Durban’s police go green with e-bikes

2011-11-03 09:03

The City of Durban is taking policing to a brand-new level – all in the name of carbon footprint reduction.

eThekwini Metro Police are now using electric bicycles to patrol the Durban Beach front as an alternative mode of transport to reduce the number of vehicles in the city.

Speaking during the Metro Police Electric Bicycles Pilot project launch at the Durban beach front yesterday, eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo said the initiative was part of a larger programme in the city to test the potential of electric bicycles within the various departments of the municipality where officials often use vehicles to travel short distances between municipal buildings within the city centre.

“With these bicycles, they could potentially cycle if the appropriate cycles and infrastructure were in place,” he said.Traditional petrol and diesel engines contribute significantly to the overall carbon footprint.

“If there is a broad uptake of the electric bicycle by city staff, the municipality will consider a broader public electric bicycle programme that could see a roll-out with business and the hospitality sector in the city,” added Nxumalo.

But if you see these e-bikes as another excuse for breeding fat cops, think again.

Ten bikes have been given to the Metro Police.

The bikes have a standard mountain frame but include a lithium ion battery that supplies power to a small motor, which is situated within the back of the wheel.

While the battery offers about 20km life, the electric bicycles are designed to combine human propulsion with electrical power from a storage battery.

The battery can last about 45km depending on the amount of pedalling the cyclist does.

Police Constable Bo Mhlongo found the bikes efficient and comfortable.

Before the roll-out, her patrols were conducted on foot.“You can cover a very long distance without feeling it.

Even though you still paddle, you are boosted by the motor in steep areas. For me, it’s like gyming for free and getting paid for it,” she said.

Durban will host the world for the COP17 conference from November 28.

However, Nxumalo maintains that this and other initiatives such as the Integrated Public Transport system, some of which will be in place for the conference, are only about making a contribution to ensuring a brighter future for the next generation.

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