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Old 12-04-08, 02:33 AM   #1
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Cyclists Vs Cops

This was published by the local newspaper:

Linky here: The Law

Setting: About 18 cyclists burning off the stuffing early Friday morning heading up a Tuskawilla Road approaching SR 434. A Winter Springs police officer pulls in behind the group and beeps the group to signal that they should ride single file instead of two in a row. When the group doen't snap into line and instead actually widens as two cyclists rotate off the front of the line, the officer drives in front of the group and motions for them to pull into a service station.
Officer: (As he's herding cyclists off the road) I'm going to have to give you all a lecture now...Are you with a club?
VMOG [Various members of the group]: No, we're just individuals out for a morning ride.
Officer: Do you know what you were doing?
VMOG: Well, a couple of us were coming off the front of the paceline.
Officer: Let me tell you what you were doing. You were blocking traffic.
VMOG: Officer, Florida Statutes allow cyclists to take the lane as long as they're not impeding traffic.
Officer: You were impeding traffic. You were blocking me.
VMOG: Florida's cycling handbook prescribes that cyclists can take the lane if traffic can get around them and you had a second lane that you or anyone else could pull into to pass us. Are you familiar with the yellow handbook?
Officer: You mean the Yellow Pages?
VMOG: No, it's the state safety handbook for cyclists put together by the Florida Bicycle Association. It instructs us on the rules of the road.
Officer: (Silent at this point)
VMOG: We've worked with Metroplan Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Mighk Wilson and other safety instructors who advise us that it's OK to ride two abreast, especially with large groups, because it's easier for cars to pass a shorter, double line than a longer, single one.
Officer: Well I've gotten a lot of complaints about your groups.
VMOG: If we could use cell phones as easily as motorists, we'd call you too to complain about motorists who violate the law that requires them to give us three-feet of space...have you written any of those tickets?
Officer: (kind of mumbling something at this point and heading back in his squad car)...yeah, well, be safe out there.

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Old 12-04-08, 02:44 AM   #2
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Leaving gaps for overtaking traffic

Quote:
Originally Posted by RubenX View Post
This was published by the local newspaper:
...
VMOG: We've worked with ... instructors who advise us that it's OK to ride two abreast...
Officer: Well, I've gotten a lot of complaints about your groups.
...
Group cycling etiquette (from the Bicycle Club of Irvine, Cal.) has the following advice about leaving gaps for overtaking traffic to pass:
Quote:
Leave a Gap for Cars - When riding up hills or on narrow roads, leave a gap for cars between every three or six bicycles. This way a motorist can use shorter passing intervals and won’t have to race to move around the entire group.
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Old 12-04-08, 03:27 AM   #3
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This group had 18 riders. As such, a double paceline is only 9 bikes long. Shorter than a car and trailer. If a motorist can't pass that safely, they're an idiot. Now if they had 40 riders then yeah, I could see splitting the group up.

Faster, easier and safer to pass a double line 9 bikes long than a single line 18 bikes long or change lanes to pass 18 times.
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Old 12-04-08, 04:45 AM   #4
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This group had 18 riders. As such, a double paceline is only 9 bikes long. Shorter than a car and trailer. If a motorist can't pass that safely, they're an idiot. Now if they had 40 riders then yeah, I could see splitting the group up.

Faster, easier and safer to pass a double line 9 bikes long than a single line 18 bikes long or change lanes to pass 18 times.

And you think a group of 18 riders is riding perfectly, in a predictable manner ?
Im in your state and Ive never seen this. Many major rides leaving the
park in front of my house is what I base my observations on.
Just another anecdote proving roadie gangs are a monumental obstacle to overcome
in trying to lower the publics anger factor toward us.
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Old 12-04-08, 06:38 AM   #5
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This group had 18 riders. As such, a double paceline is only 9 bikes long. Shorter than a car and trailer.
They must have some big-assed trailers in Florida.
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Old 12-04-08, 08:36 AM   #6
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In Quebec the law limits groups to 15. You would have been easier to pass if you had split into 2 groups.
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Old 12-04-08, 09:15 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by CommuterRun View Post
Shorter than a car and trailer.
And much shorter than the maximum length allowed. An example from one state:
Quote:
A new Montana law... sets the length of a triple-trailer truck at either 105 feet or 110 feet...
The previous law allowed a length of 95 feet...
...executive director of the Montana Motor Carriers Association, said the change... could put drivers at risk on the highway...
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Old 12-04-08, 09:41 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by RubenX View Post
VMOG: Florida's cycling handbook prescribes that cyclists can take the lane if traffic can get around them and you had a second lane that you or anyone else could pull into to pass us....
Unless I'm missing something the article seems to state that there were two traffic lanes in the same direction that the cyclists were heading. If so, then I don't see how the configuration of the group mattered as the law allows cyclists to take the lane when needed for safety and doing this can not be considered "impeding traffic" due to the presence of the second lane in the same direction.

If an officer of the law did not know this one can only imagine the level of ignorance present among the general population.
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Old 12-04-08, 09:50 AM   #9
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If an officer of the law did not know this one can only imagine the level of ignorance present among the general population.
Was he a Statey or a local yokel and what part of Florida was this in?
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Old 12-04-08, 10:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob T View Post
Unless I'm missing something the article seems to state that there were two traffic lanes in the same direction that the cyclists were heading. If so, then I don't see how the configuration of the group mattered as the law allows cyclists to take the lane when needed for safety and doing this can not be considered "impeding traffic" due to the presence of the second lane in the same direction.

If an officer of the law did not know this one can only imagine the level of ignorance present among the general population.
BINGO! +1000.

Here I'll quote it again.
Quote:
VMOG: Florida's cycling handbook prescribes that cyclists can take the lane if traffic can get around them and you had a second lane that you or anyone else could pull into to pass us. Are you familiar with the yellow handbook?
There was a second lane and therefore no impeding of traffic... and as Bob T points out, there was clearly a LACK of knowledge by the officer and probably many motorists out there.
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Old 12-04-08, 11:37 AM   #11
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BINGO! +1000.

Here I'll quote it again.

There was a second lane and therefore no impeding of traffic... and as Bob T points out, there was clearly a LACK of knowledge by the officer and probably many motorists out there.
Unless the second lane is the oncoming lane, and there's a double yellow line separating them. Yes, I would expect the cyclists to advocate this.
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Old 12-04-08, 12:41 PM   #12
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Was he a Statey or a local yokel and what part of Florida was this in?
You do not seem to know FL. The State Highway Patrol pays less than nearly any of the municipalities or county governments. Predictably, the county and municipal governments tend to get a more qualified pool of law enforcement officers.
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Old 12-04-08, 12:47 PM   #13
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Unless I'm missing something the article seems to state that there were two traffic lanes in the same direction that the cyclists were heading. If so, then I don't see how the configuration of the group mattered as the law allows cyclists to take the lane when needed for safety and doing this can not be considered "impeding traffic" due to the presence of the second lane in the same direction.

If an officer of the law did not know this one can only imagine the level of ignorance present among the general population.
Tuskawilla Road is a 4 lane divided road. That is it has 2 lanes going north and 2 lanes going south. Obviously, a double pace line of riders can be easily and safely passed by just driving in the left had lane. Also on Thanksgiving Day in the morning, the traffic in this area is pretty light. The officer seems to have been suffering from an attitude.

As far as ignorence of the law pertaining to cycling, I have seen worst from local law enforcement officers. Of course, some officers are quite good. It is the dopey ones you notice because they are the ones who do dopey things.
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Old 12-04-08, 01:46 PM   #14
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Unless the second lane is the oncoming lane, and there's a double yellow line separating them. Yes, I would expect the cyclists to advocate this.
OK, so I did a "10,000 foot view" on google maps... the area described by the OP has two lanes going each way... so plenty of room for motorists to get along unimpeded by simply changing lanes...

The Cop was wrong AND dumb. (at least with respect to cyclists)
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Old 12-04-08, 02:15 PM   #15
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And you think a group of 18 riders is riding perfectly, in a predictable manner ?
Yes, I would be very surprised if there was any irregularity in a double paceline. I used to ride with a group of approximately that size every Wednesday night when i lived in Utah, and it was very organized and predictable. We rode on 2 lane roads though. Nobody ever had a problem passing us.
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Old 12-04-08, 02:34 PM   #16
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In Quebec the law limits groups to 15. You would have been easier to pass if you had split into 2 groups.
They were on a 4 lane divided highway. Any motorist (especially a cop) that cannot figure out how to move into the left lane to pass, should not have a drivers license; let alone a badge.

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=...03398&t=k&z=19
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Old 12-04-08, 02:39 PM   #17
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Yes, I would be very surprised if there was any irregularity in a double paceline. I used to ride with a group of approximately that size every Wednesday night when i lived in Utah, and it was very organized and predictable. We rode on 2 lane roads though. Nobody ever had a problem passing us.
-=Łem in Pa=- is just a clueless roadie hater.
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Old 12-04-08, 02:44 PM   #18
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They were on a 4 lane divided highway. Any motorist (especially a cop) that cannot figure out how to move into the left lane to pass, should not have a drivers license; let alone a badge.

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=...03398&t=k&z=19
+100

I've had motorists come up and honk at me on otherwise empty 6 lane roads (3 each way)... next time I'll just ask for their license.
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Old 12-04-08, 02:48 PM   #19
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As far as ignorence of the law pertaining to cycling, I have seen worst from local law enforcement officers. Of course, some officers are quite good. It is the dopey ones you notice because they are the ones who do dopey things.

Do you notice that officers in communiities where they have cops on bikes are any more reasonable, knowledgeable, or sympathetic to cyclists challenges on the roadways? Or no?

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Old 12-04-08, 02:58 PM   #20
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They must have some big-assed trailers in Florida.
For non-commercial purposes, a trailer, or not more than two trailers in combination, may not exceed 65', not counting the length of the tow vehicle. My road bike tapes out at about 5 1/2 feet. 5 1/2 x 9 = 49 1/2'. Allowing another foot between bikes and it comes out to 57 1/2 feet. Shorter than 65 feet + a tow vehicle.

Now, which do you think takes more time and distance to pass? That 57 1/2 feet moving at bicycle speed, or a 57 1/2 foot tow vehicle and trailer combination moving at the speed limit?
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Old 12-04-08, 02:59 PM   #21
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I don't think I've ridden on Tuskawilla, but I've gone past it, or near it, on RedBug/Mitchell Hammock. One of these days, when I feel I'm a good enough cyclist, I'll join one of those larger groups that cycles aorund here...it'd be fun, save for getting yelled at by cops
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Old 12-04-08, 03:00 PM   #22
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Do you notice that officers in communiities where they have cops on bikes are any more reasonable, knowledgeable, or sympathetic to cyclists challenges on the roadways? Or no?

roughstuff
No.

The cops here keep their bikes on racks on the squad car and only cycle through the beach parks.

The head bike patrol cop was very proud of how he had his guys confiscating unregistered bicycles. He seemed confused when several cyclist wanted to know if he also confiscated mopeds, motorcycles, cars or trucks that had expired registration. He said no, they just get tickets. Somehow the unfairness was lost on him.

I once watched a training ride for new bike cops. They had a cop van and patrol car escort them for safety. To cross a four lane, one way road (one that I and many other cyclist and pedestrians cross every day) they had the cop van and patrol car put their lights on and block the entire road.
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Old 12-04-08, 03:34 PM   #23
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No.

The cops here keep their bikes on racks on the squad car and only cycle through the beach parks.

The head bike patrol cop was very proud of how he had his guys confiscating unregistered bicycles. He seemed confused when several cyclist wanted to know if he also confiscated mopeds, motorcycles, cars or trucks that had expired registration. He said no, they just get tickets. Somehow the unfairness was lost on him.

I once watched a training ride for new bike cops. They had a cop van and patrol car escort them for safety. To cross a four lane, one way road (one that I and many other cyclist and pedestrians cross every day) they had the cop van and patrol car put their lights on and block the entire road.
Sounds like those cops need some bike training... Maybe a few hours in the fourth grade?
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Old 12-04-08, 04:01 PM   #24
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Sounds like those cops need some bike training... Maybe a few hours in the fourth grade?
You are right, the bike cops I have seen were too old to have been through the BikeEd Program. The cops should go to one of the fourth grade BikeEd classes and learn with the fourth graders, as the kids were far more cycling capable than the bike cops I have witnessed.

Last edited by CB HI; 12-15-08 at 02:59 PM. Reason: Fix typo noted by genec.
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Old 12-04-08, 04:17 PM   #25
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You're right, the bike cops I have seen where too old to have been through the BikeEd Program. The cops should go to one of the fourth grade BikeEd classes and learn with the fourth graders, as the kids were far more cycling capable than the bike cops I have witnessed.
I think that is part of the overall problem of cycling AND driving in America... Everyone should go to those classes... and should continue similar classes through high school... so they understand how and what "sharing the road" really means. After all, driving is a life long activity, why do we expect that folks can learn it in 6 weeks of a few hours a week... heck, "sex ed" takes longer than that.

Now if that was done... I suspect we could do away with some 80% of the signs and lines out there and things would work out just fine.

But until that happens... we are going to remain a nation of road hogs with entitlement issues.

BTW it's "you're" I fixed in the quote for you. Easy mistake.
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