Photo by Mike Stich in BlogTO Flickrpool
The use of bikes for crowd control and intimidation at the Toronto G20 is completely fascinating. Waves of them, parades of them, bikes everywhere. I wouldn't think they are very useful; unlike a big, intimidating police horse, the officer has to hold the bike up, occupying his or her hands; it isn't the most efficient thing to bonk someone over the head with.
mideast-transplant via BlogTO Flickrpool
I love the way they have their bike helmets carefully fastened to their carriers, for safety, you know, I suppose because riot helmets are not Snell approved for cycling.
It is true that they are intimidating, at least above the knees.
It is hard to look intimidating when your bike is upside down being fixed. He's trying, though.
The bikes seem to work most effectively as barricades. Note the bike helmets rather than riot gear.
Indeed, here the bikes are used to close off an entire street. I wonder where this method of policing came from, if it is an attempt to put a friendly face forward. Toronto police chief Blair is good at that, he is a pro at defusing confrontation. When cyclists closed down Toronto streets last year in the Michael Bryant protests, drivers complained that they should all be arrested and the streets be cleared; Blair just let everyone run out of energy and go home. We will have to wait and see what happens when the anarchists and the more serious protesters arrive today.
UPDATE These new photos from BlogTO show the bikes being held up, wheels out, to keep protesters away. When things get rough they call in the guys in full gear with shields and batons; the friendly face of policing then gets out of the way.