04/05/12

Enforcing the Law for All UsersEnforcing the Law for All Users

  •  Most law enforcement officers have received no specialized training to enforce laws protecting pedestrians and bicyclists
  • Since 2007, Twin Cities bicycling is up 52 percent; walking up 18 percent
  • Resources provided in the training package include statutory reference guide, materials for safety outreach, roll call videos, computer-based trainings and workshops (April 18-19, May 3-4)

Saint Paul, Minn. - April 5, 2012 - To help Twin Cities-area law enforcement agencies with enforcement efforts related to pedestrian and bicycle safety, Bike Walk Twin Cities is providing essential educational materials and training in April and May.

The Bike Walk Twin Cities Toolbox of Enforcement Resources for Safe Walking and Bicycling is part of a federal pilot program to increase bicycling and walking as forms of transportation. Since 2007, Twin Cities bicycling increased by 52 percent and walking by 18 percent, according to data from Bike Walk Twin Cities, a program of Transit for Livable Communities.

"Enforcement is an important aspect of creating safer streets and more vibrant walking and bicycling communities, but most public safety officers have not received specific pedestrian or bicycle enforcement training," said Joan Pasiuk, program director of Bike Walk Twin Cities. "We are glad to focus on enforcement training and encourage local police departments to take advantage of the opportunity so officers can better enforce the rules of the road for all users."

Officers from the Saint Paul Police Department will be participating in the training. "While Saint Paul Police Department trains officers on issues that guide pedestrian, bicycle and motorist traffic, we support education efforts that supplement our training and reinforce the importance of everyone understanding the laws that guide our community members' travels," said Saint Paul Police Senior Commander David Mathison.

"Officers don't enforce laws that they do not know and they don't enforce laws that they cannot defend," says Peter Flucke of WE BIKE, LLC, who developed the training materials. Flucke, a former Minnesota law enforcement officer, has trained officers around the country in predicting and preventing pedestrian and bicycle crashes.

The Bike Walk Twin Cities Toolbox of Enforcement Resources includes the following components:

  • Brochure - "Enforcement for Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety: Are You Prepared?" available in print and electronic form, contains basic information on pedestrian and bicycle safety, pertinent state statutes and a handy guide that officers can keep in their clipboards.
  • Safety and educational resources - samples of pedestrian and bicycle safety materials for use by law enforcement officials, including posters, pocket guides, coloring books, etc.
  • Roll call videos - produced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), these brief, educational videos, "Enforcing Laws for Pedestrian Safety" and" Enforcing Laws for Bicycle Safety," are targeted to law enforcement audiences.
  • Self-paced instructional CDs - Two interactive courses developed by the NHTSA, "NHTSA Pedestrian Safety Training for Law Enforcement" and "Enhancing Bicycle Safety: Law Enforcement's Role," divide pedestrian and bicycle safety into seven sections and take approximately two hours each to complete. The CDs are ideal for officers interested in earning continuing education credits.
  • Instructor-led training - free, two-day training, led by Peter Flucke, which includes classroom and on-the-road activities. Attendees learn how to conduct a local audit of pedestrian and bicycle safety, pedestrian and bicycle laws, how and when crashes happen, crash investigating and reporting and much more. The session concludes with recommendations for a community enforcement exercise.

The instructor-led sessions will be held on April 18-19, and again on May 3-4, at the MnDOT transportation office in Saint Paul. Twin Cities-area law enforcement departments interested in any of the Bike Walk Twin Cites Toolbox components listed should contact Roz Barker of We Bike, Inc (roz@webike.org). The deadline for signing up for the training sessions is April 13.

The training sessions are targeted to communities involved in the federal nonmotorized transportation pilot program administered by Bike Walk Twin Cities, including Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Roseville, Falcon Heights, Lauderdale, Saint Anthony, Columbia Heights, Fridley, Brooklyn Center, Robbinsdale, Golden Valley, Saint Louis Park, Edina, Richfield, and Fort Snelling.

Additional information is available at www.bikewalktwincities.org/news-events/news/public-safety.

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