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Police bicycles

Old 06-12-19, 02:02 AM
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Police bicycles

Given that road bikes are generally faster and lighter I wonder why police, much like their use of HDs, choose to use mtbs? The only real advantage a mtb has for the most part is adeptly handling rough terrain. Road bikes accelerate faster being that their usually less than half the weight of a mtb and SS's are nearly silent in operation which in tactical operations would be a distinct advantage. Although the harsh ride of the rigid frame would make a full (8hr) shift very fatiguing.
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Old 06-12-19, 02:13 AM
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See crime going down on other side of park. Bunny hops curb, gets pinch flat... fixes pinch flat, gets stuck in soft grass.
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Old 06-12-19, 02:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Trevtassie View Post
See crime going down on other side of park. Bunny hops curb, gets pinch flat... fixes pinch flat, gets stuck in soft grass.
By the time the mtb gets there the suspect is long gone. My scenario is much more realistic.
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Old 06-12-19, 04:01 AM
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Police cyclists are more rolling radios than pursuers. They have instant access to every vehicle in the fleet, they don't need to give chase on something that's gonna get a pinch-flat within three minutes of a chase.
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Old 06-12-19, 04:36 AM
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Look at it from another angle---police forces choose MTBs, so why?

Id wager it is because they frequently don't succeed through speed, and are quick enough when speed is needed.

A strong rider on an MTB can definitely catch a pedestrian, and follow through much terrain .... but obviously a pedestrian can hop a fence and be gone. Cops have radios.

Most fooling-around cyclists---the kind of people who would be breaking the law stupidly in urban areas---are no match for most cycle cops in fitness. The cops work out regularly, and the few bike cops I knew took great pride in being fast---rather, quick. They aren't looking at one-hour chases---they are sprinters. Of course, the cop is carrying a ton of gear--weapons, first aid, bulletproof vest, radio---and so isn't designed for a long chase. See above remark regarding radios.

Further, bike cops are primarily about mobility, not speed. A cop in a car in traffic sees a crime, s/he has to park, get, out, and chase on foot because the criminals are usually on bikes or on foot and able to cut through crowds, across public spaces---places cars could not go. A bike cop can duck down an alley, sail off a two-foot drop, shoot through a three-foot gap between buildings, and be ahead of the runner--and in pursuit, can keep an eye on the suspect while using that radio I keep mentioning.

If long-distance speed were all that mattered, bike cops wouldn't bother with guns, radios, flak vests. If instant acceleration was all that mattered, they'd all ride ultra-light road bikes. But what matters is delivering the fully-equipped cop to a given location more quickly than s/he could get there on foot after abandoning the car. And abandoning the car is itself problematical, considering there is usually a small arsenal in the trunk.

Rigid MTBs look like good tools for the job when one considers the actual job, not some fantasy cop movie where bold cycling cops chase renegade bike messengers or highly athletic small-time drug dealers down carless urban streets (which only exist in movies.) (In real life those drug dealers don't go on long, hard training rides, they have BMX bikes if they ride, and they smoke a lot.)

Cops could have chosen Any bikes. They chose what would best help them do their jobs.
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Old 06-12-19, 04:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Hr1 View Post
Given that road bikes are generally faster and lighter I wonder why police, much like their use of HDs, choose to use mtbs? The only real advantage a mtb has for the most part is adeptly handling rough terrain. Road bikes accelerate faster being that their usually less than half the weight of a mtb and SS's are nearly silent in operation which in tactical operations would be a distinct advantage. Although the harsh ride of the rigid frame would make a full (8hr) shift very fatiguing.
Obviously, you have never tried to ride a road bike while wearing a ballistic vest and a belt with 20lbs of gear on it.
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Old 06-12-19, 05:11 AM
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Not to mention, I'd bet that the average bike cop is faster on the mtb than you are on your road bike. Biggest variable in speed is the rider, and from what I've seen, no one accelerates better than a bike cop. They train on it, and they have huge amounts of saddle time.

Road bikes are designed to squeeze a couple mph on an open road, they really aren't an advantage in the crowded, uneven terrain an urban cop is going to encounter. Seriously, are you picturing the cops riding the drops and/or aero bars in a lot of scenarios?

All bikes are quiet enough to be pretty stealthy on a street, so your speculation about the tactical advantage of ss is just silly.

Next up--why do people use cargo bikes to carry cargo?
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Old 06-12-19, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Hr1 View Post
By the time the mtb gets there the suspect is long gone. My scenario is much more realistic.
You obviously have no idea what police patrolling is about.

The device of choice for high speed pursuit is an internal combustion engine. Bikes' advantages are in expanding the range of beat patrolling and rolling on terrain cars can't go. Racing bikes would suck for both of those.
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Old 06-12-19, 05:39 AM
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They used Honda C90's on our MUP system in the 1980s briefly, but I guess the lawyers put a stop to that.
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Old 06-12-19, 06:29 AM
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Old 06-12-19, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Were you both chasing the caboose?
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Old 06-12-19, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Hr1 View Post
Given that road bikes are generally faster and lighter I wonder why police, much like their use of HDs, choose to use mtbs? The only real advantage a mtb has for the most part is adeptly handling rough terrain. Road bikes accelerate faster being that their usually less than half the weight of a mtb and SS's are nearly silent in operation which in tactical operations would be a distinct advantage. Although the harsh ride of the rigid frame would make a full (8hr) shift very fatiguing.
I think you should test your idea and let a bike cop see you take a bag from a little old lady on your road bike in the environment a cop bike would be present.

Or make friends with some bike cops and have a friendly challenge that doesn't put you in the klink.
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Old 06-12-19, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Hr1 View Post
By the time the mtb gets there the suspect is long gone. My scenario is much more realistic.
No, actually it is not.

If a copís beat was strictly on paved roads and suspects had the courtesy to stay on those paved roads (on foot or on bike, and not in a car) while you chase them, then your scenario might make sense..... except that a car would work a whole lot better and what would the point be of being on a bike?

The whole point of the bikes is to expand the beat cops range.
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Old 06-12-19, 06:57 AM
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is a bike better than a horse?
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Old 06-12-19, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
is a bike better than a horse?
At this point, I think we're beating a dead bike.

Silly thread from a low information OP.
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Old 06-12-19, 07:16 AM
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I think the more relevant question here is....

Is the OP is less informed about:
a) bikes
b) urban policing

Discuss.
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Old 06-12-19, 07:20 AM
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Tried the horse's mouth ?

You Ask your local Constable, why, yet ?
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Old 06-12-19, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
Is the OP is less informed about:
a) bikes
b) urban policing
Yes.
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Old 06-12-19, 07:23 AM
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Old 06-12-19, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
is a bike better than a horse?
I'm pretty sure a horse followed by a human on foot would both be faster up to about 12mph. Beyond that, a bike is quicker and can sustain speeds.

Who else laughed when the OP mentioned bike cops and tactical ops? They are high visibility and generally there to keep things rolling along smoothly. As someone mentioned upthread, they have radios if things get more serious.

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Old 06-12-19, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Hr1 View Post
By the time the mtb gets there the suspect is long gone. My scenario is much more realistic.
No, no it is not. Your scenario is based on the premise that you are not a bike cop and have 0 experience in law enforcement aside from watching a few cop shows.
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Old 06-12-19, 07:37 AM
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I helped a mid-sized city's bicycle officers train many weeks. Some of them developed into serious cyclists, but for a good part, it was a place for the PD to put officers who weren't meeting their physical requirements. More delicate road bikes would have been a maintenance problem for some of the less-experienced riders, and especially for the better riders using more... vigorous riding styles.
Most of the job was patrolling parks, downtown, and other areas where vehicular traffic was excluded or just so congested as to be useless. I did accompany them on longer rides, for fitness purposes, which they realized they weren't getting from just noodling around the park.

There's a LOT of curb hopping, crossing grass, etc. on a normal police bike, and the adapted mtb they chose did the job really well. Though they had a lighter loadout than most of the rest of the force, they still packed on enough gear that a road bike wouldn't be the greatest thing in the world for them, all of the above considered.

The greatest direct benefits (remember, for any 'real' and dangerous issues, they all had radios) for the PD were:
-They weren't driving around in a steel and glass cage. More accessible, and had to learn to interact with the public constantly. This helps to alleviate the 'rolling fortress' mentality.
-Officers who needed more physical activity, so as not to appear to be the stereotypical Uniformed Donut Muncher.
-Provide a Police Presence in areas where cars are either excluded or unwieldy, with a LOT more mobility than a foot patrol
-etc...

I have my own opinions about police practices and whether/how they enforce certain laws (not for this forum, however), but I did really like what they were doing with the bicycle program.
In my experience riding with these folks, I'm pretty sure trying to use road bikes would not have worked out well.

...and, for the record I'm a roadie.
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Old 06-12-19, 07:42 AM
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Old 06-12-19, 07:49 AM
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Our PD use a MTB from Giant and Cannondale. considering they are riding heavyish bikes they are actually pretty damn fast when they need to be. They can take them anyplace and are very effective on the MUP. they can go where the motorcycles can't and are also a great PR tool.

Another thing is they can get through events and such with ease that a person of foot/car/motorcycle can't. Bikes are a great tool in very urban high population settings.

Also they buy their bikes on the bidding process so who ever can give them the best deal wins. Our local shop sells our PD their bikes and I know for a fact it must also include free service except for the parts. Labor is part of the contract.

I just added to keep this kind of ridicules thread going
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Old 06-12-19, 07:56 AM
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ummm ...

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