Houston — We Have Cops On Bikes

Monday’s Newport Beach Bicycle Master Plan meeting covered a variety of topics including:

  • A proposal from a conservancy group that wanted to limit cyclists’ access to the Back Bay loop
  • An update by the Alta Planning consultant on the progress of programs, e.g. Education, Encouragement and Enforcement, included in the Bicycle Master Plan, and
  • A report by NBPD on collisions involving cyclists for the month of March.

For me, the most important moment came when Ramon Zavala, Supervisor of Sustainable Transportation for UCI, reported that the City of Houston is utilizing an undercover program whereby police officers are riding bicycles through the key areas of Houston and citing motorists (and I suppose cyclists) for safety violations. Fantastic idea!

Coincidentally, NBPD just acquired 2 new electric bicycles.

My brain went into high gear:

What if some of the funds we raised for the Bike Safety Fund were used to purchase say 4 or 5 bicycles that NBPD would ride in uniform — NOT undercover?

Police officers would ride key areas like Coast Hwy through Mariners Mile while on the lookout for motorists that are not following the law. The officers would be in the stream of traffic, stopping at lights, turning left, turning right, all the while showing motorists that it is legal and correct for cyclists to be on the road and occupying turn lanes when necessary. As an added bonus, the bike-riding officers would become more familiar with problem traffic patterns and street conditions that cyclists face.

What better way to Educate and Enforce the rules of the road? We could influence thousands of motorists each and every day.

Tourism is a huge industry for Newport Beach — what a better way to encourage tourists to rent or ride in the bicycle-friendly City of Newport Beach?

Would this be an appropriate use of funds? What if $25,000 were spent to put more officers on bikes?
Share your thoughts, please.

 

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