The PedNet Coalition commends and thanks the Columbia Police Department, especially Capts. Schwartze and Monticelli, and Detective Westbrook, for implementing "Operation Share-the-Road" during October.
Under this program, police officers emphasize enforcement of traffic laws related to bicycles. Dangerous behavior by motorists (yelling, honking, throwing objects at cyclists and driving too close) will not be tolerated. At the same time, dangerous behavior by cyclists (riding on the wrong side of the street, riding at night without lights and running red lights and stop signs) will also result in warnings and tickets.
The PedNet Coalition views bicycling as a legitimate and overwhelmingly practical mode of transport for local journeys. Most trips to work, school, shopping or social events in Columbia are five miles or less, so the time saved by driving is negligible. Bicycling improves health and fitness for the individual; saves money for the family (downsizing from two cars to one saves $8,000 per year on average); and reduces traffic congestion, air pollution and road maintenance costs for the community.
Unfortunately, there is a widespread belief that bicycling with traffic is dangerous. In fact, it's perfectly safe if the cyclist (1) learns how to ride correctly, and (2) obeys traffic laws. In virtually all bike-related accidents in Columbia, the cyclist is riding the wrong way, riding at night without lights or failing to stop. Through "Operation Share-the-Road," the Police Department is helping promote cycling for transportation.
For information about Confident City Cycling, PedNet's bike safety class funded by GetAbout Columbia, please call 239-7916.