Valerie Fu / The Daily Nexus

The Santa Barbara County Emergency Medical Services has recently issued a public service announcement stating that bikers must comply with regulations regarding emergency vehicles. 

“We didn’t think we’d have to say this,” a local paramedic said, “but when our ambulances’ sirens are on, you all need to clear to the sides. Bikers do not always have the right of way.”

“We do always have the right of way,” insists a local biker. Isla Vista’s biking community has met the EMS’s statement with great confusion. “I’m pretty sure it’s a rule that everyone has to stop until the bike lanes are clear,” the biker says. “It says so in the UC Santa Barbara Student Constitution, Section 4.” The Stench has tried to confirm this claim, but could not find any such thing as the “UCSB Student Constitution.” 

Other bikers have expressed their concerns with the implications of the EMS’s announcement. One biker who lives on the corner of Trigo and Embarcadero del Norte spoke to the Stench about how she’s worried that ambulances might disrupt her commute to school. “I think it’s important that bikers always have the right of way because we’re university students and we need to get to class on time,” she complains. “I have classes in I.V. Theater and I can’t afford to be blocked by an ambulance selfishly taking up both lanes.”

While bikers have been vocal against the EMS’s announcement, numerous non-biking commuters have sided with the paramedics. 

“Bikers here always think they’re above the law,” says a man on an electric scooter blasting Ice Spice on his bluetooth speaker, “maybe they do need to be humbled a little bit.” Other paramedic-sympathizers include bus drivers, who already have a reputation of mowing down bikers when given the chance. The bus drivers believe the solution to the biker problem is for the ambulances to simply run the bikers over, but the paramedics are concerned with the required paperwork they have to do upon collision. 

In an attempt to deter cutoffs, the EMS has enlisted the help of UCSB Campus Security Officers (CSOs). In this proposed plan, two CSOs would accompany each emergency vehicle via bike and reprimand other bikers being disruptive to their jobs. However, test runs of this program have been largely unsuccessful due to the CSOs’ tendency to also cut off the emergency vehicles to pursue rogue bikers. 


Ali Shahid has never learned how to ride a bike.