Outlaw bicyclists get cited

Since I have to obey all the laws of the road when I'm driving, it drives me crazy to see bicyclists in Medford routinely ignoring them. They ride through stop signs and red lights, ride on the wrong side of the road, ride on the sidewalk and the younger ones often don't wear helmets. Does our local police department enforce the law for bicyclists? Can you tell me how many citations were handed out by Medford cops in the past year? I suspect it's not many.

— Ron C., Medford

You suspect correctly, Ron.

In fact, the Medford Police Department has issued a grand total of 31 citations for bike riders since the beginning of 2012.

Of course, that's not in the past year, as your question inquired, but it's a pretty sound number to support your theory that the local cops aren't writing a lot of bicycle citations.

The reason? Maybe it's because the cops have more pressing issues to deal with, such as assaults, robberies, thefts, identity thefts, burglaries and other serious crimes.

But that's not to say that reckless bicyclists aren't a problem on our streets. They are, according to Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau.

"When a bicyclist crosses lanes of traffic illegally or rides on the wrong side of the road, it's the bicyclist that usually loses in that situation, not the motor vehicle driver," Budreau said.

In all, 23 bike riders were cited since January for having no lighting, riding without a helmet, ignoring traffic signals and riding outside a bike lane, Budreau said.

There were an additional eight citations for riding on sidewalks issued so far this year.

"We don't want bicyclists riding on the sidewalks because they can hit people coming out of stores downtown," Budreau said.

Budreau wants to remind bike riders to obey all traffic laws, as if they are driving in their cars.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.


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