University of California Santa Cruz Police Department
UC Santa Cruz PD Policy Manual



Bicycle Patrol Unit


The University of California Santa Cruz Police Department has established the Bicycle Patrol Unit (BPU) for the purpose of enhancing patrol efforts in the community. Bicycle patrol has been shown to be an effective way to increase officer visibility in congested areas and their quiet operation can provide a tactical approach to crimes in progress. The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines for the safe and effective operation of the patrol bicycle.


454.2     POLICY

Patrol bicycles may be used for regular patrol duty, traffic enforcement, parking control, or special events. The use of the patrol bicycle will emphasize their mobility and visibility to the community.

Bicycles may be deployed to any area at all hours of the day or night, according to Department needs and as staffing levels allow.

Requests for specific deployment of bicycle patrol officers shall be coordinated through the Bicycle Patrol Unit supervisor or the Shift Supervisor.



Interested sworn personnel, who are off probation, shall submit a change of assignment request to their appropriate Division Commander. A copy will be forwarded to the BPU supervisor. Qualified applicants will then be invited to an oral interview. The oral board will consist of the BPU supervisor and second person to be selected by the BPU supervisor. Interested personnel shall be evaluated by the following criteria:

 (a) Recognized competence and ability as evidenced by performance.

 (b) Special skills or training as it pertains to the assignment.

 (c) Good physical condition.

 (d) Willingness to perform duties using the bicycle as a mode of transportation.



The Bicycle Patrol Unit supervisor will be selected from the rank of sergeant by the Patrol Division Commander or his/her designee.

The Bicycle Patrol Unit supervisor shall have responsibility for the following:

 (a) Organizing bicycle patrol training.

 (b) Inspecting and maintaining inventory of patrol bicycles and program equipment.

 (c) Scheduling maintenance and repairs.

 (d) Evaluating performance of bicycle officers.

 (e) Coordinating activities with the Patrol Division.

 (f) Other activities as required to maintain the efficient operation of the Bicycle Patrol


454.4     TRAINING

Participants in the program must complete an initial Department approved bicycle-training course after acceptance into the program. Thereafter bicycle patrol officers should receive twice yearly in-service training to improve skills and refresh safety, health and operational procedures. The initial training shall minimally include the following:

  • Bicycle patrol strategies.
  • Bicycle safety and accident prevention.
  • Operational tactics using bicycles.

Bicycle patrol officers will be required to qualify with their duty firearm while wearing bicycle safety equipment including the helmet and riding gloves.



Officers shall wear the department-approved uniform and safety equipment while operating    the department bicycle. Safety equipment includes department-approved helmet, riding gloves, protective eyewear and approved footwear.

The bicycle patrol unit uniform consists of the standard short-sleeve uniform shirt or other department-approved shirt with department badge and patches, and department-approved bicycle patrol pants or shorts.

Optional equipment includes a radio head set and microphone, and jackets in colder weather. Turtleneck shirts or sweaters are permitted when worn under the uniform shirt.

Bicycle patrol officers shall carry the same equipment on the bicycle patrol duty belt as they would on a regular patrol assignment.

Officers will be responsible for obtaining the necessary forms, citation books and other department equipment needed while on bicycle patrol.



Officers will be assigned a specially marked and equipped patrol bicycle, attached gear bag, two batteries and a charger.

Bicycles utilized for uniformed bicycle patrol shall be primarily black or white in with a "POLICE" decal affixed to each side of the crossbar or the bike's saddlebag. Every such bicycle shall be equipped with front and rear reflectors front lights and a siren/horn satisfying the requirements of Vehicle Code §2800.1(b).

Bicycles utilized for uniformed bicycle patrol shall be equipped with a rear rack and/or saddle bag(s) sufficient to carry all necessary equipment to handle routine patrol calls including report writing, vehicle storage and citations. 

Each bicycle gear bag shall include a first aid kit, tire pump, repair tool, tire tube, security lock, equipment information and use manuals. These items are to remain with/on the bicycle at all times.

Each bicycle shall be equipped with a steady or flashing blue warning light that is visible from the front, sides, or rear of the bicycle. (Vehicle Code § 21201.3)

Bicycle officers shall conduct an inspection of the bicycle and equipment prior to use to insure proper working order of the equipment. Officers are responsible for the routine care and maintenance of their assigned equipment (e.g., tire pressure, chain lubrication, overall cleaning).

If a needed repair is beyond the ability of the bicycle officer, a repair work order will be completed and forwarded to the program supervisor for repair by an approved technician.

Each bicycle will have scheduled maintenance twice yearly to be performed by a department approved repair shop/technician.

At the end of a bicycle assignment, the bicycle shall be returned clean and ready for the next tour of duty.

Electric patrol bicycle batteries shall be rotated on the assigned charger at the end of each tour of duty. During prolonged periods of non-use, each officer assigned an electric bicycle shall periodically rotate the batteries on the respective charges to increase battery life.

Officers shall not modify the patrol bicycle, remove, modify or add components except with the expressed approval of the bicycle supervisor, or in the event of an emergency.

Vehicle bicycle racks are available should the officer need to transport the patrol bicycle. Due to possible component damage, transportation of the patrol bicycle in a trunk or on a patrol car push- bumper is discouraged.

Bicycles shall be properly secured when not in the officer's immediate presence.



Officers must operate the bicycle in compliance with the vehicle code under normal operation. Officers may operate the bicycle without lighting equipment during hours of darkness when such operation reasonably appears necessary for officer safety and tactical considerations. Officers must use caution and care when operating the bicycle without lighting equipment.

Officers are exempt from the rules of the road under the following conditions (Vehicle Code § 21200(b)(1)):

 (a) In response to an emergency call.

 (b) While engaged in rescue operations.

 (c) In the immediate pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law.




Policy 454 PDF