The Washington State Patrol is launching a $10-million pilot program to provide riders with bike safety training to help them learn the fundamentals of riding a bike safely and effectively.
The program, which began Monday, will involve five different police agencies across the state.
The pilot program is the culmination of an 11-year, $15-million effort to improve the public’s confidence in bikes.
It was part of a statewide effort launched in 2013 to improve safety on public roads.
The effort is being funded by a $25 million State of Washington program.
“The purpose of this pilot is to build confidence in bicyclists and educate them on safe riding,” said Lt.
Jason Jones, a spokesman for the Washington State Police.
“We know that there are many riders who are less familiar with the basics of riding their bike and are in need of more instruction to ensure safe and effective riding.”
A pilot program like this is not a substitute for the full-scale bike safety campaign launched by the Department of Transportation, Jones said.
Instead, the effort will focus on training police and public safety workers on the fundamentals and basics of biking, like stopping at red lights and turning left at crosswalks.
The police department has asked its officers to provide training to local communities.
The Washington Police Academy has offered an online class for officers to help train with their new tools, but officials said the program is not designed to substitute for training the department is doing.
The pilot program, called Bikers for Bikes, will be offered at six police agencies, including Spokane and Seattle.
The departments will each receive a $3,000 grant from the State of WA’s Bicycle Infrastructure Fund.
Each participating agency will be required to send a $1,000 training kit to each patrol officer.
The kit includes a helmet, safety helmet, gloves, a hand signal and a training plan.
The police departments will then work with local bike groups and local businesses to design and implement a safety plan.
“In addition to our traditional bike-safety education, we also want to help riders understand how to ride safely on the road and to build trust and confidence in their riding behavior,” Jones said in a statement.
“To accomplish this, the program will be conducted at community and public-private-sector partners, including bicycle shops, bike rental agencies, ride-sharing services and bike shops that offer services to the public.”
The $10,000 program is one of a number of bike safety initiatives being launched across the country.
Last week, the Department for the Environment and Natural Resources announced $5 million in federal grants for an initiative to improve bicycle safety across the United States.