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Enforcement refers to techniques or interventions that help deter unsafe behavior. People in cars, people walking, and people on bikes can all behave in ways that create unsafe situations around schools, especially during arrival and dismissal times. Enforcing safe speeds, correct yielding, and other elements of a safe environment requires partnerships. Law enforcement officers from local jurisdictions, state patrol officers, school district personnel, parents, school staff and administration, local officials, and even students can all help enforce good behavior.

Important Roles in Enforcement

Law Enforcement Officers

  • Have law enforcement officers on your local Safe Routes to School teams and committees. Include law enforcement at meetings and part of the Travel Plan process.
  • Inform law enforcement of the routes that students take when they walk and bike. Inquire about any concerns with the routes.
  • Invite law enforcement officers to speak to students to educate them about pedestrian safety, bicycle safety, and personal safety.
  • Learn about law enforcement practices in your area. Know the capabilities and jurisdictions of your local law enforcement agencies. Share the information with SRTS stakeholders.
  • Post law enforcement agency contact information and publicize it to parents and students so that they know who to call.

School Staff and Community Members

  • Student Safety Patrols can help enforce arrival and dismissal policies.
  • Adult Crossing Guards may assist with enforcing safe behavior at intersections.
  • Neighborhood Watch Programs serve as a liaison with the police department regarding community concerns.
  • Corner Captains can provide supervision along known walking and biking routes to re-enforce safe behaviors.

Layering Enforcement with Other Strategies

Engineering as Enforcement

Engineering can support enforcement by defining what people should do or encouraging specific behaviors.

  • Speed limit signs tell drivers the maximum safest speed.
  • Signs at school entrances may limit access during peak traffic times around the schools.
  • Wayfinding signs define routes and pathways to take.
  • Crosswalks show pedestrians where to cross and alert drivers where to look out for pedestrians.
  • A barricade means “do not enter.”
  • Speed humps means “drive slower.”
  • A guard rail along the sidewalk means “continue in a straight path.”
  • A curb extension or median refuge signals pedestrians to “cross the street here.”
  • Speed feedback signs warn drivers when they’re going faster than the posted speed limit.
  • Traffic cameras may discourage bad behavior and penalize law breakers.

Encouragement as Enforcement

Enforcement can also be accomplished through encouragement and positive reinforcement. SRTS programs can encourage safe behavior by:

  • Implementing a “reward program” to recognize when students are behaving correctly
  • Customizing local messages by using yard signs
  • Modeling good behavior

Education as Enforcement

Enforcement relies on local knowledge of laws and regulations. People are more likely to follow safety laws when they understand why they exist and the consequences for not following them. Education can include:

  • Videos describing Minnesota laws related to school zones
  • “Bike Rodeos” that teach bike safety skills for children while also engaging parents
  • Local or regional safety campaigns

Laws and Best Practices for Biking and Walking in Minnesota

Minnesota Pedestrian Laws and Education from MnDOT
Minnesota Bicycle Laws and Education from MnDOT

Spotlight: Minnesota Success Stories

Nisswa, MN: “Ticketing” Good Behavior

Some police departments will stop and “ticket” children they see wearing helmets while riding their bikes, giving them a coupon for a free ice cream cone and encouraging them to continue the behavior. Check out this story about officers in Nisswa, MN who participate in the “I Got Caught” program.

Rochester, MN: “SEE.SAFE.SMART.Rochester”

In 2010, the City of Rochester developed the “SEE.SAFE.SMART.Rochester” campaign. The public safety campaign included billboards and bus signs featuring some of the town’s own “hometown heroes”, and was designed to promote safe walking, biking, and driving in the Rochester community.

Minneapolis, MN: Bike Cops for Kids Program

The Minneapolis Police Department began the Bike Cops for Kids program in 2009. With grant funding and community support, the team hopes to connect with children by providing free helmets, lights, locks, and bikes.

St. Paul, MN: “Stop For Me” Campaign

St. Paul Smart Trips runs a pedestrian safety enforcement campaign called “Stop For Me.” In cooperation with the St. Paul Police Department and the city’s district councils, the campaign draws attention to Minnesota’s crosswalk laws (see above) through targeted enforcement at intersections across the city. Check out this video to learn more.

Enforcement Resources