Steps to Silver - Enforcement
This page will consider the Enforcement aspects of LAB's Attributes of a Bicycle Friendly Community and especially Little Rock's 2016 LAB report card (Fig. 1).
Little Rock's Enforcement score was high relative to other categories and we have made significant improvements in Enforcement since. Explore below to learn more.
Figure 1. City of Little Rock's League of American Bicyclists 2016 Bike Friendly Community feedback highlighting Enforcement items.
Codifying cyclists rights to the road on city and state levels, bicycle-specific three foot passing law, motorist responsibility for "dooring" bicyclists, allowing cyclists to ride two abreast, and other bike-friendly laws made Enforcement a relative strength in 2016. Since that time we made significant progress. While some of this progress was at the state level and some was at the City level, Little Rock advocates were instrumental in all of these changes.
Progress Since 2016
CLR Cycling Ranger Program: In 2015,* City of Little Rock Parks and Recreation began the Cycling Ranger Program within its volunteer Park Ranger Program. The Cycling Rangers are trained in conflict mediation, bicycle safety, and CPR; their presence on our trail network promotes the safety of trail users. Are you interested in becoming a Cycling Ranger? Contact Program Coordinator Karen Sykes.
* While this program was started in 2015, it was not discussed in the City's 2016 Bicycle Friendly Community application.
Bike with a Cop: Since 2016, LRPD has hosted an annual event called Bike with a Cop in which police officers teach children to ride safely on the street, have a skills course, provide bicycle safety education, and give away bikes (Fig. 2).
Figure 2. Photo of LRPD officers and participants in Bike with a Cop 2018.
Ban on Texting and Driving: In 2017, the State of Arkansas banned texting and driving.
Electric Bikes Act: In 2017, the State of Arkansas became one of the first states to define the rights and responsibilities of pedal-assist bike users.
Friendly Driver: While this overlaps with Education, this course, launched in 2018 through funding from AARP's Community Challenge Grant, is targeted at people who primarily drive on Little Rock streets, to help them better understand their legal rights and responsibilities around bicyclists and pedestrians. One of the first programs of its kind, based on the Bike Friendly Driver Program developed in Fort Collins, the highly effective Little Rock Friendly Driver Program has gotten considerable attention through posters at conferences of the Arkansas Public Health Association (2019) and the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (ABPB, 2019), a panel at APBP (2019), an America Walks State Walking Networks teleconference (2019), and an upcoming panel at LAB's National Bike Summit (2020). Through this exposure, we are helping several cities across the country launch similar programs based on Little Rock's Friendly Driver Program and we are talking with the Arkansas DOT about launching the program statewide.
Bicyclists May Use Full Lane: Though marginally effective, "Share the Road" signage has been criticized for ambiguous messaging, which is why they are being phased out in Delaware and Oregon. To whom is the sign speaking and how should bikes and cars share? For example, motorists have been known to mistakenly interpret this signage as telling bicyclists to get out of the way of motor vehicles. "Bicyclists May Use Full Lane" signage, on the other hand, has clear messaging to the driver about the rights of cyclists in all non-freeway traffic lanes (Fig. 3). Bicyclists typically feel safer with this this signage than Share the Road signage or even sharrow markings, and, of course, perceived safety increases ridership and increased ridership increases per capita safety. Since 2018, the City of Little Rock has a policy of installing "Bicyclists May Use Full Lane" when we used to install "Share the Road" signage, i.e. at the beginning and within sharrow corridors. This policy will help address perceived safety, actual safety, and ridership.
Figure 3. MUTCD R4-11 signage stating "Bicyclists may use full lane"
LRPD Instructors: In 2019, Officer James Phillips and Lieutenant Van Watson became Certified International Police Mountain Bike Association Instructors. This certification allows them to teach police officers and other first responders how to use a bicycle as a vehicle on their jobs. They have already trained 17 Little Rock first responders! The only other police department in Arkansas with Certified International Police Mountain Bike Association Instructors who actively train is in Bentonville.
Arkansas Stop: In 2019, Arkansas became only the second state to legalize cyclists treating a stop sign as a yield and a red light as a stop sign (Fig. 4).
Figure 4. Two slides from the Friendly Driver Program explaining the stop as yield and red light as stop laws for Arkansas cyclists passed in 2019.