In yesterdays printed version of the Times-Standard Eureka Police Chief Andrew Mills was reported to be taking an “off the wall” proposed ordinance to the Transportation Safety Commission that would criminalize riding a bike on any city sidewalk. This, in effect, will make most of our kid’s outlaws for being safe. Most parts of the City don’t have bicycle lanes and riding on the side walk is the only safe way to travel. Take, for instance, California Street from Wabash to Harris Streets. You’d have to be nuts to let your child ride in the street along that path!
Our first thought was “what the hell, this got to be a joke”. With all the crazy crime going on in this town, this becomes a priority for the EPD? The TS set us all straight by quoting Mills as saying “We are serious about this.”
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, Eureka was ranked No. 2 out of 94 similarly sized California cities for total fatal and injury collisions, No. 1 for pedestrian collisions, and No. 8 for bicycle collisions in 2011, the most recent year the statewide numbers are available.
“We are going to correct that by outlawing people riding on sidewalks anywhere in the city,” Mills said.
Right! Just how many fatalities have there been because of a bicycle crashing into a car or truck and killing the driver? How is it that our children safely riding on the sidewalk causes accidents?
This just seems like more of the misdirection we have now come expect of this Murl Harpham protege.
What wasn’t included in the reporting was the well known fact that alcohol and drugs are a major factor in these bicycle and pedestrian fatalities. On top of that, Eureka drivers don’t seem to recognize that they have to share the road with other modes of transportation. Many of our staff have had near misses with Eureka drivers that almost have a “road rage'” mentality when they encounter bicyclists.
The ordinance will also allow leniency for children riding on sidewalks, especially in neighborhoods, Mills said. “It will be at officers’ discretion for small children,” Mills said. The first penalty for riding on the sidewalk or violating a traffic law will not change, but the ordinance proposes that officers be able to seize an individual’s bike after the second citation or warning. .
So if a hard ass like Jones or Sanchez sees your kid riding on the sidewalk again they can seize their bike! After all, this failed concept has worked so well with criminalizing skateboarders. Every kid with a skateboard feels like a outlaw in this town.
We suspect that Mills was approached about this “non-issue” by one of the local crony’s, who like many Eureka drivers, is angry about bicyclists. Instead of trying to criminalize non-polluting forms of transportation, maybe this city could engineer some safer thorough fares for bicyclists. But wait, that would mean Eureka would have to have an intelligent and responsive council, which isn’t going to happen as long as the Brady Bunch is in power.