Where does one begin with this latest bit of lunacy and animated whining from knee-jerk responses and irrational behavior? The cycle of crazy continues to debase America’s law enforcement institution. Mere days ago, a story sizzled in the news spreading claims that LEGO was halting production and sales of police-themed sets for youngsters. That has since been debunked—Snopes claims that was a “False” narrative erroneously launched on social media, but many gobbled it up, fueling the stigma and anti-police sentiments.
I suspect the Snopes folks have their hands full nowadays, trying to substantiate bogus claims birthed by fibbers who are steered by anti-cop craniums.
Now, a major bicycle manufacturer is prohibiting sales of their cycles to police departments, somehow missing the fact that bike-unit cops are trained to use their assigned tax-payer owned police bikes as barriers when confronted by something like riotous crowds pushing forward. Dear bicycle builders: Not everyone heeds lawful orders to stand back; words do fall on ears intentionally void of critical analysis or simple reasoning.
According to Cycling Weekly magazine, “Fuji Bikes has suspended its sales of bicycles to North American police forces following the George Floyd protests.
“The company says its bikes have been used in ‘violent tactics’ by police forces during the unrest across the United States, which went against the intended use of the product.” Doesn’t their use of the word “unrest” betray why bicycle cops are necessary to quell such upheaval before monstrous results rear ugly heads?
Reacting a bit differently, more diplomatically, another famed bicycle brand put its foot forward with a strong message, minus the misguided punitive measures and baseless accusations employed by Fuji. Trek, the bike brand my department and many others purchased, offered a statement which was also published by Cycling Weekly: “Trek released a lengthy statement concerning the protests, titled ‘When justice is not enough,’ saying: ‘George Floyd’s murder should be a wakeup call to actually do something that will provide real hope and real change for millions of Americans…now is the time to ask the hard questions, have the difficult conversations, and create the big ideas. If we do that, then we might find real justice.’
Per the Cycling magazine, Trek’s “statement has come under criticism for not addressing the company’s sale of bikes to police forces, with one person calling it ‘corporate lip service.’”
So now protesters are trying to overthrow private manufacturing entities, free market concepts, and industrial rights to capitalize on sales of products in which private companies harbor pride. You know, the American way—just not protesters’ way.
Frankly, training police how to optimize the use of a bicycle for patrol, its maneuverability, and self-defense is not novel. There are police and general bike clubs designed to hone skills on a bicycle. While it is deemed a sport for many citizens, bicycling is also a sport for cops, with the added professional specialty of utilizing the two-wheeled modality to save lives—both citizens’ and police officers’.
American law enforcement agencies who can afford the steep price of specialized rugged-built bikes able to withstand rigors of patrol duties have employed bicycles for years. Quite successfully, bicycles have enabled cops to patrol large crowds upon terrain where automobiles are ill-suited (concert venues, stadiums, political conventions, carnivals, etc.). Likewise, cops in mountainous regions such as Colorado use bikes to serve and protect citizens in hilly parks and similar public venues.
So, why is Fuji virtue signaling now? Rioters are threatening and volatile. It’s everywhere and perilous to so many, so why wouldn’t a cop try to protect himself/herself or a law-abiding citizen with a bicycle, shielding humans from in-your-face harm? Why focus on how ugly such a scene is and not on the threat to life? Why grant the benefit of the doubt to an ostensible rioter instead of the police trying to hold a raucous crowd at bay? It is their job, no?
The Fuji brand, their icon tool-plated or painted on the bike’s frame, is publicized indeed. Instead of bicycle builders looking at it as if they are exposed and vulnerable during some negative instance, why not capitalize on the truth/fact that your product is effectively precluding maiming or death of cops who afford security by propping bikes? Sort of unwittingly, these bike unit cops are operating fine craftsmanship and sturdy engineering when safeguarding themselves and others by incorporating bicycles well before deadly force becomes imminent. Police personnel on bikes are ensuring justice and being condemned for it.
I wonder if Fuji’s rose-colored glasses allow a different way, one closer to home. If these hell-bent rioters were directly on the doorsteps of Fuji’s manufacturing plant, pushing their way in for less-than-pleasant purposes, would CEOs prefer cops lay down their cycles, step aside, take a beating for ingrates cowering in an office…or wisely use them to create a wall impeding the push of violent anarchists looting large?
I bet Target would have loved a wall of cops using their bikes as a barrier girding against looters hauling off TVs and all manner of products—including bicycles.