“I said PULL OVER!”
Harley built their first police bike in 1908 and have been supplying motorcycles to police departments all around the world ever since. In those early years, just as today, having “police” painted on the side of your gas tank didn’t always mean you were going to get the cooperation and respect you deserved from the every motorist. To make matters worse, early police bikes didn’t have flashing lights or sirens to clue drivers in that they needed to pull over. Just like in the photo above, mounted police would pull alongside the automobile and verbally tell the driver to pull over.
Near 100 years ago, as the story goes, a cousin on my father’s side of the family was a motorcycle cop. He was a member of the Virginia Highway Patrol and one of the first to ride a motorcycle in the line of duty. On a routine patrol, he pulled up next to a speeding car and signaled for the driver to pull over. The driver decided he wasn’t going to get a speeding ticket and forced the motorcycle off the road and into the ditch. Somehow my cousin maintained control over the motorcycle, pulled back onto the road and caught up with the car again. This time instead of signaling and yelling for the driver to pull over, he simply pulled out his service revolver and stuck it in the driver’s ear. Needless to say, the driver pulled over and got a lot more than just the speeding ticket. Of course back then they were probably going less than 35 miles per hour, but I’d still say that was a ballsy move on his part.
If any current or past motorcycle officers have some “war stories” to share, please add them to the comments!