The SMPD Safety B.O.L. – Issue #3

BikeCrashWith the Holiday Season right around the corner, many of us are trying to shed last year’s winter coat in preparation for this year’s winter feast. What better way to do that than riding a bicycle?! In 2013 there were 44 collisions involving bicyclists.  Approximately half of those collisions were  found to be the bicyclist’s fault. Your San Mateo Police Department Traffic Unit would like to remind bicyclists and drivers of a few forgotten rules of the road:

Some of the basic rules include the fact that according to the California Vehicle Code, bicycles are considered a vehicle. This means that as a bicyclist you are required to obey all the signs, street markings, and signals, just as a car would be required. When riding slower than the normal speed of traffic, you are required to ride as far right as “practicable” (meaning safe). You are not required to ride as far right as possible, which may not be safe. You are also allowed, but not required, to ride on the shoulder.

A new law that went into effect on September 16, 2014 was the Three Feet for Safety Act.  This requires that a driver of a motor vehicle shall not overtake or pass a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a highway at a distance of less than three feet between any part of the motor vehicle and any part of the bicycle or its operator. 

There has also been a resurgence of messenger or “fixed gear” bicycles.  Riders should be aware that in California: “bicycles are required to be equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make one braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.” In addition, bicycles are required to have a white light visible for 300 feet when riding at night. Bicycles must have a red reflector to the rear, a white or yellow reflector on each pedal, and a white or yellow reflector on each side forward and to the rear of the center of the bicycle.

Your police officers have seen far too often what can happen when drivers and bicyclists ignore the rules of the road.  That being said, it’s important that we all do our part to make our roadways safer for vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists alike.

Please ride safely and always wear a helmet.

Senior Traffic Officer Jason Chice #85

San Mateo Police Department

200 Franklin Parkway

San Mateo, CA 94403

Main: (650) 522-7700


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