Big Bike Volunteer Highway Police--Is There Such A Thing?
106 replies to this topic
Posted 2011-02-02 12:47:38
I have been meaning to ask about this. On Kao San road there is a big white Japanese "maxi scooter" (step through, but larger displacement) that is usually on display with the other bikes in front of the McDonald's. It has a sticker that says "Big Bike Volunteer Highway Police" on the windshield. (Take a look if you are ever on Kao San.) Anyways, is there actually suc a thing? Or did he just fabricate the sticker? And if there is such a thing, would being a "volunteer" police officer give you the ability to ride the express ways where ordinarily bikes are prohibited? Just curious.
Posted 2011-02-02 13:02:22
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Yes, there is. Once a year in different Thai province Highway Police organizes 2 day "seminar" for volunteers. You get official ID, badge and bunch of stickers. Phuket had seminar last march in Merlin Hotel, tons of people attended.
Posted 2011-02-02 13:11:51
Hi! I volunteer to ride my motorcycle as fast as I can. Do I get the job? Great!
I believe that those motorcycles belong to 'Mr Khaosan'.
They belong to some very rich Thai from the street, and I think he is from the family that owned (still owns?) most of the street and developed it through the 1980's
There are often different bikes parked there - last time there were a few Ducatis (big and small), a BSA, an old single BMW, and I think a couple of Triumphs. I remember seeing a Harley once. Two Harleys actually - he had an old (I think Spanish) Harley 250 dirt-bike . Plus a weird little Czech(?) bike.
Nicest part of K-road - that motorcycle museum...
About two years ago I snuck on to a tollway with my CBR150 at about 6:30am.
Stayed on for about 40 minutes (ran two tolls), and then chickened out and got off. Held 150km/hr for a good while though! Good little bike.
Would love that 'volunteer' license for my new 250, but I'm not much of the copper type...
Posted 2011-02-02 13:16:58
I would expect that you would need to be on official business to be on a tollway. Just guessing.
Posted 2011-02-02 13:19:40
I commented on this on another earlier thread and upset a couple of "Big Bike Volunteer Highway Police' types in Phuket who were desperately trying to assure everyone that the Thai Highway police were not corrupt and they weren't just doing it to avoid traffic fines.
But they do get a nice sticker to put in the middle of their windscreen.
Okay, who's the joker who put 30 million white lines under my post?
Or did I fall asleep on the 'Enter" button?
Edited by bazmlb, 2011-02-02 14:31:07.
Posted 2011-02-02 13:28:46
Hehehehe. Cool. I guess that answers one question. However, the big one remains: so can you ride the tollways/expressways where bikes are prohibited as a highway police volunteer? Hmm...like so if you needed to use the expressways, you could just pop on the uniform?
Katabeachbum, since apparently you are one of 'em, could you elaborate?
And RusticCharm, why is there this huge gap following your post?
Posted 2011-02-02 13:55:09
I'm lost for words!!
I've tried to edit it but my 'Edit' button has, as always, disappeared.
Posted 2011-02-02 14:05:24
Reminds me of an old Tom Lehrer line (don't take it personally!).
"I think that if a man has nothing to say,
the least he can do is to shut up!"
Posted 2011-02-02 15:41:19
I attended to the 5th Big Bike Highwaypolice Volunteer class in Phuket April 2010, thus my Police ID is HW5xxx. We where approx 160 students in class 5, I d guess 50-60 foreigners.
The ID card posted above by Crobiker is from the 3rd class, as I recall it took place in Chiang May.
As Volunteers we are not supposed to act/interfere without being guided by "proper" Highwaypolice, but in reality Police does not interfere with other Police actions (volunteer or not). So riding Expressways with marked bike and badge in pocket, why not
I am a frequent speeder like most bikers, but also by car, and have recieved my bunch of fines (official and teamoney) during 8 years and +400k km in LOS. Strangely enough I have not ever been fined after I started providing my Poilce ID card when pulled over. Police usually ignore the Highwaypolicestickers on cars and bikes, as they are commonly available or can easily be self made.
In Europe I would usually stop and attend to an accidentscene, but here in LOS I have been forced to not do so due to the risk of getting blamed for anything. Being HWP and bringing my ID I can now assist on accident scene, and it really feels great when you know you have reduced someones damages or even saved life by simple first aid, or simply comforted and guided them to which ambulance/hospital to choose.
As HWP Volunteers we do not have uniforms, handcuffs or other "toys", so simply sticker marked vehicles and ID cards to identify us. Marshalling some of us uses Highwaypolice orange vests.
Posted 2011-02-02 15:53:57
sounds cool....how do I sign up?
Edited by submaniac, 2011-02-02 15:55:15.
Posted 2011-02-02 16:05:08
Phuket, Phangna and Krabi HWP district will not have any class this year, so I dont know. Suggest contact HWP BKK to check whats up
Posted 2011-02-02 16:50:55
Never saw vHWP and although I do not own a police-badge I have experienced that showing any police-badge (exp. from Belgium) will give you a free-card-out-of-trouble in the most cases. Driving with your mb on the tollway might not be one of those cases.
It is high time they make a legal difference between bikes less as 250cc and more as 250cc. Special plate, special license and then let you drive anywhere.
I also noticed that in BKK there are some fly-overs and tunnels where you are not allowed to drive with your MB. Being used to drive in BKK with a car (tollways and all fly-overs or tunnels) it would be difficult for me to drive with a MB in BKK.
Posted 2011-02-03 01:02:54
As a HP Big Bike volunteer, there are no official duties per se, although some of the Thai guys I saw had shirts and appeared to be more involved. Much of the seminar focused on how to be a witness, some basic road safety and 1st aid. We are expected to be good citizens (or guests) and report unsafe vehicles, reckless tour buses and the like. Unfortunately a good part of the seminar was chewed up by the head of different police divisions speaking on the importance of his department. Boring and repetitive. There is also the opportunity to help at the organization of bike events and things like traffic control when royalty visits the island. I have recently asked organizers for more information about this but have not gotten anything back yet. I really enjoyed marshaling the Triumph Roadshow ride along with Highway and Tourist Police officers. There are at least half a dozen Thaivisa members that are HP volunteers that I know of.
I've had a lot of people asking me how they can join. We were class #5. Class #6 was in Non Buri last July. No word on where class #7 will be. I spoke to Phuket Bike Week event organizers recently and it's not yet decided if they will have another class this year. I am told it may not happen because some farang chopper guys have been routinely riding around Patong helmetless and abusing their ID cards to get out of tickets. This has pissed off the local police and they have written and sent a report to the Highway Police and supposedly the offenders are going to be spoken too and possibly get their membership revoked. I don't really get that. Some people have to ruin it for everyone else I guess. And according to a Thai website, an issue has arose in Phuket with people using the leather pouch and shield that are not actual volunteers.
So no, the driving on the expressway would not be tolerated very long unless you were given some kind of active position and authorization as an actual police vehicle I would think.
I admit I have presented my ID at traffic stops twice, once just after I had my wallet stolen along with my drivers licenses, plus I was also on a 1 year old bike that still had red plates and invoice but no book yet because the dealer shut just after the bike was sold and kept the book. (About 20 such bikes on the island same as mine, some owned by cops, so they are understanding on this as long as I can show the invoice) The cops were very excited to see a farang HP volunteer and actually apologized to me. The second time I had everything in order but was curious what would happen if I only showed the ID. The cop asked for my drivers license anyway, which I had just replaced.
While getting out of traffic fines is nice, I don't mind paying for tickets if I am guilty. I am usually 100% in compliance with the law anyway, with the exception of speeding, which I do where I deem it is relatively safe, which usually means off the island on empty roads. No police enforcement there anyway. The thing I like the most, and what was my motivation for doing this, is so to not get jammed up for chicken shit or imaginary offenses we so often hear about at traffic stops in the LOS. And as KBB posted about some time ago, it gives us a little peace of mind when stopping to render aid at traffic accidents, which as an EMT I find myself doing quite often here. I had an EMT friend of mine get accused and detained at an accident scene he had nothing to do with other than stopping to help.
At one point there was a rumor that the Royal Thai Traffic Police were going to do a similar thing this year, but I haven't heard anything more than that.
Edited by ScubaBuddha, 2011-02-03 01:31:34.
Posted 2011-02-03 08:52:11
The last picture in SB post reminds me in class 5 there where at least 5-10 female HWP Volunteers
Posted 2011-02-03 12:38:56
What part don't you get? They're doing it to get out of wearing helmets and getting tickets.Just as you guys are mainly doing it to get out of tickets. All this 'marshaling' and 'EMT' is really just a smokescreen.
And therein, as the Bard says, lies the rub.
Posted 2011-02-03 12:50:12
KBB. We are asking you - to your knowledge & remembering there are no tollways in Phuket - are HVP allowed to run on tollways any time they wish - or should they only do so in connection with official duties? If you know? Thanks.
Also do you communicate by walkie talkie or just normal cell phone?
Edited by powderpuff, 2011-02-03 12:51:12.
Posted 2011-02-03 13:35:56
Lol. Jealous much?
Better we just run the checkpoints as you suggest eh?
Posted 2011-02-03 14:41:06
Cant really give you a clear answer on the BKK Expressways use, as I have never asked my superiors. If I asked, I am sure they would say yes, as thats the Thai way/culture. We are allowd to ride in walking streets tho wearing badge visible, as is local Police and Tourist Police. What Police Volunteers are allowed to do and not to do shouldnte really be an issue for non Volunteers, as there are only a few hundred of us spread all over LOS
Marshalling some rides we use HWP walkies, on at least one occasion we used Tourist Police handsets/earplugs as they used car sets, sometimes private bands. Mobile phone on accident scenes. As said we dont have uniforms or any other "toys" (and I dont want it), except for marked vehicles and badges.
Usually front HWP riders block off intersections, wait for group to pass, catch up with group front again to block off next junction. Great fun catching up with group
Posted 2011-02-03 14:55:48
It is obviuos some join the Police Volunteer force (Highway, Tourist, Local, Marine) as a smoke screen, and some of them have been uncovered. Fortunately ID card is only valid for one year after joining, and its possible some Volunteers are not beeing seen fit to continue.
However most Volunteers I know is into this for other reasons. All divisions of Police is understaffed. 1000 officers (all police divisions) is supposed to control over 1 million people in Phuket. By adding 100 or so bikers every second year or so, the chance for YOU being assisted properly and more rapidly at an accident scene increases. We are needed. We are wanted to assist.
Seeing this in a larger picture
Thai Traffic Police or Highwaypolice does not usually fine their neighbor, the cashier at his 7eleven or a friends son. It is a part of Thai culture to not do so. Some have taken advantage of their 1 year Police ID, believing they can do whatever they want as Volunteers. Perhaps they didnt understand what was thaught in Thai in class Some carry on as usual, and the advantage of Police Volunteering is you are on par when pulled over for a 200 bath speeding fine. At some point I expect to recieve a speed camera fine by post at 400 baht. I will of course pay it and not complain to a superior offiser
RusticCharm is assuming everyone is not playing by the book, I disagree
Posted 2011-02-03 16:35:02
Jealous? Oh yeah, I've always wanted to spend my time kissing Thai police ass.
As to 'running checkpoints', well here's an example. On the occasions I have to take my bike into Thonglor, a 25 klm trip on Suksawat, Rama III, Suk Soi 26, Sukhumviit and Soi Thonglor, I often see as many as 5 police checkpoints (albeit today when I went in, I passed only 2) which if I stopped would make for a rather expensive ride in to the dealers.
Besides, I don't stop for the mafia!
I'll leave it to Eric to sum things up. Enjoy!
Edited by RusticCharm, 2011-02-03 16:39:44.
Posted 2011-02-04 13:10:49
There is also a "Volunteer Radio Ham Highway Police" for those that don't have big bikes. Their purpose is similar to the Big Bike Volunteers. You may have seen some of them driving around with the stickers on their cars and big antenna on top.
Edited by ScubaBuddha, 2011-02-04 13:11:15.
Posted 2011-02-05 23:08:22
<deleted> me! Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse.
A 'Volunteer Personality-Deficient, Need To get a Life. Highway Police'?
Oops! My bad! That's already been covered by the guys in Phuket.
"Respect My Authority".