At the beginning of the month (aka pre-Milloy), Cathy Lanier was a guest on Ask the Chief and she spent quite a bit of time discussing bikes after a caller, who claimed he'd twice been struck by cyclists, asked what could be done about enforcement.
You can listen to her discussion of this here. The discussion of cycling enforcement starts at 9:00. Below is a poor transcription.
Caller: Chief I'm concerned about being a pedestrian in the city with bicycles all over the roads and not paying attention to the stop lights. I've been hit twice by bicyclists. What can the police do to enforce the laws on bicyclists?
Lanier: yeah, we really had to step up our enforcement with bicyclists. It is not only dangerous for pedestrians and for motorists, I mean I've actually had a bicycle hit my car. So, and the familiarity with the bike lanes because I've seen several very close calls with bicyclists in bike lanes not following the traffic signals that can cause collisions. So we have stepped up our enforcement. We're trying to work with the Washington Area Bicyclists Association to help raise awareness but when you have so many tourists and visitors that are non-residents that are coming here for short visits and renting bikes and hitting the streets our enforcement efforts don't have the same impact as they would in a neighborhood that's not a tourist area.
Host: Are bikes allowed on sidewalks?
Lanier: They're not allowed on sidewalks in the Central Business District...I mean there's literally bike lanes all over the city and bikes are allowed on any roadway and they're not restricted to just the curb.
Host: can they be ticketed on sidewalks?
Lanier: They can be yes.
Host: Pedestrians wish they would be. (laughing)
Lanier: It is a big challenge. It's a big challenge for us. And then the other part of that is, especially during rush hour time when we try and stop and do enforcement - unlike the automated enforcement - when we stop to do enforcement we block up traffic and then Bob [name?] calls me. (laughing)
Host: You do not want that call from Bob (laughing)
Lanier: I don't want that call from Bob (laughing)
Host: The proliferation of bike lanes, has that helped the issue in terms of the number of problems and collisions and that sort of thing, has it reduced it?
Lanier: It's helped, but I think it's kind of a double-edged sword. With some of the bike lanes, so if you think about you're heading as a motorist in the traffic lane and there's a bike lane to your right side and you want to make a right turn at a green light, a bicyclist travelling at a good speed can come up and pass through that intersection before you even see them so while your making that right turn...it creates some hazards, so it really is incumbent on everybody to be extremely aware now where now where those bike lanes are. But I think overall it has helped to y'know help to keep bicyclists and the awareness of bicyclists up for everybody.
Host: Let me just throw in there, and I know you know as a rider as well, bicyclists take an awful lot of abuse on the roads
Lanier: They do.
I have a few comments:
1. Bicyclists - even "bad" ones - do not make it dangerous for motorists, and having a bicyclist hit your car is not proof that it does.
2. A better answer to the question about the legality of bikes on sidewalks is that "Yes, bikes are allowed on the sidewalk in most of the city. But they are not allowed on sidewalks in the CBD."
3. If you're making a right turn on a street with a bike lane and a cyclist can pass you on the right, in the bike lane, you're doing it wrong (you should merge into the bike lane first) and she should know that. And she should have said that.