Last week, an article in BU Today came out titled “Bikers Nabbed in Sting Operation”. Uh Oh, I thought. Normally, this kind of headline relating to sting operations at BU usually has to do with red lights at the BU Bridge, and it usually results in yet another heated debate over bicycle-red-light running. But something about this article was different:
Hey, that’s my friend Ben! And he’s shaking the hand of a smiling BUPD Police officer. Normally neither the victim nor the cops in “string-operation” photos are smiling. What’s going on?
The BU junior was among at least 100 people given fake tickets, free bike helmets, and a friendly handshake from BU, Brookline, and Boston bicycle patrol officers in what organizers jokingly call a “shock and awe” sting operation designed to promote bike safety. Stationed along Commonwealth Avenue, the officers handed out neon orange tickets, with MassBike’s rules of the road printed on one side and a 20 percent off coupon on locks and helmets at Landry’s Bicycles on the other.
Maybe you remember this youtube video that made the internet rounds a few years ago of Danish Police stopping cyclists to give them hugs and free helmets:
I’m surprised the BU chapter of Hugs Don’t Hate wasn’t recruited for the hugging part, but maybe a firm hand-shake is enough to show that your life matters to the community. With more bike-lanes, bike-share coming to Boston, and Police officers handing out helmets, Boston is looking more and more like a European bike-topia. It seems like only yesterday in 2009 when Nicole Freedman was brought on to form Boston Bikes, Boston’s first bike-lanes were installed on Comm. Ave, and I was brought onto the newly-formed Boston University Bike-Safety Committee as a student-representative. I recall sitting in on one of the committee’s first meetings, where members brainstormed ways to promote bike-safety on campus, and shared a good laugh when playing with the idea from the video above. “If only we had the budget for that!” one committee member joked.