A bicycle that can clock car speeds and number plates is being sold to police.
The ekin Smart Patrol Bike comes with extras that many cyclists would love to have – a radar speed gun and license plate recognition camera.
It’s being offered to forces around the world.
Current cycling police officers have little chance of getting evidence of a car’s speed, even if they are able to note its number, let alone catch up with it.
Now such crucial information could be captured automatically by the mobile technology, even from vehicles travelling at more than 185mph (300km/h).
It fits in a bracket that can be on the seat post to watch traffic approaching from behind the bicycle, or fixed to the bars for looking ahead.
“The camera has a wide field of view and can cover three lanes of traffic,” says Akif Ekin, chairman of ekin Technology, a surveillance technology company.
The camera is about the size of a box of chocolates. “It’s small, 15 centimetres across and seven centimetres thick. The radar unit is a little bigger, depending on the size of its antenna,” says Ekin.
They are powered by an external battery.
When the devices have snapped the car, the details can be matched with official records that are stored and encrypted on the bike or accessed remotely via radio, depending on the legislation of the country where it is being used.
In the UK, the DVLA databases hold files on 39 million vehicles and 47 million drivers. It reveals if Vehicle Excise Duty has been paid or not.
The Smart Patrol Bike can also be used to monitor parking. The officer will be able to grab the details of cars parked illegally while cycling along.
A Spooks-style video shows how one bicycle could check parked cars while keeping an eye on two lanes of traffic at the same time. Sadly, there’s no footage of an equipped bicycle being ridden.
Ekin believes there’s scope for the bicycle-mounted technology because police cars, which already use similar technology, can’t go everywhere.
“Law enforcement units will be able to perform surveillance tasks wherever motor vehicles hit their limits,” he says.
He adds that the product received an “excellent” reception when unveiled in Amsterdam at Intertraffic, the world’s biggest traffic technology exhibition, and production is scheduled to start in the third quarter of 2016.
Max Glaskin is an award-winning freelance journalist who tweets about cycling and science as @CyclingScience1 and is the author of Cycling Science (published by Frances Lincoln UK, Chicago University Press USA, and seven other languages).