and in crosswalks. When cyclists ride off the sidewalk into the road, they must observe motorist traffic laws. Fine = $46.50
EDUCATION vs ENFORCEMENT: As always, police officers have the discretion, considering the overall circumstances of any give instance, to chose to give a verbal warning or write a citation to an offender. Several factors may influence an officers decision, for example if the behavior is repeated or egregious, or if the officers has reason to believe a verbal warning will not gain voluntary compliance in the future. Officers want to educate the public, but citizens should know, offenders of traffic violations always risk a citation.