APD kicks bicycle patrols into high gear

You can expect to see more Asheville Police Department officers on bicycle patrols in coming weeks as the department rejuvenates its bike-patrol program.

Police have taken to two wheels to patrol various parts of the city in the past, but the program went by the wayside in recent years, according to Capt. Tim Splain. This week, the department is offering a training course to get dozens of officers comfortable with biking equipment and maneuvering techniques. Monday at Memorial Stadium, more than a dozen officers worked their way through three courses marked off with tiny yellow cones.

The goal is to have bike-patrol units in all of the Police Department’s districts, Splain said. Some areas are more suitable for bike patrols than others, but the goal is to have police officers on bikes patrolling parking decks, alleyways and shopping areas such as Biltmore Village. Patrols will also aim for neighborhoods, such as Ballentree and Shiloh, Splain said.

Having some officers on pedal-powered patrols will save on fuel expenses and cut pollution, but Splain said the bike patrols are also “really effective in finding criminal violations like panhandling, drinking and drug use,” and that they fit with the department’s “community policing” philosophy.

Click on the video below to watch Asheville Police Department officers ride through a bicycle-training course at Memorial Stadium.

— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor



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9 thoughts on “APD kicks bicycle patrols into high gear

  1. that was a good job with tight turns. every time i see a cop on a bike i think of the duran duran song ‘girls on film’ but instead cops on bikes.

  2. I can’t wait till the transit master plan starts in the Fall – yet another feather in the cap for the Bike Transit Plan recently passed by council.

    All in all biking and walking are healthier & better ways to live in urban communities. Now we here in Asheville just have to make this city safe enough for citizens to feel comfortable riding their bikes as a primary mode of transportation, as well as educating both bikers and vehicle drivers on how to keep shared roads safe.

    I’m actually headed to Portland, OR week after next to examine their effective city-wide bike-plan.

  3. Rob Close

    i think the addition of bike cops is fantastic. there’s no way to really know your city intimately from the perspective of a car.

  4. Jason Bugg

    JBo is leaving town for a week?

    Quick Mayor Bellamy, change the locks!

  5. Kim

    I live in Gastonia, NC and I think that bikepatrol is a good idea, and I wish we had something like it here as well. Not only is it a good idea but also great exercise. but of course you couldnt really exspect people to take cops on bikes seriously, except for the ones like me that think it is a good idea. Good luck with it. Hope it is a success.

  6. Cheshire

    Most people don’t take bike cops seriously…right up until they see them in action.

    In all seriousness: think of the terrain here. We’re in the mountains! Find me a flat place: there aren’t many. These bike cops are not only in great physical condition, but also have undergone training to put that to their best use.

    I’m really glad to hear they’re being put to good use again. Some of the best people I’ve met were bicycle police.

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