Posted by marilynch
Constables of the Peace – Cops on Bikes
In this post, you’ll see police officers on bikes
in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Greenfield, Monterey, Salinas, and Soledad,
as well as Seaside Police Department’s bike-friendly presence in Monterey County.
The latest bike-friendly buzz about Monterey County police officers? Soledad PD’s efforts to get more children on bikes! Scroll to the end of this post to learn more.
Below, a Soledad officer: “Hey, buddy, pass me out my helmet, will you? Enough patrol car for today. I wanna pedal!”
Please help Monterey County cops in their efforts to make our county an even more bike-friendly place. Download PDF here: Bike Laws Summary flier Be Cool Be Safe
Bicycle traffic law enforcement
In Monterey County, the bicycle community and the police want to avoid incidents such as this (in San Diego), where a cyclist was incorrectly ticketed although they had followed California law about lane usage for bicyclists. San Diego responded with trainings for police officers on cyclists’ rights and laws, and its police department also issued a helpful memo to its officers on bicycle traffic enforcement.
In Monterey County…
We’re very fortunate to have police departments that are already pretty bike-savvy! One reason is the awareness that comes from having many PDs with officers who bike themselves, like those pictured throughout this post. See some in action!
Our local officers can also take advantage of other Monterey County biking experts by arranging special trainings for their departments. Local cops have so many demands on their time and things to keep up with, so this training opportunity supports them in ensuring the most accurate bike law enforcement, and more positive interactions with cyclists. Contact me to learn more.
Many of our local PDs have activities that support youth and others in biking safely. Click here for an example of the Salinas Police Department’s “saving the day” when a 9-year-old’s new bike and helmet were demolished in an accident; see more examples here. See Seaside Police Department’s PAL bike fair and South County Health & Safety Fair, where Greenfield Police fitted kids in helmets. You’ll find other examples below.
Another way some of our PDs support biking is by seeing that unclaimed recovered stolen bikes get a good second life: Marina and Salinas PDs, and the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office too, provide bicycles used for bike tech training at the Monterey County Youth Center; see “Getting on the Right Path–a Bike Path…”
Keeping on the right side of the law
Police officers have incredibly high-stress jobs with a lot to keep track of. I wouldn’t want to walk in their shoes! In the unlikely event you ever feel you’ve been incorrectly warned–or even mistakenly ticketed–by a police officer in Monterey County, please notify the head of that police department. But first….
Know before you ride
Prevent problems: Please review California bicycle laws. People must learn the Rules of the Road before getting their driver’s license. And even where not required to get a bicycle license, it’s common sense to learn the bicycle laws before biking–and it can prevent a ticket or accident.
Feel free to contact me with questions. Where to find those Cali bike laws? See:
- CA Bike Laws and Personal Safety Tips on this site. And tell others about these available resources; download a flier: Bike Laws Summary flier Be Cool Be Safe
- State of California Rules of the Road: Operation of Bicycles – Spanish-language summary of California bicycle laws can be downloaded here (not available on DMV website as of 5/20/13):Leyes de ciclismo de CA – Laws for bicyclists in CA (Spanish, English) – Summary
- Rules of the Road – A Summary of California Cycling Laws from the California Bicycling Coalition
Resources for police departments
There are many more resources for police officers–including special training to help them carry out their duties by bike. Contact me to learn more.
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Keeping the Peace on Saint Pat’s
St. Pat’s Day 2011 was hopping in Monterey. These two Constables of the Peace were snapped with a bystander’s iPhone in front of Britannia Arms. Too bad the cops were on duty and couldn’t stop in for a meal–the Brit would give them a discount, it being a Thursday, and the Brit being in the HER Helmet Thursdays project!
Alas, these officers had to keep moving. I saw them pedaling a few minutes later down by another HHT spot, Peter B’s Brew Pub. They were making their way to the various bars, keeping tabs on things. Alert and pleasant, these busy officers briefly chatted with St. Pat’s partiers along their route, making a special contribution to keeping the peace.
There were police patrol cars about town too. And lots of taxicabs on the move tonight–smart, those people who phone a cabbie and refrain from drinking and driving! (See tips on this site about drinking and biking.)
And there were a surprising number of cyclists–clearly folks who know there’s more than one way to travel, even at night. Flashing bike lights and happy pedalers were seen on the streets and bike paths at least until midnight, from the Naval Postgraduate School to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
This was one of those days when I worked late and desperately needed a ride–so it was going to be a night ride. Called a couple of cyclist gals–Megan had a cold and a deadline, and Jan the Answer Man’s wife, Cath, wasn’t home. With a bright moon, it would have been fun to head down a quiet trail with a friend. Biking alone tonight, I decided to give up the moonlight for the bright street lights of town.
As I neared El Estero Lake, I heard music pouring across the water from the downtown area. At first I thought nearby Trinity High School must be having a special concert. Then I realized it was coming from further away–must be the Mucky Duck’s outdoor patio. Sure enough, as I headed for errand destinations–the library book drop and my Post Office box–I realized it was St. Pat’s Day. Town was buzzing, with people everywhere!
Three hours later, I ended my unplanned night ride. It had been interspersed with stops to chat with staff at various bike-friendly businesses, including many HER Helmet Thursdays spots–among them, the car and bike valet attendants at Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa and at Intercontinental The Clement Monterey.
I am grateful to live in a safe, peaceful community. This is a community where “take back the night” can, under the right conditions, be a comfortable thing to do–even more so with cops on bikes about!
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Carmel’s police officers not only bike, they also show they know the value of using bike-and-ride for those occasions when time doesn’t permit you to bike all the way to your destination.
Officers of the Greenfield Police Department are serious about public safety. And that even includes such things as teaming up with Bicycling Monterey in helping more South County kids, and adults, learn about bicycle laws and safety.
Below, Greenfield PD officer Armando Mendoza,fitting youth at the first South County Health & Safety Fair, August 15, 2012.
In addition to the St. Pat’s Day officers on duty, see more photos of City of Monterey police officers on bikes in this post about distracted driving–or biking.
The City of Monterey Police Department clearly recognizes the sensibility of more effectively patrolling the community while also reducing the City’s carbon footprint by using alternative transportation, bicycles.
the Monterey County seat
Perhaps you’ve seen Salinas officers on bicycles at parades and special events. Did you know that they also do some neighborhood patrols by bike? You’ll often see a couple officers out on bikes in the Hebron Heights neighborhood.
And did you know that the Salinas Police Activities League (PAL) has put on bicycle safety rodeos for children and teens? They have done a rodeo annually at Alisal Healthy Start for the past several years, and they do rodeos in other parts of the city too. They are always looking to expand their reach and make their events better. Please contact Salinas PAL to see how you can help!
Also see Salinas Youth and Others for Bikes: Bikes Make Life Better for a dozen ideas of how you can help Salinas PD and others to support more youth in biking.
Salinas officers following Kiddie Caper parade before Rodeo Week 2012
Special thanks to Lalo Villegas of Salinas PD for his enthusiastic support for biking. A veteran of the department, Lalo biked to the City Council meeting with other bike advocates during Bike Week 2010, and he was instrumental in making this photo available for the Bicycling Monterey website.
Here’s a May 2011 photo of Officer Kevin Mead of Salinas PD. With any round of budget cuts, let’s hope these terrific police officers remain on the beat–and with the salaries and benefits their demanding work so warrants.
You may have seen the Seaside police officer pictured below, an avid cyclist, out serving as a biking role model in his community.
Seaside Police Department is a bike-friendly PD too, and their Police Activities League (PAL) program has somehow managed to squeeze out the time to create a PAL Bike Fair on May 15, 2011. This event, coordinated by the department’s Tina Rosa, caps off Bike Week (May 9-15) and is also a fun way to help Seaside get ready for the Amgen Tour de California on May 19th! Check out the PAL Bike Fair (11-4), followed by a Recreational Ride at 4:30 (plus Amgen in Seaside info).
Here’s a July 2010 photo of Officer Anthony Snell of the Seaside Police Department.
Did you know Soledad–a gateway to Pinnacles National Park–was recognized in November 2013 as the 11th safest city in California? That’s surely partly due to the work of Soledad police officers in building good relationships with children, teens, and adults of their community.
Here’s one example: Soledad police were leaders in a community effort to get new bicycles for 75 disadvantaged children in time for Christmas 2013, as part of the annual Cops’ Giving Tree launched in 2009. Click here for Allison Gatlin’s 12/20/13 story in the Salinas Californian; and for more, see the Soledad Police Department’s thank you 12/20/13 on their Facebook page.
Click here for a photo of a City of Soledad’s bike patrol officer, and to learn more about the Soledad bike patrol program.
Soledad Police, as with some other PDs countywide, like to help with bicycle rodeos too, like this bike rodeo in April 2011.