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  1. #1
    Senior Member pueblonative's Avatar
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    Just plain scary

    http://www.bicycling.com/article/0,6...00-1-P,00.html

    Although the scene with the deputy trying to hold up his pants is pretty hilarious in a dark sense.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Enjoyed the read.

    I'm always interested not only in the law, but the practicalities of how to deal with, what seems to me, an improper request pertaining to the law.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  3. #3
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    From personal experience, as soon as the officer turned his emergency lights on me, that's definitely a strong signal for me to pull over to the side of the road, regardless of whether I think that his intentions were justifiable or not.

  4. #4
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    It's not good when the two points of view of the incident don't jive..

    The officer said as he passed the cyclists, he shook his head "no" at Tony and then pulled into the library parking lot, intending to speak to the cyclists because they were "impeding traffic."

    The cyclists say they heard a car approaching, the sheriff's car pulled up alongside, the Deputy rolled down his window and said 'You guys shouldn't be riding in the road.' The cyclists said 'We have as much right to be in the road as you do.' and then the Deputy responded to Tony's assertion of that right by yelling "'Get off the f-king road' several times." It was then the Deputy attempted to force them off the road with his cruiser.

    He didn't pull ahead into the parking lot to pull over the cyclists to talk, only to have the cyclists leave him. He tried to force them off the road in the first (and only) encounter. (according to the cyclists who, as it turns out, were far more credible when the case came to court)

    That's quite a difference.

    The stories of the chase and evasion were interesting. In respect to what to do when a cop pulls up along side a cyclist and attempts to communicate with them, lets say what the cyclists said was more close to the truth. How would anyone handle this situation?

    As a cyclist who has had more than his fair share of someone in a car pull up alongside me and attempt to tell me something, I think it's reasonable that it wouldn't be clear what the person is saying and if what I hear someone is telling me can't be true, I'd wonder if I'm hearing right or what I should do if what I'm being told is wrong. I don't know if I would want to comply with something that is wrong and I certainly would be surprised if the car started to try to ram me off the road while I was thinking about it. I think self preservation would kick in there and I'd try to evade a deadly force. That would be a reasonable thing to do.

    It really brings into light the importance of a cop to know the law and a cops obligation to be clear in how he communicates his wishes to the public. Maybe if he had hit his lights first and avoided the pull up and talking while moving, the whole thing could have been avoided.
    Last edited by closetbiker; 04-25-09 at 12:42 PM.
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  5. #5
    Refrigerator Raider Hater fordmanvt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    From personal experience, as soon as the officer turned his emergency lights on me, that's definitely a strong signal for me to pull over to the side of the road, regardless of whether I think that his intentions were justifiable or not.
    I agree. The side of the road is neither the time nor place to debate the legality of the officer's actions. You follow his commands, and if are unsatisfied with the result, then you go to court.

  6. #6
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    but what if he issues commands from a moving cruiser and not only can you not make sense of them, but the cruiser tries to run you off the road because you haven't understood the officer?

    The officer could have yelled, get off the f-king road' several times very quickly and then started to ram them off the road before the cyclists even understood how serious the situation was.
    Last edited by closetbiker; 04-25-09 at 12:36 PM.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fordmanvt View Post
    I agree. The side of the road is neither the time nor place to debate the legality of the officer's actions. You follow his commands, and if are unsatisfied with the result, then you go to court.
    Yes, and if you don't follow his commands in a timely manner, you will end up in court, period.

  8. #8
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    but what if he issues commands from a moving cruiser and not only can you not make sense of them, but the cruiser tries to run you off the road because you haven't understood the officer?

    The officer could have yelled, get off the f-king road' several times very quickly and then started to ram them off the road before the cyclists even understood how serious the situation was.
    Again, speaking from personal experience, if a LEO is yelling commands and making commanding gestures at me from his cruiser, and I cannot understand him, I will slow down or pull off to the side of the road to find out what he is saying.

  9. #9
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fordmanvt View Post
    I agree. The side of the road is neither the time nor place to debate the legality of the officer's actions. You follow his commands, and if are unsatisfied with the result, then you go to court.

    an even worse place to do so is while in a moving vehicle talking to someone outside of the vehicle.

    The cop should have used his siren, but then again, he should have known the law and not lied when questioned about his actions either.
    Last edited by closetbiker; 04-25-09 at 12:54 PM.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    Again, speaking from personal experience, if a LEO is yelling commands and making commanding gestures at me from his cruiser, and I cannot understand him, I will slow down or pull off to the side of the road to find out what he is saying.
    I don't think it's clear just how much time passed from the yelling to the forcing off the road. Would it be unreasonable to assume a cop already hot under the collar, is going to wait more than a few seconds if there's a possibility the cyclists could evade him?

    Doesn't an officer have an obligation to be sure his commands are understood before he takes action? Wasn't the testimony of the officer that he shook his head, "no" at them and the cyclists testimony that he was yelling? Would a head shake from side to side be considered a commanding gesture?

    Maybe I should re-read this (but first, I'm going out for a ride)
    Last edited by closetbiker; 04-25-09 at 03:21 PM.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pueblonative View Post
    ...the scene with the deputy trying to hold up his pants is pretty hilarious in a dark sense.
    I liked that in the written report, the Deputy stated that he pursued the cyclists for almost a mile, and that:

    "On several occasions the subjects stood up and shaked their butts at me taunting me."
    Last edited by closetbiker; 04-25-09 at 03:20 PM.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    ... Wasn't the testimony of the officer that he shook his head, "no" at them and the cyclists testimony that he was yelling? Would a head shake from side to side be considered a commanding gesture?
    No that's not right. The officers testimony was that he pulled into the library parking lot, after he had passed them, intending to speak to the cyclists because they were "impeding traffic."

    He said that, while standing in the parking lot, he told Tony to pull over, and that Tony replied "I have got as much right to the road as anyone else," and continued riding towards town.

    How many clear conversations can you have with a cop standing in the distance as you approach and not remember even having one? I have a guess. None, because it probably never happened in the first place.

    The Deputy reported that he then got back in his cruiser, hit the lights and sirens, and continued to follow the two cyclists, giving commands over his public address system, and "at times out the window."

    The cyclists said they weren't passed by the officer in the first place and the alleged conversation from the parking lot didn't take place, and they never heard sirens. They said the cop just pulled up next to them, rolled down his window and said 'You guys shouldn't be riding in the road.' and responded 'We have as much right to be in the road as you do.' to which, the Deputy responded by yelling "'Get off the f-king road' several times." and attempted to force them off the road with his cruiser. The cyclists avoided the ramming, the cruiser then hit his lights, catches up with them and yelled that the two cyclists were under arrest. Tony said that he wanted to pull over, but the Sheriff's cruiser was between him and the shoulder of the road. 300 meters up ahead after the cop pulls out a ***/taser, Tony says that he and Ryan rode up to the Deputy, and rolled to a stop. Could this be the first safe chance the cyclists had to stop?

    The cop pretty much screwed up just about every step of the process and didn't even know the law. That he was caught in lies doesn't help his case.
    Last edited by closetbiker; 04-25-09 at 05:29 PM.
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  13. #13
    www.chipsea.blogspot.com ChipSeal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fordmanvt View Post
    I agree. The side of the road is neither the time nor place to debate the legality of the officer's actions. You follow his commands, and if are unsatisfied with the result, then you go to court.
    Often, when it comes to bicycle specific laws, the cyclist is more familiar with it than the cop, as was true in this case.

    From the article:


    For most of us, I suspect it's easier to just quietly comply with a law enforcement officer's misguided attempts to enforce laws that don't exist. Sure, we know the officer is wrong, but do we really want to go to jail to make that point, instead of wherever it is we happen to be going at that moment?

    The problem is, if everybody acquiesces to a violation of our rights, do we still have the right? I would argue that unless the right is exercised, it doesn't exist. Therefore, when a law enforcement officer is enforcing laws that don't exist, it is incumbent upon us to stand up for our rights.
    I'm more inclined to agree with Bob Mionske than you. First he is a lawyer, and second, I see it as a rights issue.

    In this particular case, should these two cyclists have complied with the officer's commands and taken the sidewalks/gravel shoulder/ditch all the way home? Maybe they should have called a friend/relative/cab to transport them on the public roads to home?

    How would you, fordmanvt, have complied with the command; "'You guys shouldn't be riding in the road." and "'Get off the f-king road."?
    Vehicular cycling techniques have not been tried and found difficult. They have been presumed difficult and not tried.

  14. #14
    Senior Member degnaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
    How would you, fordmanvt, have complied with the command; "'You guys shouldn't be riding in the road." and "'Get off the f-king road."?
    I'm obviously not 'fordmanvt', but I personally would've recorded some identifying information before getting off the road and calling the police to complain. Then, most likely, I would get back on the road if the offending cop is out of sight.

    Maybe it's just me, but I wouldn't want to aggravate someone with a ***/taser/baton, car, and badge.

  15. #15
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    this story brings up a point that was raised in a story about police pepper spraying and ramming a cyclist with his cruiser because of a helmet infraction

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Video/Campbel...4/Default.aspx

    at just what point is placing a cyclists well being in jeopardy through ramming or other method justified?

    I can see an officers obligation to enforce the law, but there has to be an appropriate level of force used to apprehend. I don't think an officer would hit a pedestrian with his cruiser if the pedestrian jay-walked, because the pedestrian can be caught on foot. A cyclist is more difficult to catch on foot. A motorist speeding away from a police cruiser can be rammed without the offender being hurt too much, but can a cyclist walk away from a ramming with as few injuries as the offending motorist? Even in the case of a speeding driver there are rules as to when to abandon the chase because it is too dangerous.

    Police have to be able to capture those who wish to evade, but at some point the chase becomes more dangerous than the offense. It seems ramming is a potential deadly use of force.

    Just what can a policeman do to stop an offending cyclist while that cyclist is on the move? Is it basically the honor system that has the cyclist pull over?

    Is the only ethical option to chase down and ram the offending cyclist on a police bicycle?
    Last edited by closetbiker; 04-25-09 at 05:16 PM.
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  16. #16
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    Ive lived in small towns and cities.
    In the cities IVe lived in, even here in Waste Palm, Fl, cops
    dont give bikes a second look, you can do whatever you want.
    In the rural areas, even bike friendly Vermont, you can expect bad,
    bad stuff to happen when you encounter an psycho local cop. Id grovel,
    wait for him to leave, then continue what I was doing, just glad I didnt get
    a beat down or something.

  17. #17
    Senior Member pueblonative's Avatar
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    I guess there is a reason to ride with a helmet: you need someplace to put the webcam.
    A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers.
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  18. #18
    Refrigerator Raider Hater fordmanvt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
    [FONT="Georgia"][SIZE="2"][COLOR="Blue"]Often, when it comes to bicycle specific laws, the cyclist is more familiar with it than the cop, as was true in this case.
    Even if you know your right, you still need to obey direction from an officer.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
    How would you, fordmanvt, have complied with the command; "'You guys shouldn't be riding in the road." and "'Get off the f-king road."?
    Stop and had a conversation with him. By continuing to travel, the two guys in the story escalated the situation. If an officer speaks to you, you stop and listen.

  19. #19
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    I don't think it's clear just how much time passed from the yelling to the forcing off the road. Would it be unreasonable to assume a cop already hot under the collar, is going to wait more than a few seconds if there's a possibility the cyclists could evade him?

    Doesn't an officer have an obligation to be sure his commands are understood before he takes action? Wasn't the testimony of the officer that he shook his head, "no" at them and the cyclists testimony that he was yelling? Would a head shake from side to side be considered a commanding gesture?

    Maybe I should re-read this (but first, I'm going out for a ride)
    Even in the days of my rogue youth, I knew that if an LEO was trying to get your attention, you'd better give him your fullest, since he has the ability to give you more grief than you bargained for.

  20. #20
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fordmanvt View Post
    Even if you know your right, you still need to obey direction from an officer.



    Stop and had a conversation with him. By continuing to travel, the two guys in the story escalated the situation. If an officer speaks to you, you stop and listen.
    Absolutely how I see it, I feel they could have diffused the situation much earlier, basing on my personal experiences with LEOs.

  21. #21
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    Even in the days of my rogue youth, I knew that if an LEO was trying to get your attention, you'd better give him your fullest, since he has the ability to give you more grief than you bargained for.
    but doesn't it read as they stopped as soon as they safely able to do so?
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  22. #22
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    but doesn't it read as they stopped as soon as they safely able to do so?
    If an LEO tried to stop me with repeated commands, with his cruiser, and then tries to with a body check, I feel that any place would be considered safe before it reached that level.

  23. #23
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    I would try to stop as quick as I could too, but if I didn't hear what the officer was saying, and it didn't make sense that he thought I was doing anything wrong, and his cruiser nosed me towards a gravel shoulder, I'd think I would do all I could to not end up in the gravel.

    I think I would exchange a WTF look at my partner in the couple of seconds it would take to meet up with him and try to stop when the lights were put on, but again, if I was looking at crashing attempting to stop, even if the lights were on, I think I would do my best to stay upright.

    I wasn't there, but I think self preservation is paramount. If I'm looking at eating gravel, bumper or both at 20 mph or higher, I'm going to try to stay upright and intact and deal with the consequences later however harsh they may be - unless of course I thought I'd be looking at a police beating - then I'd prefer to take the fall. At least I'd have an idea how much damage I was in for. A police beating, you never know. It could easily be worse than the fall.

    I can understand why they stopped when the *** was pulled. They had an opportunity to stop and the potential consequence was worse than a fall.
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  24. #24
    L T X B O M P F A N S R apricissimus's Avatar
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    Wow, a lot of blame-the-victim type stuff going on in this thread. But in A&S that's par for the course

  25. #25
    Refrigerator Raider Hater fordmanvt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    I would try to stop as quick as I could too, but if I didn't hear what the officer was saying, and it didn't make sense that he thought I was doing anything wrong, and his cruiser nosed me towards a gravel shoulder, I'd think I would do all I could to not end up in the gravel.
    "We were riding along, and about 300-400 meters beyond the library, this Sheriff's car suddenly pulled up alongside me and the Deputy rolled down his window and said 'You guys shouldn't be riding in the road.' I responded 'We have as much right to be in the road as you do.'"

    This was way before the officer attempted to force them off the road. Sounds to me like he heard the officer loud and clear. I'd have stopped now, it sounds like they are still in town and could easily have found a safe place.

    Seems to me some people would rather be dead and proved right than cave to someone who is wrong and live.

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