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Lafayette Police To Crack Down On "Rogue" Bikers

Not the greasy, smelly, oily and mean as a warthog kind of biker -- the Spandex and funny shoes kind.

 

Lafayette Police Chief Eric Christensen hasn't had time to warm his office chair since landing the job as the city's top officer -- and everyone, it seems, is clamoring for his attention.

"Over the past few weeks, I have received a number of complaints from residents regarding rogue bicyclists in the neighborhoods – bicyclists, that is, who fail to recognize that the rules of the road apply to them, too," the chief wrote in a weekly message.

Many Patchers have expressed similar concerns with some two-wheelers, and residents have gone to the chief offering tips on violation hot spots and even offering "to make their driveways and bushes available for officers to hide in and behind."

Christensen said the input helps, and that the department will be deploying its motorcycles and police bicycles over the next few months because "everyone needs to follow the rules of the road, regardless of whether you are on two or four wheels."

If you have a traffic complaint regarding your neighborhood, the chief asks that you contact him

Jose June 07, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Sounds familiar. Sounds like you have been married for a while...If I didn't shave every once in a while I don't think I would know what I look like. I keep pictures around the house of a younger me to offset the time in front of the mirror shaving.
J.D. O'Connor (Editor) June 07, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Ha! Must be more than one "Bear Flag Bikers" pedaling around! Come back anytime...
Chris F. June 07, 2012 at 11:37 PM
@ Regular Guy Just because they are arrogant bastards taking up the road doesn't mean that I have Road Rage towards them. I will have you know that according to countless newspapers and many magazines including Time Magazine have shown me in my all my glory as the leader of "America's Scariest Biker Gang" Trust me when I say I have done my share of riding and I know how to be a courteous rider. I know that I am supposed to stop at stop lights and signs just like vehicles. I know I am not to ride three a breast. I know that I do not own the road as the taxes that pay for the roads are generated mostly from fuel taxes. I also use bike lanes and bike paths (Yes that’s what they were made for but I know that cyclist won't use them because they are not kept clean like the roads where the cars blow all the debris from. I see countless riders that should be ticketed. I have seen many riders that have run into vehicles and then blamed the drivers. Just today I say a group of about twenty riders collectively run a stopsign in downtown Orinda. Cyclist should be fined just like the cars that have to share the roads with them.
Amanda June 07, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Chris~Seems like you haven't been on the trails or in the bike lane recently. The paved trails are VERY clean and clear of debris. The bike lanes, OTOH, are so cluttered and full of gravel, nails, broken glass, branches and garbage, that I'm always surprised that road bikers even want to/can ride there. This is why so many bikes have to ride in the traffic lanes.
David Holden June 08, 2012 at 12:07 AM
A lot of hostility, anger, and resentment out there by both bicyclists and drivers.
Jose June 08, 2012 at 12:15 AM
A Venusian crossing has been known to do that.
gavilan June 08, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Yep. Which probably means both are somewhat right and somewhat wrong. For example: -- Cyclists should ride single file or if on a quiet road, get single file as soon as they hear a car come up behind. -- Cyclists should stop at stop signs, but drivers should concede that "stop" may mean slow to a crawl (not having to "clip out") and go only when safe -- the equivalent of "California Stop" -- technically illegal, but hey, can't we all get along? -- Cyclists should not run a stop lights. Press the walk button if you haven't tripped the light and there isn't a car to trip it for you. -- Drivers should only pass a cyclist when it is safe to do so -- give at least 3 feet. Cross the double-yellow (if safe); it's not a wall. If the bike seems a bit further out in the lane than it should be, don't honk, assume there's a reason, like dangerous pavement on the edge or glass. I could go on and on, but the point is that for every cyclist who behaves badly and conjures the ire of a driver, there's a driver who behaves equally badly toward a cyclist. There's no excuse for either.
thomas james June 08, 2012 at 02:09 AM
It's time to generate new traffic rules for bicycles as they have in Europe
J.D. O'Connor (Editor) June 08, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Whew! Thanks, David... we played with a "the comments expressed on this site are not reflective of J.D. or Patch or his parents or kids" kind of disclaimer but settled for the occasional friendly reminder to keep it civil. Ultimately, the people posting here are, of course, responsible for their own words, as we hasten to point out from time to time. Appreciate your input...
thomas james June 08, 2012 at 02:55 AM
There seems to be an overall resentment of the bikers (in full "exhibitionist clown" regalia) just out there for exercise which is the case in Larmorinda where bicycles aren't used as a mode of transportation. In Europe where gas is $9 gallon (it may be coming here) many use bikes as efficient transportation and I remember when kids road bikes to school (now look at a HS parking lot) and some people even promote "bike to work day". A modern road bike is an amazingly efficient machine, but it doesn't compare to car/SUV and some of the rules of the road need to be adjusted for bicycles. A "conservative" or a liberal approach. Conservatives in Lafayette figure why try to save fuel. Drive a SUV, ban bikes and put the world out of its misery of dwindling oil reserves sooner. Then everyone can ride a bike in peace.
Therese Meuel June 08, 2012 at 04:19 AM
Must be somehting worng with me. I think everyone shoule obey stop signs and red lughts..even the cyclists. They can cause an accident just like a car. Have you seen any of the coverage of pedestrians being injured or killed as a reult of cyclists breaking the vehicle code? Happens all too often in the Bay Area....
c5 June 08, 2012 at 06:06 AM
i'd like to see what those european rules are....
The Merry One June 08, 2012 at 01:54 PM
@Jennifer, I couldn't agree with you more. I, too, have seen the same action on the Reliez hill. If bikers want to be treated with respect and equal to others on the road, then they need to demonstrate proper behavior and ettiquette themselves. I can't help but think of the irony of these posts and the sad situation that just happened in El Cerrito, with the 92-year-old woman who was killed by the cyclist this past week. The cyclist said that he saw the woman 70 feet out but hit her anyway, saying that he had shouted out to her to get out of the way. I have driven in that area as well, and have witnessed firsthand the private "Tour de Frances" that occur.
Boragan June 08, 2012 at 02:36 PM
What arrived first, the bike or the car? Road rules evolved from the use of bicycles. Bicycles (CA MVC) have the same right to the road UNLESS there is a bike lane; then they have to be in the lane. You will notice that many streets in Lamorinda do not have bike lanes. Of course if Lamorinda doesn't have the money to fix pot holes, that will slow the bicyclists down! Let's hear it for bad streets, that will slow those bikers!
c5 June 08, 2012 at 03:11 PM
i for one am reserving judgement until we know more about this crash.
gavilan June 08, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Chris: You're right. CA does not recognize crossing the double-yellow for this reason but talk to any cop -- they will not cite someone who does so safely to pass a slow moving bike. Many states DO specifically call this out and there is a bill pending in the State Senate right now to add this language to our MV code along with the very-much-needed "three-foot" rule. Here is the link to the bill: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201120120SB1464 An example of this law in effect is Ohio: In Ohio, a driver can legally cross the double yellow line when all of these conditions can be met: (1) The slower vehicle is proceeding at less than half the speed of the speed limit applicable to that location. (2) The faster vehicle is capable of overtaking and passing the slower vehicle without exceeding the speed limit. (3) There is sufficient clear sight distance to the left of the center or center line of the roadway to meet the overtaking and passing provisions of section 4511.29 of the Revised Code, considering the speed of the slower vehicle. Some people oppose these rules, but frankly, if we're going to have more and more bikes on the road (we are) we need to let people use good judgement more so we can all co-exist on the same roadway, rather than box people in with totally inflexible rules.
gavilan June 08, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Part of the problem is our antiquated rules, which don't allow for today's reality of so many bikes and cars sharing roads with no bike lanes. I urge everyone to support a bill pending in the State Senate right now to add new language to our MV code on crossing the double-yellow line to pass a bike along with the very-much-needed "three-foot" rule. Here is the link to the bill: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201120120SB1464 An example of this law in effect is Ohio: In Ohio, a driver can legally cross the double yellow line when all of these conditions can be met: (1) The slower vehicle is proceeding at less than half the speed of the speed limit applicable to that location. (2) The faster vehicle is capable of overtaking and passing the slower vehicle without exceeding the speed limit. (3) There is sufficient clear sight distance to the left of the center or center line of the roadway to meet the overtaking and passing provisions of section 4511.29 of the Revised Code, considering the speed of the slower vehicle. Email/Call your State Senator and support the bill!!
Regular Guy June 08, 2012 at 04:33 PM
gavilan, I think the 3-foot protection should apply if and only if the bicyclist is riding as closely to edge of the road as is practical. The law should explicitly deny the 3-foot protection to any bicyclist who is riding to the left of another bicyclist. In other words, the law should favor single-file riders and it should discourage side-by-side riding. With this change the law will have something good for both sides. It will also reduce accidents.
JD June 08, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Ought to stem some of the speeding issues and car on bike problems while they're out there too; let's hope.
J.D. O'Connor (Editor) June 08, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Another JD in Lamorinda? No doubt, but this one is not me... I think. Just to head off any confusion.
A Cyclist June 08, 2012 at 08:21 PM
There's a lot of hostility here that makes me uncomfortable as a cyclist. I hope the commenters here can understand how their own actions influence cyclist behavior. I'd love to ride on the right edge of the road and make it as easy for you to pass me as possible. In my ideal world, I'd do that, and cars coming up behind me would wait until it was safe to pass and then pass me with enough room to be safe. However, long experience has taught me that there are bad drivers out there who can't be trusted, and that if I ride too close to the edge of the road, drivers are going to think they have room to pass me when they don't, and I'm going to get hit. It's happened twice. The California Vehicle Code requires cars to pass cyclists at a safe distance, which is generally defined by California courts as at least three feet (Oregon goes farther than that, and defines it as the height of the cyclist). Where there isn't enough room for a cyclist, a car, and safe passing space between them in the same lane, the California Vehicle Code defines that as a "substandard width lane," and allows cyclists to use the whole lane. When riding on a substand-width lane, which is what most of the rural and suburban roads in the Bay Area are, I ride far enough out that a car will have to move over to pass me. Once drivers move over, they generally move over far enough, and it makes for a much safer interaction. If anybody is annoyed by that, I'm sorry. Blame your fellow drivers.
gavilan June 08, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Here, here. Well stated. The notion, as stated by Regular Guy, that a car should only pass a cyclist safely (give them the three feet) if the cyclist behaves a certain way makes me equally uncomfortable. No matter where I am in the lane, or why, the response by a driver should never be an action that puts my life at risk.
Laura Seed June 09, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Agree. We can and should be able to all use the road for every form of transportation. And yes, in Europe there are many more bikes on the road, but do you notice that on the whole the bicyclists Over there follow road rules?! That's all we're asking. And on the trail; don't fly by pedestrians and kids in large groups without slowing down and signaling your approach.
Tim Davis June 09, 2012 at 03:18 PM
I was out this morning and was hung up behind a small pack of six bikers on Saint Marys. It was pretty tight but they made every effort to move to the right and one of them shouted "Don't hurt us, we're not rogues!!" as I went passed. I waved at them and they waved back. It was great!!
Chris F. June 09, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Tim, It sounds as if you shared a special moment with that group of riders.Glad to "hear" that everyone is update on Rogue Riders"
Chris F. June 09, 2012 at 04:41 PM
"Reign In Blood" As I ride Mt Bikes I don't worry the same as a road biker but I do notice the smoothest place to ride is the center of the lane or the shoulder (where tires don't track) Oh how I enjoy the roads on my bike as I can hop over the holes without blowing a tire/rim and my suspension makes up for a great ride when I take to the bike paths.
Chris Nicholson June 09, 2012 at 05:11 PM
How many were wearing Bear Flag shirts?
gavilan June 09, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Wow, that's not my experience. I just got back from (another) month in Italy and traffic there is much more free form and "rules as suggestions" than here. For example (I've seen this many times): if a car comes up behind a bike, it frequently passes, even if there is a car coming the other way.The car coming the other way simply moves over a bit to allow the three to pass. No angst, no cursing and gesticulating. It's much more a "everyone get along and the rules are meant to be bent to allow it" kind of society than here, which always feels much more "it's all about me" whenever we come home.
Emeryville Cyclist June 12, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Everybody should stop at stop signs and traffic lights when red. But everybody on the road has the right to be on the road. A bike is a car in the laws eyes. So when drivers honk their horns, speed by spitting out big plumes diesel exhaust and not giving any room to the cyclist when they pass ... they should think about who is going to die if there is an accident. The person safe in the car or the person riding their bike?
Regular Guy June 21, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Here's a current story about speeding bicyclists and the website that records their unsafe rides: http://abcnews.go.com/US/family-suing-website-cyclists-death/story?id=16605785 The guy that killed the elderly pedestrian in SF was being timed this way. Was he conducting his own time trial on the streets? We'll find out at trial. I wonder if the police can subpoena speeding records from this website and hand out some tickets.

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