Coveted for their covertness and ability to manoeuvre in tight spaces, the Victoria Police Department’s aging fleet of motorcycles will soon be replaced.
On Monday, a request for proposals was issued for 10 new bikes. They will replace the current fleet of 10, 2003 Honda ST1300s, purchased in 2003.
“They’re getting old … They’re getting to that point where things are getting rattly, things are getting worn out. So with that comes increased maintenance costs,” said Const. Mike Russell, Victoria police spokesperson.
The department’s 10 traffic officers, the primary users of the motorcycles, are looking for machines with enhanced safety, comfort and handling features, among other qualities, Russell said.
They’ve been test-driving new models over the last two months.
VicPD has used motorcycles “since the dawn of time,” said Russell. “After the horse-drawn carriages, the next thing was motorcycles, even before cars.”
The two-wheelers allow traffic officers to be more flexible, Russell said.
The motorcycles “are a little more concealable, so when we’re doing traffic enforcement we don’t want to drive the big white billboards, that are our police cars, out into the middle of an intersection,” he said.
The machines have proved essential for calls to the Galloping Goose trail and for escorting dignitaries, said Russell.
The machines also represent a cost-savings for the department.
“We can have 10 officers on motorcycles or 10 officers in 10 police cars,” he said. “I would imagine (that the purchase price of) a Dodge Charger is probably tens of thousands of dollars more than a motorcycle.”
The deadline for bids is Feb. 29 at noon.
The old fleet will eventually be sold back to the original dealer, Action Motorcycles, at a reduced rate, Russell said.