Thanks to a grant from Michigan's Office of Highway Safety Planning, LMB re-launched its Community Bicycle Safety for Law Enforcement Training on September 22nd. Traverse City's Northwest Michigan College was the site for the first session, which served as a pilot for a newly revised and updated curriculum. Law enforcement officers from Northern Michigan, including Traverse City, Central Lake, Big Rapids, Manistee, and Sault Ste. Marie, as well as well as a member of the Cherry Capital Cycling Club, attended the session.
The session, led by First Lieutenant Kyle Bowman from the Michigan State Police State Security Operations Section and Nancy Krupiarz, former Director of Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, covered the Michigan Vehicle Code and the Michigan Compiled Laws and discussed over 30 different legal issues in within them concerning bicycles. The session also covered the 4 E's: Education, Enforcement, Engineering, and Emergency Medical Services as components of improving a community's bicycle safety. The engagement of law enforcement agencies, as well as agencies working with other community partners, were highlighted as extremely effective in improving a community's bicycle safety. Recent crash data demonstrated the importance of taking action on bicycle safety and to help law enforcement understand the factors and types of behaviors that precipitate the most common, and most dangerous, incidents.
After lunch, the participants learned about bicycle rodeos simple ways of teaching bicycle safety and skills to members of a community. This session covered how to involve partners from the community, how to budget for and structure the event, the various stations that can be set up, and what skills are exemplified by each exercise. The officers learned how to properly fit a bicycle helmet, how to conduct a bicycle safety check, and how to ensure a bicycle is a proper fit for a rider. The attendees also hopped on their bicycles and enjoyed a "Crazy Eight" course, a "Rock Dodge and Scan" course, and a "Slow Race" as the finale.
The response from the participants was very positive. One law enforcement officer found the course, "very informative, with a friendly/open environment for learning". LMB will be further updating to the course materials in preparation for six more trainings sessions next spring and summer. LMB is looking to bring the training sessions to locations throughout the state, including one in the Upper Peninsula. Dates and locations will be announced over the next few months.
These sessions will be geared to law enforcement personnel but interested citizens are welcome, and strongly encouraged, to attend. According to John Lindenmayer, LMB Executive Director, "it is the citizen participation in conjunction with the police officers, in fact, that generates the best interactive discussion. We hope that everyone will consider attending in an effort to elevate bicycle safety and work towards a reduction of the rising crashes we have been seeing over the past few years."