Editor, Daily Nexus,
The UCSB Police Dept. recently ticketed a large number of students on bicycles for running a stop sign where the bike path crosses a road. Their concern for student safety is commendable, but even so, proper procedure needs to be observed.
Under the California law, bicycles are vehicles with all the rights and responsibilities thereof. Also, traffic control devices need to conform to standard engineering practices. The rule of thumb is that laws need to make sense to a reasonable person. Stop signs cannot be placed at random, or people would start disrespecting them. For a four-way stop, the two intersecting streets need to be roughly equal in traffic volume. Two-way stop signs are placed on minor roads whose traffic is supposed to yield to the major road. To justify this, the major road needs to carry significantly more traffic than the minor one.
At the intersection where some of the recent ticketing occurred, one of the main bike routes from I.V. into UCSB crosses Stadium Road, a university-owned service road. This morning I took traffic counts there between 8:38 a.m. and 9:08 a.m. I counted 223 bicycles and 96 cars. In other words, there were more than twice as many bicycles than cars at this intersection. Yet it is the major bicycle road that has the stop sign, not the minor service road. The stop sign on the bike path violates sound engineering practice. Any ticket given at this location and others like it lacks legitimacy and is likely to be thrown out in court.