The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department stepped up bicycle safety enforcement operations on Friday, May 20, with focused enforcement on collision-causing factors involving motorists and bike riders. Special patrols were deployed to crack down on drivers and bicyclists who violate traffic laws meant to protect all roadway users.
The department mapped out locations from over the past four years where bicycle involved collisions have occurred and noted the violations that led to those crashes. Officers on Friday were looking for violations made by drivers and bike riders alike that can lead to life changing injuries.
Recently a bicyclist in the City of Riverbank, riding on the shoulder of the roadway, failed to observe traffic conditions and turned in to the roadway in front of a vehicle. The bicyclist was trying to make a U-turn across two lanes of traffic and was struck. He suffered moderate injuries and was transported by ambulance.
‘Share the road’ with bicyclists.
Be courteous; California law now mandates at least three feet of clearance when passing a bike riders.
Look for cyclists before opening a car door or pulling out from a parking space.
Yield to cyclists at intersections and as directed by signs and signals.
Be especially watchful for riders when making turns, either left or right.
Wear properly fitted bicycle helmets every time they ride. If under 18 years of age, it’s the law.
A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash.
Riders are considered vehicle operators; they are required to obey the same rules of the road as other vehicle operators, including obeying traffic signs, signals, and lane markings.
When cycling in the street, cyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic.
Bicyclists should increase their visibility to drivers by wearing fluorescent or brightly colored clothing during the day, and at dawn and dusk.
To be noticed when riding at night, the law requires a front light and a red reflector to the rear.
For additional safety, use a flashing rear light, and use retro-reflective tape or markings on equipment or clothing.
California witnessed 141 bicyclist deaths in 2013, accounting for nearly five percent of all traffic fatalities, much higher than the national average of just over two percent. Nationally, 68 percent of all bicyclists who died in motor vehicle crashes in 2013 died in urban area crashes. Over a 10-year period (2004 to 2013), the average age of cyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes has steadily increased from 39 to 44.
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.