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  1. #1
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    Can't walk bikes?

    After dinner last night, my girlfriend and one of our friends were out on the balcony smoking when a cop pulled in to the parking lot across the street. There was a guy on the sidewalk walking a bike. My girlfriend said that the cop yelled at the guy and told him that he couldn't walk his bike on the sidewalk.

    Had I been out there at the time, I probably would have engaged in a dialog with the officer, but since I wasn't there, I'm left wondering. Does anybody know of any places that specifically prohibit walking a bike on the sidewalk?

    andy

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    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    This is further evidence that we have too damned many cops. When police can spend their time hassling people for walking their bikes, we have to wonder what kind of police state we are becoming.

    Maybe the policeman just had a bad sugar and caffiene jag from spending too much time at the dougnut shop.

    I respect policemen and what they do for the community, I really truly do. I also believe that most law enforcement professionals have good and even heroic intentions.

    However, the politics of policing is getting out of hand where "a strong police force" is used as a political campaign which is ballooning some police forces to unecessary sizes.

    I mean, just a couple of weeks ago, a guy here got a fine for posting his "House for Sale" sign too close to the curb. I'm paying taxes for that kind of policing?!
    Mike

  3. #3
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    I believe the law regards a bicycle as a vehicle regardless of whether it is being ridden or pushed, therefore the proper place for walking a bicycle is along the road. In Quebec the rule is only bicyles with wheels 20" or less are allowed on the sidewalk, but I dont think it is enforced any more than stopping at stop signs. Some people believe that if there is a white border around the stop sign, then stopping is optional.

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    I can't seem to find any information on walking the bike in the CVC. However, I did find this:

    21201. ... (d) Every bicycle operated upon any highway during darkness shall be equipped ... (3) with a white or yellow reflector on each pedal visible from the front and rear of the bicycle from a distance of 200 feet; ...

    Now I ride with platforms that have reflectors. But does this mean that you can't ride with most clipless pedals at night?

  5. #5
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    Originally posted by AndrewP
    I believe the law regards a bicycle as a vehicle regardless of whether it is being ridden or pushed, therefore the proper place for walking a bicycle is along the road. In Quebec the rule is only bicyles with wheels 20" or less are allowed on the sidewalk, but I dont think it is enforced any more than stopping at stop signs. Some people believe that if there is a white border around the stop sign, then stopping is optional.
    Then how do you park it?

    andy

  6. #6
    Gone DnvrFox's Avatar
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    I believe the law regards a bicycle as a vehicle regardless of whether it is being ridden or pushed, therefore the proper place for walking a bicycle is along the road. In Quebec the rule is only bicyles with wheels 20" or less are allowed on the sidewalk,
    Each state (and some cities) have different rules regarding sidewalks and bikes.

    In Colorado it is perfectly legal to ride bikes on sidewalks, but in the City of Denver it is not. A most confusing area, with a marked lack of consistency nationwide.

    As far as walking WITH a bicycle on a sidewalk, this is the extreme of ridiculousness. How about walking with a shopping cart on the sidewalk? Tricycle? This cop needs a real job. Suppose you were CARRYING the bicycle? Suppose the bicycle was in a container and the container was on wheels? Suppose you were unloading the bicycles from a truck into a store, and the wheels touched the sidewalk??
    Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone

  7. #7
    opinionated SOB cycletourist's Avatar
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    I once had a discussion about this with a Branson Missouri bicycle cop. I was complaining about a traffic signal that won't change for bicycles. He told me to dismount and push the bike thru the crosswalk or on the sidewalk. This is perfectly legal, he said, because the law views me as a pedestrian when pushing a bicycle.

  8. #8
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    Originally posted by aturley
    ... the cop yelled at the guy and told him that he couldn't walk his bike on the sidewalk.
    This is moronic beyond belief.

    This is especially bizarre as other reports on this forum indicate that some police think cyclists should ride on the footpath, since it's too obviously dangerous to ride on the road.

    So the logical extension of this is: Ride your bike on the footpath, but if you need to dismount and push it, you should be on the road.

    If some cop tried this with me, I would not hesitate to shout back at him in no uncertain terms exactly how wrong he is, and then take it up further with his superiors.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  9. #9
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Allister
    If some cop tried this with me, I would not hesitate to shout back at him in no uncertain terms exactly how wrong he is, and then take it up further with his superiors.
    Right on! Sounds to me like this cop hadn't done his quota for the week and felt like he needed a quick boost. What a tosser. As a pedestrian, I know that I'd prefer to see someone walking a bike on the footpath than riding it there.
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  10. #10
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    If some cop tried this with me, I would not hesitate to shout back at him in no uncertain terms exactly how wrong he is, and then take it up further with his superiors.
    ...to which an officer would say "Youse talkin to me?" This would normally be followed by the officer fitting you with a set of chrome bracelets, then spending the next 10 minutes checking you for priors, warrants, against descriptions of wanted persons, etc.
    Je vais à vélo, donc je suis!

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    ...and spend a lovely night on a vomit smelling fibreglass bed in the city watch-house.

  12. #12
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Common sense, common law, and even the California Vehicle Code agree that we are pedestrians when we walk our bikes and vehicles when we ride them. The cop was WAY out of line and needs to be tactfully corrected.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  13. #13
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    In the UK, you can wheel bikes in pedestrian areas and "sidewalks" (uk pavement), but not on public footpaths, which are off-road foot trails.
    The footpath rule is almost never enforced.

  14. #14
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    Hey, I said 'no uncertain terms'. I didn't say I'd get abusive. In actual fact just a few weeks ago I was pulled over by the police and told I was supposed to ride on the footpath. Actually, he thought the path in question was a bike path, which it wasn't, and he thought that there was a rule that if there's a bikepath, cyclists are required to use it, which we're not (the rule applies to bikelanes). This was confirmed when he looked it up in his little guide to traffic law. (I had all this information in my head, why didn't he) I explained this in 'no uncertain terms' to him. The conversation remained civil throughout, of course, but there was no way in hell I was going to back down.

    When it was obvious he was wrong about the rules, he tried spouting some spurious argument about some court case, the details of which escaped him, where a court decided that cyclists were not allowed to ride on this particular bridge. I had doubts about this, but without actual knowledge all I could do was say 'I'd look into it', but internally deciding to keep riding the bridge until it was proven conclusively that I shouldn't. In any case, if a local bylaw prohibits cyclists from a road where they would otherwise be permitted to ride, it's my understanding that some sort of signage is required. I did find out about the court case a couple of days later - he was wrong about that as well.

    I didn't get booked, in the cop's mind because he couldn't be bothered with a court case as I was obviously going to fight the ticket (that's what he said to me), but in reality because it was clear he didn't have a legal leg to stand on. No 'bracelets', no record check, and definitely no vomit (well, not directly related to this incident anyway)
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  15. #15
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    Originally posted by cycletourist
    I once had a discussion about this with a Branson Missouri bicycle cop. I was complaining about a traffic signal that won't change for bicycles. He told me to dismount and push the bike thru the crosswalk or on the sidewalk. This is perfectly legal, he said, because the law views me as a pedestrian when pushing a bicycle.
    That is about assinign.

    What happens when you are on a motorcycle and the friggin light doesn't change??? Get off and push it too. Dumb *** cop!
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  16. #16
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    This isn't assinine (sp?) at all. But consider the points seperately.

    I think it is quite common if you are walking with your bike, you are a pedestrian. The 4 mph pace of walking and the ability to quickly stop pose no threat to other pedestrians.

    However, it is still illegal (and dangerous) if you are pedestrian to cross an intersection against the light. This would be jaywalking. At least in my area, this is rarely enforced, as illustrated by college students in the downtown area. The area is mostly pedestrian, and it is widely accepted that pedestrians cross when they can. (This creates a sense of job security for me as a paramedic).

  17. #17
    Mister Slick Matadon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by D*Alex




    ...to which an officer would say "Youse talkin to me?" This would normally be followed by the officer fitting you with a set of chrome bracelets, then spending the next 10 minutes checking you for priors, warrants, against descriptions of wanted persons, etc.
    After he gets done doing that, should I ask that my one phone call be to an old family friend, namely the police chief? If I get a second phone call, I'll be nice and check to see if Rent-A-Cops-R-Us is hiring...

    (I *knew* there was a good reason my parents were into politics so much...)

  18. #18
    Mister Slick Matadon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by IowaParamedic
    This isn't assinine (sp?) at all. But consider the points seperately.



    I think it is quite common if you are walking with your bike, you are a pedestrian. The 4 mph pace of walking and the ability to quickly stop pose no threat to other pedestrians.



    However, it is still illegal (and dangerous) if you are pedestrian to cross an intersection against the light. This would be jaywalking. At least in my area, this is rarely enforced, as illustrated by college students in the downtown area. The area is mostly pedestrian, and it is widely accepted that pedestrians cross when they can. (This creates a sense of job security for me as a paramedic).
    You live in America. Job security means being a paramedic, a lawyer, or a plastic surgeon.

    I'd say that an individual being harassed by a cop for *walking* his bike on the footpath is indeed totally asinine. Cops are supposed to serve the public good, and harassing a lone pedestrian in the middle of the night doesn't strike me as serving the public good...

  19. #19
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Originally posted by cycletourist
    I once had a discussion about this with a Branson Missouri bicycle cop. I was complaining about a traffic signal that won't change for bicycles. He told me to dismount and push the bike thru the crosswalk or on the sidewalk. This is perfectly legal, he said, because the law views me as a pedestrian when pushing a bicycle.
    The issue of nonresponsive traffic signals may gradually go away in California, where a bill now before the legislature would require all newly-installed or newly-repaired traffic signals to be sensitive to bicycles. This will be a major victory for cycling interests. In my own town, I have had pretty good luck in getting the traffic engineer to increase the sensitivity of the loop detectors, but I have to do this on a case-by-case basis.
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  20. #20
    Velolutionary IowaParamedic's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Matadon


    I'd say that an individual being harassed by a cop for *walking* his bike on the footpath is indeed totally asinine. Cops are supposed to serve the public good, and harassing a lone pedestrian in the middle of the night doesn't strike me as serving the public good...
    I didn't mention the harrassment. I was merely talking about the legality of walking your bike.

    Any officer who goes out of their way to bother someone needs a new line of work.

    Usually, there is more than one side to every story.

  21. #21
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by John E
    In my own town, I have had pretty good luck in getting the traffic engineer to increase the sensitivity of the loop detectors, but I have to do this on a case-by-case basis.
    Thanks for doing the footwork!

    No worries

  22. #22
    aka old dog greywolf's Avatar
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    Originally posted by aturley
    I can't seem to find any information on walking the bike in the CVC. However, I did find this:

    21201. ... (d) Every bicycle operated upon any highway during darkness shall be equipped ... (3) with a white or yellow reflector on each pedal visible from the front and rear of the bicycle from a distance of 200 feet; ...

    Now I ride with platforms that have reflectors. But does this mean that you can't ride with most clipless pedals at night?
    I would think with clipless the shoe is technicaly part of the pedal when clipped in as they both become one , if you have the shoes with a reflective strip it should be ok ??? You could always stick a piece of tape on the back of your shoes
    :D
    dont worry be happy ????

  23. #23
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    Nearly all cycling shoes have a reflective heel.
    Je vais à vélo, donc je suis!

  24. #24
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    This is perfectly legal, he said, because the law views me as a pedestrian when pushing a bicycle.
    well, i haven't read though all the posts so maybe this has already become clear...

    but i have always understood the above to be true:

    that you are a vehicle when you are on the bike and become a pedestrian as soon as you dismount and walk, just as a car driver becomes a pedestrain as soon as he steps out of the car.

    i have also been instructed numerous times in numerous states to "dismount and walk the crosswalk as a pedestrian"...

    sounds like the officier was not up on his bicycle-related law (not uncommon) and/or just wanted to harass the guy for some reason
    why drive when you can ride?
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  25. #25
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Originally posted by nathank
    sounds like the officier was not up on his bicycle-related law (not uncommon) and/or just wanted to harass the guy for some reason
    I think you're right. Legally, the police need only reasonable suspicion, not probable cause, to stop someone on the street and even pat them down. Any infraction will do and the cop might have just been fishing for an excuse. Who knows?
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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