a modest proposal for bike safety

as part of WGBH’s “Right of Way” series


toward the end of the panel, an idea occurred to me as to how we might promote cyclist safety. perhaps it is unrealistic given current budgets, but it struck me as a good idea to have police officers ride around the city. this could have multiple benefits:

  • cyclists will be more likely to stop for red lights when the police offer does (on  bike)
  • motorists may be more considerate when they see commuters riding with “police protection”
  • uniformed officers on two wheels might help dispel the notion to bikes belong on the sidewalk
  • ticketing cars that park in bike lanes

maybe it’s a silly idea, or maybe they’ve tried it. but it seemed to resound with the panel. maybe something will come of it…

2 Comments so far

  1. KillMoto on May 11th, 2013

    I can only imagine the cost of a police bike to be less than the cost of maintenance and fuel for a police car for a month.

    For a police force to establish a few bike police, they’ll have a new tool for enforcing a wide range of places and events. Their health care costs will go down too. I see absolutely no down side.

  2. Dotbiker on May 13th, 2013

    Actually there are a number of officers out during the spring summer and fall on bicycles. My observations suggest they are worse scofflaws than most regular riders, often riding on the sidewalk and the wrong side of the street. One was hit by a car in Dorchester a couple of years ago, although it wasn’t clearly his fault. But SURE!!!! more cops should get out of their cruisers with its built in distraction of a radio and a lap top and get out onto the street. Having seen cops playing video games on those same lap tops while they sit idling in the middle of a park while anything they’re supposed to be looking for may happen unobserved, being outside on a bike has to be better if just not for the air quality. Absolutely!! If the cops would (or could??) commit to this we’d all be safer in more ways than one.

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