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DEALERSHIP SPOTLIGHT, BY MOTORCYCLE INDUSTRY COUNCIL (MIC)

The service center and police bikes inside Bob’s BMW in Jessup, Maryland.

Bob’s BMW in Jessup, Maryland, provides an essential service to law enforcement as well as to local farmers. RideReport recently spoke with owner Bob Henig over the phone.

Q: Bob, do you work with many law enforcement vehicles? 

A: We have 30 to 35 police bikes that we are responsible for servicing. Currently, the Maryland State Police and about seven Maryland counties, plus the Maryland-National Capital Park Police, rely on Bob’s BMW for all their needs. Last week, we were notified that we were awarded a statewide, three- to five-year bid to provide police motorcycles to any department or jurisdiction in Maryland that wants to purchase these motorcycles, thus shortening these departments’ time frames measurably.

Q: That’s quite a fleet. But how often do they really need service? 

A: Just this past Thursday, we had three police officers in here getting their motorcycles worked on. These police officers are out there using their motorcycles and, on an ongoing basis, there hasn’t been a week where one, if not more, police motorcycles have come in here because of scheduled service. Or they might get a nail in a tire and need a replacement immediately. These past three weeks, there has hardly been a day when there hasn’t been an officer at our shop needing our assistance. 

Q: We’ve heard from some powersports retailers who only sell parts and accessories that they have been asked to remain open by law enforcement, too. Why is that?

A: All powersports dealers – new and used bikes or just the parts, accessory and riding gear operations – typically sell heated gear, gloves, technical underlayers, and a variety of things law enforcement use daily. Having multiple retailers open can be necessary because officers need to be able to go and get replacement riding gear or parts when and where it’s convenient to them. They may get a flat tire, or they need a new face shield when they are out working and not near their usual shop. 

Q: Has social distancing made any difference?

A: Instead of having officers work side by side in a car, with motorcycles, they can have their social distancing. Perhaps it’s possible that during this health crisis, motorcycle use in the U.S. might start expanding. When there’s an incident, arrival times can be quicker for police officers or EMS on motorcycles, especially when traffic is an issue.

Also, one of our customers – he’s not a motor officer, he’s a helicopter pilot for a regional police department – he was in here the other day picking up a battery for his personal bike, and he was in full uniform. It’s because he often rides his motorcycle to and from work. He uses it for commuting, as do thousands of our customers, because motorcycles are efficient and can save on fuel. The average BMW gets over 40 mpg. 

Q: How else have you seen motorcycles used for work? 

A: We have about a dozen customers who are in farming, or who keep livestock, or who have to tend to orchards, and they use motorcycles and ATVs to do their jobs. I’ve had several customers use a modified GS (model motorcycle) to inspect their fields, or miles of fences, or to go check on their animals. And they need service and parts for their vehicles. 

Q: Anything else you’d like to add? 

A: There’s a whole social world on a motorcycle that doesn’t exist in a car. When motor officers patrol hiking and bike paths or neighborhoods, or manage large events, they can be more easily seen as a friendly and supportive part of their community. 

The team here at Bob’s is proud to be able to serve our law enforcement officers and the greater community. We’re not only a community connected through motorcycling, we’re a community helping one another.

And, if we follow the rules from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), listen to our highly experienced health professionals and to all our hard-working elected officials trying to save as many lives as possible, I believe we can all ride it out together. We must work as one gigantic community.

This Q&A was edited for brevity and clarity.

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