( From scooters to police bikes )

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. -- Samuel Adams, speech at the Philadelphia State House, Aug 1, 1776

Recently, Nebraska Senator Jennie Robak introduced a bill to "authorize" flashing lights and sirens on police bicycles. This came as a surprise to Nebraskan police since it's never been illegal, to their knowledge, just unnecessary (they utilize whistles quite nicely thankyou) and added weight.

Sen. Robak was "inspired" to promote this audacious piece of legislation by the lone lobbyist, Police Bicycle Officer Colin Alexander of the small Nebraska town, Columbus. Other large cities like Omaha and Lincoln voiced no interest in the flashing lights and sireeen gimic for their Police Bicyclists. John Fox, Prez of the Law Enforcement Bicycle Assoc. nor Kirby Beck, Prez of International Police Mountain Bike Assoc. would support the legislation. So if only one Police Bicyclist supports this unnecessary bill then why is it even being considered? Perhaps its because it will ultimately benefit the manufacturer...

A California company with the zippy name of ZAP (their mottos are "Put on a ZAPPY face" and "for a ZAP world") markets the "flashing light and siren" unit. ZAP is a publicly owned company with stock trading under the symbol ZAPP. ZAP realizes the importance of strategic legislation, starting with the bill SB441 in California, passed by the legislature (and signed by Gov. Davis). This bill enabled the company to increase sales by legalizing their electric bikes and scooters to access public roadways and thoroughfares.

ZAP has a contractual relationship with Sinith & Wesson (that's right, the gun people!) who provides ZAP with Law Enforcement Bicycles. What is a U.S. Senator doing, proposing bills to the benefit of these companies? Further, how did a seemingly innocuous company branch out from such wholesome fare as scooters to police bicycles? The first piece of legislation may have served to whet their appetite. Fashionable, fascist marketing. This second bill could conceivably start the ball rolling for appropriations of your tax dollars for a gazillion "flashing lights and siren" units all over the USA. In the meantime ZAP is contenting itself to finagle money out of utility companies to purchase the units and donate them to police bicycle officers who don't even want them! Think about this the next time you pay your utility bills. Possibly you'll want to contact ZAP to see if your utiity company is one of the benefactors (with your money) and make your comments on the donations known.

For more information on this profiteering boondoggle go here:

APB Online

ZAP Teams With Smith & Wesson

ZAP Law Enforcement

Bend Oregon Police Department gets Zapped

Pacific Power added some zap to the Bend Police Department in May 1997, when they donated two electric-powered police bicycles to the force. Bend Police are among the first in Oregon to ride electric powered bikes.

Bend Police Chief Bob Glynn, Captain Andy Jordan, City Councilor Benji Gilchrist, Mayor Bob Woodward, and Pacific Power's Clark Satre with one of the new electric powered police bicycles

The Zero Air Pollution (ZAP) bicycles run on a 12-volt battery and can reach speeds up to 20 miles per hour using just the electric motor, and can go even faster when pedaling and the motor are used together. The bikes are equipped with flashing red and white lights and high-decibel sirens like those used in regular police vehicles. Officers can pedal or switch on the battery-powered motor so they can save their stamina or travel at higher speeds in emergencies.

Bicycle patrols have already proven to be an important part of community policing in Bend, especially in the downtown area according Robert Glynn, Bend Police Chief, and because of the high visibility and approachability of the officers, have been well received by the community. The new electric-powered bicycles expand the capabilities of the force, making bicycle patrols even more effective.

Pacific Power wanted to give the Bend Police Department an extra weapon in the fight against crime, and chose the electric bikes because the company is committed to using the latest technologies available to enhance the environment. These bicycles also demonstrate another alternative mode of transportation for commuting and running errands.