Bike patrol units used to deter distracted driving on Electric Road in Roanoke County

Roanoke County Police Department hopes bike unit presence will reiterate safe driving

If you've driven on 419 by Tanglewood Mall recently, you may have noticed an increased police presence - but not in the usual patrol cars

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – If you’ve driven by Tanglewood Mall lately on Route 419, you may have noticed a bigger police presence — but not in the usual patrol cars.

The Roanoke County Police Department is mixing things up by boosting their patrols with their bicycle unit.

“Our staffing yesterday was higher than normal for one of our particular shifts, and they have a number of bike officers on that shift,” said Sergeant Spencer Hoopes with the Roanoke County Police Department.

Because of the extra officers, the department had the opportunity to address a problem in Roanoke County. Electric Road has caused headaches for drivers for years, but speeding isn’t the biggest factor.

“That’s not the major cause of the crashes as we’ve looked at that data. It’s the following too close, it’s improper lane changes, and it’s people being distracted,” added Hoopes.

The bikes can be a good alternative to police cars in congested areas where vehicles could cause more backups or block entrances. Sometimes the bikes are more maneuverable to address offenses.

“Having those folks out here, they can see some of those violations and they can see the tailgating issue. They can see the devices in people’s hands and they can get out and navigate through traffic to have those interactions with those drivers.

It’s just another tool to keep traffic moving and reiterate the importance of paying attention.

Of course, bike units are not a new concept and the Roanoke County Police Department will continue to use them strategically to keep everyone safe on the road.

About the Author:

Alyssa Rae grew up in Roanoke and graduated from Virginia Tech. An avid sports fan, she spent her first 8 years in TV as a sports anchor and reporter.