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U.S. Cities Resisting Bicyclists Saturday, May 16, 2009, 8:50 am

Despite National Bike to Work Week, it will probably take generations of change for U.S. cities to accept bicycling. Visit Newport Beach in Southern California to watch motorcycle police chasing bicycles. California has Statute AB-1581 of traffic signal detection for bicyclists. But Newport Beach traffic signals do not detect bicyclists unless you get off and lay the bicycle across the embedded wires. The Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) fabricates vehicle citations from bicyclists. The NBPD is located two blocks from a left-turn signal into a California state preserve used by hundreds of bicyclists each week. Newport Beach Principal Civil Engineer Tony Brine and Traffic Engineer George Bernard replied to my email that the left-turn signal had been set back to not detect bicyclists. For over a decade, the signal had motion sensors that detected bicycles making the left turn. The NBPD now exploits the non-detecting signal to generate vehicle citation revenue from bicycles. Weekends and Christmas holidays are targeted when there is no car traffic and regular bicyclists into the shared-used preserve are unlikely to stop for a left-turn signal that will not change anyway. Bicyclists are asked for a car license plate number and held until confirmed. The clerk at the Newport Beach municipal court told me that they get several pseudo-vehicle citations each day. In a telephone call with Sergeant Mike James, he supported police motorcycles chasing bicycles. During another call with Lieutenant Steve Shulman, he laughed. The NBPD Lieutenant sent me a letter that bicyclists should first test left-turn signals and then dismount to go across the traffic lanes to the pedestrian button. I was trying the Lieutenant's method one day during my bicycle commute to the main post office, and a Newport Beach Fire Department paramedics van without sirens or flashing lights turned in front of me. Newport Beach city and safety employees are laughing at bicycle commuters. Mayor Ed Selich of Newport Beach is not interested in bicycles. And the original author of California Statute AB-1581, Assembly Representative Jean Fuller, did not reply to my message posted at her Website about the lack of oversight for enforcing bicycle signal detection with cities.

Groups: Newport Beach, CA, USA Tags: Challenges, Cities
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