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After many years of leasing motorcycles for the police force, Evanston aldermen are scheduled tonight to vote to buy motorcycles instead — a move city staff forecasts will result in substantial cost savings.

The department has seven officers certified to ride the seven two-year-old Harley-Davidsons it currently leases from City Limits Harley-Davidson of Palatine.

The city’s fleet services manager, Rickey Voss and police officials say an analysis suggests the city can save nearly $67,000 by buying the bikes now for just over $108,000 and using them for another five years rather than continuing to pay annual lease fees over that time, which are estimated at $175,000.

A staff memo estimates that by the time the motorcycles were seven years old they’d have an average of 25,000 miles on them and would still have a trade-in value of $9,000 each, which would represent an additional savings.

Whether the city leases or owns the motorcycles it would still be responsible for maintenance and repair costs.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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8 Comments

  1. Good of Mr. Voss to recognize

    Good of Mr. Voss to recognize this savings.   However, who determnes that Harley Davidsons (or motorcycles at all) are needed for for police traffic duty? I enjoy seeing them kick off the 4th of July parade but any other time I see them I see money wasted.

    Two wheeled vehicles are indeed valuable police resources but a scooter would be WAY more efficient and practical. NYPD has a whole fleet.  They cost about 1/3 of a Harley bagger, weigh less than half, use half the fuel,and require no shifting. The heat that a Harley throws off in traffic can be most uncomfortable and maintenance costs are super high. Mastering the operation of a 900 lb motorcycle is not easy whereby almost anyone that can ride a bicycle can quickly become proficient on a scooter.

    I have yet to see a female officer riding one of our cop bikes and I suspect few would be able to reach the ground when seated on a Bagger.     107 cubic inches is not needed to perform traffic patrol in Evanston. A 200 cc scooter would be more than adequate.  This alternative should have been considered and presented by Mr. Voss.

    1. better then cars….

      During the warm weather (and even spring and fall) the traffic bureau uses motorcycles instead of cars for all traffic enforcement activities. Thus, they are more fuel efficient then cars and can catch up to speeding vehicles etc. I think the only way a miscreant would stop when pursued by a scooter is if they crashed after laughing hysterically. 

      1. Miscreants these days don’t

        Miscreants these days don’t seem to want to stop for any police vehicle.   Flashing blue lights and a siren usually mean cops be they on a car, Segway, 4 wheeler, bicycle, or scooter. Failing to stop is fleeing and eluding. Having ridden them all, I assure you that a proper sized scooter can pursue a miscreant just as fast as a Hog and is far more maneuverable in tight quarters.

    2. Additional –

      Also note that they respond to accidents, and regular police calls in addition to traffic enforcement. I don’t know about NY, but the motor officers are regular sworn police officers.

    3. I agree, the program should

      I agree, the program should be reevaluated.   Is the benefit worth the cost?   They can only be in service 4 or 5 months a year and in good weather. It doesn’t reduce the number of police cars needed.   Safety for the officers is also a consideration.  I know of at least two officers that have had serious injuries from accidents while on duty.  Like you said it is an all male detail and as cool as it is to ride around on a motorcycle with knee high boots all day, is it worth it to the tax payer?

      1. The Traffic Bureau uses the

        The Traffic Bureau uses the motors from late march to mid October, weather permitting, and more if the weather cooperates. A lot more than four or five months. 

        1. How much use of motor cycles and others ?

          I see the police on motor cycles maybe twice a year—usually at Burger King. Additionally maybe one or more times at Labor Day or others when police stop all drivers to check for seat-belts, alcohol [, insurance] and 4th July parade. Maybe it is NU police, but I use to see police on bikes and Segways, but I think that was years ago. [NU maybe for Dillo Day]. I don’t know about Segways but bikes might help police efforts and put more in touch with the people in wards–bikes don’t broadcast their presence like cars and motorcycle and might allow them to catch more crimes early..

  2. Well done

    Glad to see the city realized the benefits of the Harleys and voted to make the purchase

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