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Local News

Police to Step Up Patrols for Fiesta Cruiser Bike Ride

Cyclists in the Fiesta Cruiser Bike Ride scheduled for Aug. 3 should be aware that an increased police presence will be on hand to dole out tickets for violations, the Santa Barbara Police Department said Monday.

The unsanctioned bike ride has been a Fiesta week tradition for more than three decades, in which cyclists set off from the pier up State Street in Santa Barbara, with the ride turning back toward Isla Vista and ending on the pier.

The event, which drew thousands of cyclists last year, doesn’t operate with the necessary permits, officials say, with many disobeying traffic laws and traveling with open containers of alcohol.

Sgt. Riley Harwood said Monday that additional officers will be deployed to monitor the Sunday event.

"Bicyclists are legally required to obey all traffic laws and violators will be cited, as appropriate," he said.

Some of the most common bicycle-related violations are failure to ride as close as practicable to the righthand curb, a $197 fine; failure to obey red signal light, a $490 fine; and failure to obey a stop sign, a $197 fine, Harwood said.

"To ensure a safe and enjoyable Fiesta, the Santa Barbara Police Department encourages all motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians to be courteous and to follow the rules of the road," he said.

In response to complaints, the Police Department has stepped up enforcement during the ride.

Twenty Santa Barbara police officers worked the bike ride in 2013 and followed the ride throughout the city.

Last year, nearly 80 citations were issued to cyclists during the ride in Santa Barbara, and many riders did not return from Isla Vista after the ride commenced.

Harwood told Noozhawk last year that 64 traffic citations were issued, as well as 12 municipal code citations, which would include offenses such as someone having an open container of alcohol.

Five citations were also issued by Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies to riders as they passed through the unincorporated portion of the ride.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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