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By Kate Daily
Special to The Almanac
San Mateo County Sheriff's deputies cited 25 bicyclists on charges of failing to come to a stop at a busy intersection in Woodside on Saturday, Aug. 28.
Lt. Larry Schumaker with the Sheriff's Office said two motorcycle deputies were in the parking lot at the intersection of Canada and Woodside roads at around 8:30 a.m. when they saw a large group of bicyclists turn west onto Woodside Road. "The majority ran the stop sign," he said.
The bicyclists were pulled over, and lined up alongside the road about a block from there on Woodside Road near Albion Avenue. Three more deputies drove up in cars to help write tickets.
A neighbor, Michael Sieber, noticed the commotion and ended up taking pictures and speaking to the deputies.
A bicyclist himself, Mr. Sieber has lots of experience with the four-stop-sign intersection near Roberts market. He thanked the deputies for stopping the bicyclists. For safety reasons, he said, "I don't like the guys rolling through."
Andrew Hsu, a board member of the Peninsula Velo Cycling Club, said: "Our estimate is about 30 to 40 bicyclists were involved, and a vast majority are club members."
"One of the informal group rides leaves Hwy. 92 and Canada Road around 8:15 a.m. on Saturdays," he said, and that's the group that attracted the deputies' attention.
The club was founded in 1974 and has about 150 members, he said.
"It is the largest performance-oriented cycling club in the Midpeninsula," he said. "Many of our members race ... and share the passion to maintain fitness."
"Our club policy is to obey the rules of the road," he added. "We have never condoned running stop signs or stop lights."
"We're all fortunate to live in this area," he said. He has noticed a recent increase in riders in Woodside, and said that in "sharing these roads, we want to be respectful in that community."
Since the ticketing incident, he said, "There has been some discussion about rerouting our usual informal route to have less impact on the community."
Mr. Hsu wasn't riding with the group that morning, but called the "mass tickets" a "rather Draconian effort."
"There are those who are going to court to contest it .... whether the officer saw each individual roll through or not. It's easy to assume everyone didn't stop," he said.
Lt. Schumaker said the deputies were just making "an enforcement stop" that day, and that "it's kind of like a daily occurrence, usually six to 10 bicyclists" are cited for traffic violations on any given day.
"Bicyclists are required to follow the vehicle code," he noted.
Large groups of bikes are supposed to "yield as we all do, and take turns" at intersections, just as cars do, he said.
He paraphrased the two sections that apply in this case: "21200(a), bicyclists are like vehicles upon a roadway, and 22450(a) failure to stop at a stop sign."
A spokesperson in the traffic division of the San Mateo County Superior Court said failing to stop at a stop sign "is a moving violation, an infraction. The fine depends on the case, on the record of the person."