No, LAPD's New Electric Bikes Won't Lead To Out-Of-Shape Cops

The Los Angeles Police Department recently unveiled their new fleet of electric bikes, which can reach speeds of 28 mph. (Photo courtesy Bull Bikes USA via Twitter)

Last week the Los Angeles Police Department added 20 new tactical electric bikes to its existing e-bike fleet. But these new bikes provide an extra boost of speed and power.

These bikes will be used to patrol more densely populated areas of the city like downtown. You might spot them in neighborhoods around Crenshaw/Valley boulevards, Venice Beach and Hollywood, according to Sgt. Sam Gong, assistant program manager of the LAPD's Bike Coordination Unit.

The e-bikes are still pedal-powered so they aren't some weird motorcycle cousin. But don't let that fool you — these bikes can seriously book it. Topping out at 28 mph, they're poised to surprise pedestrians and motorists alike. They also come equipped with lights and a high-pitched, beep-like siren.

The custom-monikered Sentinel bike is a beefier version of other electric bicycles on the market. During a nine-month collaboration with Bulls Bikes USA, the LAPD was able to forge their dream bike. Sitting on a bold, aluminum mountain bike frame for durability, street tires to hug turns and cargo racks for hauling equipment makes this a bike ideal for urban riding.

Sgt. Gong was key in selecting and testing the new model and said they will gives bike officers a huge leg up.

"The ability for officer to maintain stamina after a long bike pursuit is a game-changer," Gong said. "We are able to shorten our response times to get to a scene faster than even a patrol car."

As LAPD officials weighed in on the design, Gong said one concern raised multiple times by community partners was what effects the bikes could have on officers' fitness. In other words, could the electric assistance lead cops to become out-of-shape?

But after consulting with the designers, officials learned that what the bikes gain in speed, they also gain in weight. Gong said they're about 15 pounds heavier than a standard bike "due to the motor and battery pack."

Officers also have to turn off the assist during training so they can get conditioned to ride the bike on human power only, Gond added, arguing it might even be a better workout in the long run.

So these bike officers will still be getting a good workout. Plus, riding on average 40 hours a week, there's plenty of pedaling to do — even with the turbo speeds.