MassBike has partnered with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Boston Police Department (BPD) to produce a police training video called “Shifting Gears: Bicyclists & Public Safety.” The video is the product of a unique partnership between MassBike, DPH’s Mass in Motion Program, and the Boston Police Academy to enhance the safety of bicyclists and other roadway users.
The eleven minute long video will be coupled with an information card and an optional classroom education component. It is intended for local police departments to use as training for officers to become familiar with or enhance their knowledge of bicyclist behavior and applicable laws, and motorist interactions with bicyclists and applicable laws.
Specific topics covered in the video include bicyclists’ right to the road, dooring, safe passing, yielding to bicyclists on turns, parking in bike lanes, bicyclists’ compliance with rules of the road, hand signals, yielding to pedestrians, lights at night, wrong-way bicycling, and crash investigation.
“With many more bicyclists using our roadways than ever before, and with numbers expected to continue growing, our duty as public safety officers is to promote safety for all road users,” said BPD Commissioner William Evans. He added, “it is important for police departments to have the knowledge needed to correctly enforce laws for both motorists and bicycle riders. We think this video will be an effective tool to that end.”
“Promoting active and healthy forms of transportation, such as bicycling, is an important part of achieving the public health outcomes of reducing obesity and chronic disease in communities across Massachusetts,” said DPH Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett. “Law enforcement plays an important role in promoting roadway safety and awareness, which makes bicycling a more accessible mode of transportation for a wider range of potential riders,” she added.
According to MassBike Executive Director David Watson, “one injury or fatality is too many, and increasing safety is the key goal of this video. This video addresses a recognized knowledge gap and contains practical information for police officers, delivered by police officers. It’s not just about enforcement, it’s about education too.”
MassBike, DPH, and BPD are working with partners across the Massachusetts to distribute the video and accompanying materials.