The Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC)’s Education, Encouragement, Enforcement Subcommittee met on August 14th in the Commuter Connection Office at the US Bank Plaza.
In addition to representatives from various City departments and agencies (and myself) the meeting was also attended by Inspector Medaria Arradondo (Rondo) who commands the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD)’s 1st Precinct.
When I arrived at the meeting, the subcommittee were in the midst of a Q&A session with Inspector Rondo. To summarize:
Bicycle traffic has increased significantly throughout the City, but the MPD have not seen a corresponding increase in bike-related accidents.
The MPD has bike cops (like Officers Bulleigh and Lysholm - photographed at the Franklin Avenue Open Streets event).
The BRRT - Bicycle Rapid Response Team - are trained, certified officers who do a phenomenal job, particularly when there is a mass of humanity.Each precinct has their own bike officers.
In the 1st Precinct, due to resource availability, 90% of the time bike policing is mainly used during bar closing and for specific events — either bike units or mounted patrols.
Lessons were learned a lot of that from Seattle and other departments that specialize in bicycle public safety.
Beginning in the Fall, there might possibly be a consistent law enforcement representative from the 1st Precinct attending subcommittee meetings. There may also be discussions about this with other precincts.
There is the potential for some bike cops to take the TS101 bicycle training some time in the future, to ensure more consistent bicycle policing standards, and better [bicycle law] enforcement.
The League of American Bicyclists recently came out with a new Quick Guide to Smart Cycling which could be a valuable resource.
MPD have a bike safety program for kids. It is run by officer Michael Kirchen.
After a bike crash, it is still very important for all parties to exchange information.
Unless it is a very serious situation involving significant injuries, items can be moved or removed from the scene. MPD accident reconstruction experts investigators can usually reconstruct events from downtown video cameras and witness statements.
BAC encourages MPD officers to have their bikes tagged through the free Zap! Bicycle Commuting Program.
City employees can earn points by participating, and might even be able to locate lost or stolen bikes more easily. The Zap! program is open to everyone.
The next order of business was to elect a new chair for the subcommittee. Roy Hallanger was unanimously elected.
The subcommittee then briefly discussed whether it would be possible to change the time (currently 4:00 - 6:00) for their meetings. In the end, the location won the day. The Commuter Connection Office where the meeting is currently held actually closes at around 5:15pm, so the premises wouldn’t be available if meetings ran past 6/6:30pm.
Next, there was some thought as to whether this coming Fall would be a good time for another bicycle education event. Roy Hallenger volunteered to lead the effort to put together a task force.
The meeting ended with a discussion around future priorities. These included:
Keeping law enforcement engaged.
Being more proactive - possibly by reading the bicycle master plan occasionally and keeping it updated.
Evaluation (measuring the effectiveness of various bicycle-related intiatives).
Continue bicycle education -- try to more with the current resources.
Community education and schools.
Minutes from the BAC’s Education, Encouragement, Enforcement Subcommittee meetings are posted online.
All BAC Meetings are open to the public. If you’d like to attend a Bicycle Advisory Committee Education, Encouragement, Enforcement Subcommittee meeting, just show up on the 2nd Thursday of each month, 4:00-6:00 p.m, in Room 333 in the US Bank Plaza Building Commuter Connection office (220 6th St S, Suite 230 - Skyway level). Send an email to Simon Blenski and he’ll send you an agenda beforehand.