Today I sent this letter to Boise's police chief and a couple of his colleagues, and copied the City Council.
Dear Chief Masterson and colleagues:
As a year-round transportation cyclist here in Boise, I've noticed a huge increase in the number of bike riders on Boise's roadways in the last month or 6 weeks. The nice weather has much to do with it, but this year the numbers seem significantly higher than in years past, and I'm confident it's the result of $4 gas.
I think it's FANTASTIC that more people are riding bikes. There's really not a down-side... as long as they are riding legally and safely.
Last autumn, I submitted a request for public records. I wanted to know how many citations had been issued for bicycles being ridden against traffic (illegally) - City Statute 10-14-06. Because I see that violation very regularly; it's particularly irritating (and downright scary in many circumstances) when a cyclist is coming directly toward me on a "chicken collision course," riding illegally and against traffic.
I was disappointed, but not very surprised, to learn that five (!) citations had been issued, in the period November 1, 2002 thru November 20, 2007. Less than one per year, average... and only one citation since 2003.
Is that number up at all, since November?
I've been told, time after time when calling to complain about it, that "bike violations aren't a priority for the department."
Obviously! But I'm hoping that as the numbers of road-going cyclists increases, for the sake of our safety you will focus a little more on safe bicycling, and practice some vigorous enforcement of bicycle-related traffic laws.
(You can probably imagine the reaction I get, when as a civilian I try to educate my fellow cyclists. Like Mr. Dangerfield, I don't get much respect, and I usually get an ignorant and vulgar response. I'm confident a uniformed officer would fare much better.)
PLEASE! Before (more) people get hurt.
Thanks for your attention.
Mr. B. Nazi (a pseudonym - surprise!)
Lifelong Boise Resident, Taxpayer, Transportation Cyclist