In late May, Atherton's police chief, Steve McCulley, was helping to put on a bike safety event when he experienced first-hand what he says is the main thing Atherton residents complain about regarding bicyclists -- they regularly ignore the stop signs at Alameda de las Pulgas at Atherton Avenue.
As officers and volunteers worked to educate the public about bicycle safety, "I witnessed three large cyclist groups blow through the stop sign on the Alameda at Atherton Avenue at high speed," McCulley said in an email.
So McCulley decided to do something about it. He sent a letter to local cycling clubs warning them that in addition to continuing to work to educate motorists and cyclists about safety, he plans "random traffic safety enforcement ... with a concentration on stop sign and right of way violations."
On July 21, McCulley and several Atherton patrol units returned to the Alameda/Atherton intersection, where in three hours they issued eight tickets and two warnings to bicyclists who ran the stop sign.
McCulley said the fine for the violations is $238.
"I will be asking patrol to continue to focus on this issue," he said in an email.
In the letter to the bicycling community, McCulley said the Atherton Police Department "always advocates and promotes bicycle safety to strongly encourage everyone to share the road safely, responsibly, and respectfully."
He reminded both drivers and cyclists: "Legislation and rules of the road require cyclists, like other roadway users, to pull over and let other vehicles pass if five or more vehicles are lined up behind them. California motorists are required to give bicyclists three feet of clearance when possible. If it is not possible, motorists are required to slow down and pass safely."
"Motorists are reminded to expect bicyclists on the roadway, be patient on narrow roads, and to always share the road. Bicyclists are reminded to go with the traffic flow, ride in the same direction as other vehicles, and to obey all traffic laws," McCulley wrote.
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