Police forces in states facing fuel shortages are exchanging their patrol cars for bicycles and in, at least one case, horses.
Some officers in Nezahualcóyotl, México state, have abandoned their vehicles and taken to patrolling on bicycles as municipal authorities ration fuel and prioritize its use in response to shortages.
Some vehicles will remain on patrol but 250 officers on the force will perform their duties on two wheels.
Police chief Jorge Amador Amador said those assigned to the bike patrol are physically prepared for their new wheels.
Half of the 40 gas stations in Nezahualcóyotl, a municipality with more than two million inhabitants, have closed due to the fuel shortage, and what fuel is available for official use will be used carefully.
The chief told the newspaper El Universal that the local government is in contact with gas station operators to ensure that fuel is to be used exclusively for security, rescue and citizen protection operations, as well as garbage pickup.
“. . . Ambulances, the fire department and police patrol cars will have priority use of what little fuel is available,” said Amador.
A police vehicle uses 45 liters of gasoline every day, while a motorcycle needs 10, but the vehicles will be rationed half that.
“This program is preventative; we’ve reduced the use of patrol cars, not completely, we just reduced it to make [gasoline] last as long as possible,” explained Amador.
In Yuriria, Guanajuato, 16 horses and 10 bicycles have been pressed into service, and some officers are patrolling on foot.
In Michoacán, which has been paralyzed by gasoline shortages for 17 days, one-half of all state police vehicles are idle due to the lack of fuel, the state security chief said this morning.