In watching Chief Mills “No riding on the Sidewalk” presentation to the Traffic Safety Committee, it seemed clear that Mills was trying to couch this new legislation as a way to combat burglars. Mills said that burglars commonly used bicycles as a primary mode of transportation, which is true.
Well…we are a little perplexed that EPD officers are having such a hard time stopping burglars riding bikes. In fact, based on the California Vehicle Code, it looks as if it would be like shooting fish in a barrel! No headphones allowed. Ride with due regard for pedestrians. Follow all laws on the roadway that motor vehicles have to follow. Furthermore, all the tweakers out burglarizing at night are required to have; a white light to the front which is visible from 500 feet, a red reflector or red light to the rear that is visible from 500 feet, a white or yellow reflector on each pedal or foot visible from the front and the rear from 200 feet and reflectors on both tires visible from both sides. For a bunch of other reasons for cops to pull over burglars, here’s the full vehicle code relating to bicycles:
In his presentation Mills went on to say that the Municipal Code was too complicated for patrol officers to memorize or understand, so the new law regarding outlawing all sidewalk bicycle riding was necessary. He used a “personal” example of almost having collisions with bicyclists riding the wrong way on the sidewalk on 5th Street. Sounds fair enough, since you might not be looking in the opposite direction from where traffic is supposed to be traveling.
Except that what Mills described is already illegal! Apparently the municipal code is too complicated for him!!! The municipal code makes it illegal to ride on the sidewalk in “Old Town” (7th Street to the bay, between A and J streets). It’s also unlawful to ride on the sidewalk in Henderson Center.
So what’s really behind this new legislation? Is it that Mills want to show he’s “doing something” as some bloggers have surmised? Is it that Mills is trying to appease someone with influence in the city? Or, does it just come down to the fact that Mills thinks so low of the personnel at EPD that in order to get the job done he wants to criminalize the majority of bicyclists so that EPD officers can occasionally catch a true criminal?
Here’s some advice Mills, start using the laws on the books to their fullest extent, before asking for more regulation that criminalizes hard working citizens and children who are living healthy and enjoying a bike ride!