Los Angeles police chief vows to protect cyclists

14:26, February 26, 2010      

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Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Chief Charlie Beck has pledged to take steps to protect the rights of cyclists, a newspaper report said on Thursday.

Bike riders are "our most vulnerable commuters" and that the police department needed to do a better job protecting them, Beck told a group of bicycle advocates during a transportation committee meeting Wednesday afternoon, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Beck's made the statement amid growing complaints from cyclists that their rights are being infringed by drivers.

"We hear you, we know we need to do a better job for you," Beck said.

Beck said the LAPD would implement department-wide training to highlight the rights of bicyclists on the road and ensure that officers know how to deal with incidents involving bikes.

According to Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger, the LAPD would adopt a policy to outline officers' responsibilities in dealing with cyclists on the road.

He said that in less than 45 days the department would create a computer-based "e-learning" agenda that would be mandatory for all police officers to help them better recognize problems and issues involving cyclists.

Paysinger also pointed to other actions the LAPD had recently taken involving bicyclists: creating a working group with advocacy groups, appointing an official liaison within the police department and ensuring that all incidents involving bicyclists are handled by each bureau's traffic division.

He cited the steps as evidence the LAPD had begun to take bicycling safety more seriously.

Councilman Bill Rosendahl, chairman of the transportation committee, said it was a "historic first" to have the chief of police listening directly to the experiences of cyclists and promising reform.

"Today is the beginning of a new day with the LAPD," Rosendahl said. "My hope is that six months from now an officer will know the rights of cyclists as well as the rights of motorists ... I think the LAPD, like pretty much the citizenry in general, has had the car culture."

Source: Xinhua
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