Motor cop injured at memorial for motor cop killed in head on collision with motor cop

Dailies -



Take a second to wrap your head around that headline. What it means is that a motor cop crashed and broke his wrist while working traffic at the funeral that was held for the motor cop that was killed when he collided head on, at high speed on a public road with another motor cop less than two weeks ago.

At the end of that story, I made a quip about motor cops wearing little-to-no safety gear and riding as though they’re above the laws they enforce. Many readers thought that it was insensitive and inappropriate to make a joke out of someone dying. Well, it wasn’t a joke. As evidenced by this third injury, this is obviously a very serious issue. Police officers, who’s salary, health insurance and workers comp are paid for by tax payers are injuring and killing themselves due to negligence. Yes, it’s a sad a terrible tragedy, especially for their friends and families.

When I take a step back and think about it for a minute though, I can’t help but wonder how these officers would have fared if they’d been wearing even my most casual set of gear.

Most motor cops in Southern California can be seen wearing short sleeves, tight pants that lack any sort of protection, knee-high patent leather boots that go well with horses, an open face helmet and either elk skin ropers or no gloves at all. The bullet proof vests may very well make decent chest and back protectors, but you never look at a guy wearing jeans and a t-shirt with a vest over it and remark on how well protected he is.

This time around, the Cypress officer broke both his wrists when a truck turned in front of him. That’s the kind of average, everyday accident we all get in and all prepare for. How would he have fared if he’d been wearing racing gloves? Or if he didn’t have to frantically get his hands out in front of him to protect his exposed face from the ground?

I’m familiar with the argument that a fully geared-up cop appears more intimidating than one who’s face and arms are exposed, but lets be honest here, the intimidating thing about a police officer is the loaded semi-automatic hand-gun, taser, billy club, hand-cuffs and the knowledge that they can (and are perfectly willing to) use all of those things on people they interact with. I also know that I’d be much less intimidated by someone I perceived to be a sane person. Anyone willing to ride at 100 percent on the street, in traffic, with no protective gear other than an open face helmet and a bullet proof vest is not a sane person. Give that guy a loaded gun and a license to kill and what you end up with is a fool-proof recipe for intimidation. While Sally Soccer mom might not understand this in the same way I do, that doesn’t make it any less true.

Over the past year or so, I have been seeing officers, especially the CHP, wearing better riding gear. Convertible helmets, real gloves and armored clothing make for a motor cop that is less intimidating and much easier for me to respect than the CHiPs look of the past. Consider this an open challenge to motor officers and departments to change their out-dated and dangerous riding gear policies.

via NBC

  • noone1569

    I can imagine a cop decked out in full black leathers with an Icon variant would be damn itimidating

  • FiveG

    If they wore modular helmets and jackets and pants that were of “softer” colors and designs (look at some of the Rev-It and similar summer jackets, or some of the touring jackets, for instance), the intimidation factor would go way down. They don’t have to choose Robo-Cop.

    Plus, given that beat cops are adopting more and more of a SWAT look, I don’t know that switching motor officers to something that might save their lives and skin would be that intimidating, if done right.

    • aristurtle

      They can wear reflective vests: it’s arguably safer and nobody has ever looked intimidating wearing one.

      • Myles


  • Mark D

    Its ironic that police departments spend a large portion of their time, energy, and money attempting to intimidate citizens (ever see those SWAT-style tanks that podunk police departments buy?), but the minute they’d have to wear ::gasp:: real helmets and gear, they become very concerned with community relations, and not appearing too intimidating!

    • Sean Smith

      But they still carry loaded hand guns and have no problem pointing them at you on the side of the highway while shouting angry commands.

  • Ben Incarnate


    You’re still an insensitive jackass, Sean. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you made this happen with your mind just to write a significantly better article on the subject.

    • Wes Siler

      Sean, is this why you asked to borrow that 5-gallon jerry can of diesel fuel?!

    • Sean Smith

      Shit. I guess I better fess up; I know when I’m caught. It’s true that I used the power of will, possibly even the Oprah promoted Secret® to make this guy crash.

      Sometimes, you do whatever it takes to make a point.

      • Ben Incarnate

        Your ticket to hell is in the mail. For shame, Sean.

        Article idea: Sean vs Darth Vader.

  • Kevin

    Hey, you’re chiding police officers on their incomplete protective gear while defending the operation of motorcycles on public roads at speeds well exceeding the legal limit. Welcome to the party, irony…

    • aristurtle

      Well, somebody’s gotta pull Skank over at some point, right? Whoever finally tries had better be wearing some gear.

      • Kerry

        the only thing that will stop skank is skank, or a LEO’s Bullet, but not the LEO.

        And Sean, I grew up hanging out in the same places as Skank in the 90′s and remember when he rode a zx7r, and let me tell you he was a bit of a local legend back then. Why? Skank was known for (on more than one occasion) running through a police roadblock on one wheel. I have actually seen him do this once. The cops threw their radios at him as he sped off. So yeah he cost us (the taxpayers) money replacing radios the officers threw at him.

        Joking aside, you don’t hear about it in NY amymore because street racing is 15th page news, and even then only if the guy wipes out a whole family in a supercar (2002 oceanside), goes over the side of a bridge (billyburg bridge 2008), crashes into a wedding limo (Queens 1989), or someone dumps oil into the street to stop the street racing (Queens 1985). Just cuz it doesn’t make news doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

        I had a friend who was rear-ended on his R1 by a Suffolk County Police officer trying to pull him over. While he wasn’t injured the Suffolk Co police clam-ed up pretty quick and wouldn’t take is IA complaint. Not one bit of it made the news, not for lack of trying. Know why? My friend wasn’t hurt in a spectacular fashion.

        • Sean Smith

          Man, why don’t you get into the comments more often?

    • Sean Smith

      When was the last time you read a story about Skank and One-arm crashing, getting killed or maimed and costing us all money?

      Those guys wear the best gear money can buy, are incredibly skilled riders and if they crash, it’s their responsibility to take care of it. Not everyone else who’s paying taxes.

      I’m on the side of reason and logic here. This might blow a few peoples minds, but the “legal limit,” is just a made-up arbitrary number that doesn’t actually have a lot of good reasoning or science behind it. There are statistics to back it up, but they’re put out by the same folks who decide what the speed limits on the freeway should be and for that reason, I can’t take them seriously.

      Riding at or under the limit isn’t necessarily safe and riding over the limit, even more than double it, isn’t necessarily unsafe. Look how long guys like Skank have been safely doing it.

      “But 200 mph! There’s no way that can ever be safe!” Well, anything short of a crash is actually pretty safe. There’s not much gray area there. Either you got hurt, hurt someone else, suffered financially, or didn’t.

      Speed limits are a way for our government to create artificial danger. The police stop you, write you a ticket and at the point of a gun, your hard-earned dollars are taken from you. And they do it in the name of safety.

      This isn’t meant as an attack on the police, but I feel like the the story of the time I received a 110 mph ticket from a CHP officer on a BMW is relevant here.

      Over the course of his angry 10 minute rant about how unsafe I was, what with riding 95 mph in head-to-toe leather, with a CE level 2 back protector, fancy full-face racing helmet, and CE certified armor everywhere else, Mr. CHP in his t-shirt with his gun and aviators told me that he had to ride 140 mph up the shoulder to catch me.

      He wrote the ticket for 110 mph, 15 faster than my dying ninjette’s top speed. I lost in court after citing reviews that tested the bikes top-speed and wrote out math that the judge admitted he didn’t understand. I paid roughly $1000 in fines, had to fight with the DMV to keep my license, rode with a restricted license for 6 months, and now pay over $160 per month for a piece of paper whose only value is that it prevents me from getting a $700 insurance fix-it ticket if I’m pulled over.

      As I was leaving the court house, the guy winked at me and said “have a nice day man.” I know it may be a stretch to believe, but I don’t have a lot of respect for that particular guy.

      Before you call me out, consider the fact that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about these two closely related things.

      • Brad W.

        My story is nowhere near as costly as yours, but I had a motorcycle cop pull me over for nothing as well. Then he lectured me on wearing ear plugs while riding, telling me how dangerous it was and how he could write me up for it. I never did get a ticket, just the honor of being yelled at on the side of the road.

        • mugget

          WTF? So hearing damage is now safe?
          Times like that ya wanna set them straight, but most likely there’s something else they could book you for like loud exhaust, etc.

          One of these days I will have a stock standard bike and just leave it that way so I don’t have to hold back on a know-it-all, I swear.

          • David

            It won’t take long. I got pulled over on a stock Diavel less than 24 hours after purchase because, per officer, “the pipes seem too loud and don’t look stock.” I was let go after showing all required documentation.

      • Aapo Tilman

        I think that speed limits are a blessing for all motorcycle riders, otherwise it would be hell out there, just think about the percentage of people driving around in their too powerful and heavy vehicles, that better were banned from driving at all, drinking, eating, using their cellulars and so on, or some just don´t know how to drive, like some guy posted here once, with some car-drivers, you just don´t know if its better to drive in front of, or behind. I wouldn´t want to drive around on the streets with all those cars speeding around. There are just very rare and skilled drivers like skank and one-arm out there, even if they`re nuts, and that goes double for car drivers.

        I really appreciate the diversity of the discussion here, and i especially like the little tasty articles about guys like skank and one-arm, I just hope nobody who actually can’t, thinks he could do as they do . . .


        • Sean Smith

          Sadly, it happens.

        • sean (the roommate)

          i dont think the point was that we should get rid of all speed limits, just that they’re fairly arbitrary. A posted speed limit of 35mph doesnt always mean that it is not possible to travel faster on that road safely. they are just numbers that someone made up that we are all supposed to adhere to.

          sean #2′s point was that “speeding” doesn’t always equate to riding unsafely.

        • mugget

          Gotta disagree… other, absent-minded road users are a bigger problem. More training/education for all road users wouldn’t hurt. The example of Germany and their Autobahns always gets brought up… much higher speeds, except that the roads are made for it and they have much tougher licensing requirements.

          More strict licensing tests and mandatory ongoing training for all road users would do more to reduce the road toll than anything else, but people would be up in arms that their “rights” are being taken away. And those same people vote… not something any government wants to (or is willing to?) face. But the fact is road use isa privilege, not a right.

          I am all for self-imposed speed limits. If people have an at-fault accident, no insurance payout for them. Can’t afford to fix their vehicle – problem solved, one less crasher off the road… Lots of simple ways to fix things, but it’s all a bit ballsy and govt’s would rather sit back and collect revenue from artificial speed limits and speeding tickets. etc.

          • Gene

            Well, it’s just like the blue-hairs here in Florida. Everyone knows how blind and dangerous they are, but you can’t do anything about it because they’re smart enough to write letters and make phone calls and get it stopped.

            Artificial speed limits happen because it’s easy to point a radar and go “he was going 42 in a 35, yerhonnner” – simple as that.

            Even obvious cellphone use is hard to prove in court.

      • Dan

        “Well, anything short of a crash is actually pretty safe. There’s not much gray area there. Either you got hurt, hurt someone else, suffered financially, or didn’t.”

        This is not what “safe” means. Ends don’t justify the means. A positive outcome doesn’t validate risky behavior as safe. Safety is about reducing your exposure to risk, though training, gear, skill etc… In some opinions, it might be perfectly safe to ride 200mph on the LIE when no one else is around, but it is inherently more risky to do so than to ride 75mph. Likewise it is more risky to attempt such maneuvers in cut-off shorts, flip flops and a beanie helmet.

        Since we can’t easily ensure that other drivers/riders operate within their own limits of skill, training, gear, sobriety etc… we have to rely on lowest common denominator regulations like speed limits and licensing and insurance requirements to sort it all out.

      • Gregory

        I’d say the human mind tops out at ~110-120kph/ 68-75 mph. This is true for cars or motorcycles. I just don’t think we, as animals, can react to stuff much faster than that.

        Technology can take us well beyond those limits. I’ve seen Honda Accords tail-gate along the interstates. Terribly, incredibly close to the car in front of them. There’s no way that, in a sudden stop, a human could react in time. Perhaps the safety of the crash frame/ cage allows those drivers some leeway.

        Once computers/ robots take over all driving activities, they’ll be able to react faster and us humans can relax (a la “Minority Report”) in the back seat, take a drink and text.

        However, I’ll still steer my Luddite KLR between your computer-driven Lexus any old day. I like to change gears and it’s more fun.

        Portland, OR
        2008 Kawasaki KLR 650

        • Sean Smith

          I have to absolutely disagree with you there. I do just fine piloting a 200+ mph aircraft a few feet from the desert ground, dragging a knee at 150 mph or zipping down the freeway at 100 mph. Then again, I’m me and you’re you. People are all very different and I bet if you compared a guy like Valentino Rossi to your average Florida blue-hair, you’d see a pretty wide range of reaction and processing times.

        • mugget

          Are you for real? Just think about what you said and then think about how so many people drive and ride at much greater speeds on the Autobahn every single day…

          It’s when people don’t ride according to the circumstances when disaster strikes. Tailgating is your classic example. Not that speeds plays the most important role, you could be right on someones bumper at 5km/h and you would still crash into them if they stopped suddenly.

        • aristurtle

          I get what you’re saying about cognitive load but I would say that (in addition to the person in question, naturally) it really depends on the conditions, or more accurately, how many different things you need to divide your attention between. On a limited-access freeway, for example, nobody is waiting to pull out of a driveway. There are no real intersections, just on and off ramps. There certainly aren’t any pedestrians. So you have the ability to go faster than you could on a normal highway spotted with retail plazas because you don’t have as many things to pay attention to. On a race track, your list of stuff that divides your attention is even lower, and on an empty race track it’s lower still. Sean mentioned flying a plane at 200 miles per hour. Well, flying one at 3000 ain’t that hard if you’re at an altitude where there’s nothing else to worry about.

  • Thom

    This is nuts ! Another on the same Force ?

    I mean maybe you can chalk this up to the effects of grief . But really . Again ! Same town ! Same Department ! What does this say about their training etc?

    Hopefully the officer in charge of the M/C division will invest some time and money into serious re-training as well as a battery of Safe Riding gear : to Hell with what it looks like .

    What’s more important ? A bit of possible intimidation or dead and injured cops that the Tax payer has to pay for as well as the loss their families are suffering ?

    If thats not a No Brainer what is ?

    @ Sean Smith – From my perspective , the only one being insensitive here is the JackAss thats running this Police Department who’s doing nothing to prevent incidents like this from happening !

    • Mike

      I don’t know that a truck making a left turn in front of you is necessarily a training issue. Isn’t this the most common motorcycle vs car accident there is?

      But yeah, I have no idea why they don’t wear some kind of full gear with a modular helmet. Crazy.

      • Thom

        Gear and/or training . But still you have to wonder about their training what with 3 officers down due to collisions .

        One is understandable

        Two is maybe a fluke

        Three says Cypress.. We Have a Problem

      • mugget

        Nope, it is a training issue. Allow me to explain…

        Being able to safely and competently control your vehicle (car/bike/whatever) means that you need to be able to avoid crashing. And yes this also means being able to avoid crashing into other vehicles that may be breaking the law at the time (IE – cars running a red light, trucks turning without indicating, etc.) Yes it is a tall order to expect someone to be able to avoid all the absent-minded and distracted road users, let alone those who are breaking road rules. But as clearly demonstrated in this whole incident – that is exactly what is required to remain safe, and alive.

        It’s not impossible, it just takes a very different outlook than the typical “shit happens” view that many people seem to take of crashes. I have been commuting every day via motorcycle (GSX-R600, Z750, GSX-R1000 and now XR400 motard) for the last five years and I have never been involved in a crash with another vehicle (with the one exception where I was sitting at a red light on a downhill slope and a truck reversed into the car in front of me, still could have been avoided if I had an exit strategy planned and was able to move down the middle of the lane). Not from their lack of trying… cars moving into my lane on a roundabout, pulling out for a u-turn right in front of me, turning or merging without indicating, etc.

        As soon as you crash you have completely and utterly failed to safely and competently control you vehicle. It’s as simple as that.

    • Sean Smith

      Actually, it’s two different departments. El Segundo and Cypress, but I’d bet that they get the same training.

      • S

        It was a Hawthorne motor that died after colliding with an El Segundo motor at a Manhattan Beach officer’s funeral. Then it was a Cypress motor that got hurt at the Hawthorne motor’s funeral.

        • Sean Smith

          Ah, yes. Sorry about the mistake there.

          • sean (the roommate)

            how’d you fuck that one up?

  • S

    -My wife was at the original funeral for the 35 year old Officer that died of cancer. This accident on the way to the cemetery was a tragedy but it was rider error and had nothing to do with gear.

    -”This time around, the Cypress officer broke both his wrists when a truck turned in front of him. That’s the kind of average, everyday accident we all get in and all prepare for. How would he have fared if he’d been wearing racing gloves? Or if he didn’t have to frantically get his hands out in front of him to protect his exposed face from the ground?”

    Last I checked gloves don’t protect you from breaking your wrists. And would you (Sean) prefer he slammed his full face helmet head into the ground? Sheesh…

    -They should wear better gear. Some do. In Huntington Beach I’ve seen them in full face helmets.

    -I don’t know what point Sean is trying to make with the “salary, health insurance, workers comp….paid by taxpayers” comment. First, cops are taxpayers too. Second, they don’t all use the City supplied health insurance, I and many of my co-workers don’t. Third, if they do use it, the fact that he gets hurt doesn’t cost taxpayers more, that’s what the insurance is for in the first place. Fourth, we pay into the workers comp pool just like the rest of the working world. And fifth, if he dies it doesn’t cost you anything anyway so why bring it up?

    Both articles are poorly written, poorly developed, attempts to capitalize on someone else’s tragedy. I’m not impressed. An article about properly equipping US motor cops would be fine. Using two accidents that aren’t gear related is not.

    • Wes Siler

      Using the accidents as examples is 100 percent fair. Would the guy that was killed have lived if he was wearing an Arai, a back protector, a chest protector and everything else? There’s no way of knowing, but I bet his chances would have been a lot better.

      Sean’s point is that we don’t want our cops out there killing themselves. A more mature approach to safety gear would help them avoid doing that.

      • Ben Incarnate

        Agreed, it is fair. The first article’s tone could’ve used a tweak, perhaps, but the core point is important. There’s no guarantee gear would have saved lives or injury, but clearly not wearing gear wasn’t effective.

        After all, how is injury and death in an accident not a catalyst for a conversation about gear? That’s the first thing I think about in any incident.

        • S

          They were wearing gear. Again, gloves don’t save you from broken wrists and a different helmet wouldn’t save you from a head on with a car.

          • Wes Siler

            Hate to break it to you, but yeah, some gloves can help with broken wrists and some helmets can help with head butting cars. Hence the discussion.

            • S

              ‘ehhh. I highly doubt a glove change is going to make the difference whether you break a bone or not. Gloves are mainly road rash protection. I have a few $50 pair of Icons and a $300 pair of Alpinestars. The difference is not going to save a broken bone.

              The helmet? We won’t know. I don’t know the force he hit the car with, likely would not have mattered. I do agree that a FF helmet would be ideal.

              • Wes Siler

                That depends on what caused the break. Was it impact from sticking his hands straight out in front or impact to the sides of the wrist. Yeah, in the case of the former, you don’t achieve much impact protection from gloves. In the latter, you do.

                The argument that good safety gear saves lives it what matters here.

                • gt1

                  Most of the street protective clothing help against the road rash, but little else. Those 1/4″ “crump zones” from the armor can’t be very effective. Wearing chest and back protectors, knee and elbow armor, racing boots and airbag jacket may help a bit more, but will not save the wrists. I have a pair of expensive Rukka gloves, and i don’t how they could’ve helped in such accident.
                  I even feel that ATGATT (which I practice) gives a false sense of security. I certanly feel protected dressed like an astronaut head to toe :)

                • ursus

                  Some gloves like the Held Steve are made to keep the palm from sticking to the pavement during a hard landing or high deceleration. This is to reduce or prevent the wrist from getting broken. It works.

      • S

        Seeing as how he was thrown in the path of an oncoming car and hit by that car, no I don’t think a different style helmet would have helped.

        Do US motor officers need to wear better gear? Yes. An article on that subject would be welcome minus the angry taxpayer angle and the unrelated accidents.

        • Kirill

          A rider wearing full gear has a much better chance of walking away from even the most serious accident than a rider wearing light gear, let alone one wearing none at all.

          “would you (Sean) prefer he slammed his full face helmet head into the ground?”

          Actually, yes, because full-face helmets are designed for that sort of situation. I faceplanted into pavement in such a helmet a few years ago after supermanning over the hood of a minivan – the helmet did its job and my face remained fully intact.

          “Using two accidents that aren’t gear related is not.”

          The accidents are not, the injuries sustained by the officers are.

    • Eric

      The taxpayer angle is relevant as cost is often used to oppose upgrading police equipment.

      • S

        It would be relevant if it was brought up as you did. An equipment cost issue. Instead it was insinuated that negligent police officers are costing taxpayers money because they are choosing to wear inferior gear.

        • Eric

          It seemed implicit to me, either pay on the front end for gear or on the tail end for healthcare. I didn’t read it as saying that the officers are negligent, rather the uniform standards of the department that employs them.

        • Aapo Tilman

          Maybe time to start gathering your colleagues to insist in getting better gear and training, after all these are your work – conditions . . .

          • S

            I’m not a motor cop.

            It would be great if Sean used his resources to help the police get better equipment. He is in a great position to encourage manufacturers to donate gear.

            As far as training? The riding training is top notch. It would be a very, very small percentage of you that could out ride a motor cop. Why do they seem to crash alot? 2000 hours a year on a bike.

            • Kirill

              I believe that most departments have uniform standards that won’t allow motorcops to wear full gear, otherwise I’m sure we’d be seeing a lot more officers riding in Aerostitch suits and such (like English cops, for example:×352.jpg )

              • bingsf

                Actually Aerostich makes police versions of their suits, seems like a good compromise between full leathers vs short sleeve polyester shirts:

                • Sean Smith

                  If you click the ‘armored clothing’ link in the article, you’ll see that it actually takes you to that exact web page. The gear is out there, but for some reason neither the motor cop community, their superiors or the mainstream media seem to want things to get better. All they seem to do is put out excuses as to why things have to stay the same.

            • Sean Smith

              All the more reason to wear the best gear money can buy. Also, I’d like to point out that the entirety of a police officer’s income is from people paying taxes. Insurance that he buys, money that goes into the work comp pool and money spent on actual medical bills still comes from tax payers. Even if you take the source of the money out of it, money spent of dealing with preventable injuries is money that could have been spent on other things. Retirement, riding gear, food, vacations, etc. Instead it gets wasted.

              This is me doing what I can to use my resources to help police get into real protective gear. Sure, I’m not handing out free gear, but I don’t exactly have the power to do that. Secondly, it’s the guys responsibility who is riding 2000 hours a year to make sure he’s safe.

              These guys ride enough to know better, should fight for their right to wear real protective gear and should pay for the stuff like everybody else. My profession is that of a writer and a mechanic, but HFL isn’t buying me tools and a macbook. Those are the tools of the trade and in the end, it’s on you to make sure you have them.

              How ridiculous is it to think to yourself “well, I could be much better protected, but the boss won’t pony up $1000 for the gear I’m going to wear everyday for the next year or two, so fuck it, I’ll just live with an unnecessarily high level of risk every day at work.” It’s crazy.

              I question the training because of what I’ve seen. Fancy full-lean, low speed u-turns on heavy bikes? Not relevant to anything other than catching a speeder going the opposite direction or showing off and hurting yourself. The police riding competitions are more of the same. Motorcycle gymkhana is incredibly interesting and requires a very specialized skill-set, but it’s not all that useful in day to day traffic. And again, I question any motorcyclist that tries to ride his machine to it’s limits in anything but the best protective gear.

              The training is top notch, but only because there’s one notch. Send them to a racing school where they can spend some time learning to understand the dynamics of a motorcycle at high speed and using 100% of the tire’s available grip and then we’ll talk.

              Lastly, using these accidents that resulted in injury and death is fair game. The point of gear is to prevent injury and death, and that’s what is happening to these guys. If you want to make a point (and I do), then you use the most powerful argument available, in my case, the argument for human life.

              Our motor officers are obviously slacking off and not standing up for themselves, so I’m doing it for them. These guys, more than anyone need to be in the absolute state-of-art protective gear. They wear bullet-proof vests because that’s a hazard of the job, don’t they? Why not a full-face helmet and an airbag vest? A neck brace, air-bags on the bike, armor? This is the year 2011, we have better technology than patent leather horse riding boots and short sleeve shirts. Advocating squidliness is never acceptable.

  • Kentaro rides a NRS and a GSA

    Didn’t the cop who died from the head-on collision from the previous article die during the funeral service for another cop dying?

    If so, the title should be “Motor cop injured at memorial for motor cop killed in head on collision with motor cop in observance of cop.”

  • Erik

    There is another story that is being ignored. Traffic deaths are pretty much the number one killer, aside from disease and old age. Motor cops, love em or hate em, are professional motorcycle riders who rack up more miles on bikes than anybody else, except maybe moto couriers, they have skills and experience that are way above average. When there is an epidemic of motor cops getting banged up, despite their skills and experience, what about the rest of us? Like Phil Esterhaus said, lets be careful out there.

    • Sean Smith

      Ride within your limits, don’t recklessly chase people down on the street and use common sense when deciding what speed to travel at and where to place yourself in traffic. If everyone did that, all the time, there would be a lot less trouble with motorcyclists getting hurt. Good point.

    • Justin

      That may be true, but where I live (Oakland, Berkeley) the moto cops often look uneasy and are not smooth on their bikes. They may rack up miles and get training, but that doesn’t make them good riders. Some of the worst riders I know ride 20K+ miles a year! I think wearing a uniform and riding a cop bike makes other drivers want to stay far away from them, and protects motorcycle police more than their training. The CHiP riders around here pretty good though, FWIW.

      I just wish these guys weren’t required to dress like squids, it’s no longer 1965, riding gear has progressed beyond open face helmets and horse riding boots. You can’t do much better than an Aerostich without going for a 1 piece leather suit. I’d respect local moto cops if they wore real gear and full face/convertible helmets and didn’t look like they were about to dump their harley’s/bmw’s when coming to a stop.

  • jason

    All of the reasons for uniforms, paint jobs, equipment, etc are BS. Just take a look at motor cops in Europe. I live in NY where our State troopers have the darkest blue cars they can buy and have the bare minimum of reflective material allowed by law. They are HIDING, to create revenue, not PATROLLING and using their visability to DETER crime. I’m a fireman. Every time a new rig arrives it has more lights, more reflective stuff, even the giant arrows on the back of the truck ala Europe. Why? We WANT TO BE SEEN. Safety is #1. The attitude of American police departments is to portray the crisp, military cop out skulking for bad guys. Badges, shiny leather shoes, black and whites, all meant to portray authority, not convey service to the public. We have to wear our dress shirts at work during the summer when overheating should be the main concern, but instead the concern is that we look professional so people know we are firemen. Obviously the big red truck doesn’t convey that. Get the motor cops in gear, get the guy on the beat out of the 50′s dress uniform and into something more fatigue oriented and make being seen an expectation via reflective coats, decals, paintjobs, etc. my $.02

    • Bronson


  • OC

    Last time I was in CycleGear four police officers (two women!) were in there buying gear. They had a very specific list of gear they must purchase, requirements it must meet, and budget. They even got a special cop discount.

    That’s an allocation of tax dollars I fully support.

    • Sean Smith

      See, this kind of thing should be the norm.

  • Johndo

    They could wear those inflatable jackets too. The latest ones are light and compact. With the kind of job they do any extra protection could save their lives…

  • je

    The more sinister looking the better.. Black them out ninja like, I might even consider a job change.

    I know this article is about gear but what about the bike. Those things have to weigh a lot with those added peripherals. I’m curious how difficult they are to ride especially since they are in medium to heavy traffic a lot of times.

    • Sean Smith

      It’s just another touring bike. You’ve likely seen the shot of me dragging a knee on the FJR1300, which is both bigger and heavier than the Kawasaki C14, R1200RT or ST1300 police bikes. They’ve got a lot of gear on them that brings the weight up, but those bikes are engineered to have fast, light steering and decent cornering clearance. I’ve got no problem hustling a bike like that right to it’s absolute limits, even with my girlfriend on the back and bags full of camping gear. If they’re anything, it’s user-friendly. They inspire confidence and they’re incredibly easy to ride. Put a guy on one five days a week, and after just a little bit of time he should be able to reliably ride it as fast as it will go. If you look at how often motor cops burn through clutches, this would seem like an obvious conclusion. You only wear out a part like that when you’re slipping it everywhere on purpose to squeeze a few extra ounces of acceleration out of the bike.

      Harleys and KZ1000s are another story altogether, but suffice it to say that I’m pretty sure I could win a race against either of those on my XR100. They’re ridiculously slow, drag hard parts at lean angles only slightly steeper than when they’re on the side-stand, and a prius will out-run the harley on the freeway. I honestly wish they all rode harleys.

  • markbvt

    I’ve always wondered as well why motorcycle cops don’t wear better gear. So I once asked a friend of mine who’s a motor cop. His response? “We spend so much time sitting stopped or barely moving that we’d roast if we went ATGATT.”

    Obviously that applies primarily to cops in more urban settings; I’m still mystified why highway patrol motor cops wouldn’t wear proper gear.

    But it also comes down to two other factors: cost and tradition. Motor cops are an evolution of mounted cops, hence the jodhpur-style pants and knee-high boots. (Tradition is also the only reason I can think of for so many police departments to stick with Harleys when something like a V-Strom or even KLR650 would make far more sense.) And outfitting motor cops with good protective gear is a lot more expensive than issuing them a pair of polyester pants and matching shirt.

    • Sean Smith

      Ah, tradition. The age-old excuse for dangerous and illogical things like human sacrifice, which in this case, is strangely appropriate.

      Long sleeve vented textiles both keep the sun off, which is both hot and leads to leathery, often cancerous skin and cools incredibly well once you’re moving. A mesh jacket absolutely blows anything else out of the water for cooling on a hot day.

      An even better question is this: Why do we have police officers whose only job is to sit on a bike, pick someone, haul-ass to catch them, write them a ridiculously expensive traffic ticket and occasionally go to court to defend such tickets.

      How is that in any way a service to the community?

      • markbvt

        Agreed completely on all counts. But for some reason logic just doesn’t seem to work when applied to many police departments.

    • fasterfaster

      There is plenty of highly protective summer gear. Does he think Baja racers ride in full leathers?

  • mugget

    You have got to be freaking kidding me??!

    Do these cops get some kind of warning, or receive some kind of disciplinary action?

    This is no fewer than three motor cops (that we absolutely know about, no guessing here) who have completely and utterly failed to safely and competently control their vehicles. Freakin’ joke.

    They are a disgrace to the police service and motoring professionals.

    • Greg

      ^the most ridiculous comment yet.

      • mugget

        What is so ridiculous about it? That I’m suggesting these crashing cops receive some disciplinary action? Should they have a separate set of rules than Joe Public who has an accident and totals his bike and is then written a ticket or has to face up to court?

        I read the headline to this article and honestly I was just shocked – I mean these are people who we should be able to look up to as a good role model, people we should be able to respect as an authority on road safety – but none of that is going to happen while this kind of carnage is happening.

        I don’t know what else to say. It’s like a road safety/motorcycle instructor demonstrating a technique and ending up crashing and killing himself. Shocking.

  • S

    Well one is dead. Why don’t you stop by and tell his two sons he is a disgrace to the police service?

    • mugget

      They have completely failed to control their vehicles in a competent and safe manner – yes that is a disgrace. Their job is to serve and protect, they can’t do that very well if they’re crashing and causing carnage on the streets. Even more disgraceful if you consider that the crashes could involve the public that they’re supposed to protect.

      What should his two sons be told? “Your father was not riding with due care/was distracted/wasn’t concentrating/wasn’t riding to the conditions or his ability, but hey – the police force is proud because he did the best he could?” That might make them feel a bit better, but it’s not true. It is a great tragedy that they’ve lost their father, no doubt. But the even bigger tragedy is that it was all avoidable.

      I can already anticipate the replies… “there was nothing he could do, that’s why it’s called an accident”, but there is always something you can do to avoid an accident. Always. If everyone keeps holding onto the “shit happens” attitude then they’re just giving up on their responsibility to ride safely and according to conditions.

      • S

        The Officer that died was struck by another Officer. The dead Officer was not at fault. What could he have done to avoid it? Not shown up to work the funeral detail.

        Karma tornado coming your way….

        • mugget

          I probably come across as a really harsh person, but it’s just that I’m not going to try and sugar coat things – it is what it is.

          Yes the officer that died could have done something – he could have been aware of his surroundings – this means everything happening on the road and around him. Nothing really “comes out of nowhere”, people just don’t pay enough attention so they don’t see it coming. He could have been riding perfectly within the law, no fault of his own, but being “in the right” has absolutely no healing properties whatsoever. It is not easy to be constantly aware of everything happening around you, to always be looking for an exit route and thinking up contingency plans for whatever traffic incidents may occur, but as this whole string of events show – that is exactly what’s required to stay safe (and alive).

          Every accident is avoidable. Every single accident. Overall I am concerned that people seem to think that accidents are “bound to happen”. Like with these Police Officers. But I look at it and see that there is such a big problem – people don’t “just crash”. It has nothing to do with “luck” or “fate”.

          • runrun

            Never mind the tornadoes, you’re right to call it like it is. Too many questions don’t get discussed because of the “why don’t you stop by and tell his two sons…” attitude.

            • mugget

              Yeah I’m not worried – we don’t get so many tornadoes in Australia, never seen one around here…

              I was never looking at this from an emotional angle – but good point, everyone seems to shy away from asking the tough questions, like it’s some kind of courtesy. But it’s no courtesy if people are dying…

  • Kirk

    One note on the gear selection thing I have never seen a real motor cycle glove that would allow one to access there pistol. The closest thing is maybe the Oakley tactical gloves and they would not hold up in a wreck. As far as the Held goes no way would they work.

    • Sean Smith

      Why do motor cops have guns again? I thought their job was traffic enforcement. You’re doing it really wrong if you need to use a gun for that.

      • Kirk

        I don’t know if you know this the cops catch a bunch of violent bad guys who have warrants on traffic stops. You are doing it wrong if you don’t take precautions that include a gun when dealing with criminals and real gear when riding. The whole debate is why these guys aren’t taking more precautions.

  • Kirk