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Santa Monica Police to Focus on Bike Safety



By Lookout Staff

April 2, 2012 -- In April, Santa Monica police will focus their attention on bicyclists who fail to follow the rules of the road, department officials announced last week.

Since the start of the year, police have investigated 37 collisions involving bicyclists; in most cases, however, the other party has been at fault, said Sgt. Richard Lewis, the Police Department spokesman.

"When a bicyclist has been at fault, the common causes have ranged from failure to stop at a traffic signal to unsafe speed," Lewis said.

Under the California Vehicle Code, an individual riding a bicycle or operating a pedicab on a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle, police said.

Santa Monica officials have been focusing on making the beachside city a national model for bicycling. Last year, the city opened the nation's largest full-service bike center and the City Council approved an ambitious Bike Action Plan.

The 300-page plan adopted by the council in November includes 14 miles of bike lanes; 17 miles of sharerows, and new green buffered bike lanes on Ocean Park Boulevard, Main and Second Streets, and Broadway Avenue.

It also includes improvements at some 30 intersections to make bicycling safer and education programs – for drivers and bicyclists alike – that are free to the public.

The goal of the plan, City officials said, is to make Santa Monica a place where cyclists, pedestrians and cars can share the road instead of competing for it.

Santa Monica Police Interim Chief Al Venegas reminds those who use the roads in Santa Monica to “be careful, be courteous and arrive to your destination safely.”

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