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.