In an innovative attempt to gain ground for cyclists, the Cape Coral Police Department has restarted its bike program. One goal is to make drivers more aware of cyclists by seeing police on the road on bikes themselves. By increasing awareness they hope to reduce bicycle accidents. In addition to patrolling the streets and having the authority to stop drivers for traffic infractions, these officers on bikes will also serve as safety role models for other riders.
The training included a rigorous 5-day physical and mental training course, instruction of traffic rules pertaining to bicyclists as well as skills needed for effective law enforcement. Officers learn proper mounting and dismounting, riding up and down stairs, bike maintenance, and on and off-road riding skills. Around a dozen officers have already been trained and that number is on the rise with completion of each training course.
The plan for officers to ride is not rooted in crime prevention, but in educating the community on safety and bicycle awarenes. Cape Coral Police have already given out over 100 helmets and bicycle lights to civilians riding without proper safety equipment.
The plan was implemented in early December with great support from the City of Cape Coral, Cape Coral Bike-Ped, BikeWalkLee and the Lee MPO. Officers will focus on high traffic and high speed areas because they pose the most threat to cyclists. The goal is that drivers and cyclists alike will benefit from having officers on bikes via exposure to proper cycling technique.
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