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Crash course for cops 

It takes more than bike lanes and sidewalks to make a community hospitable to cyclists and pedestrians. Law enforcement plays a big part, too.

More people are walking and biking, so police officers need to have a comprehensive understanding of the laws governing pedestrians and cyclists.

A March 17 and 18 training session for local police officers should help accomplish that task, says Pete Bucci, a public information officer for the State Department of Motor Vehicles. The training program is one of a few being held across the state this year by the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee and several local and state partners.

The training program will be held at Monroe County's Public Safety Training Facility on Scottsville Road. Among the local agencies participating are the Brighton, Brockport, and Rochester police departments, as well as the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, Bucci says.

The Genesee Transportation Council will be represented, and a few departments from neighboring counties are also signed up. (The registration deadline was last week.)

A letter sent to local police chiefs says that the session will include training on the laws, how bicycle and pedestrian crashes happen, how to investigate and report crashes involving cyclists or pedestrians, and ways to partner on safety efforts.

And it says that the session is best suited to certain officers, including bike patrols, supervisors, training personnel, and neighborhood or community policing officers.

"Not surprisingly, officers don't enforce laws they don't know and they don't enforce laws they can't defend," the letter says.

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