What Do Bicycle Cops Do? | PedalChef

Key Takeaways

  • Bicycle cops are police officers on bicycles. They perform similar duties in areas with high foot traffic, such as city centers and parks, to reduce and respond to crime.
  • Not all cities use bicycle cops, but they do exist in the most populated ones like New York, Chicago and Boston.
  • A bicycle cop is needed for busy cities and large gatherings or events. They attract less attention to patrol busy areas to prevent crime and violence.

Bicycle cops play an important role in law enforcement. They are found in populated areas to reduce crime. But what exactly do they do?

Bicycle cops do regular patrols in areas where cop cars cannot drive. These officers use mobility and stealth to respond to crime, engage with the community, and provide support during events. They are regular cops who can maneuver through narrow spaces in a less intimidating manner.

In this guide, we will delve into the daily activities of bicycle cops, the advantages their mode of transportation offers, and the training required for this specialized police work. Stay tuned to learn more about these dedicated officers and their pivotal role in keeping our communities safe.



What Do Bicycle Cops Do?

Bicycle cops, or bike patrol officers, play a crucial role in community policing. They're uniquely equipped to handle various situations due to their mobility and ability to access areas that cars cannot.

One of the main advantages of a bicycle patrol is its effectiveness in combating street crimes and drug interdiction. These officers can often detect illegal activity while drawing less attention, allowing them to respond quickly and efficiently.

Bike cops serve as highly visible and accessible public figures. This allows them to augment community-policing initiatives, engage with the public, and promote positive relations between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

Another important aspect is their role in crowd control situations. Bicycle-mounted police officers are often deployed in events like protests, concerts, or sports games to monitor and manage crowds more efficiently than on foot or in a car due to their mobility

Bike cops often benefit from using electric bikes for their patrols, allowing for faster response times, reduced fatigue, and expanded patrol range. This improves overall efficiency and enhances community engagement.

Benefits of a Bicycle Cop

Bicycle cops bring a unique set of advantages to law enforcement efforts. In this section, we will explore some of the key benefits, including:


Bicycle patrols provide officers with greater accessibility to areas that are typically difficult to reach with patrol vehicles, such as pedestrian zones, parks, and narrow streets. This increased accessibility allows officers to respond to incidents more quickly and efficiently.


One of the primary benefits of bicycle cops is their visibility. Officers on bikes are more approachable and easier to spot by citizens, which encourages positive interactions and greater cooperation between law enforcement and the community.

Environmental Impact

Using bicycles for patrols has a positive impact on the environment. Bikes produce zero emissions, reducing air pollution and contributing to greener, healthier communities.

Additionally, using bicycles for patrols can help reduce costs associated with fuel, maintenance, and repair of traditional patrol vehicles.

Are Bicycle Cops Real Police Officers?

Yes, bicycle cops are indeed real police officers. They receive the same training at a police academy as their peers in patrol cars or on foot. They may even have specialized training for bicycle officers provided by companies and professional organizations.

These officers operate on bicycles primarily for patrolling areas where cars can't easily access them, such as pedestrian zones, parks, and narrow alleyways. Bike squads also help form closer bonds with citizens and businesses in the community.

A bicycle cop is typically found in downtown business districts, college campuses, airports, crowded urban neighborhoods, and tourist areas, as identified by the International Police Mountain Bike Association (IPMBA).

Just like their counterparts in vehicles or on foot, bike cops are equipped with the tools and resources necessary to carry out their duties, including firearms. We can confirm that police officers on bikes undergo a specialized course to excel in their roles.

Do All US Cities Have Bicycle Patrols?

Although not every city in the US has bicycle cops, their prevalence has grown considerably since the widespread adoption of police bicycle patrols. Nowadays, many large and medium-sized cities utilize bike patrols as part of their policing strategy.

Police departments use bicycle police in cities like Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Chicago. These bike cops are typically responsible for patrolling areas that may be inaccessible or difficult for police cars to reach.

Bicycles offer several advantages over other forms of transport, including maneuverability, versatility, and a low cost of operation. Bike officers can approach situations more discreetly than vehicles or officers on foot.

Do Bicycle Officers Carry Guns?

Yes, bicycle cops usually carry guns if they have completed proper policie training. But the equipment carried by a bicycle cop may vary depending on their police department.

Generally it includes essential police gear such as handcuffs, a flashlight, a radio, and a first aid kit. Bicycle units normally carry guns. A bicycle patrol is just as dangerous as a regular patrol, so equipping officers with their firearms is necessary is all scenarios.

What Types Of Bikes Do Bicycle Cops Use?

Typically, a bicycle cop will use a mountain bike because they are the most versatile option. But with new technology, it’s becoming more common to see cops riding electric bicycles. Let’s review both.

Mountain Bikes

Police bikes are most commonly types of mountain bikes. This is because the police officer has better stability and they can change gears when going up steep hills through the city.

It’s easier for a police bicycle squad to get around the city with this type of bike too. We spoke to two police officers who agreed this is their preferred method of transportation as a bicycle officer.

Electric Bikes

One bicycle officer did mention the use of electric bikes for cities like San Francisco. The city has tons of hills, so it can be tiring to pedal these hills all day. Electric bikes are allowing officers to get places faster.