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Bicycle Patrol Unit

Officer Todd LaBranche

The services of the Quinsigamond Community College Public Safety Department were augmented in October of 1996 with the implementation of the QCC Police Bicycle Patrol Unit.

The objective of the bicycle unit was started as another facet of the departments proactive approach to law enforcement and service to the college community. The Bike unit is viewed as both an aid to furthering positive community relations and as a sensible approach to patrolling the unique terrain of the Quinsigamond Campus. The utilization of the police Mountain Bike offers the Campus Police Officer another way to quickly and efficiently patrol the inner recesses of the largely pedestrian campus, and in the process increase the visibility and approachability of the officers to the community they serve.

Required Officer Training

All officers of the Bike Patrol Unit must attend and successfully complete a Mountain Bike Patrol School certified by the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Council known as COBWEB (Cops On Bikes With Education for Bicyclists). COBWEB is the original Massachusetts Police Mountain Bike Patrol Course designed to train the officer/s for his/her duties while on a Bike Patrol Unit. The COBWEB course is a 24 hour three day program with both classroom and field instruction. The officer Upon Completion of the course will have developed a heightened awareness of the importance of fitness, nutrition, injury prevention and physical well-being. The officer will also have a comprehensive understanding of standard operating procedures, crime prevention techniques, tactical maneuvers and communication.

Bicycle Safety Tips

1. Protect Your Head

Wear a helmet. Studies have shown that using a bicycle helmet can reduce head injuries by up to 85%. Select a helmet that has a snug but comfortable fit. Look for helmet labels that show they are recommended by either the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the Snell Memorial Foundation.

2. See And Be Seen

Wear proper clothing. Wear Clothes that make you more visible. Clothing should be light in color and close fitting to avoid being caught in the bicycle's moving parts. Also, be sure that books and other loose items are secured to the bike or are carried in a back pack.

3. Go With The Flow Of Traffic

The safe way is the right way. You must obey the rules of the road. These include all traffic signs, signals, and road markings. Ride on the right side of the street in single file. Use Proper Hand Signals. Never weave from lane to lane or tailgate to hitch rides on moving cars or trucks.

4. Look Both Ways

Be aware of traffic around you. Seven out of Ten car-bicycle crashes occur at driveways or other intersections. Before you enter a street or intersection, check for traffic and always look left-right-left. Walk your bicycle across busy streets at corners or crosswalks.

5. Stay Alert

Keep a look-out for obstacles in your path. Watch out for potholes, sewer gratings, cracks, railroad tracks, loose gravel, and broken glass. Before going around any object, look ahead and behind you for a free gap in traffic. Plan your move, and then signal your intentions. Be especially careful in wet weather, as water can make you slip and make your brakes work improperly.

6. Beware The Dark Side

Be cautious when biking at night. If you have to ride at night, display front and rear reflectors on your bicycle. Wear reflective clothing or materials, especially on your ankles, wrists, back, and helmet. Ride in areas that are familiar and on streets that are brightly lighted.

7. Go Off Road

Follow designated bike routes if available. Bicycle routes are marked by special signs or lines. Bike paths are special areas reserved for bikes. Become familiar with such accommodations for cyclists in your area.

8. Fix It Up

Make sure your bicycle is adjusted properly. Your bicycle should be correctly adjusted to fit you; your feet should rest on the ground while sitting in the seat. Before using your bike, check to make sure that all parts are secure and working. The handlebars should be firmly in place and turn easily; the wheels should be straight and secure.

9. Stop It

Check brakes before riding. Control your speed by using your brakes. If your bicycle has hand brakes, apply the rear brakes slightly before the front brake. Remember to ride slowly in wet, slippery weather and to apply brakes earlier since it takes more distance to stop.

10. Don't Flip Your Bike

Wheels should be securely fastened. Check wheels before every ride, after every fall, or after transporting your bike to be sure that they are fastened and secure. Make sure that tires are properly inflated.