Bicycle Police And the Dangers Of Bike Riding

Two wheeled police officers in Seattle
Two wheeled police officers in Seattle

Have you seen any episodes of the TV-series Pacific Blue? I watched a few episodes when it was new, but was quickly bored. It was a little too much like Baywatch, but it seemed to have enough fans. The series has become a summer tradition on the Norwegian channel TV2 in recent years; they send it every summer. Pacific Blue was an American crime series where the bike police on Santa Monica beach played the leading role.

I thought this was a silly idea they had come up with to make a replacement for Baywatch. I had never seen bicycle police before and it surprised me to discover that there was such a thing. When I studied at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, there was a police station across the street, and you could encounter police on wheels anywhere on the university campus. There’s no doubt that it is practical because a bike can access almost any terrain. The problem is that it isn’t exactly a safe means of transportation, which the police chief in a city in the U.S. state of Delaware experienced one morning as he rode his bicycle to work. A collision with another cyclist led to no less than seven broken ribs and a broken collar bone.

There is almost no limit to what can happen when you’re riding a bicycle. There was a woman who was riding for sport in the Napa Valley, California. She caught up with a hot air balloon flying low and halfway out on the road. She attempted to ride farther out on the road to overtake the balloon, but got a rope from the balloon wrapped around her neck. With a jerk, she was thrown off the bike, but thankfully survived the ordeal. In Springfield, Illinois a man plunged over the handlebars and broke his neck after a squirrel ran into the front wheel of his bike. If there isn’t something that gets in the way, it may simply be that the road is not there. That happened when a man in New York rode down a hole where they were doing road work. They had apparently forgotten to close the area.

As if a bike wasn’t dangerous enough in itself, someone had to make it even worse. Two men drove their gas-powered bikes in the same direction on a road in New South Wales, Australia. They crashed and both riders were surrounded by flames when the bikes caught fire. Fortunately this happened outside a house, and the owner sprayed them with a garden hose. One rider was still in critical condition when the local newspaper wrote about it. Why the hell would you have a motorized bike at all?  In this country we call that a moped. Why not simply buy a moped?

It is a regrettable truth that men do a lot of stupid things. I read about a man in Redwood City, California who probably did not feel particularly smart the next day. He was drunk and riding in the wrong direction in a one-way street. As if that wasn’t critical enough the driver of the car he crashed with was drunk as well. This also happened in the evening in a dark street, and the rider had dark clothing on. The end result for the rider was a broken back, a broken leg, head injuries and a fine of 250 dollars.

I mentioned a woman in my collection of bizarre accidents, but statistics from the U.S. shows that men account for 80% of bicycle accidents. With the two last accidents I referred to that is not a surprise. I’m not so sure if I really want emergency bikes equipped with testosterone (I mean, ah cops) chasing through the shopping street in Haugesund, the small town I grew up in in Norway. We could have a freaky accident like an officer diving over the handlebars and landing on top of one of the animal statues in the pedestrian precinct. We can’t possibly arm policemen just out of the police academy with something as dangerous as a bike, can we?

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