Steamboat Springs Police Department officer Ross Blank responds to a call Friday after doing traffic enforcement on South Lincoln Avenue.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs Police Department officer Ross Blank responds to a call Friday after doing traffic enforcement on South Lincoln Avenue.

Steamboat police try out new ride

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— Vroom, vroom.

The newest addition to the Steamboat Springs Police Department’s fleet of vehicles took to the streets this week.

The 2014 BMW police motorcycle replaces the 1998 Kawasaki motorcycle that Capt. Jerry Stabile said was unreliable and becoming obsolete.

“It was down more time than it was up last summer,” Stabile said.

Stabile said a motorcycle is useful for special events, and it enables police to “do traffic enforcement more efficiently.” It can be more easily concealed and should act as a deterrent for speeding. Some drivers will not even know their speed got clocked until they see the motorcycle’s flashing lights in their rearview mirror.

On South Lincoln Avenue, just south of Mount Werner Road, officer Ross Blank demonstrated the new handheld laser gun that is used to determine how fast a vehicle is going. Blank said if the laser shows a speed that is within 5 mph of his estimated speed, he legally can pull someone over.

Last spring, Blank passed an 80-hour class in Aurora specific to police officers that certified him to use the motorcycle for work. It was a challenging class that a third of the students failed. Maneuvering a 600-plus pound motorcycle in S-turns at low speeds was especially challenging, Blank said. Officer Bill Stucker also has taken the class and is Steamboat’s second officer certified to ride a motorcycle.

According to city Finance Director Kim Weber, the new motorcycle cost $24,861.77. The motorcycle typically has been used during the warmer months in Steamboat, but the season could be extended because the BMW came with heated grips and a heated seat. With bright, efficient LED lights, the BMW can be more visible, which might allow the department to use it at night, Stabile said.

“The modern technology definitely makes it safer for the people we put on it,” Stabile said.

He said the city receives a lot of traffic complaints, and there are some areas where it is difficult to enforce traffic laws because officers looking for speeders easily can be spotted in their patrol cars. Areas with frequent traffic complaints include Hilltop Parkway, the upper part of Fish Creek Falls Road, Walton Creek Road, Whistler Road and Pamela Lane, Stabile said.

Another tool at the department’s disposal is a new portable trailer equipped with a display that tells drivers how fast they are going. Not only does it encourage speeders to slow down, but it also features a computer that collects the data. Stabile said they will be able to generate reports that lets them know average speeds and the time of day when there are the most speeders.

“It gives us the date to enforce the law, which ultimately makes our roads safer,” Stabile said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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