Columbia police work to improve bike safety

Tuesday, October 6, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Columbia police are taking action to make cycling safer in the city, particularly downtown.

Police conducted a special traffic detail Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. downtown. During those hours, officers paid special attention to violations involving bicyclists.

During Wednesday's traffic detail, 22 citations were issued to cyclists, and 12 citations were issued to motorists. Seventeen of the citations to cyclists were for riding on the sidewalk, four were for stop sign violations and one was for failure to yield at an intersection.

The motorist citations were for speeding, failure to yield and stop sign violations.

"We want people to know that we do hold bicyclists accountable to follow traffic laws," Police Department spokeswoman Jessie Haden said. "The citations may seem specific to bicycles not riding on sidewalks, but you wouldn't have a motorist driving on a sidewalk."

According to police, the downtown area is the department's main focus because of the large number of motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.

The Columbia Police Department is also partnering with the PedNet Coalition to improve safety. According to a news release, bicyclists riding with no lights at night this week may be stopped by police. Instead of receiving a citation, however, the cyclists will receive free lights for their bicycles. PedNet volunteers will be available to install the lights for cyclists.

Riding without a front-facing headlamp and without a rear-facing red reflector at night violates city ordinance 14-508.

The lights were provided by the Mayors Council on Physical Fitness and Health and the Columbia Bike Club.

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Ray Shapiro October 6, 2009 | 6:00 p.m.

("Seventeen of the citations to cyclists were for riding on the sidewalk, four were for stop sign violations and one was for failure to yield at an intersection.")
What were the total in fines levied against these 22 bicycle owners?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking October 6, 2009 | 6:38 p.m.

The schedule of fines is here:

Assuming none are appealed, that would be 17 x $47 (about $800) for the sidewalk violations, 4 x $75 or $300 for the stop signs, and $75 for the yield violation. Total: $1,175

You could have answered this with a few keystrokes. I'm disappointed, Ray...


(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 6, 2009 | 9:01 p.m.

Just wanted to see if anyone else cared enough to report the schedule.
Thanks for listing the official amounts.

("I'm disappointed, Ray...")
-You wouldn't be the first.

(How does riding on the sidewalk and scaring the bejeebers out of old folk compare to accidentally getting caught going through a red light intersection camera?)

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 7, 2009 | 4:26 a.m.

More bike cops is the answer.

(Report Comment)

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