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APD officers training to become bicycle safety instructors

Nine APD officers took a class to become certified bicycle instructors. July 19, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Nine APD officers took a class to become certified bicycle instructors. July 19, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Nine APD officers took a class, put on by the League of American Bicyclists, to become certified bicycle instructors. July 19, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Nine APD officers took a class, put on by the League of American Bicyclists, to become certified bicycle instructors. July 19, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Nine APD officers took a class, put on by the League of American Bicyclists, to become certified bicycle instructors. July 19, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Anchorage Police Departement chief Mark Mew, himself an avid bicycler, at the APD bicycle instructor training. July 19, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Nine APD officers took a class to become certified bicycle instructors. July 19, 2012
Loren Holmes photo

Coming soon to a school hall near you: A handful of Anchorage's finest are laying down the law on the dos and don'ts of bicycling about the highways and byways of Alaska's largest city. Nine Anchorage Police Department officers recently certified as bicycling instructors will visit the city's schools to inform adults and children on best practices for safe bicycle riding, while separating fact from fiction surrounding Anchorage bike laws.

Anchorage can at times be a city unfriendly to bicycle commuters, many of whom bemoan a dearth of bike lanes, sidewalks or other safe pedestrian options along busy thoroughfares. On the flip side, motorists get frustrated with cyclists going well under the speed limit and taking up roadway lanes.

So which is legal? Biking on the sidewalk, or biking in the road? Police chief Mark Mew says both are, with conditions.

"If you're going to be on the sidewalk, you're going to behave like a pedestrian," meaning police expect bike riders to go slower -- no faster than 10 mph -- observing sidewalk etiquette and pedestrian laws like waiting for all-clears at crosswalks, Mew said.

Caveat: The sidewalk-friendly bike riding ends around the Delaney Park Strip. Sidewalk biking in downtown Anchorage is illegal, Mew cautioned.

Like your bike ride a bit brisker?

"If you want to go 20 mph, straight through the city, you'll need to use the roadway," Chief Mew said.

Read much more about Anchorage's bike laws.