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Bike safety focus for SPD
SEDONA, Ariz. – The Sedona Police Department and Governor’s Office of Highway Safety are teaming for a new bicycle patrol and public education campaign.
“We’re grateful to the governor’s office for a grant that will help us increase our presence and outreach for bike safety,” says Chief David McGill. “SPD will use the grant to bike-train more officers, improve our gear and reach out to more riders.”
While Sedona’s bicycle accident rate is relatively low compared to Arizona’s metro areas, a data review by the department showed a 40 percent increase in bike-pedestrian and bike-vehicle collisions from 2016 to 2017, with Uptown being an area of particular concern.
Grant funds will support the expansion of the department’s bike-patrol capacity, currently at four officers with a goal to increase that by five, and allow officers to better access events that are difficult for vehicles to reach because of road restrictions or large crowds. Another portion of the money will be used for enforcement efforts and to create materials for safety education, something Bike Patrol Supervisor Sgt. Bill Knuth says is needed.
“We’re happy to support one of the primary goals of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, which is education,” he says. “Under Arizona law, cyclists have the same right rights and responsibilities as motorists and we want both types of highway users to understand that.”
The campaign is already underway. In the coming months look for more bicycle officers in the Uptown area and the SR 179 shopping district south of the Y, and at public events over the upcoming holiday weekends through summer and fall months.
“Bicyclist fatalities in Arizona have averaged 30 or more for the past five years,” says Sgt. Knuth. “Regardless of who’s at fault, invariably it is the cyclist who loses. We want to do everything we can to halt Sedona’s upward collision trend and, in my perfect world, eliminate those collisions altogether.”
For more information on safe riding and cyclist rights and responsibilities, visit the Arizona Governor’s Office for Highway Safety.