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Motorcycle vs. bicycle crash prompts bicycle safety education

Posted: Thursday, Feb 23rd, 2012

Heather Young/Atascadero News • California Highway Patrol officers handle the scene of an a motorcycle vs. bicycle crash on Thursday outside of the Atascadero Police Department. A bicyclist riding against traffic on the sidewalk collided with an APD motorcycle that was exiting the department’s parking lot.

After a bicyclist collided with an Atascadero Police Department motorcycle as Traffic Officer Caleb Davis was leaving the police department Wednesday afternoon, the APD has been motivated to provide more bicycle safety education.

Davis said the bicyclist, an adult male, was riding against traffic on the sidewalk. Because bicycles move much quicker than pedestrians and drivers automatically look left first because that traffic is closer, he said neither he nor the bicyclist saw each other in time.

Davis said his motorcycle weighs 700 pounds and if he’d been seconds slower, he could have hit the cyclist instead of his motorcycle being hit. Although his motorcycle is in the shop for damage it sustained, he said it is better than the alternative.

Due to the crash involving an APD vehicle, the California Highway Patrol was called to handle the incident. Davis said the cyclist was not cited and he was not injured.

“Most unsafe violations are probably riding on the sidewalk the wrong way,” Davis said.

He said the number of bicycle crashes have increased recently. To curb that, Davis he will talk to youths at the Atascadero Skate Park about bicycle safety, which includes wearing a helmet at all times, not riding on the sidewalk, riding with the flow of traffic and following the rules of the road that all drivers must follow.

Davis said that not only is riding on the sidewalk in violation of the state vehicle code, but also violates the city’s municipal code, which makes riding on the sidewalk a misdemeanor violation.

He said that bicycle violations have not been enforced, but after the department conducts educational programs, enforcement will ensue, though he said he hopes that it doesn’t come to that.

Davis said that in 2007, Atascadero had the most bicycle crashes for those under the age of 15 of 97 other comparable cities in California. Now, he said Atascadero is 32 out of 98.

He said that he thinks most people don’t know that it’s illegal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk and hopes to change that with education.

He added that while helmets are only required by law for minors, that all bicyclists should wear helmets while on the road.

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