The Richton Park Police Department Bike Unit has two specially equipped bicycles (lights/sirens, police decals and storage bags). The Unit also has four highly trained officers. These officers are required to attend a 5 day (40 Hour) Bicycle Operator Training course, taught and certified by IPMBA (International Police Mountain Bike Association).
The visibility of an officer on a bicycle cannot be matched. With this visibility also comes an increase in human contact with the community. In fact, it is much like the old "Beat Officers" who used to walk the streets. They knew people by name and had a good feel for the neighborhoods at a personal level. On a bicycle, an officer is much more approachable than in a car and can help in building new contacts and trust from the citizens. This allows officers to be proactive in fighting crime rather than reactive. Bike Patrol Officers can be much more aware of concerns before they turn into problems.
A bicycle patrol is also fantastic for public events such as concerts, sporting events, festivals, road races and other large gatherings. An officer can move quickly through a crowd while on a bike, and can find short cuts, etc., where a patrol car would have very diminished mobility in the same situation.
This same mobility also adds a "stealth" advantage to bike patrols versus patrol vehicles. An officer on a bike is much smaller, quieter, and can go places that are not easily accessible to patrol vehicles. Also, a person fleeing from an officer generally can't out run an officer on a bike.