Citing cyclists

It's hard to understand why bicyclists aren't issued more traffic citations.

The arrogance or don’t-give-a-damn attitude of some local bicyclists is difficult to understand or accept. The same is true of the apparent indifference of local police officers toward issuing traffic citations to bicycle riders.

Here’s one example. Wednesday morning, a bicyclist traveling north on New Hampshire Street barreled through the 10th Street intersection without any slowdown and with motorists stopped on both sides of 10th Street. He proceeded north, going full speed through the intersection of Ninth and New Hampshire streets, with motorists stopped on the east, west and north sides of the intersection.

At Eighth Street, the rider weaved around one or two northbound vehicles without stopping and shot through the intersection in front of cars stopped on the west and south sides of the intersection. He then traveled onto the sidewalk on the north side of East Eighth Street.

At no time on this three-block tour did he slow down at any intersection or pay any attention to the vehicles that were observing the traffic laws.

If there had been an accident, the bicyclist surely would have claimed one of the motorists had not yielded the right of way or some other argument to try to absolve the rider from any responsibility.

It is difficult to understand why police officers do not issue citations when incidents like the one described here occur every day throughout the city. What is their excuse? If it is all right for bicycle riders to ignore stop signs, why isn’t it all right for motorists to adopt the same thinking?

Many, perhaps most, bicycle riders realize the importance of observing traffic laws, but an increasing number of riders seem to have the attitude that it is OK to thumb their noses at traffic laws and almost dare the public to protest this dangerous practice, knowing there is very little chance police officers will issue citations. There’s also the question of whether fines will be collected.

It’s a bad, dangerous situation and getting worse.