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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

View Poll Results: Have you ever been stopped or harassed by a police officer while riding your bike?
Many Times 2 1.42%
A Few Times 33 23.40%
Once 24 17.02%
Never 82 58.16%
Voters: 141. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-25-10, 11:07 AM   #1
AlmostTrick
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Have You ever been stopped or harassed by a Police Officer while riding your bike?

How did the incident (incidences) go? Post your stories.
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Old 08-25-10, 12:02 PM   #2
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Yes. I was riding in the center of an 11' lane on a five lane 35 mph street. I was traveling just a bit slower than the prevailing speed.

The cop turned on his sirens and lights, and once I was sure he was serious and would follow me, I pulled into a commercial driveway/parking area where he stopped behind me.

He told me that I couldn't ride in the middle of the lane like that and that I needed to stay near the curb.

After a polite conversation, where I thanked him for his concern, listened to him carefully, and recognized his authority while very gradually revealing my connections with other officers in his department and my expertise in cycling safety and law, he came to understand why I was using the center of the lane. He told me that he had learned something. I asked him if I could continue on my way home using the center of the lane, and he said I was welcome to. He thanked me for my time.

We both got back on the road. He passed me after about half a mile. I kept up with him for at least a mile before he turned off.

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Old 08-25-10, 12:17 PM   #3
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Yes. I was riding in the center of an 11' lane on a five lane 35 mph street. I was traveling just a bit slower than the prevailing speed.

The cop turned on his sirens and lights, and once I was sure he was serious and would follow me, I pulled into a commercial driveway/parking area where he stopped behind me.

He told me that I couldn't ride in the middle of the lane like that and that I needed to stay near the curb.

After a polite conversation, where I thanked him for his concern, listened to him carefully, and recognized his authority while very gradually revealing my connections with other officers in his department and my expertise in cycling safety and law, he came to understand why I was using the center of the lane. He told me that he had learned something. I asked him if I could continue on my way home using the center of the lane, and he said I was welcome to. He thanked me for my time.

We both got back on the road. He passed me after about half a mile. I kept up with him for at least a mile before he turned off.
Wow! That is the best lane positioning / law enforcement officer story I have ever read.
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Old 08-25-10, 12:42 PM   #4
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I was traveling on this road at just about this location:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...80.44,,0,-0.16

I was riding about 4' to the left of the fog line a bit over 30mph down grade (posted 35mph road)

A car passed me going very fast, but with good clearance. Shortly after Maricopa County sheriff car came up behind me and I noticed the light bar on, I moved a bit further right about 1' from fog line, maybe slowed a bit so as to let them get on with it - I figured they had to be after the car that just passed me who must have been traveling at least 50mph. Then 'bleep bleep' they sounded their not-siren, but whatever that 'bleep bleep' alert is called and then announced thru loudspeaker to pull over. I did. I don't recall the specifics anymore but they told me I should not be so far in the roadway and needed to stay in the shoulder. When I politely started to explain why I was riding where I was for my safety and the shoulder was not ridable I felt strongly intimidated and told that I could obey them and go onward or they could arrest me now so I could explain to a judge (I swear I remember hearing the word arrest although in retrospect I am not sure if it was ticket or arrest). Meanwhile two other sheriff vehicles pulled up and there were four deputies standing around me, some stayed in their vehicle. There was also a lot of questioning of why I was there, what I was doing, why was I so far from home, etc. I mentioned I was with a group and they wanted to know the name of the group and if we had a permit. (there were only about 10 of us spread out as some, like me, decided to add bonus miles, hence the rest of the group being ahead)

Frankly I just wanted to get on with it and catch my friends ahead of me so I wouldn't have to ride the 50mi home alone. So I said OK and after they all left I went on my way 3-4' into the roadway and caught up with my friends at the meet up spot. I felt bad on one hand about not escalating this, but on the other I did not want all the extra hassle in my life at that time having a newborn, etc.
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Old 08-25-10, 01:25 PM   #5
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At the end of a long ride, a friend and I made a left turn toward a park in a residential neighborhood. We were both pretty exhausted ( I may have been getting close to a "bonk" or "hitting the wall" ) from several hours in the saddle and lots of climbing, especially this last one. I knew that the road we were turning on was a no-entry road, but, somehow, that knowledge wasn't "available to" me at the time ... I blanked out and forgot. A police officer was driving the correct way on the road. He stopped his car, threw the door open, got out, and yelled "Gentlemen! That sign back there says 'do not enter!' If you're going to enter, get on the sidewalk!" I think it's illegal to ride on the sidewalk - if it isn't, it should be. We got on the sidewalk until the officer turned at the end of the road, and then back into the road way. Then I thought about the situation, and went home. ( To my credit, though, the street wasn't one way; if you live there and started your journey in a driveway, you can legally drive in either direction. )

The cyclists were entirely at fault this time, and the officer was pretty charitable in his response. This has helped to cement my opinion that police, at least in urban areas, have very little interest in enforcing laws that have anything to do with cyclists.
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Old 08-25-10, 01:44 PM   #6
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Wow! That is the best lane positioning / law enforcement officer story I have ever read.
More details on that incident are provided here: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...4#post11177014
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Old 08-25-10, 01:44 PM   #7
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I was riding on a two lane state highway in the sprawling Arkansas metropolis of Menifee. The speed limit is 45 mph within the town limits, and it is vigorously enforced by the two man police department. I was in between the tire tracks trying to encourage the trucks from an excavation contractor to give me more space as they passed. One officer passed me going the opposite direction just as I entered the town limits and waved at me to move right. I kept going, and he turned around and turned his lights on. He gave me a lecture on how it wasn't safe to be in the road because no one was looking for me and that I should be on the shoulder because someone had been hit recently riding "correctly" on the shoulder. He didn't seem to be aware the dissonance in what he was saying. I said "Ok," made a really big circle around where a gravel driveway intersected the road and continued in the shoulder for another 100 yards until I was out of the town. Once out of the town, I went back to riding where I was in the road. On my way home I passed through the same town, and I stayed in the center of the lane. I didn't see the cop again.
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Old 08-25-10, 02:00 PM   #8
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I was in college and loved to run yellow>red lights, ride fast and take chances. A cop pulled me over and told me I was being crazy, that he had seen lots of dead bodies, and that I could be one of them if I wasn't more careful. He never even threatened to ticket me or do anything else. I had no doubt that I deserved the warning and lecture, but I doubt that I was significantly more careful after that day until I got a bit older. Not his fault, of course.
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Old 08-25-10, 02:21 PM   #9
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I amazingly enough got a speeding ticket, it was my bad i passed a cop going down a hill he got me 42 in a 30, i was gonna fight it but felt it would be easier to just pay it and forget about it.
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Old 08-25-10, 02:33 PM   #10
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I amazingly enough got a speeding ticket, it was my bad i passed a cop going down a hill he got me 42 in a 30, i was gonna fight it but felt it would be easier to just pay it and forget about it.
That is called a "Badge of Honor", not harassment.
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Old 08-25-10, 02:45 PM   #11
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I amazingly enough got a speeding ticket, it was my bad i passed a cop going down a hill he got me 42 in a 30, i was gonna fight it but felt it would be easier to just pay it and forget about it.
You need to post this story in the road forum, and watch a cult form around you.
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Old 08-25-10, 02:49 PM   #12
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Yes but it was my own fault. Cost me $350
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Old 08-25-10, 02:51 PM   #13
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That is called a "Badge of Honor", not harassment.
Nothing special about downhill speeding tickets. Get a ticket on flat ground in a 35 zone then start talking.
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Old 08-25-10, 03:03 PM   #14
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Just two encounters, both 'my fault'. Once some officers in a police car told me to get on the bike path (There wasn't any sign indicating that a bike path started of course).
The other time I wanted to go left on a multi-lane intersection with separate lights: the left pointing arrow was red and the general one was green. I only noticed the green one of course and got asked by a policeman if 'I was nuts'.
(These types of setups have been made illegal since; if one light has arrows they all need to have them, meaning I'm probably not as stupid as he thought I was.)
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Old 08-25-10, 03:14 PM   #15
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Once for running too many stop signs... early in the morning... Officer said "one or two he could handle, but the third one was just too much." It was very early in the morning... and the area was really asleep. I was loaded for touring and just did not want to stop for each one of these one block stops. The officer was right of course. I got a warning.

The other incident was quite similar to the Reed Bates incident... except I was ON THE SHOULDER. I was on interstate 10, just west of Tucson... Arizona Highway Patrol (or whatever they are called) pulled me over and told me I couldn't be on the freeway and suggested the frontage road. I told him the frontage road kept ending, leaving me in the middle of nowhere. He suggested the next exit would take me all the way to Tucson and that I should have no further problem.

Actually the stop was way more classic than I described... The officer got out of his car and put on his "smokey hat" and approached me and said: Ya ever had a ticket in Arizona son..." "You're about to git one." It was really classic... right out of the movies. We talked for a while and when he discovered I was touring and was only 3 days out of CA, he softened a bit and suggested the safer route. He followed me for a short while after I took off, and then blurted my speed and then he took off. ("you're doing 13 son, have a good day..." )

The only other time I have dealt with a LEO while biking was when I spent the night in the Bisbee AZ jail... but that's another story... and hardly harassment. I needed a place to stay, and they had room.

I gotta say that attitude plays a big part in how one is treated by LEOs... and as I have suggested in the Reed Bates thread... I really thought Reed was "baiting" the officer... which is why he was eventually "hauled in."
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Old 08-25-10, 03:39 PM   #16
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I amazingly enough got a speeding ticket, it was my bad i passed a cop going down a hill he got me 42 in a 30, i was gonna fight it but felt it would be easier to just pay it and forget about it.
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That is called a "Badge of Honor", not harassment.
Exactly... you're supposed to frame those!
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Old 08-25-10, 03:53 PM   #17
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I stopped at a light to tell a woman who'd buzzed and beeped me that she'd done so at an angled RR xing. She proceeded to drive her Volkswagen into my knee and someone called the police on my behalf. Unfortunately, another woman who also hates cyclists wrote a statement to the police that I had "swerved" (...at an angled RR xing...)

The cop threatened to arrest me for disturbing the peace, a class B misdemeanor. Not sure how convictions and teaching work, but I'd have possibly lost my job as a teacher. For getting intentionally hit by a car.
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Old 08-25-10, 03:56 PM   #18
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I amazingly enough got a speeding ticket, it was my bad i passed a cop going down a hill he got me 42 in a 30, i was gonna fight it but felt it would be easier to just pay it and forget about it.
My goal in life is to get a speeding ticket on my bike. If that happened to me, I'd would retire from this silly sport and spend all my time on internet forums talking about it.
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Old 08-25-10, 04:01 PM   #19
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I've ridden in a paddywagon, handcuffed through the bars (bmx) and held for 4 hours in a cell. For riding on the sidewalk. I was made an example of to spook some skateboarders who were causing a nuisance where I was.

Long story short it was BS. Even looking at it know 15 years later with wiser eyes I was right to demand to know the officer's name and what exactly I was being charged with. Considering I'm an absolute teetotaller, the drug comments and search was a clear indicator of their incompetence.

I lost a lot of respect for the Victoria police that night.
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Old 08-25-10, 04:03 PM   #20
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I needed a place to stay, and they had room.
A wonderful way to look at it. I'll try that on the next residentially-challenged fellow I send to jail.
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Old 08-25-10, 04:07 PM   #21
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I was traveling on this road at just about this location:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...80.44,,0,-0.16

I was riding about 4' to the left of the fog line a bit over 30mph down grade (posted 35mph road)

A car passed me going very fast, but with good clearance. Shortly after Maricopa County sheriff car came up behind me and I noticed the light bar on, I moved a bit further right about 1' from fog line, maybe slowed a bit so as to let them get on with it - I figured they had to be after the car that just passed me who must have been traveling at least 50mph. Then 'bleep bleep' they sounded their not-siren, but whatever that 'bleep bleep' alert is called and then announced thru loudspeaker to pull over. I did. I don't recall the specifics anymore but they told me I should not be so far in the roadway and needed to stay in the shoulder. When I politely started to explain why I was riding where I was for my safety and the shoulder was not ridable I felt strongly intimidated and told that I could obey them and go onward or they could arrest me now so I could explain to a judge (I swear I remember hearing the word arrest although in retrospect I am not sure if it was ticket or arrest). Meanwhile two other sheriff vehicles pulled up and there were four deputies standing around me, some stayed in their vehicle. There was also a lot of questioning of why I was there, what I was doing, why was I so far from home, etc. I mentioned I was with a group and they wanted to know the name of the group and if we had a permit. (there were only about 10 of us spread out as some, like me, decided to add bonus miles, hence the rest of the group being ahead)

Frankly I just wanted to get on with it and catch my friends ahead of me so I wouldn't have to ride the 50mi home alone. So I said OK and after they all left I went on my way 3-4' into the roadway and caught up with my friends at the meet up spot. I felt bad on one hand about not escalating this, but on the other I did not want all the extra hassle in my life at that time having a newborn, etc.
That roadway has no shoulder.
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Old 08-25-10, 04:10 PM   #22
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I amazingly enough got a speeding ticket, it was my bad i passed a cop going down a hill he got me 42 in a 30, i was gonna fight it but felt it would be easier to just pay it and forget about it.
There is a steep little hill near my house that is impossible to keep at/under 30 (the posted limit) in a car or on a bike without really riding the brakes. Cops sit at the bottom and write tickets all the time. It's a total speed trap and the only reason to have it at 30 is to write tickets. Anyway, I always slow down in my car, but it never occurred to me to go slow on a bike. My canned excuse to cops (I haven't had to try it yet) is that whatever laws I break when cycling I'm only doing so that I can get the hell off this dangerous part of roadway as quickly as possible. Playing up the safety angle seems like the only reasonable strategy, but like I said, I haven't had a chance to try it. Oh, and yes, I do routinely break some traffic laws when I feel like they're a bit ridiculous. I have never had a problem with cops when doing that.
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Old 08-25-10, 04:11 PM   #23
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I gotta say that attitude plays a big part in how one is treated by LEOs... and as I have suggested in the Reed Bates thread... I really thought Reed was "baiting" the officer... which is why he was eventually "hauled in."
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Old 08-25-10, 04:33 PM   #24
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That roadway has no shoulder.
Yeah, exactly! The deputy did insist I stay on the right side of the white line. Repeatedly.
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Old 08-25-10, 04:46 PM   #25
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only while breaking laws! otherwise, no.

Cyclists have the right to operate FRAP in the lanes in this state, I've ridden other states and haven't had a problem yet.
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