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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 May, 2003, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
Bike police turn Easy Riders
Northumbria Police Harley-Davidson bike
The Harley-Davidson Road King bike has full police livery
Geordie police officers turned Easy Riders after unveiling the country's first Harley-Davidson police bike.

The 1450cc Road King, in full police livery and fitted with horns and blue lights, will be used as part of an initiative to promote motorcycling safety and awareness.

It is the first to be used in Britain, while police in Hamburg are the only other force in Europe to use Harley-Davidsons.

Pc Andy Johnston, of Northumbria Police's motorcycle section, said: "Last year we had a Harley-Davidson V-Rod on short-term loan and we were amazed by the attention it drew.

"The Road King is something different, especially with it being in police livery.

"There hasn't been anything like it in this country before so it's going to attract a lot of interest."

General patrols

The eye-catching bike, sponsored by Just Harleys, based in Sandyford, Newcastle, will be returned to the company in October.

Until then it will be used for general patrols and to help promote the force's Weekender scheme, which promotes safe motorbike riding.

The innovative Weekender project, which started last year, involves motorbike riders being given a yellow or red card when they are spotted making an error by police.

If given a red card, offenders are urged to take a rider improvement course as an alternative to prosecution and potential court appearance.

The card system only applies to driving technique and minor offences and does not cover excessive speeding offences or dangerous driving, which police say are always dealt with by fixed penalties or court appearances.





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