The Benicia Police will once again launch on April 1. Because bicycle fall under the vehicle code, bike riders could be snared in the trap if they fail to yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk.
Want to avoid the ordeal of entrapment, and the $146 ticket that goes with it? Read on and become informed so you can avoid a painful sting.
The operation uses human “decoys”, dressed as ordinary pedestrians. In the past these have included groups of high school students. The decoys don’t simply cross the street. They play games with you, like beginning to cross and then doubling back. They may wait for you to proceed and then begin to cross again. Another ploy is to cross the street, then do a quick about-face. You think they’ve reached the sidewalk and begin to proceed, and there they are again before you can stop. A skillful decoy, with a police officer lurking nearby, could entrap even a careful driver or bike rider.
The last time the Benicia Police Department carried out this operation, it issued 30 citations. This year it is scheduled to happen on April 1, from 3 to 6 p.m., and concentrate on the intersections of East Second and Military East, and First and Military.
Personally, I’m a little uncomfortable with the idea of a sting operation like this. The Police Department is creating a crime where none would have existed, and the way they work it with the decoys anyone could be caught in the trap. While I support the enforcement of traffic laws, I believe it would be better for them to enforce the traffic laws on a daily basis rather than making a one-shot effort.
My advice to bike riders who are going through town on Friday, April 1 is to avoid those targeted intersections, and use the H Street to 5 Street route. When crossing First Street why not get off and walk? Maybe you can lighten the situation up by moon-walking behind a decoy.
In a recent column I wrote about the broken glass strewn on the approach to the Zampa Bridge in Vallejo. It appears that the party animals are coming out there every Saturday night, because Sunday mornings the glass reappears. Last week their beverage of choice appeared to be Night Train Express, a fortified wine (17.5% alcohol) designed to induce inebriation on the cheap. Hats off to the E & J Gallo Winery for marketing this truly fine poor man's wine. Caltrans has been good about sweeping, but they can’t get out there until Monday or Tuesday. Ah, well, as my spiritual adviser is fond of sayin, ”If that’s our worst problem, we can live with it”.