I recently passed through Denver International Airport and saw numerous law enforcement officers riding bicycles along Concourse A. I thought it was cool seeing cops on bikes inside the airport. Not long before that, I saw a battalion of police bicycles along Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
Cops on bicycles are just about everywhere these days and that’s very good news for those of us who are passionate about cycling. The more police departments embrace cycling as a law enforcement tool, the easier it is to connect with officers on road safety issues.
As most of us already know, traffic laws are not always evenly applied when it comes to protecting the non-motorized. Many jurisdictions appear to favor the needs of motorists and it sorta, kinda makes sense…in a way. There are far more of them to contend with and they can be very vocal about what they want and need. That said, sometimes we are our own worst enemies. When cyclists openly flaunt traffic laws, it sends the wrong message to law enforcement and the public at large. We appear arrogant and above the law and that’s not the way to garner respect and sympathy from those with an opposing point of view.
But cops on bikes have to deal with the same nonsense many of us struggle with on a daily basis and as they do it can’t but help the rest of us. Here’s what we can do to speed the process along:
- Follow the rules of the road while riding…not just when there are cars around, but always.
- Reach out to law enforcement officers. Build bridges. Empathize. Thank them for their service. Ask them for their help. Most of the cops I know are motivated by an honorable sense of duty and a genuine desire to help others.
- Smile while riding. I know it sounds silly, but it matters. Go out of your way to give other road users a break. Chances are you won’t see it returned on a one to one basis, but the amount of universal karma is in balance and must remain so. We will ultimately get back what we give to others.
I’m committed to engaging the law enforcement community in an attempt to make all of America more bike friendly. They are a critical part of this movement. If I may be of assistance to you, your group or organization or even your community, please let me know. Always remember…we’re on the right side of history. Stay focused, do good, and ride on. In the end, the outcome is inevitable.