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By Bobby Pierce
The Columbus Dispatch

COLUMBUS - Minutes after expressing doubts about the balance of the newest police vehicles, Officer William Rich tumbled onto the sidewalk.
Rich was fine. He was more concerned that he had hurt the three-wheeled T3 Motion, which looks like a chariot crossed with a Segway. It was fine, too.
The Columbus Division of Police's bicycle day-patrol unit is testing the vehicles in teams and then evaluating them. Two T3 Motions, which sell for $8,988 each, are on loan to the department for testing. Police have yet to buy them.
Powered by two rechargeable batteries, the T3 Motion is equipped with lights and sirens.
"They're fun to ride," Officer Ron Zaleski said. "I'm going to give them a try."
Officers are weighing how the three-wheelers stack up against their bicycles, and how well they can deal with rough terrain.
"If you were going to a call, you would be expending energy riding a bicycle," Zaleski said. The T3 will go about 20 mph, he said, adding that Rich, his partner, can get his going faster.
But a bicycle can go places the T3 can't, Zaleski said. Officers will ride their bicycles down stairs, but would be cautious about taking the T3 over a curb. For the most part, it's limited to flat, paved surfaces.
"You feel everything," Zaleski said.
"It is not applicable for what we do on a day-to-day basis," Rich said. "As far as crowd control, I think it would be awesome."
The vehicle would be ideal for Red, White & Boom and Downtown festivals, he said. The raised platform lets the officer see above people.
Vehicles such as the T3 Motion and the two-wheeled, self-balancing Segway have become popular for crowd control. Security guards use Segways at Easton Town Center and the Mall at Tuttle Crossing. Chinese anti-terrorism police will ride Segways at the Olympics next month.
The T3 is better for crowd situations, Rich said, because it is difficult to maintain balance while riding a bicycle slowly.
Officers are concerned, however, that the T3 battery's charge lasted only five hours in their tests. A spokesman for the company says a charge can last six to 10 hours, or 20 miles. Rich and Zaleski work 10-hour days four times a week.
The officers doubt the T3 will replace their bikes. They ride from a substation at Bethel and Olentangy River roads to Downtown and back, a round trip of 20 miles.
"I'd rather be on my bike," Rich told one of the many people who stopped to ask questions about the odd-looking vehicles.
Zaleski estimated that at least 30 people stopped to ask about the T3 in an hour.
"This would be perfect for Downtown," said Daniel Jones of Columbus as he passed. "It can go places cars can't."

Wire Service

939 Posts
I just find it hard to be taken serious on something like that. What would happen if your driving/riding that thing and someone takes off on foot? I don't think they would be able to move fast enough or be able to maneuver well enough to give chase. So if in that situation what would you do? Leave it and proceed on foot? OR risk your well being to chase a guy at the risk of flipping it and making a complete ass out of yourself.

1,274 Posts
It DOES look like a chariot, doesn't it?

"Are you afraid to die, Spartacus?"

Does anyone in decision making positions care how rediculous these grand experiments make us look?
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