Over the last few years, cycling has become very popular in Thailand. Some people do it for exercise while others just want the convenience of popping to the local shops. The Ayutthaya Police Bike Patrol has been going on for about ten years now though it wasn’t originally very active. It does make sense to have a bike patrol in places like Ayutthaya which is releatively flat and has a number of large areas where vehicles are not allowed to enter. For example, the Historical Park in the old part of the city.
The Bike Patrol became more popular over the last two years with the recruitment of a volunteer police force. They now have 55 volunteers and two fulltime policemen. The volunteers work two days a week from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Roll call for them starts at the Police box in front of the Ayutthaya Tourism Center. They then go out on a patrol with about six cyclists. Their route is mainly within the old part of the city.
One of the volunteers showed me a map in the Police Box that has coloured markers. Red was for danger and there were four places marked with this pin. He said their patrol route would vary but they always paid particular attention to the danger areas. The volunteers don’t carry a gun and have limited power. If there is a situation, they are taught that they must call it in for a regular policeman to deal with. Though, being a tourist city, they seem to mainly help the tourists. Luckily many of them also speak some foreign languages.