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Teaching bicyclists, motorists to share the road

  • Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Doug Schlief hands out bike information to Matt Barnes and Lindsey Benjamin after pulling Barnes over for riding without hands as they were heading to class at SRJC City officers are educating bicycle riders and drivers about how to properly use the Humboldt St. bike boulevard. Barnes was offered free lights after the officer discovered he has no reflectors.

A Santa Rosa Junior College student pedaled down Humboldt Street with no hands.

A skateboarder rolled down Silva Avenue ? in the middle of the road.

A driver failed to yield for a woman and her children walking in a crosswalk.

And a 9-year-old girl rode a bicycle through Humboldt Park without a helmet.

These are but a few of the 127 people Santa Rosa police officers contacted during the first of a two-day enforcement and education operation targeting bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists near downtown with an eye toward making the roads safer.

The 11 officers involved in Wednesday?s efforts focused on Humboldt Avenue, where a 15-block stretch was recently converted into the city?s first ?bicycle boulevard.?

?We want to encourage a culture in Santa Rosa where people ride their bikes for short trips around the city, but we want to make sure they do it in a safe manner,? said Rafael Rivero, a community outreach specialist with the Santa Rosa Police Department.

Roundabouts where four-way stops used to be, yield signs, and painted outlines of cyclists on the pavement are just a few of the changes aimed at putting cyclists on equal footing with motorists.

But it won?t work unless everyone ? cyclists, motorists and pedestrians ? respects one another, said Christine Culver, executive director of the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition.

Cyclists are being encouraged to ride on the right side of the road in the middle of the lane, to prevent them from weaving in and out of parked cars, she said. This requires patience and understanding on the part of motorists, who will need to pass with care, she said.

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