Sunday, September 06, 2009

Bike Patrol Cautions Sidewalk Riders

What a pleasure today to encounter two Plainfield police officers on bike patrol at Park & Seventh and to hear them instruct people in English and Spanish not to ride on the sidewalk!

Last week, on three occasions, somebody came speeding up behind me on a bike while I was walking. My response is usually to let out a shriek as they whiz past, followed by a few unprintable comments. I am all too aware of the harm that a bike vs. senior encounter might do. I thought briefly of calling Police Director Martin Hellwig to ask for more enforcement of the rules, but then thought it might be too low a priority.

Officer Khisha Bethea-Drakeford not only proved me wrong, she took a minute to explain that eight officers are trained to serve on the bike patrol and at any given time there may be two officers patrolling on sturdy Cannondale police model bikes in shifts of 11-1/4 hours.

Bethea-Drakeford has served on bike patrol for five years, she said. She and a camera-shy colleague were on duty near the heavily-traveled Twin City plaza, where bike riders abound. One man drew a blank when Bethea-Drakeford told him in English to ride only on the street, but when she repeated it in Spanish, he said, "Oh, sorry," and complied.

Signs posted downtown about the prohibition of riding on the sidewalk are in English only.

However this initiative came about, all I can say is thanks on behalf of pedestrians, especially seniors who live in fear of falling or getting knocked over while doing errands on foot. I hope the officer doesn't get in trouble for talking to a blogger. It's good news and good PR, as far as I am concerned.

--Bernice Paglia


Blogger Jackie said...

Yes! A small child riding a bicycle on the sidewalk is one thing. But I encounter grown men riding them every day on the sidewalks. When I had my cane while recovering from knee replacement, you don't want to know how tempting it was to introduce it to the wheel spokes.

7:40 PM  

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