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Benicia Pedestrian Safety Sting Could Get Bicyclists

How to avoid getting stung on April Fool’s Day.

The Benicia Police will once again launch on April 1. Because bicycle fall under the vehicle code, bike riders could be snared in the trap if they fail to yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk.

Want to avoid the ordeal of entrapment, and the $146 ticket that goes with it?  Read on and become informed so you can avoid a painful sting.

The operation uses human “decoys”, dressed as ordinary pedestrians. In the past these have included groups of high school students.  The decoys don’t simply cross the street. They play games with you, like beginning to cross and then doubling back. They may wait for you to proceed and then begin to cross again. Another ploy is to cross the street, then do a quick about-face. You think they’ve reached the sidewalk and begin to proceed, and there they are again before you can stop. A skillful decoy, with a police officer lurking nearby, could entrap even a careful driver or bike rider.

The last time the Benicia Police Department carried out this operation, it issued 30 citations.  This year it is scheduled to happen on April 1, from 3 to 6 p.m., and concentrate on the intersections of East Second and Military East, and First and Military.

Personally, I’m a little uncomfortable with the idea of a sting operation like this. The Police Department is creating a crime where none would have existed, and the way they work it with the decoys anyone could be caught in the trap. While I support the enforcement of traffic laws, I believe it would be better for them to enforce the traffic laws on a daily basis rather than making a one-shot effort.

My advice to bike riders who are going through town on Friday, April 1 is to avoid those targeted intersections, and use the H Street to 5 Street route.  When crossing First Street why not get off and walk?  Maybe you can lighten the situation up by moon-walking behind a decoy.

In a recent column I wrote about the broken glass strewn on the approach to the Zampa Bridge in Vallejo.  It appears that the party animals are coming out there every Saturday night, because Sunday mornings the glass reappears. Last week their beverage of choice appeared to be Night Train Express, a fortified wine (17.5% alcohol) designed to induce inebriation on the cheap. Hats off to the E & J Gallo Winery for marketing this truly fine poor man's wine. Caltrans has been good about sweeping, but they can’t get out there until Monday or Tuesday. Ah, well, as my spiritual adviser is fond of sayin, ”If that’s our worst problem, we can live with it”.

Steve Bahr March 25, 2011 at 09:54 PM
While I am pretty biased on this topic, I wanted to reflect on the comments entered, and found this, which is truly enlightened, and will likely not receive a proper review from most- http://www.bicyclelaw.com/news/n.cfm/in-defense-of-jaywalking And regarding bikes and Boston, check this out- http://gizmodo.com/#!5785258/repair-your-bike-for-free-at-these-public-bike-repair-stations Am guessing since the bike racks got such distain, this would be a justification to ban cyclist in perpetuity.
Ed Brennan March 25, 2011 at 10:47 PM
I would agree with Patrick if it were not for the "game playing" on the part of the decoys that I referred to in the article.
jimpugh March 26, 2011 at 05:00 PM
My son Stephen Pugh who resides in Sausalito, is a former bicycle road racer and winner of the "California Mile " race up California St, which is quite an accomplishment in itself. I mention this because I can not longer sanction the arrogance and law breaking of a great many bicyclist in Benicia and the Bay Area. My experience with cyclist who fail to stop at stop signs and generally ignore rules of the road , could fill a small book. I am very pleased to see these people included in the "sting."
Robert Livesay March 26, 2011 at 09:55 PM
I walk Military and Ist and 2nd street daily. The car drivers are very lucky the do not get more tickets. I cross when I am directed by a light and almost everyday a car driver turns right in front of me. Give all the tickets it takes. Bob Livesay
Beate Brühl March 31, 2011 at 06:50 PM
The cross walk on East 5th and East L Street, and the intersection of East 5th and Military East, are quite hazardous for pedestrians as well, yet these two hot spots are generally ignored in any kind of sting operation, or ped safety consideration. Although I must complement the city on putting in the bike paths and new cross walks.

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