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Old 04-29-08, 06:01 PM   #1
roadCruiser76
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Harassed By Police!

Earlier today, around 6:30 PM, I was riding my bicycle in my hometown of Charles Town, WV. I was minding my own business and obeying the traffic laws. The road I was riding on was in town, with a speed limit of 25 mph. I was probably going between 17 - 20 mph. As I was riding along, I heard a police siren blip behind me. When I looked over my shoulder, I saw a police SUV right behind me. Thinking he merely wanted to pass, I rode over on the far right side of the road. The police SUV then pulled up alongside me and the officer rolled down the window, motioning me to stop. When I did, the officer said to me, "Get off the roadway." When I responded that I was riding as far to the right as possible, given that there was no shoulder, he responded "I don't care. Go ride someplace else." He then rode off.

Knowing that it was legal to ride there, I continued my ride before he was even out of sight. However, I was fuming mad. When I got home, I looked up the West Virginia traffic laws just to be sure. There was nothing to indicate that it was illegal to ride there. I decided to call up the police department and ask about it. Unfortunately, there are several jurisdictions that operate near the area that I was - the Charles Town police department, the Ranson police department, and the Jefferson County Sheriff's department. Since I thought I recalled seeing "Jefferson county" on the vehicle, I called the Jefferson county sheriff's department. A receptionist there informed me that I was in Ranson's jurisdiction, and said she'd forward my call to the Ranson police department. Shortly thereafter, a Ranson police officer called me back. When I described the incident to him, he first asked if I was riding on a motorcycle. When I informed him that I was riding a regular bicycle, he confirmed that it was completely legal for me to be cycling in that area. However, he said that the officer must have been a Jefferson county officer, not a Ranson officer. So basically I was kind of getting the run around. I guess I won't pursue it further, although I'm tempted to try to track down this officer who was harassing me.

Just wondering what you all think, and if anyone else around here has had a similar experience.
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Old 04-29-08, 06:10 PM   #2
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Get a badge number...sounds like a small town cop that is too big for his britches. I have actually been cited for failure to follow a lawful order. Took it to court and cop lost, he and his supervisor looked like complete idiots.

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Old 04-29-08, 06:12 PM   #3
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I'd continue to pursue it. And if it happens again, get the officer's name (if you can) and then report him to his supervisor.
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Old 04-29-08, 06:16 PM   #4
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Hopefully he has a superior with a clue that you can contact. Do not explode - just try to take it to his boss.
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Old 04-29-08, 06:56 PM   #5
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definitely worth trying to track down the officer. He's ill-informed as to cyclists' rights.
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Old 04-29-08, 07:24 PM   #6
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Ah yes, yet another confirmation of the lack of knowledge by motorists... even the ones enforcing the laws...

It once again confirms my suspicions that most motorists just don't have a clue.
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Old 04-29-08, 07:59 PM   #7
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It's good that you've recorded it. You need to contact him and inform him that this is harassment and you need it to stop immediately.

Ah, if only it worked that way with the police.

I think it's safe to say you'll probably never see that cop again. So at least you've recorded the event for the ages.
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Old 04-29-08, 08:56 PM   #8
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Old 04-29-08, 09:07 PM   #9
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How can this be?
Officers of the law are there to protect and serve.

Hmmmm... just what is it, again, that they are protecting and serving?
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Old 04-29-08, 09:11 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by roadCruiser76 View Post
The police SUV then pulled up alongside me and the officer rolled down the window, motioning me to stop. When I did, the officer said to me, "Get off the roadway." When I responded that I was riding as far to the right as possible, given that there was no shoulder, he responded "I don't care. Go ride someplace else." He then rode off.
Officer??? In spanish you call that "el cerdo de cuello rojo"
oh sorry.... to those that dont speak spanish
cuello= neck
cerdo=pig
rojo=red
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Old 04-29-08, 09:46 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by roadCruiser76 View Post
Just wondering what you all think, and if anyone else around here has had a similar experience.
Too bad you don't have a clear indication of what police department. A good idea is to avoid loosing your cool and approach things factually.

I had only one instance in the US of a police telling me to get off a legal road. Colorado is one of those states where parts of the Interstate highway system allow bicycles and the last few miles before the Wyoming border on I-25 is one of those cases. I was cycling southbound on the shoulder of the interstate when I came past a spot where a tractor trailer had run off the road (perhaps fell asleep since it was straight road). There were two Colorado State Patrol officers there. I fully intended to just cycle past and leave them to their jobs but as I neared, one yelled out "get off the interstate". So, I stopped and explained that three miles back was a "caution bicycles sign", that five miles ahead was a "bicycles must exit" sign and that the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) State Bicycle Map showed this as legal. Our conversation was polite and civil and the officer apologized saying, "I just have never seen bicycles here...". I'm sure he looked for those signs I told him about and the next cyclist on the interstate will have fewer problems.
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Old 04-30-08, 08:07 AM   #12
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I wonder what that same cop would say to a 100+ group of cyclists taking up the entire lane like we do down here in Florida?

LOL

Imagine, 150 people giving the bird at the same time !! HAHAHAA
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Old 04-30-08, 08:15 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by roadCruiser76 View Post
Earlier today, around 6:30 PM, I was riding my bicycle in my hometown of Charles Town, WV. I was minding my own business and obeying the traffic laws. The road I was riding on was in town, with a speed limit of 25 mph. I was probably going between 17 - 20 mph. As I was riding along, I heard a police siren blip behind me. When I looked over my shoulder, I saw a police SUV right behind me. Thinking he merely wanted to pass, I rode over on the far right side of the road. The police SUV then pulled up alongside me and the officer rolled down the window, motioning me to stop. When I did, the officer said to me, "Get off the roadway." When I responded that I was riding as far to the right as possible, given that there was no shoulder, he responded "I don't care. Go ride someplace else." He then rode off.

Knowing that it was legal to ride there, I continued my ride before he was even out of sight. However, I was fuming mad. When I got home, I looked up the West Virginia traffic laws just to be sure. There was nothing to indicate that it was illegal to ride there. I decided to call up the police department and ask about it. Unfortunately, there are several jurisdictions that operate near the area that I was - the Charles Town police department, the Ranson police department, and the Jefferson County Sheriff's department. Since I thought I recalled seeing "Jefferson county" on the vehicle, I called the Jefferson county sheriff's department. A receptionist there informed me that I was in Ranson's jurisdiction, and said she'd forward my call to the Ranson police department. Shortly thereafter, a Ranson police officer called me back. When I described the incident to him, he first asked if I was riding on a motorcycle. When I informed him that I was riding a regular bicycle, he confirmed that it was completely legal for me to be cycling in that area. However, he said that the officer must have been a Jefferson county officer, not a Ranson officer. So basically I was kind of getting the run around. I guess I won't pursue it further, although I'm tempted to try to track down this officer who was harassing me.

Just wondering what you all think, and if anyone else around here has had a similar experience.
I would have told that cop to F____ right the F____ off (wouldn't be the first time)

THEN you'd have a badge number!

I'd be as pissed off as you are, but DON'T JUST LET IT GO,....I'd get a lawyer, and have the ATTORNEY make the phone calls,...you'll get a MUCH different response,.........try it.
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Old 04-30-08, 09:07 AM   #14
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Old 04-30-08, 02:37 PM   #15
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Send a mass email to the chiefs of all the police depts. in the area, describing the event and advising them of the law and how their officers should behave. In this case it's just as easy to do all of them.

Email is best because in this electronic age, most paper winds up in the trash, plus higher-ups usually have staff members filtering their (paper) mail. But email gets through, and email to government officials is often protected by law -- recorded (undeletable) and required to be answered, or at least acknowledged. This is true in VA. In fact they get pretty nervous when I inquire about communications that were ignored. I don't know about WV.
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Old 04-30-08, 03:48 PM   #16
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Earlier today, around 6:30 PM, I was riding my bicycle ...
You were in the right, you have done all the right things, you can continue to pursue it, but I don't think that this was harassment on the cop's part. He told you something that was wrong, but didn't continue to hassle you about it; he drove off.

If you pursue it, just think of it as getting the guy the right information. He made a mistake, you're setting him straight. No need to fly off the handle.

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Old 05-03-08, 02:16 PM   #17
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I think I'm going to let it be for the time being. I may send out an email - that seems like a good idea. However, if it happens again I won't be caught flat-footed. I'll get the officer's name and badge number.
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Old 05-03-08, 02:57 PM   #18
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EI'm tempted to try to track down this officer who was harassing me.
While the officer was certainly incorrect in his instructions, I hardly think the exchange constituted harassment.
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Old 05-04-08, 12:14 AM   #19
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I think such a brief detention, occurring just once, falls short of harassment. A public display of ignorance, yes, surely, and it does need to be brought to the attention of the agencies in the area. It is not unusual to encounter this kind of ignorance; I doubt most law enforcement trainees cover bicycle-specific law, other than being told to read the whole traffic code. One of my recent trainees blew the horn while passing some cyclists, who appeared to be commuting, and muttered something about them belonging on the sidewalk. He seemed quite suprised when I told him bicycles are vehicles, and generally belong in the street.
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Old 05-04-08, 12:48 AM   #20
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Would you be able to pick him out of a line up?
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Old 05-04-08, 07:55 AM   #21
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Would you be able to pick him out of a line up?
The one with donut crumbs in his turkey waddle?
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Old 05-04-08, 01:11 PM   #22
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Few things frustrate me more than law enforcement officials being ignorant of the law. It's like a dentist drilling a perfectly good tooth.
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Old 05-04-08, 01:31 PM   #23
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Few things frustrate me more than law enforcement officials being ignorant of the law. It's like a dentist drilling a perfectly good tooth.
Few things frustrate me more than LEO's acting like arrogant jackholes for no apparant reason other than they can...

Case in point:
The last time I had any interaction with a cop happened to be the last full day I was living in Massachusetts.
I was a passenger in a friend of mine's vehicle, coming back from Southwick to Springfield on rt. 57, when we were pulled over at a speed trap. No big deal - we were going 67 in a 55, afterall.

Given that this is a busy highway, the cop came up to my window, which I promptly rolled down.
His first words were a brusque "Where are you headed" (looking into the window, between Steve and me)
So I answered that we were heading back to Springfield from my sister's house in Southwick.
To which he snarls "I wasn't talking to you. You were't the one speeding, right? Just be quiet unless you want me to focus on you."

That's F'd. And there is no reason for a G.D. PUBLIC SERVANT to act like that.
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Old 05-05-08, 01:52 PM   #24
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I live in Massachusetts and have gotten similar treatment by police officers here (and also in New Hampshire when I was there). I don't know what to do about either. It makes me so angry that I can't bring myself to complain about it for fear that I will end up screaming.
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