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SUNY Police Officer Honor for Bicycle Safety

SUNY Plattsburgh Police Office Robert Light is the recipient of the New York Bicycling Coalition 2013 Law Enforcement Bicycling Champion Award.

Light will receive the award Tuesday, May 21, at Lake Placid Elementary School’s Fun On Wheels event where cyclists ride to schools in Essex and Franklin counties to distribute and fit helmets to second and third graders. 

“For the better part of the past 20 years, Officer Light has been working diligently to enhance bicycle safety, and he is certainly a bike champion,” said Jerry Lottie, assistant chief of police at SUNY Plattsburgh.

Recognition for Bicycling Work

“I am very excited about receiving the ‘Bike Champion Award,’” Light said. “I think, for me, it is being recognized for the various things that I have done while on a bicycle and for bicycling. I think the thing that comes to mind right away is the bicycle safety presentations that I have done since my kids were in elementary school.” Both of Light’s sons are now serving in the U.S. military.

Among his accomplishments in promoting bicycle safety, Light has been a driving force behind development of the college’s police bike patrol program and has promoted the program statewide by leading police mountain bike training programs for hundreds of police officers throughout the state.

Crash Serves as Bike-Safety Catalyst

In October 2001, Light was severely injured in a car-bicycle crash.

“I was very lucky to survive that crash, and I have tried very hard to become the poster child for bicycle safety,” Light said.

He has used that experience to educate kids across the North Country on bike safety. Working with SafeKids Adirondack, he initiated bicycle-safety education and helmet-safety programs that benefit students at local elementary schools. He has also raised thousands of dollars for national charities through his bike rides and rallies.

“I actually have a certificate from the state Health Department, the “Saved by the Helmet Award,’” Light said. “It hangs on my locker at work.”

Benefit to Communities

Kerry Haley, co-chair of the SafeKids Adirondack, said the programs initiated by Light “are a tremendous benefit to our communities. We are reaching hundreds of kids every year to make sure they are riding safely, and, thanks to Officer Light, we are saving lives.”

“New York Bicycling Coalition is committed to improving safety for bicyclists of all ages and abilities, which we can only do with the help of dedicated bicycle champions like Officer Light,” said Josh Wilson, executive director of the coalition. “We are proud to give him the recognition he deserves for his notable achievements in bicycle safety.”

Light thanked his colleagues at SUNY Plattsburgh’s University Police, saying he shares the award with them because “I have been allowed over the years to go out to various schools to conduct bicycle safety.” As a result, “staffing requires us to be flexible.”

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