Bicycle patrols have become an increasingly popular choice for police departments across the United States, including New Jersey. By creating closer and more frequent interaction with law enforcement, the public becomes more familiar with the officers responsible for their safety. Bicycle patrols emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s as an alternative to typical patrolling methods.
According to the International Police Mountain Bike Association (IPMBA,) bicycle patrols bridge the gap between automobiles and foot patrols (1). Unlike squad car patrols, officers on bikes can better use all of their senses, including smell and hearing, to detect suspicious activity and prevent crime. Additionally, a police officer on bike patrol travels twice as fast as an officer on foot, yet exerts only a third to a fifth of the amount of energy (2). Bicycles offer a cost advantage as well. They are substantially less expensive to purchase and maintain than a patrol car and often are donated. The bicycle’s advantages, including the ability to maneuver more easily and travel through small spaces and congested areas, can make a world of difference in enhancing the safety and health of a community and its quality of life.
Bicycle patrols are most commonly associated with congested urban areas. However, bicycle patrols can be effective in urban, suburban and