Here’s a question from a Road Warrior reader:

With all of the focus and conversation on the bicycle vs. cars issues, are there any statistics on the number of citations issued to bicyclists in the county?

I know some jurisdictions have random “maximum enforcement” events regarding bicycle riding infractions. I’m more interested in getting a feel of the average, not necessarily the random spike.

My “feeling” is that if say a bicyclist is observed blowing through a stop sign with no traffic around, a peace officer would probably not do much. An automobile doing the same would probably be ticketed all the time.

Yes, autos and bicycles are not equal. As a believer in the “Law of Gross Tonnage,” my stock argument with the “hard core” bike riders is that:

1. You don’t want to die.

2. I don’t want to kill you (or even hurt or scare you).

3. If we all obey the rules of the road, the chances of #1 or #2 happening are greatly lessened.

Michael

The answer comes courtesy of the Sonoma County court system. About 850 tickets were issued to bicyclists in the year ending June 30, with some cyclists being cited for more than one violation. So no total number of cyclists cited was readily available. Of the citations, the top violation was 214 for not riding on the right side of the road and then 150 for equipment violations, such as not having a light or a reflector. One was for speeding. No details available there.

Among the county’s police agencies, Santa Rosa handed out the most at 310, followed by Petaluma at 112, Rohnert Park at 38, the CHP at 23 and Windsor at 6, Sonoma at 4, the Sheriff’s Office at 4 and Healdsburg at 3. Other agencies issued  one or two.

Here’s another question from a reader:

Is there anything a normal driver can do about other drivers blatantly fl0uting the law.

The specific example that bugs me the worst is during commute hours. I frequently see cars driving along the right shoulder of northbound 101, particularly from Novato to the Redwood dump, but occasionally all the way up to the county line. While the rest of us creep along at 5 – 10 mph

Option 1) Pull over to the breakdown lane and block them, forcing them to go the same speed as every one else. This is stooping to their level, probably just as illegal (since you are driving in the breakdown lane), and could result in an accident either from road rage or if you blocked them before they had a chance to slow down.

Option 2) Take a picture of them. Usually not enough time to grab camera, illegal and dangerous since you are using a cellphone while driving (even at 5 mph) and where would you send the picture. Then there’s the fact that you would have to testify in court that you took really took the picture, and it’s not photoshopped, etc, etc.

Option 3) Grit your teeth and hope there’s a CHP officer somewhere up ahead to catch him. But knowing deep down that some jerk just got away with cutting in line and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Eric

The answer comes from CHP Officer Eric Hohmeister of the Marin County office.

He says it’s “highly unadvisable” to pull over to block another driver. Instead, he says, call 1-800-TELL-CHP and report the violator, giving the license plate number, description of the car, time and location.

Hohmeister says the CHP does get calls about drivers passing on the right shoulder on Highway 101 north of Novato, as well as elsewhere in Marin. He says not only is it illegal but it’s dangerous because such drivers could run into broken-down cars or emergency vehicles on the side of the road.

————-

If you have a question for the Road Warrior, please email it to jim.fremgen@pressdemocrat.com

————-

Follow the Road Warrior on Twitter via @PDRoadWarrior