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Letter to the Editor: Many Bicyclists Ignore Traffic Laws, Putting Everyone at Risk

I was very sad to read Noozhawk’s story about the bicyclist who was injured Sunday night on State Street. What pain and suffering both the bicyclist and driver must be going through right now, just before Thanksgiving!

I have no idea what the particulars are in that accident, but I have become very concerned for bicyclist safety as their driving habits are out of control. Bicyclists are supposed to follow the same traffic laws cars do, but they don’t at all.

Now that it’s dark about 5 p.m., having lights on the front and back of a bicycle is very important to see them, especially at twilight time. Many bicyclists wear dark clothes and have no lights or reflectors — they are just a faint shadow crossing my path sometimes.

Then their driving routes are downright scary. They often do not stop at stop signs and just blow through blind intersections. The same for red lights! What are they thinking?

Last night I watched a bicycle maneuver that floored me. The bicyclist was in the left turn lane, as he should be to turn left on State Street from Figueroa Street. The light was red for him, so he turned left on the pedestrian crosswalk since the light was green going that way, then he crossed State Street, driving his bike in the pedestrian walkway again, went up the handicap ramp and down State Street on the sidewalk.

I see bicycles on the sidewalk all the time. I see them driving the wrong way on streets, too. I see them blowing through intersections without even slowing down. Many wear dark clothes at night and have no lights or reflectors.

When people are allowed to ignore the small law, like the ones that govern safe bicycling, they soon begin to think they can ignore bigger laws, too. Traffic laws that govern bicycle use are very important to enforce — for the safety of the rider, for the safety of pedestrians and for the safety of vehicle drivers.

Paul Cook
Santa Barbara

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