I have a specific proposal that I want your help with. I want help from everyone, and most especially I need help from the Bike Pittsburgh salaried lobbyists!: I want a bicycle police-person to come along on the next Flock of Cycles ride. Not as an escort, but as a participant, building relationships with the bicycling community. The relationships are needed so that bicyclists can convey our concerns about specific dangers and needs for driver safety enforcement, and also so that bicyclists can convey our concern about bicycle police behaving badly. The police need to attend our events to hear from our community. The relationship needs work so bicyclists will have confidence that police are working on our behalf. With a good relationship, the police will be more effective, since bicyclists will communicate to them and police can proactively reduce dangers and prevent terrible crashes.
I just got back from a post-Ride of Silence picnic on the side of Forbes Avenue in Oakland, across the street from Dunkin Donuts. As we sat talking and eating, the group was upset to see a uniformed bike policeman bicycling the wrong way, on the one-way part of Forbes Avenue. The group started to talk about the many times people had seen bike police here do the exact same thing, and also ride after dark without a headlight on (which is mandated by law). Another problem people complained about is that they have often seen bike police ride on busy sidewalks full of pedestrians, when they could safely ride in the street.
I personally have only lived in Pittsburgh a little over 5 months, so I haven’t experienced seeing all these things. However, I have heard riders complain about police not listening to bike rider issues in Pittsburgh, from many people at many rides here. So, I propose we do this specific thing to improve the situation. Let’s improve our communication, starting with a bike policeperson attending the next Flock ride.