Sacto 9-1-1
December 20, 2011
Davis police to begin new year with push for bicycle safety

The Davis Police Department is teaming with several local bicycle shops in a project to promote and enhance bicycle safety in the city.

Beginning Jan. 9 and continuing through the week, the Police Department will conduct a specialized bicycle safety and enforcement operation. Officers will patrol areas frequented by bicyclists and target traffic violations that lead to collisions with other bicyclists, vehicles and pedestrians.

Since Jan. 1 of this year, Davis police have responded to 54 collisions involving bicycles, according to a department news release. The bicyclist was injured in 93 percent of those collisions.

The collisions, coupled with an increase in complaints from the public about bicyclists violating safe riding practices, including failing to stop at stop signs and riding at night without a light, led police to conclude that there is a need for a street-level education and enforcement program, officials said.

The program's goal is to educate the public about the safe and lawful use of bicycles, as well as the safe and lawful use of vehicles that share the roadways with bicycles. Although officers may choose to educate and warn offenders, they may also enforce violations of the California Vehicle Code, and of the city's municipal code which prohibits riding a bicycle on downtown sidewalks.

If a bicyclist is issued a citation for not having a bike light at night, he or she may take a copy of the citation to any of six participating bicycle shops in Davis and receive a 10 percent discount on a new bike light. The discount will not reduce or eliminate any fine associated with a citation, but it will allow a bicyclist to obtain required safety equipment at a reduced cost, according to the news release. Participating bicycle shops are Apex Cycles and Service, B&L Bikeshop, Blisworks Bikes, Davis Wheelworks, Freewheeler Bicycle Center, and Ken's Bike, Ski and Board.

As traffic congestion on city streets increases, more people are turning to bicycles for transportation, and police say all users of the road need to understand the rules, laws and safe behavior.

Safe riding practices include:

• Bicycles must be operated in a bike lane, if one is available, or on the roadway or the shoulder of the highway. In either case, bicyclists must travel in the same direction as the flow of traffic.

• Bicyclists must stop for stop signs and obey all traffic signs and signals.

• Bicycles operated during darkness must be equipped with a working white light facing forward, a red reflector facing rearward and reflectors on both wheels.

• Bicycles may not be ridden on sidewalks in downtown Davis.

• Riders younger than 18 years old must wear a properly fitted an buckled helmet.

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