The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is no stranger to bike patrols. With the LAPD's fleet of 500 bikes, officers can navigate nimbly through traffic while remaining approachable and easy for the community to engage. As an added perk, officers are also able to take in the sights, sounds, smells and often-perfect weather of Los Angeles.
Now, thanks to Bosch, the LAPD is augmenting its fleet of two-wheelers with modern technology. The LAPD is now home to 20 eBikes, representing the largest police eBike fleet in the country.
"With a boost from an electric motor, officers can ride further and longer than they can on a standard bicycle, allowing them to expand their patrol area and cover more ground," said Claudia Wasko, general manager, Bosch eBikes Systems Americas. "Officers are still able to get into tight places and crowds, but now they can get there even faster. When a call comes in, an officer can easily adjust the assist level into Turbo and quickly pedal up to 28 mph - that's comparable with top Tour de France pro rider speeds on flat terrain, and 9 to 10 mph faster than an average rider!"
The new eco-friendly eBikes have been implemented within four divisions of the LAPD: the Pacific Division, the Central Division, and the North Hollywood and Hollywood community police stations. The bikes are the first step toward a better-equipped, better-mobilized police force that can save lives through rapid response, cutting through traffic and covering more ground.
Recently equipped with a fleet of eBikes, the LAPD is better prepared to protect and serve.
Bosch met with the LAPD after learning of LAPD Chief Charlie Beck's interest in eBikes. Bosch introduced the LAPD to several OEM partners who offer eBikes that incorporate the Bosch system. Ultimately, the LAPD selected a Bosch-equipped eBike from Bulls USA, a company that spent nine months designing "The Sentinel," a custom-built eBike created to match the LAPD's design specifications.
No detail was too small, as the eBikes even feature a customized black-and-gray color scheme. But each eBike's marquee feature is a Bosch Performance Speed motor that allows riders to achieve pedal-assisted speeds of up to 28 mph.
Specially-designed for the LAPD, the eBikes are built on a modified mountain bike platform
that features smooth tires for urban riding, a cargo rack and a kickstand.
The eBikes are a boon for officers, whose patrols often take them dozens of miles through hills, cityscapes and congested traffic. Bosch's motor helps them cover more ground, effectively expanding patrol areas into parts of town they couldn't include before. Officers are also able to respond to calls more quickly and travel to locations without using all their energy.
Sergeant Gordon Helper, who works for the LAPD's Central Division, has been part of the LAPD Bike program since 2000. While using the eBikes, he received a call about a person with a knife and was able to respond quickly.
"I responded on the eBike from Central Station in the middle of the day in heavy traffic," Helper said. "While obeying all traffic lights and signals, I still had less than a four-minute response. The average patrol car time is seven minutes."
According to Helper, when he rides the eBikes, he doesn't even feel the strain from the 30 pounds of department-mandated gear he carries. The eBikes have enabled him "to respond to any call for service quickly and efficiently."
While the LAPD eBike fleet is the first of its size in the U.S., police fleets are "e-powered" by Bosch in additional locations, including Green Bay, Wisconsin, and soon Columbus, Ohio, as part of its "Smart City" initiative. More officers on eBikes may be seen in hometowns and cityscapes, as Bosch is looking to work with law enforcement departments throughout the country on similar projects.
"This system is a game changer for law enforcement," Helper said. "Every major department with a metropolitan area should deploy these eBikes."
BZO LAPD eBikes article