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Old 04-13-08, 10:30 AM   #1
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Cyclists Ticketed in Marin County

http://www.marinij.com/ci_8908209?source=most_viewed

Rise in cycling accidents triggers crackdown in Sausalito

Mark Prado
Article Launched: 04/12/2008 11:33:23 PM PDT

An increasing number of bicycle accidents in Sausalito has officials concerned about safety as police write tickets and conduct stings to slow riders who fly through the city.
While most drivers coming to Marin zoom past Sausalito on Highway 101, the city is the gateway for bicyclists who ride north over the Golden Gate Bridge, down Alexander Avenue and onto busy Bridgeway, where cars, pedestrians and bicyclists mix.

"There are places where you get wedged up between moving cars and parked cars, and there are pedestrians," said Ken Eichstaedt, who has been riding through the city to his job in San Francisco for the past 17 years. "You have to be aware when you ride in Sausalito."

But, increasingly, riders are unaware or don't care...
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Old 04-13-08, 10:45 AM   #2
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So in a nutshell what the article is saying is: If you don't want to get ticketed, obey the law.

Gee, who'da thunk it?
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Old 04-13-08, 10:47 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by marinij.com
Officers are also writing citations for violations, which have risen in recent years. In 2006, police wrote 89 tickets. Last year, they wrote 167. Violations are primarily issued for blowing through a stop sign or stop light, not yielding for a pedestrian in a crosswalk or not riding within a bike lane.

Failure to stop at a traffic light is a $360 fine, failure to stop at a stop sign is $138, as is failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Bikers are hit with a $102 fine for riding outside a bike lane." It has not been an effort to write more tickets, we are just seeing more violations," Paulin said.
Not that this excuses the cyclists who have run stop signs and red lights, but I get a sneaking suspiscion that the CA mandatory bike lane law is being misapplied here. I'd love to here some stories from cyclists who were ticketted for riding outside of the bike lane. I'd also like to know how it's a ticketable offense given the list of exceptions. Shouldn't the ticket be for not facilitating the passing of faster traffic, the true purpose of the bike lane law?
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Old 04-13-08, 11:14 AM   #4
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I ride on this stretch all the time whenever I'm heading out to Marin. The street is very multimodal and well-planned, with bike lanes where appropriate, and if everyone obeys the law, nobody gets hurt. There's TONS of pedestrians out, especially on a good day, and they cross (and sometimes jaywalk) constantly. I'm pretty sure most of the tickets are for failing to stop at stop signs or yield at pedestrian crossings.

Sometimes we're not the kings of the road, folks.
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Old 04-13-08, 01:17 PM   #5
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I'm pretty sure most of the tickets are for failing to stop at stop signs or yield at pedestrian crossings.
Hopefully the case but I'd still like to know about those bike lane tickets.

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Sometimes we're not the kings of the road, folks.
That statement implies that sometimes cyclists are the "kings of the road." When and why do you ever feel that way?
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Old 04-13-08, 01:37 PM   #6
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Bikers are hit with a $102 fine for riding outside a bike lane.
Message: Building bike lanes gives cops one more excuse to ticket cyclists and take away our right to use the road.
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Old 04-13-08, 01:48 PM   #7
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Yes, I definitely want to know more about the $100 tickets being given for the often-legal practice of riding outside a bike lane, particularly in the context of the statement about "getting wedged up between moving cars and parked cars." Sometimes one has to eschew a bike lane precisely to avoid "getting wedged up."
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Old 04-13-08, 02:34 PM   #8
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So the cops say that half the accidents are caused by motorist (I suspect there is some cop bias in that figure and motorist cause closer to 70%); but even if we accept the 50% split, why is the crackdown only on cyclist.

Whow, some cyclist are traveling at 25-30 mph. I guess the motorist must only be driving at 15 mph since motorist do not seem to be a problem for the cops.

Yes, ticket the red light runners, cyclist and motorist; but stop the rest of the BS attacks on cyclist.
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Old 04-13-08, 05:16 PM   #9
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The most likely scenario for getting a ticket for riding outside a bike lane in Sausalito is riding 2-3 abreast such that the leftmost cyclist is not in the bike lane. You can leave the bike lane to pass, not so that you can ride next to your friend for 3 miles discussing the finer points of your new Heart Rate Monitor based training program. Most stories posted to lists about "I got this BS ticket" - I read the story and think "that really doesn't sound like BS to me"

A lot of this is the boom in runners transitioning to triathlon. So you get people new to cycling but fit enough to ride at very high tempo, but used to running on isolated trails instead of cycling on congested streets. Just my opinion, but I have a lot of data points - I can't really see any reason to be riding through Sausalito down in a set of aerobars but it happens....
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Old 04-13-08, 05:34 PM   #10
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The most likely scenario for getting a ticket for riding outside a bike lane in Sausalito is riding 2-3 abreast such that the leftmost cyclist is not in the bike lane. You can leave the bike lane to pass, not so that you can ride next to your friend for 3 miles discussing the finer points of your new Heart Rate Monitor based training program. Most stories posted to lists about "I got this BS ticket" - I read the story and think "that really doesn't sound like BS to me"
Simply riding outside of the bike lane in order to ride next to someone to chat is NOT a ticketable offense. If there was faster traffic present, it might be, depending on the circumstances. There are plenty of exceptions given in the CA law about why a cyclist is allowed to leave a bike lane; it's far from limited to passing another cyclist.
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Old 04-13-08, 05:54 PM   #11
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murphstahoe, why should riding outside of a bike lane be a ticketable offense at all?
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Old 04-13-08, 06:24 PM   #12
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Message: Building bike lanes gives cops one more excuse to ticket cyclists and take away our right to use the road.
That is what bike lanes are for right?
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Old 04-13-08, 06:40 PM   #13
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Message: Building bike lanes gives cops one more excuse to ticket cyclists and take away our right to use the road.
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That is what bike lanes are for right?
Same could be said for stop signs, traffic lights and speed limits - traffic controls only built to give more excuses to cops to ticket whoever feels that they don't need no stinkin' stop signs, traffic lights and speed limits.
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Old 04-13-08, 06:43 PM   #14
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murphstahoe, why should riding outside of a bike lane be a ticketable offense at all?
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That is what bike lanes are for right?
To take away our right to use the road. Right. Before bike lanes, we had the right to use the traffic lanes. In all too many place, after the stripe goes down, we lose that right.
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Old 04-13-08, 07:14 PM   #15
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murphstahoe, why should riding outside of a bike lane be a ticketable offense at all?
I'm not discussing whether or not it SHOULD be a ticketable offense, I am discussing whether or not it *is* a ticketable offense.

My understanding of California law, which is admittedly not based on any study - it is just my understanding - is this. If there is a bike lane, you must ride in it other than to pass or avoid dangerous conditions in the bike lane - construction, debris, etc...

I do not believe the cops in Sausalito or Marin in general are being capricious towards cyclists. If you behave in a civil manner, they won't pester you at all. The tenor of this discussion is that cops are "The Man" and are out to get cyclists. Maybe where you live, but I don't consider this to be the case in Sausalito. On any given Saturday the cyclist count on the main drag in Sausalito probably tops 5,000, this includes people who ride 400 miles a week and people who have not ridden in 30 years and may never ride again. All in all the cops in Sausalito deal with chaos admirably. There is a lot of unprofessional cycling happening in Sausalito on a street where pedestrians jaywalk while looking skyward at the bridge, cars abruptly change directions without signalling, etc... This section of riding is for most, a means to an end, getting to the Tiburon peninsula where the real ride begins, yet some unwisely choose to treat it without the proper respect for the landmine that it is.

The most common accident in Sausalito is a dooring. I have seen the remnants of two cyclists who were doored at 20+ MPH. If I were a cop there, and had cleaned up this sort of mess a few times, I might just want to keep the 3 abreast crew lined out in the bike lane where they have an out - if there are 2 to your left, and a car to their left, and a door opens - where exactly are you going to go?

Whether or not you agree with these anecdotes, my understanding of the law is that if there is a bike lane and there is not a good reason to not be in the bike lane, that is ticketable.
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Old 04-13-08, 07:20 PM   #16
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So in a nutshell what the article is saying is: If you don't want to get ticketed, obey the law.

Gee, who'da thunk it?

Wait for it.

The slowly rising wail..........
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Old 04-13-08, 07:27 PM   #17
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To take away our right to use the road. Right. Before bike lanes, we had the right to use the traffic lanes. In all too many place, after the stripe goes down, we lose that right.
Could it be that, rather than the bike lane being the cause of the loss of rights, it is often merely correlated, and the two are both caused by increasing auto traffic?

In which case one could say that it should not be the bike lanes that are the issue, but the auto-centric culture... no?
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Old 04-13-08, 07:27 PM   #18
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I checked the CVC. You must be in the bike lane except to pass, prepare to turn left, or avoid debris or hazardous conditions unless you are operating at the normal speed of traffic.

If you were pulled over and pointed back and said "That car was about to open their door, I left the bike lane" you should not be ticketed. Two cyclists riding side by side such that the left chatting would not fit this protocol. I'm not sure I want to fight for my right to have leisurely conversations in the middle of the road.
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Old 04-13-08, 07:31 PM   #19
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Wait for it.

The slowly rising wail..........
Don't have to wait. The hysterical wail of the bike lane banshees has already begun and is in full pitch - Woe is Us; They are coming to take away our rights to bike as God intended; The bike lane is the Trojan Horse of the Devil Worshippers; Beware!
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Old 04-13-08, 09:59 PM   #20
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I checked the CVC. You must be in the bike lane except to pass, prepare to turn left, or avoid debris or hazardous conditions unless you are operating at the normal speed of traffic.

If you were pulled over and pointed back and said "That car was about to open their door, I left the bike lane" you should not be ticketed. Two cyclists riding side by side such that the left chatting would not fit this protocol. I'm not sure I want to fight for my right to have leisurely conversations in the middle of the road.
So you really think that it is OK to paint door zone bike lanes!
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Old 04-13-08, 10:02 PM   #21
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... on a street where pedestrians jaywalk while looking skyward at the bridge, cars abruptly change directions without signalling, etc...
And yet the cops and article single out cyclist!
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Old 04-13-08, 11:40 PM   #22
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I checked the CVC. You must be in the bike lane except to pass, prepare to turn left, or avoid debris or hazardous conditions unless you are operating at the normal speed of traffic.

If you were pulled over and pointed back and said "That car was about to open their door, I left the bike lane" you should not be ticketed. Two cyclists riding side by side such that the left chatting would not fit this protocol. I'm not sure I want to fight for my right to have leisurely conversations in the middle of the road.
Its been a while since I have ridden along Bridgeway, but the "normal" speed of (auto) traffic is usually about 15-20 MPH, especially on weekends. It's nothing for a cyclist to pass cars and easier for a cyclist to "speed," relative to the flow of traffic. A pack of road bikes going through there 2 and 3 abreast would be dangerous, especially for them. A single cyclist going 20-30 MPH would risk all kinds of damage.
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Old 04-14-08, 12:05 AM   #23
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Its been a while since I have ridden along Bridgeway, but the "normal" speed of (auto) traffic is usually about 15-20 MPH, especially on weekends. It's nothing for a cyclist to pass cars and easier for a cyclist to "speed," relative to the flow of traffic. A pack of road bikes going through there 2 and 3 abreast would be dangerous, especially for them. A single cyclist going 20-30 MPH would risk all kinds of damage.
It really makes no sense at all putting a bikelane on a road like that. If they want to do something, sharrows in the middle of the lane are much better.
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Old 04-14-08, 02:53 AM   #24
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Two cyclists riding side by side such that the left chatting would not fit this protocol. I'm not sure I want to fight for my right to have leisurely conversations in the middle of the road.
Why not? Drivers of motor vehicles do!

Folks insist on purchasing cars that provide side-by-side seating to make conversing with passengers easier. If they were more reasonable and bought cars with in-line seating, there would be plenty of room on the streets to accommodate both cyclists and motorists. I say, let them live with the consequences of their preferences! They can wait behind the slower two abreast traffic.
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Old 04-14-08, 10:56 AM   #25
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Its been a while since I have ridden along Bridgeway, but the "normal" speed of (auto) traffic is usually about 15-20 MPH, especially on weekends. It's nothing for a cyclist to pass cars and easier for a cyclist to "speed," relative to the flow of traffic. A pack of road bikes going through there 2 and 3 abreast would be dangerous, especially for them. A single cyclist going 20-30 MPH would risk all kinds of damage.
Ticketing of this sort usually does not occur in the downtown area, downtown is chaotic and it would be difficult for a cop to even pull someone over. I'm not sure there is even a bike lane right there. Ticketing happens further north, when the town ends and the road opens up. At that point there is a very wide bike lane, there is no need to be outside the bike lane in order to avoid the door zone. The door zone "goes away" quickly as you enter a spot without parking spots.

It's an excellent facility and traffic speeds on that part of town are not excessive - the speed limit is probably 35 and cars don't exceed that in general. The bike lane has a lot to do with that, it calms traffic. The alternative would be to remove the bike lane and add another lane of traffic. This would enable cars to pass and thus ramp the speeds up substantially. As designed there is little need for bike/car interaction, either side creating such interactions unneccessarily should be ticketed IMHO.

google maps might give the needed resolution.
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