Partnering with Law Enforcement
The Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program
Columbia, MO - Marin County, CA - Minneapolis, MN - Sheboygan County, WI
Preliminary Observations and Experiences
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Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP) Pilot Communities:
Sheboygan County, WI
Partnering with law enforcement is an essential component of bicycle and pedestrian programs that seek to enable all users to share roadways safely. These partnerships help to provide information about and ensure consistent enforcement of pedestrian and bicycle safety laws. They also address motorist as well as pedestrian and cyclist behavior. Two NTPP communities - Columbia and Sheboygan County - have developed formal partnerships with local law enforcement departments.
- Development of courses for law enforcement officers about pedestrian and bicycle safety and laws, and Safe Routes to School
- Development of Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Enforcement Plans
- Development of easy reference materials for officers, such as brochures and laminated cards
- Development of pedestrian/bicycle safety videos and other media
- Joint education and enforcement activities conducted by law enforcement officers and volunteers
- The "Bike Bright/Use a Light" campaign was a partnership of the Columbia Police Department and a local non-profit group, the PedNet Coalition. Volunteers rode with Columbia Police officers in patrol cars for several evenings; the officers pulled over bicyclists riding at night without lights. The PedNet volunteers then mounted a free headlight and taillight on the bicycle in lieu of a ticket. Volunteers distributed 100 lights in just a few hours on one evening.
- A two-day Pedestrian and Bicycle Law Enforcement Training course in Sheboygan, modeled on training developed by the Wisconsin DOT (WisDOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is creating opportunities for partnerships that would have otherwise been unavailable.
- Officers participating in the Sheboygan Safe Routes to School pilot course have remained involved with the NTPP program, assisting in bicycle light giveaways and bicycle rodeos.
- Officers participating in courses in Columbia and Sheboygan were able to earn professional development credits.
- All officers in the Columbia Police Department received training on bicycling law; this training has started to breakdown stereotypes of bicyclists as impediments to traffic and helped increased willingness among officers to assist cyclists.
- During "Operation Share the Road" month, Columbia police stopped over 100 bicyclists to issue warnings or tickets.
- Law enforcement officers participated in the development of a bicycle safety Youtube video in Columbia: http://www.youtube.com/user/GetAboutColumbia.
GetAbout Columbia law enforcement training.
- Improved understanding by officers that bicycle/pedestrian/motor vehicle crashes are predictable and preventable.
- Improved understanding of how to enhance safety of all road users through consistent law enforcement.
- Bicycle shops in Columbia saw increased sales of bicycle light sets and owners heard stories of many people being pulled over for the first time.
- The programs need a champion within the law enforcement community who is respected and part of the law enforcement culture.
- The programs and training courses should be jointly developed with representatives from the law enforcement community.
- Although bicycle and pedestrian laws may not be a specific priority for law enforcement, overall community safety is; safety efforts should be framed in this context.
- Trained officers will effectively enforce bicycle and pedestrian regulations and speak with citizens about their rights and responsibilities as motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
For more information, contact:
Spring 2010 -- Prepared by the USDOT/Volpe Center for the Federal Highway Administration and NTPP Pilot Communities
Section 1807 of the Safe, Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users established the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP) in August 2005. Over the span of four years (2007-2010), the legislation authorizes $25 million for each of the NTPP's four pilot communities to construct and invest in nonmotorized transportation infrastructure and programs. The purpose of the NTPP is "to demonstrate the extent to which bicycling and walking can carry a significant part of the transportation load, and represent a major portion of the transportation solution, within selected communities."
* This research has been funded by the Federal Highway Administration's Office of Planning, Environment and Realty's Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP).