Madison, WI police have been working hard the last few years to incorporate biking into their policing efforts. This includes using bikes to patrol the city and engaging bicyclists as the legal vehicle operators they are. In Wisconsin, bicyclists are required to have a front bike light between dusk and dawn. Many riders out there are not running with lights. This is bad for everybody. Without a light riders are at much greater risk of getting hit by a car. And as a car driver, suddenly noticing an unlit biker dangerously close to our car is scary.
Madison police officer Chris Masterson decided to do something creative and friendly about all these unlit bikers. On Wednesday 10/27/10 they ran “Operation Illumination”, setting up along several Madison bike paths to stop riders without lights. Instead of a ticket they gave them safety information and a set of lights.
Planet Bike donated 50 sets of lights. By working with the local police we hope, over time, to create a culture in Madison where everyone is expected to ride with lights and people take responsibility to get their own lights. We hope to continue this cooperation in the future. Future operations may mix light give-aways with straight enforcement of the law, using both carrots and sticks to convince riders it’s best to ride with lights.
Read more here.