WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita Police Department could soon have their men back on motorcycles after the city gave the green light to apply for a $300,000 KDOT grant.
The grant would not only pay for the motorcycles, but also other traffic safety equipment like laser radars and message boards. Right now, police say Wichita is one in three larger cities in the U.S. that don’t have motorcycles. If police get that grant approval, eight new cycles could be back on the road by this summer.
Sixteen years ago, the department disbanded its motorcycle unit because of accidents and safety concerns, but now, traffic conditions in Wichita have convinced city leaders that it;s time to bring the bikes back.
“We as council members get a lot of complains about speeding, people running red lights and how it just seems like it’s the wild wild West again,” said Vice Mayor Janet Miller.
Police say motorcycles are more maneuverable than cars in some situations so, they believe bikes will help reduce traffic fatalities.
“If you’ve been up on Kellogg, some of those people were speeding through those construction zones and that’s what we want to slow down,” said Deputy Chief Gavin Seiler.
Vice Mayor Miller told KSN that even if the grant isn’t approved by the state, the city will look for other ways to fund the motorcycles. The new bikes will require training for the officers who plan to ride them, and the WPD plans to start that as soon as the grant is approved. The new division should be on the road summer 2017.