At our family Sunday dinner, my nephew was complaining about a friend of his who was stopped by a police officer for riding his bike through a stop sign without stopping first. It is funny because in today's newspaper, I read about something very similar.
It seems a student at Santa Ana College was riding his bike to his next class; he had earphones in both ears. The street was clear so the student did not stop at the stop sign - just breezed right through. Within minutes, a police officer was upon the student - sirens blaring and lights flashing. The officer asked the student how he thought he would be able to hear cars honking at him; he advised the officer that he did hear him. The law allows you to have one earphone in your ear, but not two. The officer asked him, "If you were in a car, would you have stopped and he said, "Yes". The student thought a warning would have been fair but he was given a ticket. The student violated two sections of the California Vehicle Code: (1) Section 22450(a) - Failure to stop at a stop sign and (2) Section 27400 - Wearing a headset or earplugs. The amount of the ticket was $397.
I told my nephew that someone riding a bike must abide by the same rules of the road that someone driving a car does. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, over one hundred people are killed and hundreds of thousands of people are injured in bicycle accidents each year. I told my nephew that even though bicyclists think they own the road, they do not. Had the student been hit by a car at that intersection, he would have needed a very smart and experienced personal injury attorney to help him.