Friday, September 13, 2013

Attention Bike Riders!

I should have seen it coming. I knew Burlington police, in conjunction with Local Motion, has been spot checking intersections for a couple years, handing out friendly warnings for those cyclists running stop signs and traffic signals, even zipping across town at night without lights. Fortunately, canvassers also distributed free blinky lights.

All this led up to a profusion of warning signs zip tied to bike racks, timed for when thousands of college students arrived on campus this year.
The Burlington Police Department is stepping up enforcement of all traffic laws for bicyclists.
You could get a $50.00 ticket if you:
Go through a red light of stop sign 
Travel the wrong way on a one-way street
Ride at night without lights (front & back)
While the bold print was aimed at cyclists (signs affixed to racks), all transit modes are forewarned. Drivers and pedestrians are likewise cautioned or will be ticketed.

I have mixed feelings regarding crackdown on offending cyclists. There are more cyclists than ever cruising Burlington's narrow streets. That's a good sign. More students on bikes equals less drivers and—hopefully—less inebriated young people behind the wheels of dangerous vehicles. This is a positive direction for Burlington, one which is finally helpful in times of increased student attendance at several area colleges.

How far reaching are the new transit laws? With few cycling routes in Burlington, I often ride sidewalks, sometimes against the flow on one-way streets. Neither do I stop at every stop sign. I assess each crossing and make a decision based upon traffic flow. As I like to tell my children, "make eye contact. Slow down. When in doubt, stop. Cars are bigger than you are." And, if I forget my light, I ride sidewalks at dusk. Will these practices now risk a fine?

I realize laws are for the sake of general population, but at what point do they hinder safe navigation? Or worse, keep folks from even attempting to try two-wheeled transportation.

At least they aren't banning cyclists from sidewalks, or instituting helmet laws—yet.


  1. For myself, I wish crackdowns weren't targeted at specific groups. If there's a spot in town where lots of stuff seems to be happening, target the SPOT and crackdown on EVERYBODY. Cars, cyclists, peds, whatever.

    That's my .02

  2. I got yelled at last night for rolling through a stop sign. I felt guilty, then thought about all the motorists who roll through it, every day. Doesn't make it right, I know. But I'm with RANTWICK: if you're going to yell at cyclists, or ticket them, you ought to give equal treatment to everyone. I believe that's in the constitution, so it's not such a crazy concept.


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