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Old 03-21-08, 08:32 PM   #1
urban rider
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Pulled over by police!

While riding to work one morning the local police pulled me over and told me that I should ride closer to the curb. As I looked at the street closer to the curb I noticed all kinds of pot holes and several large street drains. It was not safe! A friend of mine told me that the police told him to ride on the ice covered sidewalk rather than the street!
With the price of gas going up to $4.00 one would think that more people may try to commute to work by bike and that the police would be more aware of the cycling laws in their state. In the Motorcity the car still rules!
What has been your experience with the police?


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Old 03-21-08, 08:35 PM   #2
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Best bet is to say "ok" then keep going, don't make an issue of it, unless they want to try to fine you. Then you'll need help from somebody other than me.
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Old 03-21-08, 09:47 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice. I just moved over closer to the sidewalk as the officer requested. I get the feeling the police will be bothering me this Spring and Summer.

Gas, 69 cents the price of a can of beans.
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Old 03-21-08, 10:02 PM   #4
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Bring along a copy of the state (assuming you live in the U.S.) law that says where you can ride.

You should be able to find a copy here: http://www.massbike.org/bikelaw/statelaws.htm
In Massachusetts it's Chapter 85: Section 11B.
"Every person operating a bicycle upon a way, as defined in section one of chapter ninety, shall have the right to use all public ways in the commonwealth except limited access or express state highways...".
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Old 03-21-08, 10:07 PM   #5
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There is usually also some comment in the law about not endangering yourself while you ride. Check your local codes for specific wording.
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Old 03-21-08, 10:13 PM   #6
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But be polite, friendly and ask for clarification - that will get you further. It's possible they're saying that not to bust your chops but because they know cars speed down that stretch and they don't want to see you get hurt. They didn't design the roads. If you whip out the laws they may think you're trying to one-up them which won't help your cause at all.
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Old 03-21-08, 10:21 PM   #7
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My job requires I know Highway regs and so on, fact is many officers are traffic law dumb, they specialize in different area's. Now and again I run into one that knows all the road rules. You never know. All depends are what they specialize in.

Take the advice of one of the folks posting above and know your rights.
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Old 03-21-08, 10:31 PM   #8
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My job requires I know Highway regs and so on, fact is many officers are traffic law dumb, they specialize in different area's. Now and again I run into one that knows all the road rules. You never know. All depends are what they specialize in.
+1 I have a close friend that is second in command of his police department. He has been a cop in this area for 10+ years and I ask him things all the time and there are things he doesn't know. There are somethings a cop may not know but when it comes to dealing with them just act as if they know everything while you around them. This is very important if you live in a small town and might have to deal with them again.

When I was a kid I got messed with because I would ride at dusk and didn't have a tail light (the state I was in didn't require one). It was only one cop that would do this and he just gave me warning after warning. I would just walk my bike until he was gone then jump back on and continue my ride.
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Old 03-22-08, 06:45 AM   #9
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My job requires I know Highway regs and so on, fact is many officers are traffic law dumb, .
That's why I say to just say "ok" and move on, ride like he wants until he's out if sight, then ride your way again. I have tried debating with one of my local cops who told me I needed my bike licensed in Ky. because I could ride it faster than 30 mph. His position was so far off the map that it was impossible to defend, but he wouldn't back down. It ended with me saying ok, him leaving, and me not worrying about it. I still see him every now and then on the road. I wave, and smile as I pass.
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Old 03-22-08, 07:23 AM   #10
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While riding to work one morning the local police pulled me over and told me that I should ride closer to the curb. As I looked at the street closer to the curb I noticed all kinds of pot holes and several large street drains. It was not safe! A friend of mine told me that the police told him to ride on the ice covered sidewalk rather than the street! ...
The vehicle codes of most states require bicyclists to ride as far to the right as practicable, which is not the same as possible. In addition to the obvious dangers from potholes and debris, cycling too far to the right sets one up for right hooks and even left crosses and other consequences of invisibility and marginalization. Cycling too far to the right also leaves no maneuvering room, should an emergency situation arise. (If you can laterally bunny-hop curbs, more power to you, but I cannot now at age 57, and probably could not have done so safely and reliably even at 27.)

The debris problem is painfully real. The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition and the local Sierra Club recently lost a valued member in a 10-12 mph crash, after he caught a piece of a broken-off eucalyptus branch in his front spokes. Cycling farther from the curb may decrease the chance of this sort of mishap occurring -- it certainly cannot hurt.
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Old 03-22-08, 07:34 AM   #11
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Yet again it all comes down to one thing.... educating everyone... motorists, cops and cyclists about the laws that govern cycling on the roads.

As long as these laws are unknown, we cyclists will continue to have situations like this from motorists and cops alike.

Make the laws known. Talk to your local advocacy group and see if they can sponsor billboards and radio ads. Write to your local representative and ask for changes on the driving test to include questions regarding cyclists on the roadway on the driving test.

We have to shout it to the hills folks... everybody must be made aware... tell 'em the law.
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Old 03-22-08, 09:50 AM   #12
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The vehicle codes of most states require bicyclists to ride as far to the right as practicable, which is not the same as possible. In addition to the obvious dangers from potholes and debris, cycling too far to the right sets one up for right hooks and even left crosses and other consequences of invisibility and marginalization. Cycling too far to the right also leaves no maneuvering room, should an emergency situation arise. (If you can laterally bunny-hop curbs, more power to you, but I cannot now at age 57, and probably could not have done so safely and reliably even at 27.)
Absolutely!
I would suggest knowing the laws in your area and politely discussing it with the cop next time. If you just ride the way he wants until he's gone and then go back to doing what you were doing, he will never get educated about what the law really is. You could also go the route I've gone and videotape every ride. If a cop pulled this with me and I had video of it his boss would hear about it and see on the video that I was right and the cop was wrong and hopefully changes would be made. Also if I would ever get a ticket for this, I'd have evidence to fight the ticket.
Good Luck
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Old 03-22-08, 09:54 AM   #13
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^^^^You will not educate a cop. Pain and lawsuits are the only things that educate the police.
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Old 03-22-08, 11:37 AM   #14
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The Hawaii Bicycle League (HBL.org) did, and hopefully still does, send a member to each class at the Honolulu Police Academy to teach bicycle laws and why cyclist ride VC. It seems to work, as the younger cops in Honolulu seem to understand the laws.

That leaves the older cops and the plain jerks that don’t care about the laws for cyclist on Oahu to deal with. And yes, I have met my share of those cops.

See if you can run a similar program at your cop training academies. Well worth the time.
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Old 03-22-08, 12:51 PM   #15
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after I gave him my speech on why I ride this way, then I would ask for a fine. ( I am legal)

After that I ask to leave.

If Illegal I accept fine/warning.
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Old 03-22-08, 03:13 PM   #16
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Yet again it all comes down to one thing.... educating everyone... motorists, cops and cyclists about the laws that govern cycling on the roads.

As long as these laws are unknown, we cyclists will continue to have situations like this from motorists and cops alike.

Make the laws known. Talk to your local advocacy group and see if they can sponsor billboards and radio ads. Write to your local representative and ask for changes on the driving test to include questions regarding cyclists on the roadway on the driving test.

We have to shout it to the hills folks... everybody must be made aware... tell 'em the law.
+1

Anyway you can spin this to get more people aware of our rights and safety per the law the better. If you are uncomfortable confronting an officer make note of as much detail you can, (time of day, what was said, ID of vehicle or officer) and send off an email to your local bicycle advocacy group or someone in government.
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Old 03-22-08, 06:05 PM   #17
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I would have said Im allowed to ride into the roadway as far as I need to to keep safe and I was not riding in the traffic lane to be a pia but because of this or that. If I couldnt point out this or that then I would have said thank you officer Ill stay to the right.

I both ride and use my car on the same road over and over, and it always amazes me how far some cyclists ride either into the roadway or into the parking lanes, both of which are for the most part completely unnecessary.

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Old 03-23-08, 03:52 PM   #18
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The vehicle codes of most states require bicyclists to ride as far to the right as practicable, which is not the same as possible.
Right out'ta the South Carolina Driver's Manual! Thanks John E
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Old 03-23-08, 04:22 PM   #19
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While riding to work one morning the local police pulled me over and told me that I should ride closer to the curb. As I looked at the street closer to the curb I noticed all kinds of pot holes and several large street drains. It was not safe! A friend of mine told me that the police told him to ride on the ice covered sidewalk rather than the street!
With the price of gas going up to $4.00 one would think that more people may try to commute to work by bike and that the police would be more aware of the cycling laws in their state. In the Motorcity the car still rules!
What has been your experience with the police?


Gas, 69 cents, the price of a can of beans.
I'm assuming you mean Detroit?

If so, here's the law in Michigan:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michigan Vehicle Code
257.660a Operation of bicycle upon highway or street; riding close to right-hand curb or edge of roadway; exceptions.

Sec. 660a.

A person operating a bicycle upon a highway or street at less than the existing speed of traffic shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except as follows:

(a) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction.

(b) When preparing to turn left.

(c) When conditions make the right-hand edge of the roadway unsafe or reasonably unusable by bicycles, including, but not limited to, surface hazards, an uneven roadway surface, drain openings, debris, parked or moving vehicles or bicycles, pedestrians, animals, or other obstacles, or if the lane is too narrow to permit a vehicle to safely overtake and pass a bicycle.

(d) When operating a bicycle in a lane in which the traffic is turning right but the individual intends to go straight through the intersection.

(e) When operating a bicycle upon a 1-way highway or street that has 2 or more marked traffic lanes, in which case the individual may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of that roadway as practicable.
I think one of the hurdles cyclists face is that the road just looks different when you're on a bike. That drain grating that you saw? The officer probably never even noticed it as a safety problem from behind the wheel of his car. Those potholes? He just drives right over potholes. The road looks different when you're riding a bike, and there's no easy way to convey that difference to somebody who isn't in the saddle.
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