While going about my business each day in the City of Santa Monica, I am a witness to countless cyclists breaking the law. Namely, Division 11; Chapter 1; Article 4 of the California Vehicle Code (CVC21200 – Operation of Bicycles).

This section of the California Vehicle Code, which specifies the right of cyclists to ride on the roadway, also spells out their responsibilities. CVC21200 clearly states that “a person riding a bicycle … has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle”, including the responsibility to come to a complete and total stop at red lights and stop signs.

Are the cyclists who routinely blow through stop signs and red lights throughout the city unaware that CVC21200 forbids such behavior? Or, rather, are they scofflaws that simply choose to flout the regulation? Either way, whether as a result of ignorance or arrogance, they are placing themselves, motor vehicle operators, and pedestrians at risk through their reckless – and illegal – behavior.

Members of the Santa Monica Police Department would not hesitate to issue a traffic citation to the operator of a motor vehicle who failed to come to a full stop at a red light or stop sign. Perhaps it is time that local law enforcement cracked down on cyclists guilty of the same infraction. It may well be the only way to effectively communicate to cyclists that they are required – by law – to come to a complete and total stop at all red lights and stop signs.

Brian Frates

Santa Monica

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