As a Malibu Public Safety Commissioner, I have been disturbed by the high number of bicyclists who do not follow the rules of the road. While many do obey the vehicle code, just as many do not. They run red lights, do not stop at stop signs and ride three abreast even though the law is clear about what is safe and what is not. Motorists become frustrated and rude in turn, and this leads to ugly confrontations, not just here in Malibu, but everywhere.

With summer coming, it's important that everyone obeys the law. It is my observation, in the many years I have lived here, that rarely, if ever, do you see the sheriff giving a ticket to a cyclist. That has to change if we want to increase safety here on PCH, Latigo, Corral and other places where many cyclists congregate. Enforcement is key, and to that end I have started a Facebook page to educate cyclists and motorists alike about the rules of the road and to encourage the sheriff, CHP and LAPD to ticket cyclists who break the law. “Share the Road - Share the Tickets” is a campaign designed to promote safety and enforcement, which go hand in hand. With one exception, everyone who has heard about the campaign is thrilled. Please e-mail Captain Stephen at Lost Hills if you agree that enforcement needs to be increased at jhstephe@lasd.org.

Do bicyclists think about the fact that when they do not stop at a red light at a three way intersection like Big Rock, that this is the only time a homeowner south or north of it might be able to pull out of a driveway onto PCH safely with cars and bikes stopped at the red light? This is a winning campaign in that everyone will be safer once cyclists realize that laws for them will be enforced. Tickets will decrease and maybe even disappear as the word gets out about enforcement. The biggest payoff? Motorists will be less likely to threaten bike riders and much more willing to “share the road.”

Susan Tellem

(6) comments

anonymous

You guys are so lucky you have such relaxed rules... In Australia a couple of pedestrians have been seriously injured and killed by cyclist running red lights! Our road rules here are so much tougher. You can lose your car license and get demerit points if you break the law on the bike - and here the police DO enforce the rule! Intolerant drivers exist everywhere and they are just mad that anyone else is on the road, cars and cyclists alike.

anonymous

The implication in Mrs. Tellem's email is that motorists drive in a more dangerous manner simply because other road users have broken a road rule. Presumably when Mrs. Tellem sees car drivers using a cell phone, or not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign, she is more aggresive in her driving towards other cars?

anonymous

As said before, bicyclists don't cause fatal accidents. Recently, there have been several intentional collisions by motorists against cyclists, even one famous one resulting in felony convictions. You won't see that in reverse.And it's the motorists who see the cyclists ... and have the last opportunity to be peaceful or aggressive. The State law encourages "share the road" .... And the Vehicle Code does NOT require either single file nor shoulder riding, contrary to the Commissioner's belief. Yes, cyclists need to obey stop signs and signal lights. But, they have not only a right to the road, but a duty to set an example of healthy living. Rather than complain about cyclists and cycling, the Commissioner would be better served to encourage communication among motorists and cyclists so both interests can be better served.

anonymous

I think the reason you see motorists being ticketed on the side of PCH probably because they were doing something that was endangering their lives and the lives around them. Petty crimes by cyclists such as rolling stop signs or continuing sidewalks are usually disregarded, as they should be (for the most pary) because they generally not putting anyone in danger.In regards to the 3 way intersection issue. Most streets that i have see that have a 3 way intersection and have a bike lane along the continuing side walk go all the way through the intersection. That is not to say a motorist entering/exiting from their private beach property driveway cannot pass safely.Anyways I don't think ticketing cyclists in the solution to your problem. I think creating an environment to adapt to all users of the road is what PCH needs. A.K.A. Dedicated bike lanes.

anonymous

Perhaps the Honorable Malibu Public Safety Commissioner can point us to the specific California Vehicle Code Section which prohibits cyclists from riding three abreast?

anonymous

It is simply disingenuous for a Public Safety Commissioner to assume that once bicyclists "obey the law" (or the law as Ms. Tellem understands it), PCH will magically become safer because motorists will suddenly drive with care. No one has every been killed by a bicyclist on PCH, let alone by one of these supposedly rogue lawbreakers swarming the roads. I wish I could say the same for motorists.Many cyclists jump the light at those three-way intersections because it allows them about half a mile of car-free riding while not negatively impacting others' safety. Furthermore, by maintaining their momentum, when cars catch up to the cyclist they are both at more comparable speeds and merging is then safer for both. There are no stop signs on PCH, so it's not clear which ones Ms. Tellem accuses bicyclists of running.These are the kind of insights that Ms. Tellem could gain by talking with bicyclists rather than launching a thinly veiled anti-bike campaign. Now that she's framed the discussion this way, it is unlikely that any productive dialogue can take place. I invite Ms. Tellem to ride with me to work along PCH any day of the week to gain a little handlebar perspective.

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