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Somerville Police Crack Down on Bicycle-Riding Traffic Scofflaws

Police began "increasing enforcement of bicycle traffic regulations" in Union Square Wednesday, according to Somerville's police chief and the city's ResiStat blog.

Somerville police initiated a "bicycle enforcement" operation Wednesday, according to Somerville Police Chief Thomas Pasquarello, who spoke to seniors at the Wednesday.

Somerville's ResiStat blog has also announced the initiative.

In a statement on the blog, Pasquarello said, "Bicyclists have a right to share the road and they should command respect from other drivers … At the same time, they need to show respect for the rights of pedestrians and vehicle drivers."

Pasquarello explained Wednesday that a new change in law makes it a requirement that bicyclists, if stopped by a police officer for violating a traffic law, must provide their name and address.

If they don't, explains the ResiStat blog, they could be arrested and fined $50. 

One doesn't need a license or registration to ride a bike, and before the change in law, errant bicyclists could easily tell officers their name is "John Doe" and ride away, Pasquarello said. 

Police officer Maryann Manfra, also speaking to seniors Wednesday, said the initiative, in its first day, focused in Union Square.

Did anyone in Union Square see a biker get pulled over today? Or did anyone get pulled over? 

Joe Beckmann April 13, 2012 at 11:26 AM
Obviously this subject has "legs" and attracts enough interest. The weakness I see in this discussion is that we all share a common "ecosystem of traffic" where the consequences of bad driving and irresponsible riding can be death. Laws and law enforcement should recognize the mutual responsibilities we share in joint use of a single system of roads, signals, and enforcement - that includes pedestrians. Cars avoiding a pedestrian can kill a biker or damage a vehicle or destroy a wall, window or park. And those kinds of consequences and risks are actually equal on foot, bike or car. If I avoid blocking a bike to protect an irresponsible pedestrian and face a driver in the middle of an intersection, who gets a ticket? My biggest complaint is with bikers at dusk wearing black without lights. Next is with pedestrians who ignore stoplights that signal THEM to stop while autos cross slow moving intersections. It's the overt arrogance of snotty walkers, riders, or drivers that makes urban driving so awful. Rule #1, share.
scarlet April 14, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Bow St. is a teeny street that is less traveled than Somerville Ave. If you tell bikers to use it only one way then they will be tying up the intersections all over Union Sq! THAT would be far unsafer. The thing is, cycling in Somerville has serious problems -- there is barely enough room for the cars much less bikes. At least, if a cyclist can see the car coming, they can get out of the way. So, saying bikes should only go the direction of traffic is silly.
scarlet April 14, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Bikes are not cars, they can easily maneuver out of the way if they see a car. And, unlike drivers, cyclists don't collide with other bikes! If a cyclist can take a less-traveled street, going the wrong way, rather than stay on the main roads, going the same direction as traffic, that is better for the cars and for all our safety. (The bike lane markings on Medford St. and Highland are a joke, there's no room!) While younger bikers and these drug dealing bikers ride around unsafely, most people who use bikes are responsible, healthy, hard-working people trying to get their grocery shopping done or get to work and school, not joy-riding. It would help both sides to recognize this.
eric gieseke April 16, 2012 at 07:02 PM
i think its safer at night sometimes.. but drunk driving is bad regardless, proper lighting and focus is imorptant if you have the mental awareness to do it otherwise its zombie mode
Patch Patch February 22, 2013 at 05:54 AM
"Next that should really keep the motor scooters out of the bike lanes and stop them from weaving in and out of the bike and car lanes at will. " I'm not sure what you mean by scooter? That is not a registration option with the RMV. Motorized bicycles can legally be operated in bicycle lanes along roadways. When someone changes lanes they should signal and change only when safe; that goes for bicyclists, automobiles and all vehicles on the road. http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXIV/Chapter90/Section1B

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