HBPD chief urges traffic safety for students and parents


As Huntington Beach students head back to school, Police Chief Robert Handy is reminding families of vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic laws to ensure a safe commute.

The department fields traffic violation complaints near schools every year, Handy wrote in a memo to parents and students.

Some of the most common complaints include speeding, passing school buses with flashing red lights and double parking.

Students riding their bikes or walking to school also have safety rules to follow, Handy wrote.
Huntington Beach Police in the last year issued about 470 citations to children and teens cycling or walking to school, according to police.

The most common violations include youth riding without helmets, riding on the wrong side of the road and jaywalking, Handy wrote.

Over the last year, police have responded to 78 traffic accidents involving pedestrians. These incidents resulted in 77 injuries and six fatalities.

There were also 112 bike-related accidents resulting in 100 injuries and three fatalities, according to police.
“It’s important for our young cyclists to know their legal rights and responsibilities, effective cycling skills and the rules of the road,” Handy wrote.

Here is a list of some laws regarding safe driving, cycling and walking practices. For Handy’s full list visit the city’s website surfcity-hb.org.

Three Feet for Safety Act: Drivers must not pass cyclists unless able to do so with at least three feet between their vehicle and the bicycle. If this is not possible, the driver must slow down to a speed that would not endanger the cyclist before passing.

Bicycle safety: Bikes must have brakes and handlebars lower than shoulder height. Reflectors and a light must be used for night riding. Cyclists must wear a helmet and use the bike lane.

Riding on the right side: Cyclists must travel on the right side of the road and as close to the curb as possible.

Riding double: No riding on the handlebars of a bicycle.

Walking safety: Crossing when the “Don’t Walk” sign is flashing is not allowed. Crossing outside a crosswalk is also prohibited.

Headphones: Drivers and cyclists are not allowed to wear headphones in both ears. U-turns: Drivers are only to make U-turns in an intersection or on a divided highway where an opening is provided.

Speed: The maximum speed in a school zone is 25 miles per hour.

Buses: Drivers cannot pass a bus that has red lights flashing.