Chicago Police Say It Loud: Bikes Belong

Traffic Enforcement for Bicyclist Safety from Chicago Bicycle Program on Vimeo.

This amazing video, via Chicago Bicycle Advocate, was produced for the Chicago Police Department to educate drivers, cyclists and officers on traffic laws pertaining to bikes.  Given that the LAPD is revising its teaching methods for how it enforces traffic laws on cyclists this video should be required viewing down at Parker Center.

Considering the disregard and hostility often projected by Los Angeles’s Finest, that such videos exist (San Francisco
has one too) is remarkable enough. But here, interspersed with horror
stories from civilian cyclists, we have actual police officers — close
to a dozen are listed in the credits — instructing their colleagues
not just to enforce the law, but to treat bike riders with respect as
rightful users of the road.

After a primer on how to
fill out cyclist-involved crash reports, for example, the narrating
officer gives advice on cyclist interviews. Given that a cyclist may be
suffering from shock after a crash, he says: "You may need to follow up
the next day, or talk with them after a trip to the emergency room."

Does anyone know of other U.S. cities with similar
police training materials? Will Angelenos ever see the day when an LAPD officer publicly says something like, "The public counts on us to
keep the roads safe, and to protect those who are at the greatest risk"?

(editor’s note: I leaned heavily on the text provided in the NYC Streetsblog coverage of this video in writing, but the opinions expressed in this piece about L.A. are mine and should not have been attributed to our NYC staff.  That mistake was my mistake.)

  • Very nice… very upbeat and affirming! Could you post the LADOT / LAPD training video here? I don’t remember seeing it… but it was created (I think around 5-7 years ago) to help train officers.

  • What do you mean? LADOT and LAPD go out of their way to protect drivers from those who are at greatest risk…

    Oh, my mistake.

  • Great video. Other than the citations to specific Illinois and Chicago laws, it’s highly applicable to biking in many an urban environment–and LA, too. It strikes a good balance–not being too preachy or technical. I’d like to see LAPD’s version that Joe Linton mentions. $10 says that one needs some serious updating. (Actually very surprised one exists at all.)

  • I am worried that LADOT/LAPD’s might be considered “internal” and not public… we’ll see. From what I understand it’s very much an instructional video (I would say that the Chicago video mixes instruction with promotion – wonderfully – I don’t think the LA one does that at all.)

  • I honestly didn’t know one existed, and considering the amount of public meetings I’ve been at that discuss officer training; I sort of wonder how many members of the LAPD remember seeing it. I’ll follow-up with LADOT tomorrow or Monday (I have an interview downtown tomorrow morning and might not get to email until later in the afternoon.)

  • angle

    FWIW, here’s a transcript of the concluding narration from the old LAPD bicycle training video:

    “Safe, efficient automotive transit has become the cornerstone of American society, and the privilege of driving is inseparable from the freedoms bestowed on responsible adults.

    Unfortunately, the act of motoring is confounded by the presence of bicyclists on our streets; they retard the speed of cars and block otherwise smooth-flowing traffic, causing insufferable delays and putting themselves at grave personal risk.

    Bicycling on Los Angeles city streets is currently allowed, as dictated in the California Vehicle Code. Please be aware, however, that if a cyclist is injured or killed by a motorist, he or she is automatically deemed to be at fault, and any damages incurred to nearby automobiles will be the cyclist’s responsibility.

    To preserve the health and well-being of our citizenry and to maintain the sanctity of our city roadways, bicyclists should be actively discouraged from participating in their childish, counter-cultural hobby.”

  • David Galvan

    What an awesome video! Delivers the message without being hokey or preachy.

  • angle

    The risk with satire is an out-of-context quote, apparently!

  • Ack! That was only supposed to be up for an hour. If my interview with Rosendahl hadn’t been postponed for 5 hours, it would have been fixed. Sorry, Angle!

  • Wow – this is awesome


Road to the Bike Plan Stop 2: Chicago

Nice, It’s Even Cubs’ Blue Chicago made news last week when it’s #1 bicyclist, Mayor Richard Daley, introduced ordinances that would increase fines for reckless drivers who injure cyclists. The Chicago Sun-Times notes that "It’s designed to reduce the number of crashes involving bikes and motor vehicles. There were 6,000 such crashes in Chicago between […]

A reckless rider pleads guilty to assault with a deadly weapon. But does that say more about the city that charged him than the cyclists that ride there?

Yes, bike riders are subject to the same laws drivers are. Maybe Santa Monica police and prosecutors wanted to send that message loud and clear. Maybe they wanted to make an example of one reckless cyclist so other bicyclists would straighten up and ride right. But to do it, they slapped a reckless, red light […]