When it comes to bicycles and pedestrians, more often than not there is not a uniform understanding of the existing laws – not only among bicycles and pedestrians, but with motorists as well. Providing educational information to all roadway users is key to a safe and successful multi-modal system.
Implement an Educational Campaign that includes the following:
- Create a traffic violation warning sheet. This provides a graphic and written explanation of the most common bicyclist and motorist violations related to bicycle safety. These may be distributed by the police in lieu of an actual citation or as a supplement to a violation. Click here for an example.
- Provide an optional bicycle safety and law class in lieu of a fine for first time bicycle law offenders. Upon receiving a ticket the offender has three options: pay the ticket, contest the ticket, or attend a class on bicycle safety that is given periodically. This option is typically only available for the first offense.
- Establish a helmet reward campaign to encourage children to use a helmet. When police see a child wearing a helmet, they issue them a “ticket”, which is actually a coupon for free ice cream or other suitable treat. This program provides positive interaction between the police and children and in many cases children encourage their parents to wear bicycle helmets as well.
- Decorate the streets with banners that provide simple information about bicycle, pedestrian and motor vehicle etiquette. Street banners are a vibrant and colorful way for a community to help bring awareness to motor vehicles, encourage safe bicycle and pedestrian activity and enhance the beautification of the community. Street banners may also be implemented concurrently with new bicycle and pedestrian facilities, such as bike boxes and hybrid pedestrian beacons, to help educate and bring awareness to the new facilities.
- A safety campaign should be developed that provides targeted safety messages to the public. The campaign should deliver an easy-to-understand message to a wide range and large number of people, including motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. The campaign could include Transportation Trivia that helps engage people and encourage them to really think about the message being presented. The trivia could be posted around town on banners and billboards, at bus stops, at gas station pumps, on local maps, or could be distributed through local publications, websites and social media. To start off, a good group to target may be bicycles who travel the wrong way, against he flow of traffic.
- Publications that include tips for riding a bicycle legally and safely should be freely available and may be distributed at the police department, city hall, community centers, welcome centers, local businesses and during community events. “What Every MI Bicyclist Must Know” is an excellent resources for anyone riding a bicycle in Michigan. Law enforcement agencies and other organizations can request free copies for distribution.