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How your car's tinted windows pose a hazard to cyclists, pedestrians and police

How your car's tinted windows pose a hazard to cyclists, pedestrians and police
Cyclists, pedestrians and cars at a downtown Los Angeles intersection in 2015. (Christina House / For The Times)

To the editor: Robin Abcarian provides a good inside view of car window tinting ("Attention too-cool-for-school drivers: Your tinted car windows are illegal," Sept. 15), but the perspective from outside can be downright scary.

Bicycle riders have to be alert to cars pulling out from cross streets and driveways, and being able to clearly judge drivers' alertness is literally a matter of life and death.

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Driving a car while protected by seat belts, air bags and several thousand pounds of metal, it's easy to make trusting assumptions about other drivers. But bicycle riders who encounter a car with darkened windows edging out into their path are confronted with a scenario akin to playing Russian roulette.

Much of the wear on my bicycle brakes has to do with tinted windows; this seems to annoy many drivers (whose impatience becomes visible as I slowly approach close enough to see a shadowy figure inside), but the stakes are too high for me to make assumptions.

Brian Bennett, La Verne

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To the editor: Tinted windows hinder law enforcement by reducing the chances of observing illegal activity and increasing the danger of a car stop. They prevent witnesses and police from identifying the driver of a hit-and-run collision.

As a pedestrian, I often can't make eye contact to be sure a driver sees me from the side. As a bicyclist, I cannot see if someone is in a parked vehicle so I can prepare for a sudden pullout.

The stated reasons for tinting (privacy and reduced glare) would seem to be outweighed by law enforcement and safety concerns. If police consistently issued citations for tinting violations, wouldn't those concerns be substantially reduced?

John C. Garrett, Newport Beach

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