By Loretta Park, Standard-Examiner staff, Fri, 11/01/2013 - 10:48pm
KAYSVILLE -- When Tyler Beyeler saw the bicycle Kaysville police officer was riding he was appalled. "Basically it was what we call 'antiquated,'" said Beyeler, manager for Bountiful Bicycles in Kaysville.
Officer Preston Benoit had stopped by the bike store on Main Street during its grand opening in July. He was riding a bike that was more than 15 years old.
The two men started chatting about bikes and why Kaysville police used bikes to patrol the city.
"I didn't know they had a bike patrol," said Beyeler, who also lives in Kaysville.
Lt. Paul Thompson said the police department has always had four bikes, but only used them for summer city celebrations. Chief Sol Oberg decided 2013 was the year to utilize bikes, put officers on them and connect with the city.
Beyeler decided to do some fund raising and got three other businesses to commit to pay for three bikes and his business paid for one also. So when spring arrives, Kaysville police officers will be patroling the city on four new Rockhopper Specialized bikes, each worth about $1,400.
The other three businesses that donated funds are Destination Homes, Dr. Mark Taylor with Wasatch Eye & Optical and Taco Time in Kaysville.
Red vinyl lettering on the black and white bike spells out "Police."
Benoit said when he heard Beyeler was working to get new bikes for the department he thought it would take some time. Now he can't wait for spring to arrive. The city's bike patrol begins in early spring and lasts until the end of summer, he said.
Benoit is one of three officers assigned to the bike patrol on a full-time basis during warm weather months. The other two are officers Brandon Woolf and Mike Moon. Other officers in the department are assigned bike patrol when shifts allow it.
Benoit said he spent a week this past spring at the University of Utah at a training course to learn maneuvers and basic safety. And then he spent 10 hours a day riding a bike that was 15 years old, with mechanical problems and weighing 40 pounds.
The new bikes, constructed of aluminum, weighing 20 pounds.
Benoit said his favorite place to patrol is along the city's rail trail. "You get to interact with people there," he said.
Thompson said when people see officers on bikes they are more willing to talk to them than when officers pull up in a squad car. "It breaks the barriers."