Ticketing law-breaking bicyclists: if Edina and NYC can do it, why can’t Northfield?

cop and bicyclistsIt bugs me when I see bicyclists A) zooming through Northfield-area stop signs in high traffic areas; B) riding on the wrong side of the street; and C) riding on sidewalks downtown. 

These behaviors both scare drivers and create animosity towards bicycling… and make it less likely that "share the road" efforts will gain broad public support.

In yesterday’s NY Times:  Penalty for Rule-Breaking Bicyclists: A Remedial Class

If there is one thing that unites New Yorkers who see bikes as a menace with others who view them as a mainstream form of urban transportation, it is a mutual distain for the lawbreaking cyclist.

I witnessed some close calls while visiting NYC last week, including one incident when a cyclist blasted through a red light and almost hit a pedestrian who then screamed profanities at him.

Back in May, Edina Police Chief Jeff Long blogged about the problem:

Edina Police Chief Jeff LongOver the past year, the Police Department has received many complaints about bicyclists’ riding behavior in Edina. The primary complaint is that they are not stopping at stop signs and are dangerously weaving in and out of traffic. I have seen this first hand and have become very concerned for their safety and for the consequences of their dangerous travels… I have instructed my officers to begin ticketing bicycle riders that blatantly violate common traffic laws, just as we do with drivers of motor vehicles. This is considered a moving violation and will cost riders about $144.

Does the Northfield Police Department ticket law-breaking bicyclists? I doubt it. I’ve never seen it happen. But it’s time to start.

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