While no riots have erupted yet at Republican National Convention (Trump fans and protesters have been relatively peaceful), police officers on the ground have been showing off some of the riot gear they purchased for the occasion. Some of the more startling outfits are the ones worn by police officers on bicycles—thanks, $50 million Department of Homeland Security grant!
These bike-riding police officers, who do not appear to have any readily visible identification indicating which police department they are from, look like they are law enforcement extras from The Dark Knight Rises or Judge Dredd. Here are a few, rolling down the sidewalks:
Outside Magazine has the rundown on what the 300 bicycle cops are wearing and riding (basically mountain bike gear):
Safariland/Kona Patrol Bike
(retail $1,600): "Safariland is a Florida-based supplier of police gear like holsters, body armor, riot gear, and more. They also sell dedicated police patrol bikes like this one. It may look like a dorky “hybrid” commuter bike, but this design allows officers to sit upright in order to maximize vision, while providing all-day comfort, even while wearing bulky belts fitted with pistols, hand cuffs, radios, and other necessities..."
Bell Super 2 helmet (starts at $129.96): "On a bike, the Super 2 is comfortable and allows for a large field of vision, despite the comprehensive protection... It also includes a dedicated mounting point on top for an action camera or bike light."
NiteRider Lumina 800 light ($97.97): "...a good option for riot police too, allowing them to seamlessly transfer illumination from on-bike to off, and keeping their hands free to subdue a suspect or provide first aid."
Fox Racing Titan Sport Protective MTB Jacket
(starts at $129.95): "Designed for high-speed sports like downhill mountain biking or motocross, the jacket’s protection is concentrated around the shoulders, elbows, and back—particularly vulnerable areas in a crash—while the chest guard is much more lightly padded, and is mostly there to protect against penetration. That could work against wearers in a riot situation, where potential threats may be focused on the wearer’s rib cage and exposed stomach."
Fox Head Men's Bomber Glove (starts at $32.94): "These gloves are like wearing brass knuckles."
Fox Racing Titan Pro Knee Guard ($69.95): "These provide excellent protection against impacts, but don’t control the knee’s movement at all, so the officers will still be at risk of ligament damage from twisting and hyperextension."
Besides the Safariland/Kona patrol bikes being used to get around from place to place, these cops are using them as barriers—and weapons:
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) July 18, 2016
— Aaron Cynic (@aaroncynic) July 18, 2016
Michael Wear, a police officer with the MPD in D.C., wrote about using one's mountain bike as a "tool" on the International Police Mountain Bike Association's website, "The IPMBA Police Cyclist Course includes a similar movement, the power - or hook - slide. However, when taught by IPMBA, the skill is not a weapon strike. It is specifically used to stop quickly and/or turn 180 degrees. Variations of this skill often involve sliding or hooking the rear wheel, and potentially utilizing it to strike an object or suspect. These include such bike-strike movements as 'bike fighting' (strikes with various parts of the bike), 'wheelie-up' (strikes with the front wheel), 'barrier/herding' (forcibly directing the bike into a suspect), and 'Ghost Rider' (propelling the bike unmanned into a suspect)."