Bike Cops... Bad role models ?

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Bike Cops... Bad role models ?

#1 Unread post by bandit600 » Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:57 am

So I noticed the other day that a motorcycle police officer was riding around with a short sleeve police shirt on and the police motorcycle helmet provided possibly a little less protection than 3/4 helmet.

After I noticed this I started scrutinizing every motorcycle cop (seen about 8 so far and as far as I can tell 8 different ones) and to my astonishment I have not seen even one wearing a jacket of any kind and they all wear that same standard motorcycle cop 5/8ths helmet ( i know I just made that up but they're not quite 3/4 helmets...)

What gives. I would think a bike cop of all people should be aware of the need and benefit greatly from safety equipment. How is this not mandated by the police department??

What do the bike cops in your area wear?
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Re: Bike Cops... Bad role models ?

#2 Unread post by Thumper » Mon Sep 20, 2010 12:19 pm

What gives is that cops have to give concessions to the amount of time they spend on their bikes; a 12 hour shift in hot, heavy gear makes for a distracted, tired officer. And bear in mind most of them are also wearing a Kevlar vest, which just adds to it. It's a balancing act of risk versus risk acceptance; they have rider training far superior to the average rider and the skills to somewhat minimize their risks, and they accept the increased risks of what will happen if they go down.

They also have to account for what will happen if they have to give chase on foot; it's hard to run in full gear, and that half helmet most wear is easier to remove in a hurry than a full faced helmet.

I had the same question a few years ago and asked a bike cop...made sense once he explained it.

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Re: Bike Cops... Bad role models ?

#3 Unread post by Gummiente » Mon Sep 20, 2010 12:58 pm

In addition to what Thumper said, a lot of police departments don't/won't budget for proper riding gear. Many Officers have to buy that kind of gear on their own and even then it has to meet department standards for uniforms... oddly enough.
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Re: Bike Cops... Bad role models ?

#4 Unread post by storysunfolding » Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:47 pm

Thumper wrote:I had the same question a few years ago and asked a bike cop...made sense once he explained it.
That's what I thought as I read your answer. It's a good rationalization, but in Northern Virginia not quite true. Our motorcops win lots of police rodeos... at slow speed police style training manuevers. They are notoriously bad manuevering at speed >20mph.

As to the gear, look at most of the police departments in Europe. Full gear, neon colors and the same long hours.

I personally don't buy the excuses I hear from cops for being bad role models. They don't wear gear, lane split illegally (even for them), and, at least as evidenced by Fairfax, Stafford, and Prince William County can't ride well at speed
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Re: Bike Cops... Bad role models ?

#5 Unread post by bandit600 » Tue Sep 21, 2010 9:01 am

I guess I'm just surprised. I would think that the departments would work more closely with the officers. It's in their best interest as well to protect their valuable trained assets.

Oh well.
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Re: Bike Cops... Bad role models ?

#6 Unread post by Grey Thumper » Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:50 pm

This article might help . . .

http://www.msgroup.org/Tip.aspx?Num=012&Set=

Longish, but it's basically summarized in one sentence:

"The answer to these apparently less safe practices of our motorcycle officers is that they have different risks to manage than we street riders do."
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Re: Bike Cops... Bad role models ?

#7 Unread post by jmillheiser » Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:37 pm

Grey Thumper wrote:This article might help . . .

http://www.msgroup.org/Tip.aspx?Num=012&Set=

Longish, but it's basically summarized in one sentence:

"The answer to these apparently less safe practices of our motorcycle officers is that they have different risks to manage than we street riders do."
Yes they have a whole other set of risks, but traffic accidents are the leading cause of officer fatalities too. Shootings and Assaults rank fairly low for causes of on duty fatality.

European motor police do wear full protective gear, usually specially designed to integrate the other equipment they need to carry as well (firearm, radio, handcuffs, usually 2 or 3 types of non-lethal weapon). Flip up helmets are popular in the EU because they dont have to be removed over the head like a full face and provide much better protection than a half helmet. An officers body armor would provide little protection in a motorcycle crash, it would likely shift around and come loose almost immediately and only covers the upper chest (concelable body armor only covers the ribcage)

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Re: Bike Cops... Bad role models ?

#8 Unread post by Gunslinger » Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:48 pm

Excellent explanation by Thumper. I did read the link, but I disagree with the author when he says mounting from the left side is safer. I mount and dismount from the right almost exclusively. It's just easier for me to do for some reason. I actually disagree with him on several points, but I digress. Another reason to wear a "5/8" helmet that I don't see mentioned is that it's easier for cops to yell comands at drivers and pedestrians than with a full face. And where I live lane splitiing is perfectly legal for motor officers to do.

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Re: Bike Cops... Bad role models ?

#9 Unread post by JC Viper » Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:54 pm

A lot of the Metro cops in London wear modular helmets which is the best of both worlds.

With the UN summit going on I see a lot of cops on their NYPD H-Ds. All were wearing the typical riding pants and boots along with the plain old T-shirt with a vest underneath. Since motorcycles are not part of the pursuit unit there's no pressing need for such high impact gear. Many of them do have riding jackets but it gets too warm for them in this weather and they can't get mesh jackets because it needs to be approved by the department (last I heard from a cop in the bike shop). When they get on their own bikes to go home they get in all their gear before heading out.

I did see in Mass. that riding cops have similar jackets to those in the UK with hi-viz colors, have padding and are water resistant.
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Re: Bike Cops... Bad role models ?

#10 Unread post by Wrider » Sat Sep 25, 2010 11:08 am

Here in the Springs they have their duty pants, shirts, bullet proof vests, but they have knee high riding boots and gloves, then wear 3/4 helmets. Keep in mind that the average speed in my city is around 40 mph. Then keep in mind these cops are on ST1300s and REGULARLY hit 100+. Now factor in that four of them have crashed in the last year (two of their own accord, two because of drivers). IMO they should be wearing a bit more protective gear.
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Re: Bike Cops... Bad role models ?

#11 Unread post by Johnj » Sat Sep 25, 2010 1:15 pm

*they* wrote:"The answer to these apparently less safe practices of our motorcycle officers is that they have different risks to manage than we street riders do."
They have the same set of risk that street riders have, plus the set of risk that a police officer faces.
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Re: Bike Cops... Bad role models ?

#12 Unread post by jmillheiser » Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:45 pm

Johnj wrote:
*they* wrote:"The answer to these apparently less safe practices of our motorcycle officers is that they have different risks to manage than we street riders do."
They have the same set of risk that street riders have, plus the set of risk that a police officer faces.
pretty much what I stated. Traffic accidents kill more law enforcement personnel than criminals do. The US is the main exception to the full gear rule for motor police, in most of the EU they wear full gear (and motor police are far more common in europe) much of it specially designed for law enforcement use, and modular helmets to give them the practical benefits of a half helmet and the protection of a full face.

Part of the reason for things like "no pursuit" laws are officers and bystanders dying in high speed accidents (in many jurisdictions if someone runs the police will only pursue long enough to get their plate number and then cease the pursuit and track them down later)

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Re: Bike Cops... Bad role models ?

#13 Unread post by Gunslinger » Sun Oct 03, 2010 3:00 am

Traffic accidents kill more law enforcement personnel than criminals do. The US is the main exception to the full gear rule for motor police, in most of the EU they wear full gear (and motor police are far more common in europe) much of it specially designed for law enforcement use, and modular helmets to give them the practical benefits of a half helmet and the protection of a full face.
"Traffic" accidents kill more LEO's than criminals. Definitely not "motorcycle" accidents. I usually don't have much contact with motor officers other than maybe an air show or some other special event. But I never hear them (or anyone else) complaining that they need better gear or should be forced to wear full face helmets. I think they should have the option to wear whatever gear they want, within reason. No pink mohawks on the helmets.

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Re: Bike Cops... Bad role models ?

#14 Unread post by Wrider » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:30 pm

Heh just re visiting this thread. The other day a local officer hit some sand and went down. Scraped up because of his lack of protective clothing, but otherwise ok.
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