October 28, 2010
Free Lights Handed Out Instead Of Fines
Central District officers, including members of the Community Police Team (CPT), could have handed out tickets to lightless bicyclists Wednesday evening. Instead 50 surprised downtown peddlers got free bike lights. It was all part of a new safety campaign, titled "Operation Illumination." MPD Officer Chris Masterson, who spends many tours of duty on a bicycle, spearheaded the pilot project. "Everyone we stopped knew why we were stopping them and some were pretty bummed out until we told them that we giving them a set of lights," said Officer Masterson. He, and other officers, positioned themselves on a couple of bike paths, including one behind the Kohl Center. They setup shop around 6:30 p.m., and were out lights in an hour. Planet Bike donated the "illumination" and each rider got both front and rear lights. Each set of lights retails for around $35. Those biking without lights also received a pamphlet talking about the importance of bike safety. The literature also explained that not having proper lighting can result in a $76.20 ticket. While riders talked with officers, and read the pamphlet, CPT members put lights on their bikes. If he is able to secure sufficient donations, Officer Masterson plans to conduct "Operation Illumination" again in the spring.
- Joel DeSpain, 266-4897