Davis PD officer parks on the lawn to write a ticket

Bike Traps refer to a specific time when the Davis Police Department and the UC Davis Police Department send out many police officers to give out tickets for bike violations. The most visible bike traps are usually done during the beginning of fall quarter. The reason for this is that the majority of students who don't come from Davis do not know or follow all the bicycle traffic laws that are strictly enforced in Davis. The biggest bike sting in school history so far occurred on the second Friday night of fall quarter 2006. Here several cop cars drove around campus handing out bike light violations so constantly that they were waving down multiple cyclists at a time. In fact, they were handing out so many tickets, that cyclists waited in a line to receive a ticket once flagged down by the cop. Other bike traps often occur on 3rd Street, where city cops, either on bikes or motorcycles, ticket students for not stopping at the stop signs that occur at almost every block downtown. Citations can be in excess of $200.00, but the citation or the officer will not tell you exactly what you have to pay until you get your citation processed by the traffic division at Yolo County Superior Court.

If a police officer gives you trouble for riding your bike in a sidewalk in Davis that is outside of the "central traffic district," also know as downtown or the "core area" (you can tell from the NO SKATEBOARDING OR BIKING ON SIDEWALK paint) they're likely wrong. Cite VC 21650(g). Note that it is illegal on campus to ride your bike on a sidewalk if there is an adjacent parallel roadway or bike path. (UC Davis Traffic and Parking Code Section 8.05)

Bike light violations often lead to a correctable citation, where one must go to the police station with a bike light and get an officer to sign off that there is now a working light on the bike. Then you mail the signature to the court along with a processing fee of 10 dollars. However, stop sign violations usually receive full tickets. Also note that the campus speed limit is 15 MPH and campus police officers are well known to stop people for bicycling through campus too quickly.

Frequent Locations of Bike Traps

On Campus

  • Especially for bike light violations, the bike loop between Shields Library and Hart Hall is a popular place.
  • The stop sign next to The Domes when coming east from the bike overpass that crosses Highway 113. Excellent spot for a trap, but in my 5+ years of daily riding here, I almost never see police. —JL
  • The stop sign at Hutchison and Bioletti, across from Sci Lec.

In Town

  • Downtown: especially for stop sign violations on 3rd st. (intersections on D st., E st., and F st. seem to be the most frequent locations)
  • Corner of 3rd Street and A Street Right next to Off-campus Books. Because of the visibility and slow-moving one-way traffic, most bicyclists blow this stop sign.
  • The intersection of Sycamore Lane & 8th Street.


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2007-03-21 15:31:04   If I ever get a speeding ticket on my bicycle, I might be inclined to frame it. —DavidGrundler

2007-03-21 15:41:22   I'd just like to mention that the first two locations seem vague compared to the others. Should these be removed? Also, Campus Police have been known to stop bikes for not having bike liscences. —MyaBrn

2007-03-21 19:31:43   So bike stings are different from the bait bike program that is slated to start soon? —StevenDaubert

2007-03-21 21:26:51   Bait bike? What's this? —DavidGrundler

2007-03-22 05:28:26   Good question. Here, let me help make it easy: What is this Bait Bike of which you speak? —WesHardaker

2007-03-22 15:57:34   I saw a bike the other day that I thought was bait, cause I was like "what kind of IDIOT would leave that nice of a bike unattended and unlocked?" —BradBenedict

2007-03-24 09:37:41   this year i must have seen at least 50 tickets given out on 3rd st. for stop sign violations. Huge increase considering last school year i only saw maybe one or two per quarter —MattHh

2007-05-15 01:07:55   wouldnt it be kind of easy to evade from a cop in a car on campus such as the one shown in the picture? i like to see them chasing you down through campus with a bajillion other bikers riding around. Besides, there are so much on campus where a cop car can't go through. I'll probably have second thoughts if the cop is on a motorcycle instead of a car. I also would not try it unless i got some sort of higher end road bike. —KaiWan

You really don't need all that good of a bike to stand a decent chance of evading the police. I'd say 25 would be a good speed to evade a cop car on campus and that's easily achievable by a rider in decent shape with an entry level (not department store) road bike or hybrid in decent repair. That being said, I don't endorse evading the police unless it's clear that they're a threat to your life. —wl

I've found it's also easy to walk out on restaurant bills and to otherwise evade personal responsibility. You might consider the larger social ramifications of that act versus the purely physical aspect. Although from a thought experiment point of view, I would be interested to see how they would handle it. Likely their radio is faster than your bike and they have experience handling that particular move. —JabberWokky

2007-05-20 01:57:19   enforcement of stop sign law is a joke —KaiWan

2007-05-20 11:07:43   A joke perhaps, but they'll still pull you over for it. My Intersection of Ill-Repute is Cowell and Research Park, near Wendy's. Got fined for a stop signal violation (in a car) turning right onto Cowell next to the gas station (the "stop" was, shall we say, debatable). Also got stopped on the other side of the intersection by a motorcycle cop after turning making a right turn on my bike. This time around, only a warning was given: a good reminder that, as a bicycle, you still have to obey the signals as a car would. I have since opted to take the Putah Creek Parkway which gets me home almost as quickly as Cowell, and avoids exposure to car traffic, four signals, and a whole lot of unwanted scrutiny. —KevinChin

2007-05-23 11:36:38   Yeah, it's not like law enforcement [sic] would ever target hostile anti-cyclist harassing motorists with a sting. —jimc

2007-05-23 11:55:46   That reminds me, I was riding out Mace two Sundays ago early in the AM. There was no traffic, so I was riding next to my sister. She was on the line, and I was right next to her, still to the right of the lane. We hadn't seen any cars since crossing Chiles, and we were out where the little bridge is that crosses the creek. I kid you not, a CHP officer drove by us doing 75 or so (extremely fast) and only gave me about a foot to spare. —DavidGrundler

2007-09-28 13:15:59   I hear running a stop sign is $134.00.

2007-09-30 16:24:58   Ticking at 3rd & A is a bit ridiculous, but it's really common. There is complete visibility of traffic, a one-way, single-lane street, and a large, visible crosswalk and stop sign (that cars can see). On the same note, it's really easy to see when there's a cop there, but I have the feeling that many still blow the sign, with the knowledge that there's a cop there, because it's a silly idea to slow down for no reason here. I think the stop sign that faces the campus side of the intersection should be converted to a yield sign, unless there's been an unusual number of accidents here. Cops could still issue tickets to cyclists who blow the yield when there's a car waiting, and I don't see how it'd be any less safe. —PhilipNeustrom

2007-09-30 21:14:39   I think the city of davis blieves that giving tickets to kids on bikes is a reliable income source. Some of the "correct" paths are ridiculously hazardous and dangerous. Others (like biking a mile instead of walking over train tracks) are completely ludicrous. —ChristopherMckenzie

2007-10-01 20:25:23   I'm new to cycling in Davis...what do the Davis and UC PD consider a legal, complete stop by a bicyclist at a stop sign? An LA cop once told me that unless a cyclist stopped with both feet on the ground at a stop sign, he'd write a ticket. Is that what DPD expects too, or can a rider get away with a track stand-style stop? —DukeMcAdow

  • My guess is that it depends on the cop. However, I allways thought it was one foot down. I didnt know it was 2. In LA i have never run into a cop who stopped bikes. I thought ticketing bikers was a davis thing. Interesting. -MattHh
    • Come to think of it, we rode up and down the coast every weekend, so it might've been a police officer in one of the beach cities - Hermosa, Redondo or someplace in OC - not LA —DukeMcAdow
  • I know someone who got ticketed because they didn't put their feet down. However, that isn't the law and they successfully got the ticket thrown out. I've done California stops in front of cops and I've never been ticketed. Your milage may vary. -wl
  • I once talked to a bike cop (after he gave me a ticket) and he told me that a foot down on the ground has nothing to do with whether you stopped. In other words, you can stop without putting any feet down and you can fail to stop even though a foot touched the ground. —JimEvans
  • No foot down is necessary. Simply cease all forward momentum. Ref CalVC section 22450 (a). —NickLaForge

2007-10-02 19:26:32   Part of the enforcement might be the 'source of income' referred to earlier, but much of the value of bike tickets and 'stings' early in the quarter is their indirect effect. Hand out a few $100 dollar tickets and word gets around really fast that bikes have to stop at stop signs and have lights. The rate of compliance, or at least near-compliance (e.g. semi-stop instead of blowing through), probably increases a lot even with unticketed new cyclists just from hearing about the law and consequences as a result of the ticketed folks complaining. Ticketing at the easy 3rd Street intersection probably has a higher rate of return than at a more dangerous one, but the same spill-over to the ones where not stopping is a real danger. —NotTires

2007-10-02 21:41:51   Speaking of dangerous intersections, why don't the cops sit at the Olive Dr and Richards intersection and ticket cars running the red light turning left to go south on Richards? I've been hit by a car while on my bike and a few months later saw the same thing happen to someone else. Having to face that intersection everyday made me stick to crossing the tracks rather than go on the path across Richards. —MonicaWilliams

2007-10-03 14:32:54   Are there any other (known) violations one can be ticketed for outside of stop sign and bike light violations? I saw a kid stopped by a Davis bike cop this afternoon at the Putah Creek bike undercrossing over by one of the tunnels. —LeightonHinkley

You can be cited for violating any traffic law that could possibly apply to a bike, such as failure to yield, speeding (I really want that one!), dui, and failure to signal. -wl

  • You can also be cited for riding on the sidewalk in certain areas of mostly downtown (where all the "NO BIKES OR SKATEBOARDS" markings are). I want to be cited for speeding, too; I've certainly done it enough. And most potential BUI (Biking Under the Influence) citations are given out as moving violations, since that's an easier process. —BrettHall

2007-10-06 11:36:54   Never understood these. Most people that get fix-it tickets for bike lights end up just stealing lights from other bikes. Vicious cycle. —SeatonTsai

  • Thats not true. Maybe some do, but i dont think most do. I think the fix it ticket is a pretty good idea. And dont people either screw on their lights or take it off when they part? —MattHh

2007-10-08 21:45:55   Ridiculous. The Davis police are so busy extorting bikers that they have no time to enforce greater laws like theft. Maybe they're too busy counting their money. —AlexKou

  • I was under the impression that they were enforcing laws. I was pulled over on my bike last year for running a stop sign and luckily I was let off with a warning. They aren't extorting students and unless you can prove that they are mishandling theft cases, you shouldn't make accusations like that. —Tushar
    • Ok, so here is the point ... you should have enough police to stop rape, murder, theft, you know - crimes with victims. When cops are ticketing people for not wearing seat belts or for not riding with bike lights then you have too many cops. You have too many cops, Davis does - that is the point. You shouldn't have so many so that they can call 4 squad cars for a jaywalker... that sounds rather um ... extreme. —ChristopherMcKenzie
      • Or we can think of it as preventative measures, designed to stop accidents before they occur. —ElleWeber

2007-10-15 18:45:59   It's really annoying to get a ticket on my EXTREMELY visable orange fish, with multiple multi colored blinking lights, just because I don't have a "white" light on the front of my bike. Now I have to bike to woodland to contest it in court. I should also add that I since bought a "guppy" white light at B&L Bike Shop for $10 which does quite nicely on the angler on my fish. —PxlAted

2007-10-15 23:30:11   Tercero residents felt the wrath of the bike sting on noon in Spring 07 when they were stationed at the intersection outside Sci Lec. So many tickets were issued, I just stood by and watched them yell at 95% of the bicyclists. —RobertSooHoo

2007-10-21 15:09:18   Ticketing bicyclists who violate the rules of the road is a good idea, even if getting a ticket is no fun.

There's that Critical Mass saying "We're not blocking traffic, we ARE traffic." If we're traffic, which legally we are, we have to bike responsibly. Predictable bicycling makes for fewer accidents, and bicyclists who don't stop at stop signs aren't being predictable. As an added bonus, predictable bicyclists don't incite road rage in people in cars.

Most bicycle accidents happen at night, bicycles are pretty much invisible without lights. —Angel.York

2007-10-23 08:19:32   I have had to slam on my brakes from bicyclists who make left turns from the right side bike lane, no look or signal. On Lillard Drive I regularly have bikes that speed across the intersection, while on the sidewalk coming from an area where you can't see them through the trees. I've almost been hit on sidewalks numerous times, especially on fifth. Davis has LOTS of cyclists, and most are well behaved, but there are more than enough to cause major problems. There needs to be more bike stings to get these hazards off the roads and SIDEWALKS. —BradOrahood

2007-11-05 09:02:47   I actually wish there were more bike stings in town, especially at places like 3rd and A. That intersection has a stop sign for bikes too (not just for cars) and I have seen more cyclists than I can count almost flattened at that intersection when a car that had patiently waited its turn started driving again, only to almost hit a cyclist who rudely burned through their own stop sign and rode out into the street right in front of the car. Add the many cyclists who ride 2 or even 3 abreast and stick out into the street, the ones who ride in the street instead of on an adjacent dedicated bike path (like on Russel), and countless other rude cyclists and I am pretty amazed that there is not more road rage out there against cyclists. I say all this as someone who bikes, walks, and drives around town but who tries, sadly unlike most cyclists and many pedestrians I see, to obey the law and show as much consideration to others on the road as I want them to show to me. Too many cyclists think they are above the law and don't have to follow any of the rules of the road or even common courtesy. —ToNils

2007-11-07 10:59:10   No offense, but I have NEVER seen a police office actually STOP a crime. Like it or not, the police are there to pick up the pieces. I do agree with you that if the police have time to set up a jaywalking sting with four squad cars, they have enough time to be out solving "real crimes." As you probably figured out, the number of police doesn't usually correspond to a reduction in crime.

PS: In the picture at the top of the page, isn't the squad car parked illegally? Citizen ticket, anyone? —ChristopherNalty

2007-11-07 20:42:22   WATCH OUT FOR THE INTERSECTION BETWEEN THE LIFE SCIENCES BUILDING AND SOUTH PARKING STRUCTURES. I work in the Life Sciences building and see people get stopped all the time so watch out and make sure to STOP!!!! —Rbbie2x

2008-06-13 09:28:56   Hey I just visited Davis for my first day —three months before I move here for UCD— and I gotta say this doesn't seem like the kind of town where rampant murder and violent crime goes woefully unchecked because cops are out giving bike tickets. That's a non-starter of an argument.

Secondly, I had heard about the respect the cyclist gets paid, and from visiting other US cities that show like 10% of that kind of respect, I felt obligated to give respect back... by following the rules in place, not flying through stop signs, or cutting rapid lefts from the right-side bike lane, etc... It's like: with all the lanes and signals and driver courtesy, I am given this great gift, as a cyclist, and I just don't want to F**K it up, ya dig?

Finally, there are way too many cities (like Oakland where I live now) that would ...er... kill to have this big surplus of cops around with nothing better to do. Consider it a blessing. When you get mugged or your windshield is smashed, or god forbid something worse, you'll be happy to have so many of the guys and gals in uniform around and available when you need their help. Other than that, just follow them rules, and you won't find yourself crying bloody murder. That's my plan of attack.


2008-06-19 23:08:21   My house has been broken into, my car vandalized, and two of my friends cars have been broken into in the last year and the boys in blue haven't done s**t about it. However, they have pulled over every one of my friends at one point to make sure that they weren't drinking (no probable cause) and they do have far too many of them here which leads to Bike Stings. —William.Peacock

2011-04-05 10:38:50   Watch out on Sycamore and 8th. "No Tolerance" is apparently in effect today, and my buddy and I both got cited for blowing the stop sign. To be fair, we didn't even slow down, so not much room for lamentation (except against general bad luck). —Swilltopower

2011-12-03 22:42:35   I agree. Sycamore Lane & 8th Street is no tolerance. Make sure to stop for at least 2 seconds just to be safe. I think the ticket increased. I got cited for $199.00. —Huck22

2012-02-22 17:10:17   Not exactly a bike trap, but today around 3PM there was an officer parked in the bike path on Orchard Rd. by the ARC announcing via loudspeaker that cyclists must dismount and walk across the intersection or be subject to a $100 fine. In my 5+ years taking that route, I have never seen an officer concerned about cyclists riding in the crosswalk before. —JonathanLawton

  • She yelled at me too. Doesn't make any sense, since that crosswalk connects two parts of a bike path. Bet her brain would explode if she was there in the morning when students are trying to get to class, since every rational human being stays on their bike when crossing an intersection. -Megan
    • I think she's technically right. Vehicles are not supposed to be in crosswalks. —cp
      • Since it's an extension of the bike path instead of a regular sidewalk, I wouldn't necessarily view it as a typical cross walk. -M
    • I agree with both of you. My inclination is that the officer was technically right, although I haven't been able to find anything in the CVC, Davis Municipal Code, or TAPS "rules of the road," that explicitly address this. So, I've contacted the TAPS Bicycle Program Coordinator to hopefully start to get clarification on the legality of bikes in crosswalks on the UCD Campus.

      Even if riding in crosswalks is technically illegal, though, I agree that it would be absurd to enforce that here. The crosswalk is physically part of the bike path, the majority of the traffic through the crosswalk is almost certainly cyclists, and, to my knowledge, the crosswalk isn't an accident hot spot. If UCDPD decides to ban riding here, I imagine they'd have to have an officer stationed there permanently. Most cyclists (unfortunately) don't even stop for stop signs. Nobody is going to stop, dismount, and walk across the street unless they are actively being threatened with a fine. At the very least, it seems like something like this ought to be the lowest enforcement priority. —JonathanLawton

2012-02-23 09:28:33   The Bicycle Program Coordinator at TAPS believes the police are wrong. Apparently, this same situation occurred a few weeks ago at La Rue and Hutchison, and the police ignored his inquiries. If they don't respond again, he will meet with them to straighten this out. He cites CVC 21650(g): This section does not prohibit the operation of bicycles on any shoulder of a highway, on any sidewalk, on any bicycle path within a highway, or along any crosswalk or bicycle path crossing, where the operation is not otherwise prohibited by this code or local ordinance. —JonathanLawton

2014-10-16 14:24:55   Police have been ticketing people at the intersection of 3rd & Dst today. —ToddKaiser