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BCPD Plans To Focus On Bike Safety In April

Assoc. News Editor

Published: Sunday, April 1, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

Boston College students can expect to receive a large number of citations from the BCPD during the month of April, but for once they will have no reason to be upset about them. The BCPD and BC Bookstore are partnering up to make April Boston College Bike Safety Month and are launching a program to educate the community on bike safety issues, which will include the dissemination of “citation” coupons that offer students 20 percent off on the bookstore’s new line of bike safety equipment.

“The ‘Savings for Safety’ program will allow us to serve the community in an innovative way,” said Chadi Kawkabani, general merchandise manager of the BC Bookstore. “We looked at the needs the biking community has, and we are excited to now offer bike helmets, locks, front and tail lights, and BC bike jerseys.”

During the month of April, on-duty BCPD mountain bike patrol officers will approach BC community members who are riding bicycles, safely or not, and engage them in a conversation about bike safety.

“This program intends to educate the community, and to give back a little,” said Jeffery Postell, BCPD sergeant for Community Policing. “We don’t want anyone being injured from unsafe practices or not knowing the laws that surround biking. Our officers are going to write coupon citations for any problems they see, and in this way we are giving back to the community.”

No BC community member will leave an encounter with a BCPD bike patrol officer empty-handed.

“We will give everyone we talk to a Bicycle Safety Fact Sheet,” Postell said. “We want every student to leave a conversation with a BCPD officer with useful information that they can look back on later to improve their awareness of bicycle safety.”

Postell has seen BC community members engaging in a number of unsafe biking behaviors that he hopes Bike Safety Month will correct.

“Many members of our community do not realize they are required to have forms of lighting on a bike if they ride at night,” he said. “For instance, they are required to have a front headlamp that is at least 500 feet visible to the front, and not many students do. Many students also do not understand that bicyclists have the same rights as cars. On Beacon Street I’ve seen bikers go straight through a red light. That is unsafe and illegal.”

Postell hopes that the 100 coupons BCPD officers hand out, as well as the new line of equipment at the store, will encourage students to purchase any safety equipment they are missing.

“We realized that money is tight with a lot of college students and the convenience to purchase bike equipment on campus was not there before,” he said.

In addition to striking up safety conversations and handing out coupons, the BCPD will hold two bike safety checkpoints during April. The first will be April 11 at McElroy Hall from 10 a.m. to noon, and the second will be at Corcoran Commons on April 26 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“At these events, we’re going to have bike patrol officers on site talking about bike safety, equipment there for purchase, and a local bike shop on campus free of charge to do a ride safe check of anyone’s bike to make sure that it is safe and does not need any work,” Postell said.

Students will also be able to register their bicycles with the BCPD at these events, though a student can register any time. The BCPD strongly recommends that students do this, as it is helpful for officers to have information, such as a serial number, about a bike in the event that it is lost or stolen.

“This program is not about sales to the bookstore, it’s about engaging the community,” Kawkabani said. “It’s an opportunity for our police officers to engage students in a friendly way, so that these students can put a name to a face, and the next time they are in a situation where they need a helping officer, they have someone to approach.”

Postell believes being an involved part of the community is crucial to BCPD’s job.

“When you’re on a bike instead of in a cruiser, people see you as a person, and being seen as a person is very important in law enforcement. We want to build positive relationships with BC community members that will last a student’s four years here, or a staff member’s entire career.”  n

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