Thursday, April 5, 2012

Idaho cops - gettin' some bicycle training?

My friend Bob T sent me an interesting press release from the Idaho Transportation Department. (Specifically Steve Grant, Public Information Specialist, dated March 27, 2012.)

ITD sponsors bicycle and pedestrian safety training for law enforcement

Spring weather will bring more bicyclists and pedestrians on or near Idaho’s highways. In anticipation, the Idaho Transportation Department will sponsor a statewide training for law enforcement officers to brush up on Idaho’s bicycle and pedestrian safety laws.

ITD’s Office of Highway Safety awarded WE BIKE, etc., LLC, a contract to provide bicycle and pedestrian safety training to Idaho law enforcement officers beginning this month. The contract includes the “Continuum of Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Training for Law Enforcement” developed by WE BIKE in 2006.

The “Continuum” is a planned succession of safety information and multi-faceted training, from basic to in-depth, delivered over several months to law enforcement officers. Concluding two-day pedestrian and bicycle safety workshops tentatively are scheduled for Boise and Coeur d’Alene in June.

“The goal of this joint effort is to eliminate pedestrian and bicycle traffic crashes with vehicles on Idaho’s urban roads though education and enforcement,” said Donna Vasquez, with ITD’s highway safety office.

While I'm sure the law enforcers of Idaho are totally interested in minimizing crashes of all types, including bicycles... and while I'm sure that this training exercise can't hurt... I can't help but worry that there remains an underlying prejudice against bicycles. The majority of road-going citizens, and likely cops, perceive bicycles as recreational toys. And therefore many question whether they legitimately belong on roads - you know, all those "roads that were designed and built for motor vehicles."

Know what I mean?

Unless you're Amish, you probably think those little black horse-drawn buggies have no business on the roadways, either. Even though they were rolling those same routes - as were bicycles - before cars took over the world.

In any case, I welcome the training, and would that every cop in Idaho gets a thorough exposure to it!

I'll have to check out this "WE BIKE" group. Never heard of 'em.

(Thanks for the heads-up, Bob!)

(HERE is a link to the WeBike organization. Looks like some interesting stuff there...)

1 comment:

Josh said...

The descriptions on the "Education" page for We Bike seem encouraging, but both the President and Vice-President have degrees in "Recreation", which makes me think that their focus is more about using bikes as toys than transportation.
Getting some education out there is a good thing, and especially if it inspires the Law Enforcement Officers to Enforce the Law for cyclists and motorists a little more.