04
Jun
09

Police motorcycles, who’ld a thunk it?

I got pulled over by a motorcycle unit today…..darn it! Had a flickering tail light bulb which constituted a verble warning and no more. Might I add that the bike was tucked away in a little parking lot with a bank of trees to shield us from seeing him until after we were past him and busted! The good news was that I was actually going only 3-5mph over the speed limit. But, it made me ponder….who ever came up with the idea of motorcycle police unit?
I had heard that the first motorcycle police vehicle in the country was right here in Portland, Oregon by an officer with the Portland Police Bureau in 1909. It was actually his own personal motorcycle and was not purchased as a city vehicle. I was impressed by my home town. As I thought about blogging this, I decided it would be better to have the facts and, as luck would have it, we missed it by one year. This is how the history of the police motorcycle goes…..

Police motorcycles have been used since as early as 1908, largely because of their smaller size and maneuverability in situations where access is limited because of traffic or other obstructions. They have also been used as escort vehicles to allow multiple motorcycles to assist without taking up much room.
Although the first motorcycles litterally purchased for police use was one from Harley-Davidson by Detroit, Michigan in 1908 and a belt-driven motorcycle with no disclosed brand name by the Evanston, Illinois Police Department, also in 1908, they were not part of an official motorcycle police units.
It was a police chief named August Bollmer of the Berkeley, California Police Department that first organized an official police patrol in the United States. That was achieved in 1911…and the rest is history.

As I was growing up, all motorcycle police units were Harley-Davidsons. In my early twenties, they went to Kawasakis. Now a days I see them on BMWs. I dont know what the criteria is for a motorcycle unit for a police department. All these bikes differ greatly. Maybe one of my readers can give me the heads up on how these guys decide.

I love ALL motorcycles but, I hate seeing one in my side mirror with flashin lights.
Lady Godiva on wheels……with no ticket!! Hehehehehe

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