One problem, two solutions

Police in the California Central Valley city of Hanford says bicycle crashes are up compared to last year.

Cars aren’t looking,” Traffic Officer Jeff Davis said. “I personally almost hit a bicyclist in my truck the other day.”

Hanford CA - "cars aren't looking!"

Instead of informing drivers that the difficult task of “looking” belongs to the vehicle operator and not the car, Davis proposes another solution: ticket those scofflaw cyclists!

Traffic officer Jeff Davis said the department’s traffic division will begin ramping up its enforcement for bicycle related offenses starting Oct. 1.

“That’s due to all of the bicycle accidents this year,” Davis said.

In the city of Hanford, 0.4% of residents commute to work by bike.

The Nevada Highway Patrol, in the meantime, reports a troubling 300% increase in Las Vegas bicycle fatalities this year compared to last year. Nevada’s solution: target the problem, not the victim.

The Nevada Highway Patrol is renewing its focus on the safety of bicycle riders in Las Vegas. On Friday NHP reminded people that the law requires people driving cars to stay at least three feet from any bike rider.

The Three-Feet rule is a minimum distance. Drivers who are in the right lane of a street, with a bicycle rider to their right, should merger to the left lane if it’s available.

“When it comes to that three feet rule it applies to any part of that motor vehicle, which includes the mirrors. When a bicyclist is hit they are being struck by those mirrors,” says Trooper Loy Hixson with the Nevada Highway Patrol.

The NHP is also launching a program called Badge On Bicycle. The department will have a trooper wearing plain clothes riding a bike on local streets. If a driver breaks the three-feet law, it’s likely they’ll be pulled over by a waiting patrol car.

4 Comments

  1. There is a growing anti-bike trend. A sampling of social media reveals the increasing level of vitriol from drivers. The bike vs car relationship is turning into a feud. We need move the focus to the CARnage on our roadways. 30k don’t have to die every year. A by product of VisionZero and traffic calming programs is safer streets for everybody.

  2. I see this all the time mostly on foot and on sometimes on the bike. Drivers pulling out of driveways or side streets and looking for traffic in the direction they want to go, but not looking the other way.

    I got one driver a few years back who nearly hit me as I was crossing a street at the corner as I am supposed to. The vehicle pulled up to make the turn, forcing me to stop abruptly. Driver did not even look in my direction until I slapped the passenger side door. I think he nearly had a heart attack the way he jumped in his seat.

    I often have to wave my arms over my head to get the attention of drivers pulled up to make a turn who are looking the other way. I won’t pass the vehicle until I can make eye contact with the driver. This happens on a nearly a daily basis with me.

  3. Get rid of the “Right Turn on Red” law – at least for a period of time – and suddenly CARS won’t be running down pedestrians in crosswalks let alone right-hooking those scofflaw BICYCLES. Oh, and make a law requiring the use of some kind of visible signalling device for a turn, maybe 100′ in advance or so.

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