Interesting Stuff

Coppers To Increase Scrutiny Of Bike Laws

BikPSA1The Boise Depot became a motion picture set Wednesday when as many as 200 cyclists showed up as extras for a a public service announcement (PSA) produced by Cable One.

The big name of course was local Olympian Kristin Armstrong. Along with a cast including a politico, paramedic, fireman, construction worker, and others, she made the pitch for bike safety. The bikers formed the backdrop for the message and to their credit nearly everyone wore a helmet.

Meanwhile, Boise’s Top Copper Mike Masterson, sent word to his coppers encouraging them to “educated and enforce if necessary” the bike laws.


Here is the official word to the coppers from the BPD Chief:

In addition to your ongoing enforcement initiatives, I’m reminding all sworn personnel to take every opportunity to educate citizens on bicycle safety, whether they be motorists or cyclists. When you see a motorist violate a traffic law that may endanger a cyclist, or if you observe a cyclist make one of the following violations, if you are not en route to a priority/emergency call, please stop and address their behavior warn citizens their behavior is against the law and subjects them to possible injury.

Despite recent collisions that have killed three cyclists in the last six weeks, a good number of cyclists continue riding behaviors that are not only dangerous, but against City and State laws.

“If we can better educate cyclists that their riding in a way that’s dangerous, hopefully we can prevent future collisions and injuries,” said Chief Masterson.

“Boise officers have worked with local media in presenting dozens of news stories recently detailing bike safety laws and related motorist responsibilities. But officers, including myself, continue to see cyclists riding against traffic and breaking other laws. We also know more cyclists are on the road and many may be new, trying to save money on gas or help the environment. Some of these cyclists may not be aware their riding is dangerous and illegal,” said Chief Masterson.

“You see much more of this behavior when you’re actually focused on looking for it. So that’s what I’m asking officers to increase, is their own awareness of this problem, and to remind officers that we, as our community’s police department, have the responsibility and authority to immediately begin doing more about it.” said the Chief.


  1. Riding against traffic – Position on Roadway (by far, say officers, the most frequently observed violation) – Boise City Code 10-14-06 (A) , Idaho State Code 49-717 (1). You’ll notice the Boise City Code is more specific and actually cites “riding against traffic”, however, this law is in place statewide. Fine = $46.50
  2. Going through “Stop” sign without slowing for traffic – ISC 49-720 (1). Though a cyclist can go through a stop sign without completely stopping, they are required by state law to stop for traffic that’s close enough to be an “immediate hazard”. Many cyclists are seen by officers not slowing at all. Fine = $46.50
  3. No headlight at night – BCC 10-14-03 (D), ISC 49-723. Headlights are not for the vision of the cyclist but so the cyclist can be seen by others! Fine = $46.50
  4. Riding through “Don’t Walk” signal at crosswalk – BCC 10-14-08, ISC 49-721 C. Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as pedestrians when riding on sidewalks and in crosswalks. When cyclists ride off the sidewalk into the road, they must observe motorist traffic laws. Fine = $46.50

EDUCATION vs ENFORCEMENT: As always, police officers have the discretion, considering the overall circumstances of any give instance, to chose to give a verbal warning or write a citation to an offender. Several factors may influence an officers decision, for example if the behavior is repeated or egregious, or if the officers has reason to believe a verbal warning will not gain voluntary compliance in the future. Officers want to educate the public, but citizens should know, offenders of traffic violations always risk a citation…which translates to, “attitude and behavior adjustments can be verbal warnings or tickets.”

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I certainly think this is all necessary. But I find it interesting that this is the response to the recent rash of cyclist deaths who, from all accounts, did nothing wrong. Well I reckon we’ll see what comes out of the police investigations.

  2. “Against traffic riding” is the most ticketed offense?

    Yeah, I “observe” that violation every day! (Unfortunately I’m not a cop, and GUARDIAN readers can probably imagine the response when I tell those riders they are breaking the law.) If they weren’t putting me in danger – “playing chicken” – I’d be satisfied to let nature take its course, I s’pose.

    Here’s a disturbing fact – from 2002 thru 2007, the BPD issued FIVE (!) tickets for against-traffic riding! That’s less than ONE per year!

    If the cops are serious about stepping up both education and enforcement, my brain-bucket is OFF to them!

  3. Why do I have this nagging feeling that the parking lot had more SUV’s in it than Saturday morning at the Simplot soccer fields??

  4. Cyclists could move closer to the side of the road if all the gravel, glass and goatheads got cleaned once in a while.

    Nobody on a bicycle likes to be out in traffic. On the other hand, gravel, glass and goatheads make for a really bad cycling experinece.

    Last, the AAA auto club people used to have a bike safety program for all school age kids. A great program, nifty certificate (suitalbe for framing) and perhaps some good info for kids on bikes.

  5. As a year-round bicycle commuter I’m very aware of the safety issues which exist on our streets. All of us share the blame and also the responsibility to make the needed changes. Therefore, I fully support Chief Masterson’s order to his officers to enforce the bicycle laws more vigorously. Whether out of ignorance or out of malice, these laws are currently being broken with impunity. Hopefully this step will result in a safer environment for all road users. Sadly, it appears to have been the deaths of three cyclists which finally caused this issue to come to the forefront.

  6. Amen to that, Paul (re: riding on the side with the goatheads and glass). On the way to be part of the PSA at the depot I ran over a thorn that ripped a hole no slime would cure. I still had plenty of time to swap in the spare tube I carry and make it on time. By the time I got there that one was flattened also. I ride a mt bike and try to stay to the right but it costs several flats a year…even with protective liners and slimed tubes. Even the oft-cited bike lane on Federal Way is loaded with hazards including tire-ruining staples from the home builders there. Thinking of looking into solid tires! Until the roadsides drivers want us to use are swept and save to use, Boise can’t call itself “bicycle friendly”.

  7. Here is the finnished product:

  8. Ive been here a year from TX, almost been hit three times in Intersections while I was crossing legally,give more time at crossings to cross and by all means make it safe for both riders and drivers, it should be fun not suicidal!

  9. Cars turninng right cutting you off,Cars turning left cutting you off,YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!

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