Working with Police for Smarter Enforcement Alliance for Biking & Walking Mutual Aid Call Wednesday, October

9, 2013
Biking- and walking-friendly laws are important, but legal protections for bikers and walkers is only as effective as the enforcement of those laws. How can biking and walking advocates work with police departments to ensure that all people receive fair, lawful, and safe protection on community streets? On this call, advocates discussed how they have implemented innovative ways to work with police departments for smart law enforcement for active transportation.

Recap: Advice from Peter Flucke President, WE Bike, etc.
• As a former police officer whose career included a street beat in Minnesota, a period as a park ranger, and founding one of the first police bike patrols in Minnesota, Peter is uniquely qualified to explain the police officer’s perspective for cycling advocates • Two big obstacles to bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement from cops: • Officers won’t enforce laws they don’t know or can’t defend • “Traffic” to cops means cars; many officers don’t receive training in bike and pedestrian safety • Advocates have an uphill battle when building relationships with police officers. Peter suggests asking the police, “What is the leading cause of pedestrian or bicycle crashes in your community?” They probably won’t know; following up on that question this is your window for further dialogue.

Recap: Advice from David Watson Executive Director, MassBike
• In 2002, MassBike received a large NHTSA grant to develop an extensive police training program. They responded enthusiastically, developing a comprehensive 54-page reference guide and a multi-day training curriculum for police officers. In retrospect, MassBike realize that their reference guide and training curriculum were too detailed and too time-consuming to achieve much traction in the law enforcement community. It also didn’t take into account the fact that officers came on-shift—and were therefore available for training—at several different times of day. • After a new 2009 statewide law finally made it possible to adopt a uniform citation for all forms of traffic infractions, including bicyclist infractions and enforcement of bicyclerelated laws. MassBike is now working on a revised and condensed training program consisting of a short video that can be shown at “roll call” at the beginning of any shift. • MassBike has elicited significant support from the law enforcement community, in large part because of the crash data that it was able to present. This data captured the officers’ attention by highlighting the large and growing number of crashes and fatalities and pinpointing where they were happening and what types of crashes occurred.

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Working with Police for Smarter Enforcement Alliance for Biking & Walking Mutual Aid Call Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Recap: Advice from Eileen Schaubert Cycling Consultant, Educator and Advocate
• The city of Austin, TX’s cycling advocacy community had some unique opportunities to promote better cooperation between the cycling and law enforcement communities in 2008. First, the city had just completed an 18-month task force with recommended actions in response to recent cycling fatalities. Second, the Austin Police Department had just hired a new chief, who was tasked with improving community relations after recent high-profile fatalities and perceived harassment of cyclists. • After a serendipitous encounter in a bike shop, cycling advocates pulled together to organize the first-ever public “Chat with the Chief ” to address cycling enforcement issues. This event was carefully choreographed among the five main advocacy groups and designed not to appear as an attack on the police department. • The “chat” was so successful that it is now an annual event, and the cooperative relationship between the cycling and law enforcements communities has led to several successful new awareness and action campaigns. • Eileen’s takeaways: • Keep asking until you find the right champion. • Advocates must be willing to put work into the project, including finding funding. • It’s important to be persistent in order to keep projects moving. • Staying positive and cooperative in order to achieve the final goal is critical. • Advocates and cyclists must share responsibility with motorists for good road behavior.

Additional Resources
• Eileen’s written tips from Austin • MassBike Background Research - Background research for MassBike’s law enforcement training video • Continuum of Training Executive Summary – A summary of WEBike, etc.’s extensive police officer training program • Interview questions – A list of guiding questions for MassBike employees to use when discussing bike safety with law enforcement officials.

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