Law and Order

JUL 2013

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FEATURE Bicycle Law Enforcement SUMMARY Avoid the bike lane at intersections. BICYCLE LAW ENFORCEMENT Photos courtesy of Keri Caffery. Check out some of the most common myths and misunderstandings about traffic. Examine reality to increase safety for all road users. As bicycle use increases around the country, it is important for police leaders to understand these realities and train their line staff in them as well. ENFORCE LAWS WITH MUTUAL RESPECT. By Kirby Beck A merica's roads were frst paved in the late-1800s after extensive lobbying by bicyclists, then known as "wheelmen." Horse-drawn wagons and early motorcars could function on the rutted dirt roads of the era. But cyclists, balanced on their large wheeled penny-farthings, had a diffcult time functioning on the uneven surface. At that time, bicycles were often the fastest vehicles on the road. As motorcar use increased, motorists found equitable, non-motorized use of the street to be a hindrance. While never codifed, these perceptions regarding road use gradually came to be understood and accepted: 52 LAW and ORDER I July 2013 Road Use Perceptions Roads are for motor vehicles: In fact, roads are still for moving people and motor vehicles are but one type of conveyance by which people move. Slow vehicles are unsafe: Most enforcement offcers know that speed kills; however, a perception has developed that vehicles that are slower than other traffc create a hazard; in truth, slower is still safer. The "right" of speed: Many people believe that you can't use the road if you can't keep up. If a heavily loaded truck is unable to accelerate from an intersection or up a hill, most motorists understand and merely tolerate it or pass it when they are able. Yet if the vehicle is a bicycle, intolerance and outrage develops in some drivers. As with all slow-moving vehicles, bikes must use the right lane unless they are preparing for a left turn, but despite common misconceptions, they still have a right to the roadway. It is safest for bicyclists to stay out of the way: This myth has sadly contributed to the majority of

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