Fredericton — The Fredericton Police will be stepping up enforcement of bicycle laws in the city starting next week. The department said they will be targeting cyclists travelling on sidewalks, but more importantly, they will be making sure cyclists are wearing appropriate head gear, especially after several collisions and near misses with police cruisers in the past few years.
“We’ve come to realize that many of our staff have a hard time avoiding cyclists when they’re out doing the rounds, so by enforcing helmet laws, we’re preventing serious injuries,” stated Police Chief Leanne Fitch in a press conference yesterday.
Our Manatee watchdog said that police cars hit somewhere around 15 to 20 cyclists in the capital city each year, although that number could be higher.
We spoke with Officer Dave McWaters, who had recently been put on administrative leave after striking a cyclist on Brunswick Street in June.
“I was driving down Brunswick and messing around with my onboard laptop, and I just didn’t see the guy biking my way and, I mean I absolutely drilled him — bike versus car, ya know? Kind of an unfair fight.”
McWaters continued by saying he didn’t mean to injure the cyclist and even brought him to the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital himself.
“Yeah, I just said ‘you OK bud?’ and tossed him in the back of the cruiser and sped off. He didn’t have a helmet though, and it could have saved him a lot of grief — we know we’re eventually gonna drill a few cyclists so if we can gear ’em up, it’ll lessen the cost to the healthcare system.”
The police will begin issuing tickets Aug. 21 and are asking cyclists to be more conscious of their surroundings and to take charge of their own safety.
“We can’t avoid hitting a few of you here and there, so for both of us, please wear the right gear and keep your head on a swivel.”