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Police bike patrol: a step forward for biking?

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Police bike patrol: a step forward for biking?

Old 07-07-08, 05:02 AM
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littlew00denb0x
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Police bike patrol: a step forward for biking?

As fuel becomes more and more expensive a lot of police departments are purchasing bikes. Where I live they are making it mandatory that all officers spend time on the bikes to save the department money. Do you think that having police on the roads make a big impact on biking? I can see the possibility that more police officers may start recreational riding, improvement to bike access in the city, and police dealing with inconsiderate drivers . Any thoughts?
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Old 07-07-08, 06:01 AM
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It's good that they're out there, but the bikes the police have in Bloomington are pathetic. I think I've seen some of them riding old MTB-ish GTs with squeaky chains, platform pedals, knobby tires, soft soled shoes, and on the sidewalks. The guys (haven't seen women officers on them) don't even have some sort of official police jersey, so they wear polo shirts with the BPD logo embroidered on them and as a result sweat like...aaaa...pigs (no pun intended).
I've never seen an officer on any of the local Bloomington Bicycle Club rides either, which would do them a world of good because honestly I doubt any of the bike cops here have any sort of endurance at all...but I could be wrong. I'm not sure how the department handles who gets to ride the bike for the week or what.
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Old 07-07-08, 06:07 AM
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The soft soled shoes and platforms are so they can still chase down perps I would assume.
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Old 07-07-08, 06:22 AM
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We have a few officers on bikes at the department I work at. I think bike patrols are very good for public relations because your out of the car and are more accessible. They are great for survelliance because they are quiet.

I saw one officer make a traffic stop by jumping off of the bike and throwing it to the ground and run up to the drivers side window and slap it to make the driver stop. I thought this was very dangerous.

I pull over drivers who are inconsiderate to cyclists and I don't go yelling at them, I try to educate them on the law and just ask that they be more considerate.

I haven't become a bike cop yet. I like air conditioning too much with all of that gear on.
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Old 07-07-08, 06:26 AM
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[QUOTE=Mike_Like_Bike;7012745] I doubt any of the bike cops here have any sort of endurance at all...QUOTE]

They don't need endurance. They have radios.
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Old 07-07-08, 06:30 AM
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I will applaud if I ever see chase footage of a bicycle cop chasing a bicycle perp. Extra credit if it is filmed from a glider.
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Old 07-07-08, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by wvxc View Post
The soft soled shoes and platforms are so they can still chase down perps I would assume.
Heh! Like a Boston cop who recently put down his bike to write a traffic citation....and then some other perp comes along and steals the bike!

All's well that ends well, as said perp was collared a short time later, still riding the bike around.
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Old 07-07-08, 06:48 AM
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I think it's a step backwards.
Bikers are getting busted left and right by bike cops here in gainesville.

The bike cops down here have proper jerseys and helmets. They pull you over if you just look suspicious. They get atleast a dozen bikers a day just for running stop signs.

I just got a 126 dollar ticket. There goes my trainer.
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Old 07-07-08, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by physh View Post
I think it's a step backwards.
Bikers are getting busted left and right by bike cops here in gainesville.

The bike cops down here have proper jerseys and helmets. They pull you over if you just look suspicious. They get atleast a dozen bikers a day just for running stop signs.

I just got a 126 dollar ticket. There goes my trainer.
Cool.
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Old 07-07-08, 07:05 AM
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I passed two cops on bikes yesterday....
I said, "you gonna give me a ticket for speeding?"

There was a smile...very faint...but there was.
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Old 07-07-08, 07:28 AM
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I almost ran into one on my way to work last week because he was riding on the left side of the road. This was a very busy road too.

Nice to see guys out there but they need to learn how to ride.
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Old 07-07-08, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by physh View Post
I think it's a step backwards.
Bikers are getting busted left and right by bike cops here in gainesville.

The bike cops down here have proper jerseys and helmets. They pull you over if you just look suspicious. They get atleast a dozen bikers a day just for running stop signs.

I just got a 126 dollar ticket. There goes my trainer.
Its my understanding that the main purpose of cops on bikes is to catch people on foot easier.
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Old 07-07-08, 07:46 AM
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Community policing is a good idea, but the "bike cops" I always see are clowns, not cyclists. I don't see how they are good for cycling: riding on the sidewalks, mountain bikes with knobbies on pavement, fat and out of shape and so on...

One the other hand, I used to ride with a cycling club that had a few police officers among the ranks. These officers road for fitness on their off-duty time and were actually good riders. It was always nice to have them on a group ride when an obnoxious motorist did something stupid.
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Old 07-07-08, 07:56 AM
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Getting more people out on bikes is beneficial in the long run. Making the police aware of the issues between cars and bicycles from the cyclist point of view is beneficial. Right now, the police are not where they need to be on these issues. Getting more of them out there is the only way to make them more aware.

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Old 07-07-08, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by physh View Post
They get atleast a dozen bikers a day just for running stop signs.

I just got a 126 dollar ticket. There goes my trainer.
^^^This is a good thing.
I like the cops on bikes in general. But they do seem to have terrible riding habits i.e. sidewalks, no lights at night, wobbling all over the place.

My city cops have junk Fuji mt. bikes, but the next city over has cool Rockie Mountain cyclocross drop bar bikes.
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Old 07-07-08, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Rowdy View Post
I pull over drivers who are inconsiderate to cyclists and I don't go yelling at them, I try to educate them on the law and just ask that they be more considerate.
If only there were more officers like you.

Originally Posted by physh View Post
I think it's a step backwards.
Bikers are getting busted left and right by bike cops here in gainesville.

The bike cops down here have proper jerseys and helmets. They pull you over if you just look suspicious. They get atleast a dozen bikers a day just for running stop signs.

I just got a 126 dollar ticket. There goes my trainer.
Sounds like you're just pissed that you got a ticket.
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Old 07-07-08, 09:50 AM
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my sis is a cop, occasionally on bike.
allows them to patrol more of the parks than just the parking lots, etc. they're also good for events & festivals, where streets are closed to traffic.
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Old 07-07-08, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Hobartlemagne View Post
I will applaud if I ever see chase footage of a bicycle cop chasing a bicycle perp. Extra credit if it is filmed from a glider.
i'll be the perp, you be the cameraman. i've been wanting this to happen for a while. running from the cops is a major adrenaline rush - at least it was when into skating as a kid..
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Old 07-07-08, 10:06 AM
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I've seen bike cops at airports - except Philadelphia (they ride Segways!). They can really get around, moving through the crowded terminals.

A friend of mine is a policeman for a local city, and recently the police chief told him he was patrolling too much and should find a place to park for a while each hour! (In the old days, if you were seen parked by the side of the road, the chief would complain that you weren't patrolling enough - how times have changed.)

I've read that some departments are requiring their officers to spend a certain amount of their shift on foot patrol - gets the officer out into the community, and saves gas as well. However I could see this as being a big problem if the officer parks his Crown Vic and is 15 minutes away from it on foot, and there is a call at the other end of his patrol area. He may be the only officer on duty, and this would really cut into response time. However, with the addition of a bike rack on the back of the Crown Vic, the officer could still cover a lot of ground on a human-powered patrol, and still not be far time-wise from his car.

I think it's a good thing.
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Old 07-07-08, 10:15 AM
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MPs have been doing it on military instillations for a while now. They are usually in full force in school zones. It gives kids a better way to put a face with a job. I like the idea.
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Old 07-07-08, 10:25 AM
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Last year I totally busted HPD bike patrol doing action shots on the mtb trails, camera crew and all, I also see them training a lot. I also just recently saw county bike patrol for the first time, I see city all the time. The other day I wanted to thank two of the bike patrols for being environmentally friendly so I rolled up next to them on my bike they just completely ignored me, lame. Could have at least acknowledged me when I addressed them, so I dropped them which isn’t that hard to do.
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Old 07-07-08, 10:29 AM
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I'd say its a good thing, assuming that it's done properly. By that I mean decent bikes rather than Walmart bikes, and uniforms that are appropriate for the level of authority they have.
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Old 07-07-08, 10:58 AM
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This weekend, I ran across an officer sleeping in his car in an empty office parking lot in Issaquah, a local suburb. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he had a legitimate reason for doing so. Riding bikes would make that harder, and sleeping in the bushes might not go over as well. :-)

Seattle cops often ride horses. It gives them a platform up high to survey the crowds during festivals, sporting events, etc. But I couldn't imagine a horse chasing anybody or even the officer dismounting to give chase. Seems silly and slightly dangerous to me.
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Old 07-07-08, 11:25 AM
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One weekend a few years ago when I was visiting a friend at UC Berkeley apparently a drunk homeless hippy kid assaulted some cops and took off on foot. We were walking when we saw this kid booking it, they had two cop cars chasing him and a cop on a bicycle. As the kid was hopping over a small fence, simultaneously the cop on the bicycle jumped off his bike and tackled him in mid air. I must say it was quite impressive.
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Old 07-07-08, 11:51 AM
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UC Davis is famous for its bike cops. Those guys give tickets to other cyclists like crazy. How I never got a ticket from one of those guys in my time there is beyond me.
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