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Old 03-13-08, 01:40 PM   #1
San Rensho 
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Your tax dollars at work

Just outside of downtown Miami is the exclusive enclave of key Biscayne, which can only be reached by a causeway. The causeway has a very wide shoulder so it is he used heavily by cyclists. The rich residents of key Biscayne, however, resent the fact that anyone else can use "their" causeway and have complained to the police who are more than willing to oblige them to rid Tony key Biscayne of the scourge of bicyclists.

So on Wednesday morning I was doing the Wednesdat morning training ride/race with a group of between 50 and 100 cyclists and as we approach a stop light on the Causeway, the light turns yellow as the first people in the group get to the intersection and is red by the time those in the back of the group crossed the intersection. The police, knowing the exact time that the group is on Causeway, had three cruisers waiting to catch us. One cruiser speeds past us and stops in the middle of the road, almost running into some cyclists. Most of the cyclists don't even stop, but I did. The police readily admit that the only reason they are doing this is because the residents have complained. I asked the police officer what's more dangerous, the bicyclists on the causeway or the speeders. He readily admits that speeding is more dangerous on the cause wait where the posted speed limit 40 mph, and the average speed is 60-80 mph on the causeway.

Eventually, about five police cars including a supervisor are involved in the "bust", tying up early-morning rush-hour traffic for miles. I got a $200 ticket for running a red light which I'm going to contest.
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Old 03-13-08, 01:49 PM   #2
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You rode through a red light and don't think you should be ticketed for running a red light?

File a complaint about all the speeding cars on the causeway and ask for the same kind of special enforcement on them. Get everyone on the ride to do the same.
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Old 03-13-08, 01:56 PM   #3
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between 50 and 100 cyclists? and this is just a regular training ride?! that's a big group!
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Old 03-13-08, 01:59 PM   #4
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J...a group of between 50 and 100 cyclists and as we approach a stop light on the Causeway, the light turns yellow as the first people in the group get to the intersection and is red by the time those in the back of the group crossed the intersection.
I ride in groups that size a couple times a week in a location with signals every 1mi at paces 25+ and have never had an issue stopping safely in time to avoid being in an intersection illegally. Lights also help break up the large group into smaller packs.

I do assume/hope that that entire group of 50-100 did not all go thru if when the lead riders were entering it was just turning yellow? Does it break into a few smaller sized groups? Are there no clues that the signal will soon change (for example cross-walk signal changes to flashing 'do not walk')?

From here it sounds more like the group of 50-100 expects to do this as opposed to getting caught in a unplanned situation.

Al
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Old 03-13-08, 02:04 PM   #5
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There has been some discussion within the cycling community regarding whether a peleton should be regarded as a single unit or as a platoon of separate vehicles. This is one reason I hate riding in large groups -- if I run the red, I risk getting busted, but if I stop I risk causing serious injury to those behind me.

Although I generally support enforcement of traffic laws for bicyclists, I am not sure we should be paying the same $200+ fines assessed against motorists, given the relative public safety implications of our actions.
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Old 03-13-08, 02:28 PM   #6
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You rode through a red light and don't think you should be ticketed for running a red light?

File a complaint about all the speeding cars on the causeway and ask for the same kind of special enforcement on them. Get everyone on the ride to do the same.
The light turned yellow as those in the front crossed the intersection. Its a group of over 50 riders packed together like sardines, what were the riders who got caught by the red suppoed to do, slam on the brakes and crash everyone in back of them?

When a car enters an intersection on a yellow and the light turns red as he is going through the intersection, it is not a stop light violation. Same principle applies here.
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Old 03-13-08, 02:36 PM   #7
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seems like a complete double standard. I remember a recent thread where almost ever poster here was applauding the installation of red light cams to catch motorists driving illegally. Nevermind that there are plenty of studies that show they don't actually make anyone safer.....

Would you have the same complaint if the red light cameras were able to ticket cyclists? Not one bit of difference, imo between a red light cam and a police officer staking out an intersection.

Pay your fine (unless you didn't actually run a red light) and tackle the speeding issue another day. They aren't related.
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Old 03-13-08, 02:54 PM   #8
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i would say that groups this big are inherently dangerous, as i've witnessed many times where stragglers from the back of the group run reds to stay with the group and it causes a lot of confusion with waiting traffic. seems okay if the group is tightly packed together, but that's not offen the case near the back where it can get strung out.
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Old 03-13-08, 02:55 PM   #9
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The light turned yellow as those in the front crossed the intersection. Its a group of over 50 riders packed together like sardines, what were the riders who got caught by the red suppoed to do, slam on the brakes and crash everyone in back of them?

When a car enters an intersection on a yellow and the light turns red as he is going through the intersection, it is not a stop light violation. Same principle applies here.
It is a slippery slope... couldn't closely spaced cars do the same thing? At what point do you ticket the tailgaters?

The car you describe above is one vehicle, with one driver. Your bicycle is one vehicle with one driver. A peloton is a group of vehicles, albeit traveling together, but none the less... a group of single vehicles.
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Old 03-13-08, 04:04 PM   #10
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seems like a complete double standard. I remember a recent thread where almost ever poster here was applauding the installation of red light cams to catch motorists driving illegally. Nevermind that there are plenty of studies that show they don't actually make anyone safer.....

Would you have the same complaint if the red light cameras were able to ticket cyclists? Not one bit of difference, imo between a red light cam and a police officer staking out an intersection.

Pay your fine (unless you didn't actually run a red light) and tackle the speeding issue another day. They aren't related.
You don't seem to understand the point of the post. Rich people don't like bicyclists riding on what they consider "their" roads so they get the cops to target cyclists and charge them with questionable moving violations.

Would you like to comment on that topic?
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Old 03-13-08, 04:27 PM   #11
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You don't seem to understand the point of the post. Rich people don't like bicyclists riding on what they consider "their" roads so they get the cops to target cyclists and charge them with questionable moving violations.
Something tells me that Florida law requires vehicles to stop on red. If that's the case, there's nothing "questionable" about the moving violations. Of course, you could base your defense on the group's violation of the "following too closely" statute, as you argued in a previous post, but I don't think that's going to pan out the way you think it will.
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Old 03-13-08, 04:35 PM   #12
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realy doubt it's rich people that was the source.

Up here whenever the city starts whining about funds, it's a sure bet that they will start pulling people over for anything and everything.

There's a couple spots in Grand Rapids where speed limits change drastically for no real reason, half a block before a couple intersections the SL drops by 10mph, and picks up again right after it, the ONLY time you see peple getting tickets in that area is when the city is whining about funds, then they have a dozen cars in that area.

If it was a normal ride that uses that route on a regular basis, it could be that it was noticed earlier and used as a revenue source.

Don't get me wrong, I have no use for most police officers, for the most part they are just collection agents with no more capacity for original thought than an ant out collecting food for the hive.

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Old 03-13-08, 04:49 PM   #13
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realy doubt it's rich people that was the source.

Up here whenever the city starts whining about funds, it's a sure bet that they will start pulling people over for anything and everything.

There's a couple spots in Grand Rapids where speed limits change drastically for no real reason, half a block before a couple intersections the SL drops by 10mph, and picks up again right after it, the ONLY time you see peple getting tickets in that area is when the city is whining about funds, then they have a dozen cars in that area.

If it was a normal ride that uses that route on a regular basis, it could be that it was noticed earlier and used as a revenue source.

Don't get me wrong, I have no use for most police officers, for the most part they are just collection agents with no more capacity for original thought than an ant out collecting food for the hive.

Ken.
Then I shouldn't believe the cop when he told me that the reason the group was stopped was because residents of Key Biscayne had complained?
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Old 03-13-08, 04:50 PM   #14
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The light turned yellow as those in the front crossed the intersection. Its a group of over 50 riders packed together like sardines, what were the riders who got caught by the red suppoed to do, slam on the brakes and crash everyone in back of them?

.
Maybe if they weren't riding like it was their private race track they'd have time to stop. Couldn't this same excuse be used if a group of car enthuiasts were playing nascar and drafting off each other? I can hear it now " the car behind me was drafting so I couldn't possibly stop, or he'd hit me" MAybe don't partake in this type of activity on public roads? Maybe?

Stop at stop lights. But more importantly-be prepared to stop at stop lights- that means don't bunch up in a huge, tight group as you approach stoplights. And if that means you can't play pro pelaton in town, too flippin' bad for you.
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Old 03-13-08, 04:54 PM   #15
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He even states in his original post "training ride/race" what on earth makes people think it is ok for 50-100 cyclists to get out on the road for a race without closing down the road?

Last edited by maddyfish; 03-13-08 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 03-13-08, 04:55 PM   #16
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Something tells me that Florida law requires vehicles to stop on red. If that's the case, there's nothing "questionable" about the moving violations. Of course, you could base your defense on the group's violation of the "following too closely" statute, as you argued in a previous post, but I don't think that's going to pan out the way you think it will.
You seem to miss the point also. Cyclists were specifically targetted not because of their alleged violations, but to harrass them based upon resident complaints, all verifired by the officer that stopped me.

Spitting on the sidewalk is an offense in many states, if all of a sudden the cops enforce the no-spitting laws is it because they are afraid of a tuberculosis outbreak or is it a pretext to arrest somebody they don't like? Same thing here, cops are singling out and harrassing cyclists because some residents don't like them riding on "their" streets, not because they are being unsafe.
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Old 03-13-08, 04:56 PM   #17
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He even states in his original post "trainign ride/race" what on earth makes people think it is ok for 50-100 cyclists to get out on the road for a race without closing down the road?
What law prohibits 50-100 cyclists riding together in a group?
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Old 03-13-08, 05:24 PM   #18
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You seem to miss the point also. Cyclists were specifically targetted not because of their alleged violations, but to harrass them based upon resident complaints, all verifired by the officer that stopped me.

Spitting on the sidewalk is an offense in many states, if all of a sudden the cops enforce the no-spitting laws is it because they are afraid of a tuberculosis outbreak or is it a pretext to arrest somebody they don't like? Same thing here, cops are singling out and harrassing cyclists because some residents don't like them riding on "their" streets, not because they are being unsafe.
Do you really think it was an accident that the cops just happened to set up shop at a red light? If the group that was cited didn't arrogantly display their sense of entitlement as they violated traffic laws at will, the cops wouldn't have anything to harass them with, would they? In which case, the "rich people" would just have to suck it up that you were riding on "their road."
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Old 03-13-08, 05:30 PM   #19
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You seem to miss the point also.
No, we understand "the point". We just DON'T CARE.

Somewhat less than fifty to one hundred vehicles ran a red light, at speed. You were stopped by police and ticketed appropriately.
It really is that simple.

I applaud the police for this. It sounds like the police were polite and reasonable in the performance of their duties.
If this should happen again, the ones approaching the intersection as the light goes yellow should call "Stopping", and stop. This too, really is that simple. This is what we expect of any and all vehicles on a public roadway.
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Old 03-13-08, 05:46 PM   #20
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There simply wouldn't have been any violators to cite for running the red light if they had obeyed the law, and your misguided basis for an arguement wouldn't even exist. For you and those that chose to run the red light at an intersection in plain view of where you knew three police cars were waiting seems particularly foolish.
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Old 03-13-08, 05:51 PM   #21
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When a car enters an intersection on a yellow and the light turns red as he is going through the intersection, it is not a stop light violation. Same principle applies here.
Actually in your example it is a violation; for a car to be in the intersection when the light is red regardless what color the light was when the car entered is a violation. If you don't believe me go to a place with a red light traffic camera at night and watch what happens when a car is in the intersection during a red light even if it entered on yellow. If you run a red or try to speed threw a yellow and get stuck there on red you get what you get. If you are protesting a public roadway is not of use to you the law is required to provide and alternate route or bypass for you to use.

But in the OP's post s/he got a red light ticket. Should have stopped. If you tell a judge that if you stopped you would have caused an accident with another bike then your going to be told that you shouldn't have put your self in that position and that if you where rear ended then it would be the fault of the person for following too close (tailgating).

I will never understand why people who admit to breaking the law go to different forums or media outlets and cry about the big bad police man who was out of line to wright you a ticket for something you honestly did. And if your upset now tickets on a bike in most states count on your drivers record as a moving violation and count as points raising your insurance. California is one of those states, when I was 15 I got a 'failure to yield' ticket. Did I deserve it? Yes considering it caused a wreck witch someone running a red light could do as well. BTW, my ticket was accompanied by 19 staples and a 2 week old now totaled bike, also I had high insurance from something that happened before I was allowed to drive. The mini-van made it just fine except for the speeding ticket they got.
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Old 03-13-08, 05:54 PM   #22
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I gotta agree. Excusing yourself for running a red light sounds a lot more egregious than rich people complaining about bikers breaking the law. You seriously need a clue here.
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Old 03-13-08, 05:55 PM   #23
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What law prohibits 50-100 cyclists riding together in a group?
The lack of ability to come to a stop at stop lights is what prohibits them from riding together as a group under certain circumstances.
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Old 03-13-08, 05:59 PM   #24
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What law prohibits 50-100 cyclists riding together in a group?
I would say it falls under the anti-cruising laws a lot of cities have dictating how many of a certain type of vehicle (hotrod, lifted 4x4, low rider, motorcycle, bike) may travel in an organized group or pass a certain point more then a set amount of times in a certain amount of time. Big events have a pass on these laws most of the time but if this is just something you do I doubt you get a pass.
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Old 03-13-08, 06:14 PM   #25
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Then I shouldn't believe the cop when he told me that the reason the group was stopped was because residents of Key Biscayne had complained?

If it's a normal ride with the same amount of people and the same behavior at lights than I caould see where a complaint would cause a 'sting'

I'd bet it has nothing to do with the causeway, it has to do with riders habitually running the red or obstructing traffic, which would tend to produce complaints over time, enough complaints over a long enough time and the police will react.

If it was a once in a while thing for people to be running that light, there would have been NO reason to set up enough police cars to stop a group of riders. They knew it happened there, they knew there would be a group.

It happened often enough that there were plenty of complaints to get the cops away from the donut shop to take action.

Take your lumps and just be happy drivers were willing to wait for the bikes to go through instead of looking at it like a staging light.

Ken
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