Boise Coppers Give More Than Tickets To Bikers

Following up on a GUARDIAN post in October, Boise Police are now stopping bicyclists without lights.

Rather than pass out expensive tickets, the officers will be offering a safety briefing and FREE lights to make the cyclists more visible. Coppers joined ranks with the Ada County Highway District to provide the temporary lights which are available at multiple locations.

“These lights are temporary in nature and not designed to relieve people of the responsibility to get good lights on their bikes. I like the idea of ‘pay it forward’ so these free lights get into the right hands after the rider has acquired permanent lights,” Chief Mike Masterson told the GUARDIAN.

Here is the release from the BPD:

Boise Police are stopping cyclists, not necessarily for violations, but to help make them more visible.

The department has several hundred pair of white and red bike lights donated by the Ada County Highway District. The lights are meant to easily clip to a bicycle and can go from solid to flashing to make cyclists more visible to motorists.

The effort comes after the recent time change making it darker earlier. It’s also an effort to promote cycling safety after two recent deadly collisions involving cyclists and motor vehicles on city streets.

“Officers are getting a very positive response from cyclists who appreciate the lights and the reminder about how important being visible is,” said Boise Police Deputy Chief Pete Ritter. “The lights are just bright enough and should help motorists see the cyclist better, which can be life saving.”

Where to get one: Boise Police patrol, school resource and Boise State patrol officers have the lights and will stop cyclists in the field who may be in need on them. The lights are also available at Boise Police Administrative Offices, Boise City Hall West, 333 N. Mark Stall Place. The lights are free courtesy of ACHD.

All bicycles in Boise City and the State of Idaho are required to be equipped with lights and reflectors if ridden at night.

Boise City Code Section 10-14-03-D REQUIRED BICYCLE EQUIPMENT – When in use at nighttime, a red reflector on the rear visible from a distance of three hundred feet (300′) when directly in front of lawful upper beams of a motor vehicle, and a forward-facing white light attached either to the bicycle or the bicyclist which is visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet (500′) in front of the bicycle. A bicycle shall be equipped with a frontfacing white or yellow reflector when the bicyclist uses a generator powered light which is unlit when the bicycle is stopped.

Idaho State Code 49-723. Light and reflector required at night. Every bicycle in use at the times described in section 49-903, Idaho Code, shall be operated with a light emitting device visible from a distance of at least five hundred (500) feet to the front, attached to the bicycle or the rider, and with a reflector clearly visible from the rear of the bicycle.


Comments & Discussion

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  1. Grumpy ole guy
    Nov 12, 2013, 4:31 pm

    To protect and to serve,

  2. The nice thing about those lights are they also have some simple rules for staying safe and riding safe.

  3. … the officers will be offering a safety briefing and FREE lights…

    “Safety briefing,” eh?

    I’ve been attempting to offer “safety briefings” to fellow cyclists for years! Perhaps the police will get their attention and respect better than I’ve ever been able to. Usually I’m either ignored or told to “Be fruitful and multiply” … but not in those words.

    Just a week or so ago, I correctly told another cyclist that he was on the wrong side of the road (coming directly toward me in a striped bike lane, on a “chicken” collision course).

    “Wrong side!” was my safety briefing.

    “Share the road, motherf____ !” was his intelligent response.

    EDITOR NOTE–Gotta admit “safety briefing” was my GUARDIAN TERM for, A–chewing, lecture, verbal warning, etc. Here’s hoping if the coppers make the contact a “friendly encounter” the lights will be the beginning of some safe riding and driving.

  4. Okay, I understand the desire to be safe. Although there is a line that some bicyclists cross, a line between safe and overly excessive.
    The majority of bike lights that I have seen around town are okay, however not all of them are. There are some who ride with a light that might be more suited for inclement weather air traffic control, rather than street pedal bike riding. I think this excessive use of LED mega-watt strobe lights is more of a hazard to public safety than those who ride without a light at all. The mega-watt strobe lights blind drivers and other bicyclists to the point that forward movement is dangerous.
    If cops want to hand out lights I say good for them. But if you hand them out to those who live in one extreme, (as in no lights at all), then hand them out to those on the other end of the spectrum, (those who would willingly blind us all). Teach moderation! the true path to virtuousness!

  5. I can see these lights ending up on Craig’s List or Ebay. Stupid people who ride bikes in the dark with no lights don’t deserve lights from BPD. They deserve a slap on the back of the head.

    Or at best they will be used until the batteries go dead and will be just another useless appendage on the bikes.

    Whatever happened to personal responsibility?

  6. L.D. I am not sure if you have read articles on “hyper-visable cyclists”. The one below is by our very own “bike boy”. I have seen lights that are too bright on bikes, but I can tell you that I sure saw them and avoided them.

  7. personal responsibility will not exist so long as the police make it their responsibility to control our persons.
    Necessity is the mother of all invention, and personal growth is no different. Take away our right to make choices for ourselves, and you breed a generation dependent upon the authority rule to dictate their every action.

  8. I have to point out to L.D. that “personal responsibility will not exist” until some person or some organization points out the necessity of such to the individual. Personal responsibility is a learned behavior.

  9. That is not true.
    In the recent past, it was a person’s CHOICE whether or not they want to ride with a bike light, or drive with a seat belt, or not text and drive, or wear a helmet on a motorcycle. People died, but many did not, it was their choice. But with the influx of government control, and police aggressiveness, people lost their ability to choose for themselves, and now there is a whole generation that is running wild. Their personal responsibility is non existent, mainly because they never have to suffer serious consequences for their actions, other than some cop writing a ticket, (which they gladly do).
    Personal responsibility is INATE within us all, but it is being dwindled away with each and every legislative protection for those who deserve a Darwin award.

  10. Bike lights are little help if they are drowned out by car lights behind the bike. I keep bringing this up and no one seems to listen. Bikeboy, what do you say?

    The only truly safe option for night cycling is to avoid busy roads. If you must travel a busy road, ride the sidewalk.

    Any of you riding on 27th in the dark, you’re going to get killed. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. And yes, I bicycle too. Not as much as bikeboy or others but I’m over 1000 miles this year. That’s a lot of hours on my fat tired heavy steel bike.

  11. LD your argument is debatable and probably full of fallacies.

    Government intervenes because every time there is a fatal or serious motorcycle or bicycle or pedestrian accident (or car accident) huge amounts of taxpayer money has to be spent bringing in EMTs, the Fire Department, traffic control officers and accident reconstruction specialists, etc. etc. Don’t forget the all the other myriad problems which arise, like insurance claims to be settled, estate claims to be settled and likely even court cases. None of this cheap.

    The taxpayers and insurance payers should not be left holding the bag because some hard headed person thinks they’re not only above the laws of man but that they’re above the laws of physics too.

    Personally responsibility is innate? Where do you get that from? If that was true then we wouldn’t need any courts at all. Landlords could just do a handshake deal with their tenants. etc. etc.

    It’s not you you have to look out for, it’s the other guy.

  12. boisecynic: Bike lights are little help if they are drowned out by car lights behind the bike. … The only truly safe option for night cycling is to avoid busy roads.

    Interesting and valid points, boisecynic. Depending on what you mean by “truly safe,” however, even riding at night on side streets can have some dangers. I’ve found that it’s much easier to overlook debris, grates, potholes, etc., when depending on lighting other than the sun.

    “Situational awareness” is particularly critical to cyclists, who have to avoid accidents to avoid injury or death. If you’re sharing a road at night with cars, you need to realize that other roadway users are less likely to see you… if you’re riding straight toward the setting sun, understand that motorists approaching from behind also have the sun in their eyes, etc.

    L.D. mentioned that some blinky bike lights are almost TOO bright! And indeed, if a lone bicycle is piercing the darkness with such a light, it appears bright indeed! But if it’s surrounded by 100 car headlights… maybe not so much. And in daytime, even less so.

    I s’pose if I had to choose between annoying other roadway users with a too-bright light, or not being seen, I’d have to go with too-bright. (I don’t think I’m in danger of blinding anybody with my Chinese LED flashlight that uses 1 AA battery.)

  13. L D your post on the 12th is correct but you missing one thing. The powers that be do not want you to make choices your self… they are slowly taking all our rights to self regulate… come on we all know they know what’s best for us…

  14. ahhh… sometimes I’m right, and sometimes I’m wrong… that is the way it goes with opinions.

  15. Please, please boisenic don’t encourage bikers to use the sidewalk. We walkers already share with the skaters, boarders, skooters, motorized and non-motorized wheelchairs. As a serious, frequent walker in and around downtown,the most dangerous threat to us are the bikers. Young skateboarders are more courteous. Come on you guys in your $3,000 and spandex, put on your big boy pants and get out in the street where you belong. Most cities would ticket you; the city of Boise should consider that.

  16. Thanks bikeboy. Don’t the better quality bike lights have variable brightness? Switch to low on greenbelt to save juice and high on the road.

    And LD, classic, either you missed my statement or you didn’t debate it because you know I’m right and you got nothing.

  17. Friendly encounter
    Nov 14, 2013, 5:26 pm

    So the concern seems to be not upsetting the biking population of this fair city. WRONG. Upset them and MAYBE they will see the light. For those of us who are old enough to remember the Schwinn bikes of the 60’s, it is AMAZING that any of us even survived until this present day. And you know what….even as kids we realized the CARS rule the road…like it or not. So we followed the RULES,…and believe it or not I didn’t even wear a helmet, 3000 dollar spandex or sunglasses…t- shirts and jeans was it baby. The bikers today epitomize the attitude of this country now…it’s all about ME ME ME. And you are right…GROW UP!

  18. that’s your opinion

  19. No one mentions the cost of this “program”?

    Tax dollars paying for lights for someone not wanting to get their own lights.

    ACHD actually went out to get their logo printed on some lights on your tax dollar. That’s cool with everyone?

    And when are they going to buy some headlights for the cars driving around with a burned out headlight?

  20. it's all an illusion
    Dec 20, 2013, 10:44 am

    Looks like the last lifeboat off the sinking ship just left with it’s last passenger. Good timing.

  21. How much is all this bicycle-worship costing us?

    The idea of converting lanes for cars into bike lanes it outrageous – traffic is already bad enough as it is!

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