Police launch operation to increase biker awareness

Ido Gal and Saba Moussavian

Anant Marur bikes out of the Palo Alto High School campus.  Marur is a frequent biker.  "I think the police should be focusing on more important," Marur says.
Junior Anant Marur bikes out of the Palo Alto High School campus. Marur bikes frequently to and from school.  “I think the police should be focusing on more important issues,” Marur said, in regards to “Operation Safe Passage”. Photo by Adele Bloch.

The Palo Alto Police Department is participating in project “Operation Safe Passage” this week  to elevate student biker awareness.

This week, the department has stationed its officers around the city, carrying out stop sign enforcement for both vehicles and cyclists. One of the locations has been the intersection of North California Avenue and Bryant Street, a common junction for Palo Alto High School bikers.

According to the PAPD, “Operation Safe Passage” will run through tomorrow morning and after school commute hours.

Paly students have had mixed feelings about the new type of initiative the police has been taking on.

“Right now, they [the PAPD] are sparking a lot of resentment within the students who they want to be keeping safe,” junior Griffin Carlson said.

Carlson says that there are better alternatives to educate students in bicycle safety.

“They should have a stand or something which provides information about bicycle safety and gives out helmets instead of giving out tickets unnecessarily for one week out of the whole year,” Carlson said.

Officers ticketed a student on Tuesday morning for having both earbuds in while biking. The student, however, said she never knew it was a violation to bike with two earbuds in.

“Obviously, it’s kind of hard to obey rules you don’t even know exist,” the student said.

According to the student, punishments can include traffic school or fines anywhere from $100 to $200.

However, some feel that “Operation Safe Passage” is a great way to bring awareness to bicycle safety.

“I haven’t really followed the rules all the time, and I think they [the PAPD] don’t give enough awareness to bike safety,” another student said.

She said she almost got into an accident over the weekend after not for not coming to a complete stop at the stop sign. In response, the student will be participating in a traffic school for bicycle safety.

“Honestly, I think I need that class,” the student said.