Salty Dog Cycling

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Posts Tagged ‘Safety

LAPD Vows to Protect Cyclists

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via LATimes.com

Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck told a group of bicycle advocates that department-wide training would be implemented to highlight the rights of bicyclists on the road and ensure that officers know how to deal with incidents involving bikes.

Beck’s statements come amid growing complaints from cyclists that their rights are being infringed by drivers. It marks the first time top LAPD brass has publicly addressed the issue.

Beck said bike riders are “our most vulnerable commuters” and that the police department needed to do a better job protecting them.

“We hear you, we know we need to do a better job for you,” Beck said.

Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger said the training would include a document that would be included in official department policy outlining officers’ responsibilities in dealing with cyclists on the road. He said it was still unclear what would be in the document but said he hoped to meet with bicycle groups and have it ready within 30 days.

Paysinger also said that in less than 45 days the department would create a computer-based “e-learning” agenda that would be mandatory for all police officers to help them better recognize problems and issues involving cyclists.

Paysinger also pointed to other actions the LAPD had recently taken involving bicyclists – creating a working group with advocacy groups, appointing an official liaison within the police department and ensuring that all incidents involving bicyclists are handled by each bureau’s traffic division – as evidence the LAPD had begun to take bicycling safety more seriously.

Beck’s statements came during a transportation committee meeting Wednesday afternoon. About 20 cycling advocates, including some from the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, came to the meeting to address Beck after they completed a bike ride to call for justice for victims of hit-and-run accidents and to protest what it says is unfair treatment of cyclists.

Councilman Bill Rosendahl, chairman of the transportation committee, said it was a “historic first” to have the chief of police listening directly to the experiences of cyclists and promising reform.

“Today is the beginning of a new day with the LAPD,” Rosendahl said. “My hope is that six months from now an officer will know the rights of cyclists as well as the rights of motorists.… I think the LAPD, like pretty much the citizenry in general, has had the car culture.”

The ride traced the route that local cyclist Ed Magos used to take on his daily commute to City Hall, where he works in the information technology department. Magos was injured Jan. 6 when he was struck from behind while cycling on 2nd Street near Figueroa Street in downtown Los Angeles, according to the coalition. The motorist stopped but then drove away. The motorist later went to an LAPD station but was not charged with a crime.

–Ari B. Bloomekatz

Photos: L.A. Times file

Written by yellow fork

February 25, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Policing from the Bike

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Some behind the scene on Bicycle Policing from Officer.com

 

By Jonathan Kozlowski
 

     While the majority of the country is hit by flash flooding and snow storms, riding a bicycle might not be the on top of many agencies’ minds. What better place than Florida, then, to explain the benefits of mobilizing a bike patrol rather than locking it up to rust in the weather.

     Behind the wheel officers have access to, if installed, a mobile data terminal, high-caliber firearms possibly mounted or stored in the trunk, console storage for paperwork and (possibly the most specific) a mechanical engine. Even the motorcycle officer has this advantage to chase a suspect at 60 mph. While the bicycle typically doesn’t experience high speeds, these differences can ultimately lead to the bike’s benefits.

     “The challenges between being on a bicycle or in a police car are no different,” says Sgt. Frank Sousa of the Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Police Department. “The nature of the work is the same — you’re just on a bike.”

     Fort Lauderdale posts a bicycle patrol part time, sending officers to other jurisdictions when needed, Miami Beach for example.

     There, according to Sgt. Jeff Cohen of the Miami Beach PD motorcycle unit and bicycle unit trainer, events like major holidays and football championships bring in a massive amount of tourists. To combat this influx, Miami Beach trains each officer in a 30-hour bicycle course whether he or she is headed to the bicycle unit or not. “We call them ‘Rapid Response Units’ because when traffic is bad they can much more rapidly respond than anybody else,’ says Cohen.

     This training opens a lot of officer’s eyes to the bicycle. Sousa recollects that when he began his bicycle training instructors told him he had to go up some stairs on bikes. “I was like, ‘That’s impossible,’ but it’s not — a lot of it is mental, learning how you can and what you cannot do with [the bike].” He says officers should look at a bicycle as another law enforcement tool, comparing it to learning the firearm.

     “[After training] I had a whole new respect for the bicycle … you can do so much on a bicycle that you would think is not possible,” he adds.

Tactics     An obvious difference between patrol car and bicycle, even motorcycle and bicycle, is how much the officer is exposed. Overcoming this involves less special-effect dare-devil moves but rather a new way of thinking.

     “We train all the time, regardless of being on a bike or on patrol,” says Sousa. “We train for a multitude of things … every time something happens you learn from it.”

     Staying in line with this thinking, Cohen had to translate some methods learned from his motorcycle unit to the bicycle. With a motorbike, an officer has an opportunity to use it has a barricade, since motorcycles are typically large enough to offer some cover. “With a bicycle [riders] really can’t do that,” he says. “We have to teach [officers] to be very aware of their surroundings and what their cover opportunities are, being that the bicycle provides zero cover.” – Full Article Here…

Written by yellow fork

January 22, 2010 at 11:47 pm