Police officers, prosecutors, and judges must treat bicyclists equitably, as full and equal road users in the investigation, citation, and prosecution of traffic laws, and in assigning fault/liability and awarding damages.
Police officers in particular must treat bicyclists as equal to other road users when investigating traffic crashes, particularly their status as:
- full and equal road users with a right to use roadway travel lanes as full and equal drivers making normal driver movements per the rules of the road
- persons entitled to the same due care in investigation work and reporting (into state collision databases),
- persons entitled to equal treatment when fault is assigned.
Judges must also treat bicyclists in civil and criminal trials as equal to other drivers when
- assessing the advisability of bicyclists using the roadway as drivers (controlling lanes, making normal driver movements, such as through movements, lane changes, turns, etc.),
- determining fault,
- awarding damages (including pain and suffering, economic loss, property loss, etc.).
To facilitate the above equity goals for police and judges, it is imperative that they receive education on proper enforcement and treatment of bicyclists when patrolling, investigating, issueing citations in the field, assigning fault (crash report and courtroom), and determining culpability in the courtroom. I am traffic sponsors such education programs (see Education for details).
Posts in the Enforcement Category
In part 3 of his comprehensive overview of cycling law enforcement, Kirby Beck explains: What police need to learn How to get heard by your local police department Why changes in police departments need to come from the top Plus: why you need the AAA on your side. “You need to start reporting things,” Kirby urges cyclists. “They’re not going to know it’s a problem if they don’t hear from you and hear from your friends. “Now I know the cops will go, ‘Why did you tell them...read more
In part 2 of his comprehensive overview of cycling law enforcement, Kirby Beck explains: What police mean when they describe something as a “problem” (hint: it’s different from how you or I might use the word) How to effectively report incidents to 911 How to deal with police citations (step one: stay calm!) Beck is a retired police officer and a trainer with the International Police Mountain Bike Association. In Part 1 of this series, Beck took us through the fascinating history of cops on bikes, and gave an overview of the current state of...read more
In this series of videos, Kirby Beck – retired police officer, instructor and trainer with the International Police Mountain Bike Association – gives a comprehensive overview of cycling law enforcement. In part 1, Beck takes us through the fascinating history of cops on bikes, from the early police officers who stopped speeding horses, to the bike-based rapid response team that kept anarchists from burning St. Paul during the 2008 Republican National Convention. Plus, we get an amusing look back at 1970s TV cop show Adam 12, in which the...read more
This story was originally published on CommuteOrlando, January 26, 2010. It has been updated here. The Judge Mirandizes us as a group, then brings us forward one at a time to hear our plea, and the setting of a bond, etc. Those of us waiting are close enough to hear most of what is said. When I approach his raised dais, he opens a folder, and then looks up in surprise. He says, “Are they serious? Operating a bicycle on the roadway?” And as absurd as it sounds, my friend ChipSeal went back to jail that same night, arrested again on his way...read more