A crackdown Friday on bicycle and pedestrian violations in Petaluma resulted in the city’s traffic officers handing out 57 tickets and 18 warnings.

A similar enforcement in January in Petaluma prompted 32 tickets and 83 warnings.

Police Sgt. Ken Savano said in a statement that bicycle violations included riding without a helmet, riding on the wrong side of the road and running stop signs.  Pedestrian violations included vehicles not yielding to pedestrians in a crosswalk, pedestrians in the roadway impeding traffic, jaywalking and pedestrian not obeying pedestrian crossing signal.

Officers also ticketed drivers for, among other things, running stop signs and red lights, right-of-way violation, U-turn in a business district, failing to obey traffic sign, cellphone use, texting while driving, unsafe backing and unsafe speed.

One driver was arrested on suspicion of driving without a license, and a bicyclist riding on the wrong side of a road was arrested after giving a false name to an officer and being found in violation of his probation, Savano said.

He said more enforcement  operations are planned throughout the year.  Funding for the operation came from a grant from the state Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


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  1. Tiffany Lane

    I remember Bike Day at school where half the day was spent riding around cones and the other half was doing projects related to Bicycle Safety.
    I am disappointed that Petaluma would choose to write tickets instead of educate.

    February 24th, 2012 7:44 pm

  2. kyle

    sounds good to me. derned bicycle miscreants.

    how bout getting kids to wear helmets, eh?

    February 24th, 2012 7:49 pm

  3. John

    Further proof cyclists dont know the rules of the road and should be regulated and fined.

    57 tickets? t DUI check points total will get lucky to get that all year.

    Educate cyclists!!!

    February 24th, 2012 8:54 pm

  4. Civil Rights

    Good Police Work. Keep taking money from the innocent public civilian; like the poor economy isn’t already tough enough to handle.

    February 24th, 2012 9:32 pm

  5. t180qc

    I got ticketed for the “U-Turn in a business district” — what a load of crap. The line was dashed, there were no signs posted (and this law is not common knowledge), there was NO traffic coming in either direction and my car more than made the U-turn in a swift one point turn. I fail to see how it was unsafe at any point.

    Petaluma has by far the most over zealous police force in Sonoma County – it drives me crazy. They’ve got a whole lot more serious issues to deal with than “U-Turns in a business district” and some of the other list above.

    February 24th, 2012 9:52 pm

  6. Pete

    I believe we all would be very naieve to think that this is just safety oriented. Looks like a great way to generate some revenue. Just out of curiosity I googled “does Petaluma have a budget problem” low and behold, they are facing 2.4 million in this fiscal year alone. For more info this is this is the blog or website I extracted the information from


    It’s sad when a police force is mandated or focused on generating revenue when their are serious crimes they could attend to. Just a sample of more to come from various citys and towns that can ‘t afford payroll or pensions.

    February 24th, 2012 11:16 pm

  7. Scott Johnson

    It should have been 58 or 59…like the guy who rode his bike with a dog on a leash in front of me on the wrong side of the street in front of me when the light was green to me…what a jerk…it wasn’t the dog’s fault. I stopped. On Petalima Blvd. and Payran…too close to the police station and their substation I guess…

    February 25th, 2012 1:03 am

  8. Caleb Davis

    The real news story here is that cops need Grant funding in order to give tickets to drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists for not following basic laws. Its their job, all the time. They do not need extra funding to do what they are supposed to do to begin with.

    February 25th, 2012 1:22 am

  9. Scott Johnson

    I guess they have a policy of…don’t give your opinion if the police may not like it here.

    February 25th, 2012 1:23 am

  10. nacosta

    you wouldnt get a ticket if you wernt guilty

    February 25th, 2012 7:20 am

  11. DeMac

    I find it amazing that the police JUST DOING THEIR JOB warrants a grant and a news story. What would they be doing otherwise?

    February 25th, 2012 7:26 am

  12. homer

    Can I get a grant to pay the ticket? The economy is bad so punnish the innocent. I was riding the bike cause gas was to much!!!

    February 25th, 2012 8:03 am

  13. Chris

    “Pedestrian violations included vehicles not yielding to pedestrians in a crosswalk”

    That’s not a pedestrian violation, that’s a driver/car violation.

    Of the 57 tickets, how many went to bicyclists, how many to pedestrians, and how many to car drivers?

    February 25th, 2012 8:12 am

  14. Lou

    It amazes me that people, in general, think traffic laws are made for everyone else.

    February 25th, 2012 8:30 am

  15. space cadet

    Here Here! We read headlines all the time about cyclists getting hit by cars, and it’s most often some dumb — doing something stupid. Last week I watched a kid, obviously under eighteen but without a helmet, riding across Mendocino Ave in the left side crosswalk. He veered out of the crosswalk, crossed the oncoming lane of the sidestreet (against the flow of traffic on Mendocino) and rode off down Benton. Two SRPD motorcycle cops were first in line, waiting for the light to change. They just sat there and watched. If the police started enforcing traffic laws, I’m sure we’d have fewer of those unfortunate headlines.

    February 25th, 2012 8:38 am

  16. mark

    Clearly, Petaluma needs a new police chief. One who strengthens the community, not one who divides the community through fear and creates revenue.
    If you want this policy to change, talk with your city council member and voice your outrage about this tactic.

    February 25th, 2012 8:55 am

  17. Kyle T.

    What we have here is a failure to communicate…Everyone from pedestrians to bicyclists have gotten use to having rules but them NEVER being enforced by the police for years because, I guess, they were never important enough or maybe seen as a waste of time. Now that the county is broke as hell, they are thinking “HEY! We never enforced bike or walking laws and people have forgotten that they exist. Lets start enforcing them and get money!” THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE YEARS AGO!!! Shame on the cops for stepping in to late to where people actually think they are not in the wrong and shame on the pedestrians for being idiots. Maybe now I wont dream of huddling all the Bicyclists in a giant group and running them all over with the biggest car in the world…

    February 25th, 2012 9:04 am

  18. Rocky

    The article does NOT say there were 57 tickets for bicycle violations. It says there were 57 tickets during a bicycle and pedestrian crackdown but goes on to list more driving violations than bicycle violations.

    This sounds/reads like those DUI checkpoints that result in some number of tickets that, on closer examination, turn out to have nothing to do with DUI.

    Don’t be so easily duped!

    February 25th, 2012 10:19 am

  19. Lydia Stanfield

    It’s about time ! I live in Windsor country are where people come to ride our back roads all the time.They ride 3 abreast and refuse to single file when a car approaches.Once I was 100 feet behind a group because of oncoming traffic and they turned around and flipped ME off and shouted at me as I finally did go around them.You can’t make bike riders happy no matter what.Laws are laws for every one and we cannot choose to follow only the ones we like.Just because you can afford a 2K bicycle doesn’t make you special and if you don’t wear a helmet it makes you stupid.

    February 25th, 2012 10:25 am

  20. jeff

    big brother is watching

    February 25th, 2012 10:25 am

  21. Mark

    As a bike rider, I understand the need to raise the safety and profile of bikers on the road. If following the rules and laws make it safer, this is the price we MUST pay for greater acceptance by car and truck drivers. I am always amazed at the number of car and truck drivers who swerve into the bike lane just to demonstrate how much they dislike bicyclists.

    February 25th, 2012 11:00 am

  22. TS

    Can they do that in Geyserville please.

    February 25th, 2012 12:00 pm

  23. Robert C

    If you got ticketed for the “U-Turn in a business district” — Then you have not read the DMV handbook and deserve to get a ticket…

    February 25th, 2012 12:37 pm

  24. Harriet Neves

    Hooray! Petaluma is once again in the vanguard of progressive action! Bicyclists can be a real menace when they don’t obey traffic rules. More cities should follow its lead. Keep up the good work.

    February 25th, 2012 1:38 pm

  25. Deadeddie

    Now if only Marin County would take up doing this!

    February 27th, 2012 11:17 am

  26. Leanne

    Very happy to read this is happening. So many people on bicycles fail to understand the rules of the road also apply to them. Hopefully Santa Rosa will do it also.

    February 27th, 2012 12:24 pm

  27. Diana

    This is wonderful news to read! I still firmly believe that ALL who use the roads should have to take classes in road safety, and that Bicyclists should be equally required to carry licenses as Motorists do. This would help to ensure that all are aware of the rules of the road, would help to hold everyone accountable, and yes, even generate revenue for the entire state!
    Not to mention, having safer laws enforced for all of us to share the road could very well lead to more people feeling it’s finally safe to leave the cars at home, and get out there in the fresh air. Good for healthy bodies, good for the environment!

    February 27th, 2012 1:43 pm

  28. Peter

    So glad I found this thread. I’ve been so upset since I got “busted” for walking in the crosswalk when the cars were stopped at a red light for them, but before the crosswalk light turned green for me. I just swiftly walked across the street, but a cop said that I was guilty of a pedestrian infraction even though i was in the crosswalk and the cars were stopped! $160.00!!!

    So I’ve been to the city council about it. I’ve been to Petaluma’s downtown business association meeting. Nobody is going to stop this police harassement of citizens unless we do. I’m thinking of organizing anyone who got one of these rediculous tickets and protesting the BS coming from Petaluma’s Police Department.

    At the end of the day, I felt like Petaluma didn’t want me to come downtown to shop and spend my money, but I also felt bad about that opinion. (I haven’t spent a dime in town since!).

    So I looked it up and of the 9 Sonoma County cities, Petaluma is 7th in per-capita sales tax revenue and “plummeting” according to a recent Argus Courier article. Sonoma or Healdsburg, with twice the per-capita sales tax revenue, would never have their police chase off visitors or citizens and would certainly never advertise this kind of thing – it makes people not want to stroll or ride or spend money in town!

    Anyone with one of these rediculous tickets want me to organize it and protest? Let me know.


    April 25th, 2012 3:31 pm

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