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Old 02-23-07, 02:45 AM   #1
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Awsome advocacy story!

There is an awesome advocacy story in the commuting forum... check it out:

Policeman told me to get on the sidewalk today..
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Old 02-23-07, 06:53 AM   #2
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There is an awesome advocacy story in the commuting forum... check it out:

Policeman told me to get on the sidewalk today..
That's pretty cool...
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Old 02-23-07, 08:19 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Owltooth
so I'm just to the right of the middle of my lane as always, (I don't want to give SUVs the impression that they can share the lane with me by riding on the shoulder...) and the cop pulls up along side me as I'm riding, and says "sir you need to get off of the road and onto the sidewalk."
An experienced cyclist will know the difference between holding up traffic and simply appearing to hold up traffic. Each person has a different perspective, and sometimes the police might call it differently than the cyclist.

All things considered, even if the police officer is not respectful (and in this case, he seemed very polite,) I think it's usually best to obey the officer and swallow your pride. Believe me, I know how tough that can be, too, when you honestly believe you're in the right.

I don't mean this to condemn the OP, I feel for him. In the same situation, I might have done exactly the same thing, but I don't recommend it to anyone. It's often best just to comply, and let things go. That doesn't mean becoming a door-mat, I think you should follow up if your rights are being violated.

Keep in mind that while we have a right to the road, individual state laws often state the cyclist, if other traffic is backing up behind him/her, should move over to let traffic pass. This is a judgement call that the cyclist usually makes, but sometimes the police do, as well.
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Old 02-23-07, 10:01 AM   #4
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Keep in mind that while we have a right to the road, individual state laws often state the cyclist, if other traffic is backing up behind him/her, should move over to let traffic pass.
The OP states that there were two lanes of traffic in each direction.
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Old 02-23-07, 10:26 AM   #5
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I think its more a statement of the ignorance of police, versus any real advocacy.

I hardly find it awesome or even advocacy. if he started a public campaign to educate the police and the public that bicyclists belong, that'd be different.

I think the OP of this thread has often opined that drivers don't need any additional training as to cyclists, the onus of safety is on the bicyclists wheels and shoulders alone.

how does the OP of this thread feel about national training for police about cyclists rights and weaknesses?
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Old 02-23-07, 10:36 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Bekologist
how does the OP of this thread feel about national training for police about cyclists rights and weaknesses?
Strongly oppose. But that's because I generally favor decentralizing government power. But I do strongly favor training for police about cyclist rights and best practices at the state, county and local levels. In fact, I know someone who is making some promising inroads in this area. If he is successful, I hope to follow in his footsteps in my area.
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Old 02-23-07, 11:04 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by zeytoun
The OP states that there were two lanes of traffic in each direction.
I understand, the OP (Owltooth) was saying there was plenty of room for traffic to clear. I ride roads like he describes in rush hour traffic all the time, and I'm in complete agreement with his judgement.

But if a policeman ordered me to do move over, I'd do it, even if I thought he was wrong.

The policeman's judgement might have been less accurate than the OP's, but the law might have sided with the policeman.
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Old 02-23-07, 11:55 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
The policeman's judgement might have been less accurate than the OP's, but the law might have sided with the policeman.
All of the laws against impeding traffic while operating a slow moving vehicle that I've read have only applied when there is no lane for passing provided.
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Old 02-23-07, 01:51 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
I understand, the OP (Owltooth) was saying there was plenty of room for traffic to clear. I ride roads like he describes in rush hour traffic all the time, and I'm in complete agreement with his judgement.

But if a policeman ordered me to do move over, I'd do it, even if I thought he was wrong.

The policeman's judgement might have been less accurate than the OP's, but the law might have sided with the policeman.
I understand, and it's a personal decision whether you will comply with an order that you believe is baseless. I respect your point of view.

My response to you was just commenting specifically on the "backing up traffic" point, not the rest of your post.
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Old 02-23-07, 01:54 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by joejack951
All of the laws against impeding traffic while operating a slow moving vehicle that I've read have only applied when there is no lane for passing provided.
Again, I ride like this all the time, and never leave the road to let traffic pass. I figure if they're grown up enough to reach the gas pedal, they ought to be able to pass me on a bike.

The point is, I disagree with Owltooth's choice to argue with a policeman, but it's a free country, after all. I guess I'm more "non-confrontational" in nature. Plus, I've not had much success challenging the powers-that-be on their own turf.

My advice stands, unless it's a real policy-changing "Rosa Parks" move, there's not much point in arguing with cops. This one seemed pretty laid-back, though.
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Old 02-23-07, 01:59 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by zeytoun
I understand, and it's a personal decision whether you will comply with an order that you believe is baseless. I respect your point of view.

My response to you was just commenting specifically on the "backing up traffic" point, not the rest of your post.


(Hey, Zeytoun, why is everyone messing around with Chippie's avatar? At first, I though it was really him...)
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Old 02-23-07, 02:08 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
Again, I ride like this all the time, and never leave the road to let traffic pass. I figure if they're grown up enough to reach the gas pedal, they ought to be able to pass me on a bike.

The point is, I disagree with Owltooth's choice to argue with a policeman, but it's a free country, after all. I guess I'm more "non-confrontational" in nature. Plus, I've not had much success challenging the powers-that-be on their own turf.

My advice stands, unless it's a real policy-changing "Rosa Parks" move, there's not much point in arguing with cops. This one seemed pretty laid-back, though.
Ok, just checking. I've been in the same situation as Owltooth except it was on an empty 4 lane road where I was using the travel lane instead of the shoulder. A police officer decided he didn't want to change lanes to pass even with no one else around and being the kind of guy I am I held my ground even when he honked (of course, I did turn around and wave when he did). I pulled over when he turned on the lights though and let him know what I thought about him ordering me onto the shoulder for supposedly impeding traffic (maybe not the smartest move on an empty road early in the morning). Anyway, you give good advice and I'd probably do more of what you are suggesting than what I did before if I ever encountered a similar situation. Of course, I'd also get a badge number and report him immediately.
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Old 02-23-07, 02:43 PM   #13
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(Hey, Zeytoun, why is everyone messing around with Chippie's avatar? At first, I though it was really him...)
I think I'm like the third, so I can't claim creativity as a motivation... I think the twin portrait subject matter is just too easy of a target. I keep getting confused when the other guys (who just switched the heads) posts.

I'll substitute my cat's head for Chipcom's later today... maybe that will be less confusing.
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Old 02-23-07, 03:01 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by joejack951
A police officer decided he didn't want to change lanes to pass even with no one else around and being the kind of guy I am I held my ground even when he honked (of course, I did turn around and wave when he did). I pulled over when he turned on the lights though and let him know what I thought about him ordering me onto the shoulder for supposedly impeding traffic (maybe not the smartest move on an empty road early in the morning). Anyway, you give good advice and I'd probably do more of what you are suggesting than what I did before if I ever encountered a similar situation. Of course, I'd also get a badge number and report him immediately.
Dang, I can't believe he did that! Amazing...! I guess I'm getting an education about ignorance!
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Old 02-23-07, 03:01 PM   #15
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I'll substitute my cat's head for Chipcom's later today... maybe that will be less confusing.
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Old 02-23-07, 03:29 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
All things considered, even if the police officer is not respectful (and in this case, he seemed very polite,) I think it's usually best to obey the officer and swallow your pride. Believe me, I know how tough that can be, too, when you honestly believe you're in the right.
From an advocacy point of view, I respectfully disagree in this case. The policeman was plainly ignorant of the law; he said the bike should be on the sidewalk. If you are at all aware of the abysmal level of cycling knowledge in the general public, how can you not try to correct him on that point of law, which as an enforcer of the law he should already know? He'll only go on to impose it on other cyclists in the future. That's why this was advocacy, because the OP was at least partially trying to educate the officer. We might disagree on the words or tactics he used, but I think that's what he was basically trying to do, and I support him on it.

Not only was the policeman legally in the wrong, he was speaking from the prevelant belief of bikes as second-class road users that must never delay motor vehicles. That's actively anti-cycling!

Advocacy can be one-on-one, although granted it's usually more effective coming from an official organization. I believe that I'm engaging in a little bit of advocacy every time I'm driving my bike predictably and legally in traffic.
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Old 02-23-07, 03:55 PM   #17
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From an advocacy point of view, I respectfully disagree in this case. The policeman was plainly ignorant of the law; he said the bike should be on the sidewalk.
Maybe...I wouldn't mind being wrong about this particular incident.

In principle, I stand by my belief that it's usually better to obey the authority, then follow up with protest later. It looks better to a judge. It also might go a long way to educating policemen, too, if you show them you're agreeable.
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