With warmer weather upon us, increasing environmental awareness, and a desire for cost efficiency, police departments are taking officers out of patrol vehicles and on to bicycles. Officers on bicycles are able to enter smaller areas and roadways, cutting down on travel time, and make contact with community members easier than officers riding in a car. Bicycles are also much more discreet that patrol vehicles, as they are usually not equipped with sirens or lights and can be parked easily in high-traffic areas, which is especially useful for crowd control. Bicycles can clear obstacles or stopped traffic by taking alternate and sometimes unconventional routes, reaching the emergency or crime scene in minutes.
Because the everyday duties and routes of bicycle officers differ from the day-to-day activities of police officers traveling in a squad car, the gear and uniforms of these individuals should be tailored to their job. One of the biggest differences is the increased mobility that bike patrol officers need on patrol. Bike patrol officers need a specially designed uniform for everyday use, with a focus on comfort, safety, and flexibility. Bike shorts and pants should be equipped with multiple secure pocket, both internal and external, to keep gear safe in rides over rough terrain. Our bike shorts and bike pants are made with FlexForce, a performance stretch fabric made with nylon, polyester, and spandex, and all of our bike patrol pants have zippered thigh pockets and internal security pockets throughout. Our FlexForce trouser is now offered in a standard trouser style as well as a zip-off design for all-season wear.
When it comes to shirts, bike patrol officers should choose something lightweight and breathable, with high visibility components and the ability to add lettering. A lightweight police polo or uniform shirt made with moisture wicking materials like polyester or mesh will keep the wearer cool during spring or summer patrol. To stay visible in the roadway during nighttime, dawn, or dusk shifts, uniform shirts should be made with a high visibility material or feature retroreflective trim or striping. In order to fully identify an individual as a police officer to civilians, departments may choose to add “POLICE” lettering across the back of the uniform shirt or jacket. Outerwear with removable liners is perfect for bike patrol officers because they can be quickly transitioned from a warmer jacket to a lightweight shell or windbreaker.
Accessories are essential in keeping bike patrol officers safe and prepared – helmets, eye protection, gloves, and proper shoes should be worn at all times. The number one priority should be an officer’s helmet, which will prevent injuries in case of a crash or fall on the job. Helmets with a visor style can also assist in protection from the sun or rain. Eye protection, such as cycling glasses or sunglasses is built to protect from the sun as well as harmful debris and wind. To protect the hands in case of a fall and to properly grip bike handles look for specially designed bicycle patrol gloves rather than traditional black leather police gloves. Finally, bike patrol shoes should be specifically designed for cycling to fully grip the pedals and prevent foot fatigue. Traditional duty boots are not equipped for long shifts on bicycle patrol as they tend to be much heavier and designed for tactical operations or foot patrol.