21 October 2012

Top Three Cycle Chic Police Forces

We were asked a good question the other day. "Which cities have the cycle chic'est police officers on bicycles?" After some thought and a look in our photo archives, we thought we'd whip up a list based on what we've seen over the past five or six years. We admit we haven't seen every cycling policeman in every city, so there may be more out there. Please let us know in the comments.

Finding the number one spot was not difficult. Off to Japan we go.

1. TOKYO, JAPAN (and other Japanese cities)
Tokyo Policeman
Leave it to the Japanese to excel in uniforms. Perfectly pressed shirts and trousers, shined shoes and dapper caps abound on the cycling police officers.

We love the bicycles they ride, too. Sensible steeds, with proper chainguards and an upright position. We'd love to have a look in that box on the back rack, but we've never dared asking.

The cycling Japanese police officers are everything a cycling police officer should be. A uniform that commands respect and authority and that allows the police officer to blend in with the citizens. If you're stopped by a cop as you walk or cycle through the city - or have to approach one for directions - it is certainly best if they are dressed in a uniform that regular citizens can relate to. As opposed to a spacey outfit made out of stretchy, artificial fibers and all sorts of sportif gear.

So dapper are the gentleman policeman in Japan, like in the above photo, that we have to repress the urge to salute and stand up a little bit straighter as they pass.

Police on Bicycles in Ferrara, Italy
Che sorpresa that we're going to Italy for the number two spot. In Italy's premier cycling city, Ferrara, with 30% modal share for bicycle users, these two police officers commanded our respect and admiration. Pillars of calm in a world of chaos. And helpful as wayfinders to boot. 

It was autumn when we were last there and sensible, styled jackets were de rigeur for the cycling police force. Not to mention impeccible uniforms and splendid hats. And my goodness, we love their bicycles, too. Matching his and hers models.

Amsterdam Cycle Chic - Police
These two police officers were casually watching the crowds wander past on Dam Square, having a chat as they did so. Like every Amsterdammer, they exuded a cool and approachable demeanour. If you don't feel like you could sit down and have a coffee with a police officer then they aren't doing their job right.

The bicycle cops we see in Amsterdam roll along with the flow, blending in with the urban landscape. You don't doubt, however, that when they need to muscle it - chasing a suspect or responding to an emergency - they will do so with vigour and graceful speed - they're Dutch after all.

Vitoria Policeman
While a bulletproof vest may be a bit of an exaggeration rolling along the beach on a Saturday in 35 degree heat in a lovely, beach city like Vitória, these police officers don't look like it bothers them. That's the key, really. If their dress code dictates that they have to carry around all manner of police equipment, you as a citizen don't want them to look like they're some Rambo bumbling through the jungle. They have to make it look effortless and even stylish. Citizens should be able to reflect themselves in their law enforcement officers and this chap appears approachable and calm, cool and collected.


Police Recruitment Poster
While we haven't recorded a cycling cop in Barcelona, we love this recruitment poster stating that the city was recruiting 150 new officers. Lovely, sensible bicycles placed firmly and proudly alongside the police cars and scooters. That earns an honourable mention in our books.


Álvaro said...

In my last neighbourhood when I was living in Barcelona, there were some bike police agents. I think I have a picture (horrible mobile phone, but at least an evidence :) ) somewhere. I'll check it and send it to you.

Des said...

What a creative post. I never thought of looking at how police are dressed.