You might want to think again before taking your bike for a night ride without a light this week.
The Davis Police Department is conducting a Bicycle Safety Education and Enforcement Operation, which began Monday and continues throughout the week.
Officers are patrolling areas frequented by bicyclists to address traffic violations that lead to collisions. The police are basing this operation on two strong indicators, according to Lt. Paul Doroshov, the police department’s public information officer.
These two indicators are bike accidents and public complaints to the police department. In 2011, the police department responded to at least 54 collisions involving bicycles, 93 percent in which the bicyclist was injured.
Public complaints were made mostly about bikers not using bike lights at nighttime and failing to stop at stop signs.
“If you are riding a bike you are liable for all the same laws as a car,” Doroshov said.
The department identified the need for bicycle education and enforcement and decided to team up with local bike shops to educate the public about the safe and lawful use of bicycles.
“This is something different,” Doroshov said. “We are hoping to raise awareness.”
Doroshov said that throughout the week officers may educate and warn offenders as well as enforce sections of the State Vehicle Code and the City of Davis’ Municipal Code that prohibit riding a bicycle on downtown sidewalks.
Officers are likely to be stringent on having a bike light at both the front and the rear at nighttime.
However, a citation would not be a complete loss, since it can be taken to one of six different bike shops in Davis to receive a 10 percent discount on a new bike light.
The participating bike shops are Apex Cycles and Service, B&L Bikeshop, Blisworks Bikes, Davis Wheelworks, Freewheeler Bicycle Center and Ken’s Bike, Ski and Board.
The police department has announced a few safe riding practices that can help reduce risk of injury.
Safe riding includes biking in a bike lane if available, or if not, at least in the same direction of traffic. Bicycles must stop for stop signs and obey all traffic laws and signals, and riders under 18 must wear a fitted helmet.
ZANDER WOLD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.