Deputies from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office and nearby police departments visited Portola Valley and Woodside on two recent days and cracked down on bicyclists riding through stop signs and drivers talking on cell phones without hands-free devices.
Officers issued 90 tickets -- 48 on Saturday, June 27, and 42 on Wednesday, July 1 -- at several intersections, including Alpine and Portola roads, Canada Road and Jefferson and Glenwood avenues, and Portola Road at Sand Hill Road, Sgt. Craig Denton of the Sheriff's Office said in an interview.
The deputies had help on July 1 from police departments in Menlo Park and Redwood City, which contributed two and four motorcycle officers, respectively, Sgt. Denton said. There were more cell phone citations on July 1 because it was a weekday with fewer cyclists out there, he said.
The community had been warned. On Saturday, June 13, Sgt. Denton and three other deputies spent the day informing cyclists and drivers of the rules of the road, warning them of upcoming enforcement days, and asking them to participate in a local campaign to "honor" the stop sign.
"Our primary goal is the safe and courteous use of the roads by everyone," he said. "The inattention, the multi-tasking in the vehicles, is when bicyclists get hit."
"It's extremely important that we get people in vehicles doing less and paying attention to what they're doing," he added. "At the same time, it's dangerous to ride (a bicycle) around people who are multi-tasking."
It was not uncommon to see cyclists with ear-bud headphones in both ears, he said.
The year-old honor-the-stop campaign is the work of cyclist, triathlon coach and Daly City resident Marc Evans, who urges cyclists, drivers, equestrians, pedestrians, joggers, and motorcyclists to obey all traffic laws and symbolize that commitment by wearing a red and black wristband.
Go to www.honorthestop.org for more information.
Not many cyclists honored the stop sign at Portola and Sand Hill roads, Sgt. Denton said. He said he'd be ticketing one rider and 20 more would breeze by without stopping.
"It was just epidemic," he said. "Nobody stopped."
Some cyclists who were stopped weren't carrying identification, so their thumbprints were taken, a standard procedure, Sgt. Denton said.
Others tried to hide their identity by giving phony names, including one cyclist who asked what would happen if he gave a false name. "I just looked at him and wondered if he was serious," Sgt. Denton said.
Several passing drivers gave him a thumbs up for ticketing the cyclists. The typical reaction was positive, he said.
More such enforcement days could be ahead, he said.