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Program Aims to Promote Bike Safety in Columbia


As daylight savings time ends, the “Lighten up Columbia” campaign is geared toward promoting safe bicycle riding.

GetAbout Columbia, the Columbia Police Department, and Columbia Parks and Recreation partnered up to ensure safe riding in Columbia in the evening to early morning hours. The campaign has equipped the police department with bike light packets in their patrol vehicles to distribute to riders they may come in contact with.

This is not a new program though, according to GetAbout Columbia outreach coordinator Janet Godon. The campaign is a repeat of similar program that GetAbout Columbia did in 2010.

Godon said the law states that cyclists must use a white front light or red rear reflector from the period one half hour after sunset to one half hour before sunrise or are subject to a $49 fine. But the campaign has police officers doing something different.

“Police officers during routine traffic stops where they see cyclists riding without a white front light or without red rear reflectors will be stopped and instead of getting a ticket, they will be given the lights,” Godon said.

Columbia Police Department Lieutenant Krista Shouse-Jones said she believes the campaign is a positive thing.

“We would much prefer for folks to have access to the lights rather than for us to have to write people tickets for not having one,” Shouse-Jones said.

Shouse-Jones said the packets in the patrol vehicles include not only the bike lights, but some bike safety information and copies of the ordinances so riders will be informed about what is required of them.

According to Godon, the bike lights will be provided for a limited time as funding allows. The funding for the campaign is from a grant given to the city of Columbia from the Federal Highway Administration’s Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program. 

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