OHP Issuing Tickets; Feud Between Cyclists, Drivers Continues

Wednesday, July 8th 2015, 11:22 pm
By: News On 6

Every Wednesday night, hundreds of cyclists roll through Tulsa and into Osage County riding more than 20 miles an hour.

Their roll is slowing, however, as Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers write the cyclists tickets for failing to stop at stop signs.

Fred Muniz said the situation has soured some cyclists on the event.

"A lot of people did stop doing the Wednesday night ride only because of all of the incidents that's been happening in Sand Springs," he said.

What's been happening are altercations between cyclists and drivers, mostly at the McKinley and Old Highway 97 intersection, just north of Sand Springs, and last week troopers took action.

"They had, like, about a dozen riders pulled over and they would start writing tickets," Muniz said.

Twelve cyclists got tickets for failing to stop at a stop sign, seven motorists got tickets for driving too closely to the cyclists and 15 others got similar warnings.

Muniz said he watches for oncoming traffic and if he doesn't see a car he doesn't stop, mostly because of the time it takes to stop, unclip his feet from the pedals and accelerate again.

"Yeah, there's no vehicles, we stop, we unclip, and by the time we get on there, there's a vehicle coming in at 50 miles an hour, so they're going to be mowing us down," he said.

Only two states don’t require cyclists to stop at signs or lights.

Idaho state law says a person on a bicycle approaching a stop sign can "slow down and if required for safety, stop before entering the intersection."

Oregon lawmakers passed a similar bill that will take effect next year. It says a bicyclist can "proceed at a stop light under certain conditions."

"There are times when we just don't see a vehicle and we proceed with caution," Muniz said.

Drivers in the area said the cyclists have almost caused wrecks by not stopping.

Troopers said they've been meeting with different cycling groups to talk about safety on the roads.

The tickets for failing to stop can cost more than $200.