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Police cars on bike paths(10 posts)

Police cars on bike pathscommuterguy
May 30, 2002 9:41 AM
On the way to work today, I had a decent head of steam (~22 mph), rounded a bend and found myself face to face with a police cruiser. No flashing lights or other signs that an emergency was involved, just going for a routine patrol (or maybe taking a shortcut?). I ride the Capital Crescent Trail into Washington, DC, and have had this happen a number of other times.

While I appreciate having the path patrolled, wouldn't it be more effective to have the police on foot or on bikes? Or, if a motor absolutely has to be involved, why not a motorcycle? A bad guy encountering the cruiser would get a good headstart into the surrounding woods, whereas a walking or cycling cop would have the element of surprise and the ability to quickly give chase. Does anyone else encounter this?
re: Police cars on bike pathsThoth2
May 30, 2002 10:16 AM
Sorry to answer your question w/ a question, but I'm moving to DC and am looking into commuting from Alexandria to downtown. I'm actually going to try it this Saturday from my new apt. Any tips?
Alexandria-DC commute (thread drift)WhoWasThat
May 30, 2002 10:53 AM
You should have a great commute from Alex to DC. Tips? If you're riding downtown, check out the suggested routes at

Always use (closed to cars) Pennsylvania Ave between 17th and 14th, going past the White House. It's a highlight--the White House is beautiful in the morning or evening. Just be careful of the tourists crossing the street and staring at the mansion, ignoring the bike traffic.
What he said re bike routes. Also,djg
May 30, 2002 1:15 PM
it sort of depends where you're going downtown. If you're coming up from the Old Town area, the same bike path that can be nasty crowded on Saturday afternoon is smooth sailing, and pretty much just bike commuters, during the morning rush hour. I come down the other way, from North Arlington, and the couple of miles I do along the river between Roosevelt Island and 395 is great--open lanes and excellent views of and across the Potomac. The 395 bridge is a good option for crossing the Potomac, and it's smooth sailing up to the mall on the DC side. Then...well, it depends. DC provides excellent cycling access TO downtown, and pretty much squat through downtown. For me, it's just a few blocks in commuter traffic off the mall so I don't mind.
re: Police cars on bike pathsWrigleyRoadie
May 30, 2002 10:29 AM
You see this in Chicago a lot - in our case it's faster for them to get from harbor to harbor to the rec area, etc. by driving their cruiser down the path. I agree with you - it's an absolute hassle and dangerous, and I think it'd be nice to see the bike patrol out there amongst the commoners. At least use the ATVs or even the equines....
re: Police cars on bike pathsbikedodger
May 30, 2002 11:19 AM
I often see the animal patrol van cruising the bike paths. I have been walking and been forced to get off the path because there was no other way to get around. It is a little irritating since they are just looking for a person with an unleashed dog. They could do this just as well by walking.

May 30, 2002 11:27 AM
Here in Seattle, I have noticed this a few times down in Myrtle Edwards Park(aka Myrtle 'Headwinds')while pedaling home. I have never seen or heard of any crime down there (except for Hempfest...) but the cops seem to be on patrol to bust homeless guys camping there. I have encountered cruisers parked right in the path while the officer is outside, hassling some homeless guy. I don't want to get into the propriety of this police action, but I have also found it dangerous when a police car blocks the trail.
More often, I find city parks trucks roving along the trails while they do their landscaping and maintenance. Another bad idea, but at least they run their yellow flashing overhead lights. Leaving rakes, wheelbarrows and garden hoses strewn across the trail is another matter.
Ah well, the price to pay for a safe, clean and well-manicured park.
re: Police cars on bike pathsSnowBlind
May 30, 2002 11:41 AM
They have both types of patrol here in Sacramento. You see bikes and the crusiers. FWIW, the guys here are extremely care and get out of the way and sometimes stop if there is a cyclist anywhere nearby.
The Park Rangers are equally intellegent, and get out of the way.
THe only jerks are some of the contractors to do major trimming or pipe work on the flood gates. Fortunately, the cops get on their case, and even ticket them for blocking the pathway.
Even the ROTC and National Guard troops out for a little PT are really good about it. Love getting saluted at 6:30AM by a bunch o' pimply 'cruits busting a hump.

Now if only they would do the same for the dippy housewives out powerwalking 5 abreast.
re: It's a shortcut to the next donut shop?..jrm
May 30, 2002 12:36 PM
At least thats what the DC cop told me....And asked if i knew where chandra levy's remains was found. he said he'd been here beofre but just couldnt remember where they where. Musta been sugar crash.
They keep the homeless of the pathsfiltersweep
May 30, 2002 5:11 PM
In Mpls. there are commuter trails that literally end at a cluster of homeless shelters. The trails go through a "wilderness area" surrounded by industrial decay. They make frequent sweeps to keep the place safe, but they drive at a walking pace, and they literally pull off the road to let people by. I have no complaints. The areas they do not patrol are littered with broken glass.