Like A Cop On A Bicycle?

They are starting to spring up all over the place: Police officers on bicycles.

Since the new cruisers are powered by the cop on board, officers must attend classes to learn how to put the brakes on the bad guys, reports Correspondent Susan Barnett of CBS Affiliate WCIA-TV in Champaign, Ill.

The bikes may be spare compared to a car, but they have enough storage space for everything an officer needs: ticket books, a spare tire, and a first aid kit.

Still, wielding the element of surprise with just two wheels is not easy. Police officers on bicycles must receive special training to handle any obstacle, such as steps, gravel, or wet roads.

University of Illinois Police Officer Christopher Hawk instructs other officers on how to maneuver their two-wheelers in the most effective manner.

While the officers will still stop motorists who break the law, Hawk says the bikes make police more approachable to civilians.

"Every night I ride a bike, there are people I stop and talk to in a very casual way," Hawk says. "It's a good tool for getting back in touch with the people."

While it may not be the kind of patrol vehicle people are used to seeing, one police officer says that in some situations, two wheels are better than four.

"I'm used to being in the squad car a lot, but the bike gives you the advantage of sneaking up on people, coming up quieter," says Officer Kevin Hanson of the Champaign Police Department.

The cyclist training may have come easier to some than to others. But for officers like Hanson, it's just like being a kid again.