Radical Bike Resources -- Advocacy -- Bicycle Civil Liberties Union (BCLU) -- BPD Meetings The Bicycle Civil Liberties Union The Bicycle Civil Liberties Union BPD-CRITICAL MASS PARTICIPANT MEETING MINUTES:

BPD MEETING #4
January 9, 2002




From jmeggs-AT-bclu.org Tue Jan 15 17:52:43 2002
Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2002 17:52:35 -0800 (PST)
From: Jason Meggs [jmeggs-AT-bclu.org]
To: BFBC-Talk [bfbc-talk-AT-stat.berkeley.edu]
Cc: SFCM list [sf-critical-mass-AT-topica.com],
     Bicycle Coordinator Carolyn Helmke [chelmke-AT-ci.berkeley.ca.us],
     Disability Commission -- Eric Dibner [erd1-AT-ci.berkeley.ca.us],
     Transportation Commission -- Stephen Wheeler
    [swheeler-AT-uclink4.berkeley.edu],
     Planning Commission -- Rob Wrenn [robwrenn-AT-attbi.com],
     BayPeds -- Zachary Wald [baypeds-AT-netspace.org],
     Police Review Commission -- Barbara Attard [BAttard-AT-ci.berkeley.ca.us],
     "Hester Jr., Wesley" [WHester-AT-ci.berkeley.ca.us],
     City Council [clerk-AT-ci.berkeley.ca.us]
Subject: Berkeley Police/Critical Mass minutes (Jan 9, 2002)

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Greetings,

These minutes stem from the most recent meeting between participants in
Berkeley Critical Mass and members of the Berkeley Police Department,
whose point person, coordinator and consistent attendee has been Sgt.
Hester (Sgt. Hester heads the bicycle patrol and Crowd Management Team and
is responsible for their deploy at Critical Mass).

This most recent series of meetings stems from a policy complaint
following the 1999 ambush of Bike Summer (at which police executed 8
arrests, several injuries, other traumas, and approximately 35 citations
after police deliberately allowed cyclists to use the symbolic University
Overpass to "the point of no return").  After two years of stalling and
delay tactics, the item finally reached the City Council who simply asked
BPD to begin meetings.  These new meetings also corresponded to several
months of poice aggression which cluminated in police violence and three
separate arrest scenes throughout Berkeley during the August 10, 2001
ride.  Sgt. Hester maintains that he would have begun meeting even if the
Council had not directed the police to meet.  

Prior meetings had occurrred with Captain Pittman and representatives of
the Bicycle-Friendly Berkeley Coalition (BFBC) and Bicycle Civil Liberties
Union (BCLU) under the auspices of the Police Review Commission (PRC) but
were highly unsuccessful.

At this time, the BPD has admitted that they trust Critical Mass riders to
hold "peaceful, positive rides"
in the absence of a heavy police presence.  Police have scaled back
their visible police presence, although they are still videotaping rides 
and have at least one paddy wagon nearby, and unkown numbers of officers
waiting in the wings.  

These recent rides, beginning September 14, have been called successful
and peaceful by both Officer Hester as well as by participants in Critical
Mass, with the only problems I am aware of stemming from certain
motorists.  During the January 11, 2002 ride (last Friday), a white pickup
truck cut off a cyclist recklessly while blasting through the mass right
in front of a motor patrol police officer (Meredith, #102) who did
nothing.

Because Critical Mass is back to normal (no direct police violence), the
topics covered at these meetings therefore explore larger issues which
affect not only all of Berkeley's bicyclists, but all nonmotorized
travellers including people with disabilities; police; and motorists
alike.  For this reason these minutes are being forwarded to interested
parties.  Please feel free to forwar.

These minutes were sent to all participants of the meeting, with the
request for feedback by Monday, January 14, 2002 (yeserday) at the latest.
Only one correction was received, so these minutes are now being released
to the public.

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 23, 2002 5:00 PM -
6:30 PM same place, Au Coquelet Cafe (northwest corner of University and
Milvia, close to downtown Berkeley BART and AC Transit hub.  Milvia is
designated to be made a Bicycle Boulevard but is certainly not one yet).
Note that folks friendly to this effort (who are not police officers) are
welcome to gather 30 min. early to discuss the focus of the meeting.

A number of fellow cyclists have suffered serious injuries lately.  Let us
hope that progress can finally be made on these important issues.

Some past minutes have been posted to the BCLU website.

Again, please feel free to forward.

Enjoy.
 
Sincerely,
 
Jason Meggs, Director
Bicycle Civil Liberties Union 
P.O. Box 15071
Berkeley, CA  94712-6071
 
WEB: http://www.bclu.org/
 
Office:    (510) 643-6768 (w)
Facsimile: (510) 486-1528
Pager:     (510) 720-2818
 

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Meeting of Critical Mass participants with Berkeley Police Department
January 9, 2002
Au Coquelet Cafe 

DRAFT MINUTES rev. 2 by Jason Meggs

Agenda appended at bottom.

The following people were present (preceded by a shorthand for the
transcription):

From the Mass:

DWD: David Wedding Dress
EH: Eryn Hughes, Critical Mass participant
TM: Tom Martin, Critical Mass participant
JM: Jason Meggs, Critical Mass participant and Director, BCLU
SP: Sean Potts, Critical Mass participant 

From the Department: 

SH: Sergeant Wesley Hester, BPD #S-12 
ONC: Officer Onciano BPD # 60 (bike patrol, downtown)
MK: Officer Mary C. Kusmiss, BPD #38 (Area Coordinator inside department,
member   
         of Bicycle Patrol, coordinates city services) 
CAS: Officer Pierantoni ("Cas"), BPD #96 (South Berkeley)
OB: Officer Bledsoe BPD #106 (bike patrol, downtown)

BPD Emails:

 "Hester Jr., Wesley" [WHester-AT-ci.berkeley.ca.us]
 Officer Onciano (fro1-AT-ci.berkeley.ca.us)
 Officer Kusmiss (mkusmiss-AT-ci.berkeley.ca.us)
 Officer Pieranconi (cpierantoni-AT-ci.berkeley.ca.us)
 Officer Bledsoe (rbledsoe-AT-ci.berkeley.ca.us)    

Note: There were times when there was a lot of cross talk, and it was
difficult to get all comments.  Also difficult to get my own conversations
and statements.  "UK" shall represent "Un-Known" person.

SH: There are 7 in bike patrol, trying to get 8, 9 would be good.

UK: Used to be 20 at one point.

SH: Losing a lot of people to retirement, happening to a lot of
places.  Promised one new officer this month.  Bicycle patrol is kind of a
luxury.

SP: We've met 3-4 months, want to check in on progress and how the
Dept. has responded.  Have you been communicating these meetings to the
Dept.?

SH: Ran main gist by my boss Lt. Stone.  No headway enacting things.  I
laid out platform and my general response.  We looked at the Resolution a
little bit.  It's been a while.  I took some notes last time [busts out
palm pilot].  Initially concessionary things were done: avoid structuring
of ride, no intermixing of officers with riders; concern of riders' and
officers' safety, generalities.  Department is leaving it all up to me to
feed back.  I feel awkward.  Is there an expectation of me doing
something?  Do you consider me the sole point of contact?  Rather than the
commissions, city council, etc.?

JM: We were directed to meet with you as a result of going through the
Police Review Commission and City Council, and you have identified
yourself as the person appointed to meet with us, so yes, I think we
consider you our sole point of contact and hope something will actually
come out of these meetings.  What we're concerned about is that we've been
meeting and don't know what has been communicated and what progress has
been made in the Department.  Hoping to be kept in the loop.

[Discussion ensues about the fact that the BPD can't set various policies,
but that BPD can do a lot internally and can potentially weigh in on
various policy issues].

MK: I thought this was to foster better relations between bicycle groups
and the police Dept.   Is it also for addressing policy and politics in
the city?  As worker bees we are not the policy makers.  Which is it?

SP: I think it can be both. I'm here for pedestrians, bicyclists and
disabled people.  Some things in the City are much more dangerous than
others.

MK: A lot of that is dictated by what part of the city things happen in.

TM:  I would like to offer the example of meetings which have been
happening with the City of Oakland, the Parks Dept. and mountain bikers,
looking for a consensus that best meets everyone's needs.

SH: Is there a burning issue that needs quick feedback?

JM: There are quite a few items we'd like to address.

TM: Let's look at agenda and see if you folks are willing to adopt it too.

[Evidently it is acceptable.  Question about whether last minutes were
received].

SH: I did get the last minutes, skimmed them, looked somewhat close to
what happened.  I didn't actually take minutes.

SP: Not a homework assignment,might make meetings more effective.

SH:  [To Jason Meggs] You did a good job, why don't you do it.

JM: I prefer that everyone take notes of what's important to them and add
them to whatever minutes are produced by one person.  I'm willing to do
them this time.  I think the thing we're concerned about here is to have a
mechanism that we keep track of what we discuss and what people are going
to do, to keep on track and get some progress and wonder if you have any
suggestions as to how that would work?

SH: No.  Let's start at the beginning and deal with the last time.  I
didn't reply to the minutes because I was tied up.  We talked about Bike
Diversion [a program where people who get tickets on bike can go to a
class rather than paying the fine] and making it similar to UC's new
program.  I discussed this with some people and Officer Taylor expressed
willingness to teach such a program.  Idea of bike officer educating for
public comes down to money.  A council item might do it.  Council
sometimes buys into such stuff.

JM: Making a diversion program is in the Bike Plan, so they know money
must be found.  It would not have to be officers teaching it.

SH: The Alameda County Judges [?] meet quarterly and would have to accept
such a program.  I will send a letter to ask them about that.

JM: Do you know when they next meet?  Walnut Creek also has a diversion
program, and UCPD has one, so they must have checked these things out,
work might be saved by asking them.

ONC: Rules to bicycles apply to cars.  You get points on your
record.  This could be like traffic school.  Why not?

JM: Actually you can't get points on your driver's record from bicycling,
the main idea here is for education, to improve everyone's safety and
awareness.

TM: There are whole weekend programs to do this which are expensive.

ONC: AAA has pamphlets, they're free.

TM: These are whole schools, not just pamphlets.

SH: Like Missing Link could offer a class?

TM: Bicycle-Friendly Berkeley Coalition (BFBC) does one, John Howard does
a good one.

[Lots of break-out discussion, things get confusing and hard to follow]

ONC: Campus is not a street.  UCPD program not same as BPD doing a
program.

JM: Well they can patrol city streets.  I think what they do is hold the
tickets and if you take the course, they don't file them.

SH: Concerned, a citation is a judicial document with signature to appear.

JM: Yeah but in practice that doesn't really work.  You won't be accepted
to appear until the ticket is in the system.

EH: [?]

TM: Illinois, Colorado, etc. have programs.

CAS: [Long impassioned speech which I had trouble following, missed first
part, turned into admonission of where he likes to bike in Berkeley
esp. new bike lanes on Adeline.  I say thank the Bicycle-Friendly Bicycle
Coalition and he does].

SP: So how about each of us goes back and researches what it would take.

SH: Will ask couple judges I know, try to get back by next meeting.

SP: [Moving on to the actual agenda] We also wanted to make it clear that
we are not BCLU [Bicycle Civil Liberties Union] representatives.  At last
mass you referred to us as BCLU representatives.  These are not
BCLU-sponsored meetings. Also, none of us are leaders of Critical Mass and
cannot speak for Critical Mass.

SH: I understand that.

JM: I am here in part on behalf of BCLU [BCLU is a network of activists
and attorneys which are one of the primary groups in California which have
helped defend the rights of Critical Mass participants -
http://www.bclu.org/ ]

CAS: I stop a lot of people on bicycles through the day.  Lots of them for
first time, they're not even aware of bicycle laws.  I try to give them an
education, a mini-class at each stop.  Chit-chat for 5-10
minutes.  Usually ride bikes as their main mode of transportation, just
like me.

[Note that while personal anecdotes are certainly of interest, each time
new officers have come to these meetings many things come up repetitively
so a number of us tried to dissuade rehashing things or giving personal
anecdotes a lot.  We only had an hour to try to tackle the long agenda,
from 5-6 PM.  Things began to move and focus rather well].

SP: What about getting statistics?

SH: I can't answer a lot of this [listed on the agenda].  Has to come from
Traffic Division.

ONC: 60% of bicycle accidents are not reported

SP: Yes, we know about that

SH: Will forward this to Traffic Division and get feedback to you within a
week.

SP: We should see at least partly where problems are occurring.

SH: Meredith talked about some of this.

[Moving on to the idea of BPD Training Program for bike and pedestrian
rights, sensitivity training, etc.]

SP: On point 4, last time, you were receptive for training for anyone
dealing with bikers.

SH: A lot of this is discretion.  Only one-third or one-fourth of all
stops results in a traffic citation is my guesstimate.  All violations
including motor vehicles.  Some officers only give warnings, some only
give citations.  We keep track of the cars stopped that are called in
[evidently not bike stops], unless radio is jammed.

JM: Aren't those required to be called in for safety?

SH: Yes, but

CAS: We do get field training for 4.5 months now after the academy.  It's
up to the trainer.  Bike law and skills are rolled into that.

MK: In 6 mo. at Academy [?] we have over a week for traffic, safety,
California Vehicle  Code.  Whole POST curriculum.  Their website may have
it.  [Peace Officer Standards and Training, http://www.post.ca.gov/ ]

SP: Lot of bikers think a training program can help.

ONC: We have a 40-hour class at POST-certified schools.

SH: Used to do own in-house.  Certain things still taught but not bike
training.

MC: I went to Sacramento for one week for training [in Vehicle Code?].

ONC: We go to City and they say we can ride on sidewalks.  We go to
schools and learn to ride down stairs etc.  I can take you to another
coursewe have to know how to control your biike.  Bicycle bikers sometimes
forget the time to get your brake levers can mean that you hit someone.

SH: No public acess to see the course?

[No.]

JM: So to sum up the three aspects of what training does exist.  First,
you get a riding course.  You also get a CVC course which covers at least
something about bikes.  Then you get whatever your Field Training happens
to cover.  So if you have someone who's a bicyclist like Officer
Pierantoni [CAS] you may get a lot, or you might not.  But no formal
internal standards and training exist.

CAS: We're probably best trained and most sensitive anywhere.  We are
subset of subsections.  We ride bicycles.

EH: Ten minutes left.  Can we move to a speaker's list since people are
talking over one another?  [This is adopted with Eryn Hughes keeping the
list].

DWD: Concern [???]

SH: Ticketing.  Is rider willing to do the right thing?  Ignorance no
excuse of the law.  We can only be understanding and sympathise to a
certain degree.

ONC: Rules of road apply to bicycles as well as cars.

JM: Trying to be as respectful as possible, but there is a lot of
misapplication.  Bicyclists are getting tickets for things that aren't
illegal.  There's a lot of ignorance everywhere about what bicycle and
pedestrian rights and responsibilities really are.  The idea here is to
help everyone be safer and more informed.  Police are the primary contact
point to bicyclists for the city.  If we can make sure police have good
training everyone benefits, including the safety of officers.  It's not
just the bicyclists getting tickets feeling harassed and persecuted.  More
seriously, it's how officers document and determine fault at crash scenes,
and whether officers fault a bicyclist erroneously when they didn't do
anything wrong, or because of bias, that "Oh it was a bicyclist, they must
be at fault".  We know that happens.  If we have good policies and good
information, we have a much better chance at fairness.  Particularly in
Berkeley where we have a unique situation, so many bicyclists,
pedestrians, and so many people with disabilities, so many people who use
wheelchairs, and we know it's a serious problem because we have twice the
statewide average for bicycle and pedestrian collisions for a city this
size, so it deserves special attention.

TM: [?]

SH: Would you apply the same sensitivity to a motorist who swerves at a
bicyclist?

TM: Uhno!  Because it's not the same thing.  A car can kill
people.  That's a case of road rage.  Bicyclists aren't posing any major
danger to anyone.

[Going into the many reasons why bicycles should be treated more leniently
than cars, how their situations are very different, was not done due to
time constraints.  Somewhere it's brought up that Idaho, et al. have laws
allowing bikes to treat stop signs as yield signs, and stop lights as stop
signs.  Check http://www.bclu.org/stops/ for more info about why this is
an important and good idea].

CAS:  Well sure false citations are issued but there is a system in place,
it's not a done deal, you can contest your ticket, and sure you may not
like commissioner Rantzman, but Here's an example of
discretion: California and Channing, someone goes through the stop sign,
no one around.  Who did it hurt?  But look at Bowditch and Haste, you see
bike riders blasting through the stop sign making cars stop at high
speed.  Absolutely should be cited.  You can't train absolute discretion.

[No time to make point that a lot of improvement can be made and policies
can help a lot, and that it's not acceptable or always possible to have to
get justice through the courts].

MK: I feel like the energy's getting a little weird.  Would hate for an
adversarial relationship to take over these meetings.  We [officers] are
all here because we wanted to participate and understand about fostering
improved relations.  The visionary side of me as a cyclist and community
memberwe all love to cycle - we're not the enemy to that extent.  Your
mission is for safer environment to cycle and to educate people
more.  Don't think more training will help the dynamic with automobiles,
much greater mission there.  Yeah we could have more in-house training,
even such as an hour of roll call training, but needs a piece that's
community training.  1000's of bikes get stolen -- every day [bikes get
stolen] -because there's no community no training and they don't know how
to ride safely either.  We should not be adversaries.  Goal to better
educate so no one is pissed off at anyone (motorists, pedestrians,
bicyclists, police, etc.).  God wouldn't that be great?  That's my
platform.  If you do your piece and we do our piece and we should meet
somewhere in the middle.

ONC: We don't abuse laws, we stop at stop signs, don't go the wrong
way. We're examples.  WE can get away withy it because we're exempt and we
do it.  You can read-up in the California Vehicle Code.  We don't try to
abuse it.  We're bery much aware that our riding skills are being watched
everywhere.

[Did not mention that many officers do break lots of bike laws].

JM: Here's an example of my concern [confirms that Onciano just said
that].  Officers don't have blanket discretion to break all traffic laws,
yet many think that and many do it.  And that  is one of the places where
the training would help officers, because if you're riding the wrong way
on Telegraph and someone hits you theoretically in a court of law you can
be found at fault.  I would concur with Mary [MK, Officer Kusmiss] on
this.  [Note, this was subject of a long letter to the editor in the
Berkeley Daily Planet last year].

[Somehow those darned AAA pamphlets come up again].

SH: All officers have a supply of the AAA pamphlets, hard to say how many
use them.  Do you know of other [better] pamphlets? [This was addressed at
previous meeting].

TM:  There are some.  EBBC [East Bay Bicycle Coalition] produces one.

EH: [Hands over City of Berkeley's nice new one].

ONC: AAA ones are free.

JM: Well these ones are free as well, at least to the Department.  A lot
of people have a lot of problems with the AAA pamphlets which I won't go
into now.

SH: It's all written up in your complaint to the PRC.

JM: And is on the website [http://www.bclu.org/ under abuse reports, July
13, 2001 incident].  These pamphlets are good as they're local with a map,
contact information, and I believe much better bike rights issues
treatment [although I haven't scrutinized that recently].

SH: They have don't ride on sidewalks [that's good].

[Some oggling of features of the City of Berkeley pamphlet. Hester notes
that some phone numbers have the recently changed 644-xxxx central office
code prefix and therefore need to be updated].

SP: We would like to see the curriculum for your training programs.  Great
that they exist, but need to see substance of it.

CAS: See POST website.

ONC: See International Police Mountain Bike Association website
[http://www.ipmba.org/instructors.htm]

[Issue dropped for now, massers later expressed doubts that they would
find the exact training programs the BPD uses explicitly identified and
provided on those broad-based websites].

SP: How about we schedule the next meeting.  How about sooner - say two
weeks?   How about a little longer next time, 1.5 hours?

[Fine with everyone - January 23, 2002 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM same place, Au
Coquelet Cafe]

SH: [Listing his commitment to tasks].  I will start with the diversion
program.  Then I'll look into the traffic stats.  Then I'll do the judges
last becaseu other stuff is no good until we get info from judges [!?].

SP: So you're gathering info first to use when you contact the judges?

SH: Yes.

JM: You might want to ask the new Bicycle Coordinator, Carolyn Helmke,
email: chelmke-AT-ci.berkeley.ca.us and phone (510) 705-8105 about who in the
City has already looked at Diversion.  I know there was some interest in
the past but I don't know what the status is.  Hopefully the previous
coordinator, Rochelle Wheeler, will have communicated that.

JM: Sidewalks - there was actually a woman in a wheelchair nearby who was
on the Disability Commission [still?] who wanted to get a bicycle she
could pedal with her hands.  But she agreed she'd want the law changed to
allow that as she'd want to use it on the sidewalk like her
wheelchair.  And we talked about it last time.  Lots of reasons to change
the sidewalk laws and it would be good to get the Department's
agreement.  Right now it's a misdemeanor to ride on the sidewalk.  Need a
more rational law.

CAS: Not many people go by the letter of the law.

[!!!]

SH: Agrees that Dept. would probably support at least some of the changes.

[Car-free Telegraph/pedestrian mall on Telegraph brought up - police
appear very much in support]

MK: We would love that.  But as a citizen you have more power and more
voice than I do as a police officer. 

ONC: It's groups with numbers of you, like you, it's not us.

SP: Well we do cover those bases but we'd like to cover all bases and try
new avenues [keyword avenues!] and get your support on things as well
because it can help.

JM: I've seen where at a commission they'll ask, how does the Department
feel about this and things can stop right there.  Better to get at least a
"not opposed" than to have no opinion from the Department.  It can
certainly help, if it's possible, to have the Department give support to
policies.  Not sure how that would happen.

TM: How about a police and citizen event, like a bicycle race?  Say a
24-hour mountain bike race? A community race?

[Laughs but Tom is serious]

SH: I don't do anything for 24 hours except eat and sleep.  Used to.

MK: [?]

SP: Have you talked to your friends and family about going to Critical
Mass like you said you would, Sgt. Hester?

SH: I have.

SP: I'd like to invite you out to SF Critical Mass, say on a day off for
fun.

SH: Uhwhat was it, Sacramento Critical Mass last week?  I'm not sure my
work would

TM: [Gives CM calendar to SH showing all the local rides, he peruses it].

SP: It wouldn't be work, we would never want you to do it as work.

SH: Tell that to my boss! 

MK: How about a century or a half-century instead of  a 24-hour mountain
bike race?  

CAS: Doesn't have to be formalized, it could be a few people hanging
out.  I don't go through any big metamorphosis when I take off this
uniform.  Put on big baggy pants and big boots and go home and hang out
with my kids.  I got this job because I like to work with people.  I'd be
willing to participate in that.  Critical Mass though, I'm a little leary
of.  Might be left behind when I stop at the signals.

[meeting appears to be ending again]

JM: Should I send minutes to everyone?

SH: Will forward emails of all officers to all of you.  Back to Critical
Mass, some people are scared of the adversarial element.  Of course that
attracts some people, but it deters others.  That's just the way it is.

JM: [To Sgt. Hester, about his concern about going to SFCM]  You wouldn't
be worried because you might encounter some hostile police officers, would
you!?

[General offerings not to worry from various massers].

SP: The police tend to treat it as an official event.  And don't worry,
I'd stay with you and watch out for you.

JM: We'd give you total video support.  [Humor keeps building here].

SH: Well more the confrontational elements I'm worried about.

DWD: There are people on the ride who have our own ways of dealing with
the hotheads.

SH: Well that's good to hear.

CAS: To be honest it's the confrontational people running head-on at cars
and stuff that makes me uncomfortable to be around.  I wouldn't feel good
being a part of that.

JM: I'm not surprised that you'd be uncomfortable to go to a Critical Mass
but let me just say SFCM is a big event, up to 3-4,000 people, basically a
celebration.  And I don't think you'd fall behind.  I know someone who
works at the Attorney General's office who must not be arrested or
ticketed, who rides on the right and stops at every light, and the ride
moves slowly enough so is able to keep up just fine.  It's worth
experiencing.  [Don't mention that there are SFPD cops who go to SFCM on
their off time for fun despite the whole history of SFPD problems].  And
sure a few people might be confrontational, out of thousands of people
that's not a surprise.  But the overall feel of the ride is not
confrontational.

SH: But things do happen and I'm stuck with the aftermath.

[No comment]

SP: We are too, and every day just like you are.

[People are leaving]

MK: [To CAS] What about a century?  Not like you treemen log hugger jumper
types.

[All police leave except for CAS]

CAS:  One of my biggest things is bike lights.  It's really dangerous not
to have one because cars can't see you but so many bicyclists are just
dark and you can't see them.

JM: I agree.  It's tough.  At Sacramento Critical Mass BCLU got a big
batch of lights and gave them out asking for donations, pretty much broke
even.  The City has subsidized/discount helmet programs and maybe
something for lights now, or it could be created.  It'd be great if
officers were able to hand out lights rather than tickets to people who
don't have them.  Lots of problems keep people from having lights:  
economics, logistics, not knowing the importance to being seen (thinking
you can already see the road, don't need a light), the fact that bikes
don't come with lights and used bikes often don't even have reflectors,
and most lights only have 2-4 hours of battery life (unlike the ones we
got for SactoCM, which have 17 hours of battery life!!) and they get lost
and stolen and fall and break.  So need a good cheap one which has long
battery life to get the most effective coverage.

CAS: There's a lot of funding out there for stuff like that.  I would be
willing to do what I can to help find funding and set up a program.

TM: TEA-21 is a possible funding source.

[Discussion of police/public interrelations, how police should be a friend
to community, how adversarial roles get perpetuated, CAS talks about how
when something nice happens people don't tell many people but when
something bad is done to them they tell lots of people and those stories
perpetuate, Jason Meggs' story of how police targeted him and friends long
ago and how that lead to ongoing problems, CAS story that he met someone
who was going to a party held by Jason Meggs and they had a moving
conversation about the division between police and everyday people (Jason
replies that someone was arrested in Oakland, for the first time ever, as
retaliation for copwatching recently), philosophy of approaching people as
people first and even someone who's being arrested can be treated with
respect and kindly, etc., how people doing things long-term need to find a
way that they can enjoy what they do.]

-fin-


ATTACHMENT:  Agenda for meeting 


Agenda for 1/9/02 and further meetings with Critical
Massers and Sgt. Hester/BPD

1) Check in with Sgt. Hester about report backs with
the Department.
a) Minutes
b) Other correspondences/directives.
c) Questions from previous meetings.  
d) For greater communication can we be cc^“d on
correspondences to department.

2) Clarify role of critical mass participants in these
meetings.
a) not BCLU
b) not ^”leaders^‘

3) Getting statistics on bike/car/pedestrian incidents
and citations
a) List of incidents and citations in the last (six
months? year?) with the following variables.
i) Involving bikes?
ii) Involving cars?
iii) Involving pedestrians?
iv) Was there an injury?
v) Location and time.
vi) Infraction (if any).
vii) Officer involved.

4) Training for Berkeley Police Department
a) Hope to create a training program for other PD^“s to
model after.
b) What sensitivity/special needs/special case
training already exists?
i) Disability
ii) Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender
iii) Domestic Violence
iv) People of Color/^‘Minorities^‘
c) Who gives it? Who funds it? Who creates it?
d) What vehicle code training exists?
e) Does city policy/General Plan/General Orders
address bicyclists and pedestrians rights/needs?
f) Any bicycle skills training?
g) Will the BPD endorse and fund some training for its
officers?  Some Critical Massers will help with
research
and creation.

5) Discuss the SF bike resolution (included below) and
how the Berkeley Police Department can integrate these
elements into their General Orders.

6) Extending the deadline to file an (bike) accident
report from 24 hours.  Increasing knowledge among
bikers that they can file a report.

7) Discussing and getting the Berkeley Police
Department^“s endorsement on a required test for the
RPP (Residential Parking Permit?) on respecting
bicycle, pedestrian, and disabled folks rights.

8) Making enforcement make sense.
a) Explicitly making certain violations, if not done
recklessly, the
lowest priority for traffic enforcement (pedestrian
and bicycle 
violations generally) -- this done by changing the
general orders.  By the same hand, direct officers to
enforce the law based on risk to the public and to
take seriously when harassment and assaults are
reported, taking into account that bicycling and
walking greatly benefit the health and public safety
of Berkeley and should be encouraged rather than
discouraged.
b) reduce fines for bike violations
c) reduce bike violation severity from misdemeanor to
infraction

9) seek support from bpd for changing sidewalk riding
laws

10) seek support from bpd for making it legal to lock
to parking meters

11) Dissemination of bike rules, skills, and
techniques pamphlets 
written by cycling groups instead of the AAA ones
currently being handed out.

12) Handing out these papers when a cyclist is cited,
with clear
instructions on how to deal with the ticket like they
do with autos.

[end agenda]

San Francisco Resolution

URGING CITY DEPARTMENTS, THE SAN FRANCISCO POLICE DEPARTMENT AND THE SAN
FRANCISCO DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE TO TAKE ALL NECESSARY ACTION TO
ENSURE EQUAL TREATMENT OF BICYCLISTS AND MOTORISTS INVOVLED IN
TRAFFICINCIDENTS.

 WHEREAS, Bicycling is a growing form of transportation in San
Francisco;and,

WHEREAS, Bicycle use is considered beneficial to the City, as the
Transportation Element of the City and County of San Francisco's Master
Plan states:  "Active encouragement of bicycle use as an alternative to
automobile use, whenever possible, is essential in light of the
continually increasing traffic congestion caused by motorized vehicles
which aggravates air pollution, increases noise levels and consumes
valuable urban space;" and,

WHEREAS, Bicyclists and others using non-motorized modes of transportation
are entitled to equal protection under the law; and,

WHEREAS, Both bicyclists and motorists are required to obey traffic
signals, respect rights of way, and operate their vehicles in a
safemanner; and,

 WHEREAS, According to the City's Master Plan: "Traffic enforcement should
extend to protection of bicyclists' rights-of-way which are often violated
by motorists;" now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the San Francisco Board of Supervisors urges the San
Francisco Police Department (SFPD) to examine it General Orders and
programs in order to ensure equal treatment of bicyclists and motorists in
upholding the law, and urges the San Francisco District Attorney's Office
to examine its current policies in order to ensure fairness to bicyclists
and motorists in prosecuting criminal cases; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors urges the SFPD to develop
a bicycle and pedestrian component of its training program for new cadets
and continuing education for officers to ensure their understanding of the
laws pertaining to cyclists and pedestrians; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the SFPD and District Attorney track the number of
injuries to bicyclists in traffic incidents as reported to the Department
of Public Health during the next six months, as well as the number of
criminal charges filed as the result of traffic incidents involving
injured bicyclists (including doorings, hit-and-run incidents, and
vehicular assaults) during those same six months, and report back to the
Board of Supervisors on the advancement of the cases; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That deliberate physical harassment of bicyclists or
pedestrians by motor vehicles be recognized and treated legitimately as
assault with a deadly weapon.






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