Law enforcement plays an essential role in supporting bicycle travel by reducing unsafe operation of motor vehicles and bicycles and by reminding the public about the legal rights and duties of road users. A police force that is more knowledgeable than the general public about best bicycling practices is more confident when dealing with bicycling issues, improves the environment for bicycling, and ultimately reduces bicyclist crash rates. Police who are uninformed, however, sometimes improperly stop bicyclists who are operating lawfully and safely. Police training programs that explain effective traffic law enforcement practices for bicyclist safety should be included in any community’s strategy for improving bicycling.
BikeWalk NC has worked with the City of Raleigh and other Triangle are municipalities to develop a police training program entitled Bicyclist Safety and Law Enforcement that covers defensive bicycle operating practices, bicyclist’s rights and duties under NC law, analysis of common causes of local bicycle crashes based on local police reports. Such crash data provides a compelling justification for the existing rules of the road and the prioritization of traffic violations. The training also includes discussion of bicycle-specific facilities such as shared lane markings and bike lanes. This training program has been customized for other local police departments such as Cary PD and NCSU PD, and is also available as a generic statewide version.
BikeWalk NC recommends that local communities incorporate the Bicyclist Safety and Law Enforcement training program into their local police training materials.
Read the full BikeWalk NC policy paper and background material on Police Education on Bicycling Issues here.