Police, residents on a roll at Belleville Community Bike Ride

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BELLEVILLE, NJ — The township’s second Community Bike Ride, organized by the Belleville Police Department, on Saturday, May 21, was dedicated to family fun, fitness and further fostering community pride. Police Chief Mark Minichini said the leisurely bike ride was the perfect opportunity for residents to meet and chat with the department’s dedicated officers.

Approximately 100 cyclists in all — students, their parents, members of the police department and Mayor Michael Melham — gathered at Belleville High School in the morning before setting out. During the 3.6-mile ride, police officers took the opportunity to chat with the other riders about their summer vacation plans, their favorite sports teams and the importance of doing well in school.

“The Community Bike Ride is a great way for us to enhance our visibility and demonstrate our accessibility,” Minichini said. “Being seen around town and being an active part of this community has been an ongoing initiative for our police department since I became chief. This ride gives us another chance to get to know the residents that we serve and protect.”

Bikes are an everyday part of the Belleville Police Department since it revived its long dormant bicycle unit about four years ago. The initiative has proved to not only be popular with Belleville residents, who often wave hello to the police as they patrol the town, but it’s popular among the officers.

Minichini said more than a dozen members of the department have completed the necessary training to take part in the bike patrol.

The Community Bike Ride also afforded the Belleville police a chance to offer participants a refresher course in bike safety. A bike rodeo was created where officers showed young cyclists the safest ways to take curves, make turns and other maneuvers.

All participants received bicycle lights and water bottles.

“Our police department does a tremendous job of keeping us safe,” Melham said. “It is also a great community partner, and an event such as the Community Bike Ride is a prime example of how enmeshed they are here.”

Photos Courtesy of Belleville Township