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A big thank you to the policeman

Original post made by Gunn Parent, Fairmeadow, on Sep 28, 2011

When I drove by Donald and Maybell this morning around 8:20am, I passed by a policeman giving out tickets to high school students on bikes. Students routinely ignore stop signs and other traffic laws. Hopefully, the police presence can convince students the importance of following traffic laws.

Comments (30)

Posted by parents too
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 28, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Hope he was passing out tickets to speeders, too. Speeding is rampant in that part of town.

Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 28, 2011 at 4:40 pm

That is awesome. I'd love them to ticket Paly students on Churchill in the morning. The intersection of Emerson and Churchill is a 4 way stop - the cars stop at all 4 corners, the kids stop at none of them.

Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 28, 2011 at 4:53 pm

They are frequently at Alma/Churchill. They ticket cars going straight across Churchill instead of turning left and students on bikes who try to cross after the crossing arms start to come down. I expect they ticket others too, but those I know about.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 28, 2011 at 4:53 pm

I want to acknowledge the awesome crossing guard on Newell (forget cross street, but near Edgewood) & the one on Newell/Embarc (a dangerous, thankless corner, for sure). They both do an excellent job. Also: the students riding down Newell now seem better at respecting traffic laws & I see them, on foot, skateboard & bike being more cautious. What a relief! If they can expect that person driving a car is a bit of an idiot, they can be more careful & thus safer. I'd prefer that they make this assumption about me & be safer than be sorry that they trusted me.

a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 28, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Thank you police officers!! My son does not believe his mom and dad when we say "wear your helmet" and "stop at stop signs" because, he says, "I do it all the time in front of the police and they don't care."

We parents really need the help keeping our kids in line when they aren't around us. If you see a young high school man riding a bike without a helmet, PLEASE stop him and read him the riot act!!! Ticket would be fine!! He would have to work to pay it off!


Posted by KidsTheseDays
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 29, 2011 at 6:15 am

Many kids seem to think it's 'cool' to ride their bikes without wearing helmets. I often see kids with helmets tied to their handlebars. They should learn that, like smoking and wearing their pants on their knees, these things are NOT cool.

Posted by Frankie
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 29, 2011 at 7:05 am

Giving tickets to kids? Wow, I'm glad to see Palo Alto finally embracing and endorsing a totalitarian police state despite its liberal leanings. I suppose a stern warning would not suffice. Either that or kids in Palo Alto only learn a lesson when money or a citation is involved. That makes me question all they hype about just how good an education they are receiving and just how smart they all supposedly are.

Posted by Gunn parent
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 29, 2011 at 7:25 am

Frankie, Do you know how long we've been giving warnings? Are you familiar with the situation near our high schools during traffic times? Kids are SMART, they'll try to get away with things as long as we let them. I for one would like them to learn before they get their licenses. Maybe then, they'll grow up to be responsible adults and do the right things even if there is no one watching!! That is what I'd call good education!

a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 29, 2011 at 9:37 am

Dear Gunn parent. With you 100%. Our teens now have grown up in a world where the parents have to fight non-stop with outside influences coming in over TV, books, movies, radio, internet and even some local teachers for language, dressing, behavior to adults, and such things as following the law on helmets and stop signs. We NEED the police to ticket our kids for them to learn...breaking rules and laws "like adults" have adult consequences.

Posted by MidtownMom
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 29, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Associate community service with the tickets as against monetary fines. Parents will have to pay the money .. let the kids do community service.

There are so many kids (and adults) who think riding without a helmet is "cool". I have seen kids get out of their house with the helmet on (since the parent is watching . ) and removing the helmet after the next block.

Posted by bikecommuter
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 29, 2011 at 3:48 pm

I wish the police would ticket some of the kids on Meadow that blow thru the stop signs at Wilke and El Camino Way, ride on the wrong side of the street and make left turns from the right hand lane. They give the rest of us a bad reputation.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 29, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Well, a lot of the kids sure learn it from their elders; plus, they feel immortal when they're young.

On Stanford campus today, I saw numerous cyclists sans helmets blowing through stop signs, espec near the construction & athletic areas. Then, I saw adults downtown, with & without helmets, blowing through stop signs - one w/a bike trailer attached, & my short trip was finished off w/the sight of restaurant workers on bikes, minus helmets, blowing through stop signs. It's a reminder that putting themselves in danger isn't relegated to one gender, age group or profession. I'm guessing it's pretty similar for motorists who put themselves in danger, minus the under 16 demographic.

Posted by Grateful
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 29, 2011 at 5:20 pm

A few weeks ago, I was driving in a residential area of Midtown & I came to a complete stop at a stop sign. To my right were three teen boys on bikes, and the first came to a stop, as the second and third were approaching the corner.

Deciding I'd just sit there for a while, in case the other two teens blew through the sign, I was surprised when the first young man that stopped waved me through. Hesitantly, I began to accelerate, after first looking left, and the coast was clear.

Upon further inspection, I saw a police car approaching the corner on my left, and I thought, "Ah ha! That may be why three teens on bikes came to a complete stop, allowing me to take the right of way!"

So good work: PAPD! And to those three young gentleman: Thank you! Whether or not they stopped due to an approaching police car, or they choose to be safe on moving vehicles, it was a pleasure for me, as a driver, to have encountered those 3 wonderful young men.

Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Sep 29, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Ticket the bike riders who are on their cell phones too. AND please ticket the drivers who do so too.

Both activities require attention to the road, not the phone.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 29, 2011 at 6:56 pm

My son was ticketed near Paly. He thought he could hide it from us until the summons came in the mail which we saw before him although we left it for him to open.

We made him take the money out of his bank account (he had a job at the time). Even though there is a pay by mail option, I took him to the police department (where he thought he had to pay the fine) and they told him he would have to go to the Court offices. We went to the court offices, had to go through airport type security and go to the fines department. He had to wait in line and then pay his fine, get the summons stamped and told that his case was now closed.

I think he is a safer rider, and driver, as a result of this. If your child gets caught, don't pay the fine, don't write a check but make them go the long way round. It is a life lesson.

Posted by Another Neighbor
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 29, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Ticket those who cycle on the wrong side of the road (i.e., riding in the opposite direction of traffic). They often appear out of nowhere and startle me. They probably think it's safer to do this because they can see cars coming, but it isn't.

Cyclists - Please ride with the flow of traffic.

Posted by Also
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 29, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Good. Now please, also ticket car drivers who run red lights (rampant on Oregon), those drivers who blow through stop signs (example: on Ross at Moreno), and drivers on their cell phones or texting while driving.

Posted by Anna
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 29, 2011 at 8:55 pm

In addition to a ticket, how about some community service in the ER or morgue? Also, discussions about being an organ donor, since bicycles and bare heads don't exactly offer protection. Kids don't think anything bad can happen to them, and it's better not to find out the hard way.

Posted by Richard
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 29, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Santa Clara County has a "Juvenile Diversion Program" which allows first-time offenders for pedestrian or bike violations to take a $10 class (with a parent) instead of paying the full fine. The class includes a presentation by a head trauma survivor, which is very powerful.

Posted by HatsOff
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 30, 2011 at 7:38 am

Thank you Police!! If kids learn to respect the rules of the road while biking then this will help make them better car drivers one day when they trade their helmets for driving permits.

Posted by Gunn mom
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 30, 2011 at 7:46 am

Good work PAPD!

I always stop at signs when on my bike and cars are so surprised that they often won't take their turn and wave for me to go. I refuse and it is awkward but eventually they go.

I think it is important to show some of us DO follow the law!

Posted by JordanDad
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 30, 2011 at 8:56 am

It looks like many of us are on the same page in terms of wanting kids and adults alike to be safe and ourselves setting a good example. Many of us are also very supportive of the efforts by the police to enforce safe driving/biking. But I propose we go the extra step of suggesting to strangers that they be more safe.

My wife and I have informed parents biking alongside their children on a busy street that they should be wearing helmets (even the young child not wearing a helmet as he teetered along on his bike that probably hadn't had its training wheels off very long). And I have driven up next to other cars at stop lights to ask if their signal was broken. I know some people are afraid of road-rage and don't want to "get involved." But I for one think it's worth the extra effort to help make things safer for everyone. Maybe if we all shout out our windows at the high-schoolers who ride around with their helmets on their handlebars, they will eventually get the point. If my kid rode without a helmet, I would want you to shout at him/her...

And I think community service and/or some sort of class is probably far better for the children than fines, particularly when many of these fines are actually being paid by the parents. Sure, we parents are partly responsible. But our responsibility should be to help the kids become responsible. If paying the fine, I suggest making sure the kid work it off.

And lets keep setting a good example for our kids and also the other adults around us. We are all in this together...

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 30, 2011 at 9:14 am

Jordan Dad

I agree with you. See my post a couple of posts up about how I treated my son's bicycle fine. Community service or a class is one idea, but they have plenty of classes and have to do community service for school, so it is not much of a lesson. Taking the money to the court to pay the fine in person is a great lesson and the feeling of knowing that the ticket is a "case" taught my son a lesson he hasn't forgotten.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 30, 2011 at 9:28 am

I wish they would ticket all the adults on their bikes that set bad examples as well. I can't tell you how many times in the South of Midtown neighborhood that I live that I have had to brake quickly because a bike is barreling through a 2 way stop sign! It is so dangerous.

I also wish that parents would teach kids not to ride their bikes on the sidewalk. I understand the fear of having them ride on the road, but sidewalks are for walking.

Posted by The-Law-Is-The-Law
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 30, 2011 at 11:39 am

> I also wish that parents would teach kids not to ride their bikes
> on the sidewalk

Bicycles are allowed (legally) on sidewalks in Palo Alto, except where otherwise prohibited (like in business districts).

Posted by Neighbor
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 30, 2011 at 12:55 pm

If only those crazy kids on 30-lb bicycles would wear helmets to protect themselves from my 3000-lb SUV with no visibility so I can feel better about my aggressive driving as I distractedly ferry my child to school!

I did see someone pulled over on Meadow last week for blowing through a red light during school pick-up time, and appreciated the officer's attention to that.

Posted by JordanDad
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2011 at 9:01 am

My kids and I counted 4 kids without helmets on bikes this morning as we drove into school. 1 of them may have been over 16; he didn't even have a helmet at all. The 3 others all had helmets on their handlebars and probably felt they were being "cool." One of them was listening to his iPod and actually looking at the controls as he biked along!

Ironically, as we were stopped in traffic looking at these kids whizzed by, I noticed the Darwin fish on the car in front of us. It's only a matter of time before some of these kids become eligible for a Darwin Award... I thought Palo Alto was supposed to be full of smart kids?

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2011 at 9:41 am

Jordan Dad

Rather than commenting on kids riding bikes (although the criticism may be correct), I ask why were you driving your middle schoolers to school? Can't they ride their bikes or walk, and if you must drive, can't you drop them off nearby and let them walk the last 1/4 mile?

It is drivers like you that make our roads as dangerous as they are around school in the mornings.


Posted by JordanDad
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2011 at 3:35 pm

For "Resident": My Jordan child bikes to school. I was driving my younger ones.

BTW, I do yell out the window to these kids to remind them that they should be wearing their helmets. I'm trying to help with a solution, not simply pass the blame to others. ;-)

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Jordan Dad

Sorry to have come across harsh, but it was the phrase "drove into school" I was commenting on.

Glad your middle schooler rides a bike, hope your younger ones learn to do the same.

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