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Old 11-24-04, 11:16 AM   #1
my58vw
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Disclaimer... not all police officers feel this way and many police officers are bike friendly. Even myself wanting to be a police officer am bike friendly... but...

I was reading a post on a cop forum, real police and it made me quite upset. It seems that many police officers have an interesting view on cyclists being on the road, obeying traffic laws, etc. Here is some of the things that I have read...

1. It is safer for c, exyclists (refering to cyclists as anyone riding a device requiring pedeling) to be on the sidewalk with the pedestrians. They have not rights to be on the road with traffic.

2. Cyclists cause 99 percent of their accidents with motorists and they are usually the ones thinking they are lance armstrong wearing USPS stuff...

3. Cyclists want to be as car but do not want to obey traffic laws, like stop signs.

4. Cyclists are always at fault on the road and have no right to be there...

5. Confrontations between cyclists and cars are always ignitiated by the cyclist not the motorist.

Please note that always also means most of the time, although some people use always.

My opinion...

Some officers only see one side of the story. Cyclists generally obey they law and do not cause accidents. It is generally the motorists that cause the accidents and not the cyclists and when it is the cyclists fault it is because they did not obey the law. Let me say something about the law that 90 percent of cyclists do not obey, stop signs.

Many of the people in the club that I ride with do not stop for "some" stop signs. For example there is a road where at night it is very very quiet. There is about 20 stop signs on this road in a 5 or so mile period with not cars at the stop sign. We all know how hard it is to be constantly stop and go. I tried stoping at evey sign once and it took me three times the time to get from one place to the other.

The spirit of the law is to obey stop signs to prevent accidents which is the case. In my opinion if there is not cars then we should not have to stop at the "small street" 4 way stops. Now for large streets where there is only 2 way or there is traffic then we must stop. We also must stop at all red lights for safety which is fine as signals area usually only at very busy streets.

As to accidents most are caused by cars not watching. That said when cyclists do not obey the laws then they are at fault. Who comes out on top, the car of course so any accident between a car and bicycle is horrible.

Another thing for those who may eventually read this thread, my opinions would NOT effect that way that I would enforce any of the above said laws as a police officer, unless there is the spirit vs the letter rules or warning vs citation... that said the law should be changed just like the law regarding cars turning right on red, etc.

What is everyones opinions on this...
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Old 11-24-04, 11:24 AM   #2
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I can only say two words to what you wrote:

Not

Surprised.

I would imagine most drivers feel the same way also.
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Old 11-24-04, 11:34 AM   #3
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I have a cordial relationship with the two traffic cops at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. Once every two weeks or so, I complain to them about the bike path on Adams Street being filled with cars, and they listen. Then they complain about their jobs and I listen. We say goodbye and smile and that's it.
Other than that, I have never had a positive experience with police as a cyclist. I've even tried to chat with bike cops and been met with disdain or suspicion.
It's not just cycling, btw. The culture of NYPD-civilian relationships has devolved to the point where any interaction with cops is at best strained. I have a couple of theories about why, but they'd get this thread bumped to Politics & Religion, I think.
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Old 11-24-04, 01:00 PM   #4
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Interesting comments from our law enforcers. No telling what locales they were all posting from, but here in TN I got tired of being treated like a 2nd-class citizen so I looked up the code for bikes a few years ago. I'm not gonna cut and paste it all, but it basically says that all non-pedestrian traffic is entitled to half the lane on the road(the right side of the lane, obviously). This includes bikes and horses(w & w/out buggy or wagon). Now, this may have changed since we've started getting more bike lanes and whatnot, but drivers' attitudes definitely have not. Sometimes I'd like to make a bunch of copies of that section of state code and carry 'em around with me to hand out/put on vehicles. I'd prolly get busted for soliciting, tho-LOL. Honestly, I think that education, rather than legislation, is the key to improving biker/driver/police relations. Unfortunately, as slow as passing a law can be, it's still a quicker fix than taking the time to educate the masses and enforce existing laws.

As far as disregard for traffic laws(esp. stop signs/lights) goes, I'm guilty of hopping on the sidewalk(which might be illegal here, dunno-haven't looked that part up yet) now and then to bypass lights, etc. The funny thing is that I never do that in my automobile. Well, I have driven up on the sidewalk in my younger days, but I mean that I always stop at every stop sign and try to observe every traffic law(except speeding--still workin' on that) while driving whether there's another vehicle around or not. I think that by reinforcing this habit, even when you're all alone out there, makes you able to operate your vehicle much more safely. I think this might even help to make up for the lack of attention many drivers exhibit. Mebbe not.... Ah, well--just had to get that off my chest.
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Old 11-24-04, 01:24 PM   #5
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Any chance of a link, I'd like to read more and "exchange ideas" w/ them?
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Old 11-24-04, 01:27 PM   #6
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LOL! Don't know how constructive ^that would be...but good luck!
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Old 11-24-04, 01:34 PM   #7
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On quiet streets with little traffic, if I can see both ways before reaching an intersection, I will often run a stop sign.

However, if I were observed by a police officer doing so, I would expect to be stopped and ticketed. In that case I'd keep my mouth shut and pay the fine. I just can't argue that it is OK to break the law, whether in a motor vehicle or on a bike by claiming it was OK on the basis that my infraction did not cause an accident.

Inconvenience is what I am trying to avoid by rolling through a stop sign. I still know it is illegal.
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Old 11-24-04, 01:45 PM   #8
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Www.copforums.net? hehe.
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Old 11-24-04, 02:18 PM   #9
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Hey guys, we're on a war footing here! The cops are the front lines against all the terrorist bikers and long haired hippies and engaged gays! Let's show them some courtesy!
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Old 11-24-04, 02:46 PM   #10
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How does a conservative warmonger neocon fit into that profile?

Guess if I ride in CM they'll leave me alone
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Old 11-24-04, 02:57 PM   #11
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There is a reason you don't need a college degree to be a cop. Seems like something you would want someone with above average intelligence to do, but that would cost money.
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Old 11-24-04, 03:10 PM   #12
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To be fair and I'm not saying that this is 100% right, but cops do have a fairly sucky and thankless job. No matter what their intentions when they first join the force they fairly quickly realize this and look to each other as a support group to get them through. They very quickly develope an "us and them" attitude. That's why you very rarely have a possitive experiance with cops, and why you are greeted with suspiction (as a civilian in general, not as a cyclist). It's part of their defense. They simply don't know if you are friendly, about to verbally harrange them, or physically assault them. The old saying just because your paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you does go double for cops. THe only time a cop can really relax is around other cops.

They do tend to lump groups together and make broad general statements. It's also known as profiling. I'm not saying that any of this is right, or is fair. I just try to understand where someone else is coming from.

By the way. I am not a cop. I know there are some cops on this forum and would be glad to see them sound off here.
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Old 11-24-04, 04:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by my58vw
Many of the people in the club that I ride with do not stop for "some" stop signs. For example there is a road where at night it is very very quiet. There is about 20 stop signs on this road in a 5 or so mile period with not cars at the stop sign. We all know how hard it is to be constantly stop and go. I tried stoping at evey sign once and it took me three times the time to get from one place to the other.
I'm familiar with that stretch of road. I ride it regularly. (Victoria Avenue, right?) I treat the stop signs as yield signs. I coast up to them and if there's no cars comming, I ride through. If there's a car, I will make eye contact. Lots of times they will wave me through. I always give a little salute back. A couple of times I have slowed for an intersection, only to have another cyclist blow through, scaring the crap out of me. In my opinion, you have to use common sense.
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Old 11-24-04, 04:48 PM   #14
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My county has over 100 police agencies. There are about ten active police agencies in my neighborhood. So, it would be hard to describe an "attitude" to would cover every officer, at every agency.

However, as a general thing, I have noticed that officers in my neighborhood tend to be flexible and courteous when dealing with people riding expensive looking bikes and wearing the official "Look Just Like Lance" outfits.

They are "medium" in attitude toward people such as myself, riding bikes that are usually rather old, but ridden by an anglo male, as are 90% of the police officers. They are not real friendly, but leave me alone as long as I am riding is something like a reasonable manner.

Their attitude toward Black males and Hispanic males riding through the neighborhood is one of suspicion, involving many stops for "this, that, and the other", with questions about why they are in the neighborhood, where they are coming from, where they are going, is it really their bike...

And, the same three levels of attitude are evident when the police deal with drivers of vehicles, depending on the cost of the vehicle, and the paleness, or lack of paleness of the person driving the vehicle.
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Old 11-24-04, 05:38 PM   #15
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I'm familiar with that stretch of road. I ride it regularly. (Victoria Avenue, right?) I treat the stop signs as yield signs. I coast up to them and if there's no cars comming, I ride through. If there's a car, I will make eye contact. Lots of times they will wave me through. I always give a little salute back. A couple of times I have slowed for an intersection, only to have another cyclist blow through, scaring the crap out of me. In my opinion, you have to use common sense.
Yep ypu are right, just rode 3- miles through there last night.

Quote:
You do not need a collage degree...
I do not know if you know but it is not easy to be hired as a police officer, 9 months later and you can be dqed for the smallest thing. Funny thing is many cops have degrees, look at myself, lots of college wanting to be cops.

What we really need is cops that understand bicyclists... not to many bike cops pulling other bicyclists over...

Oh ya and I would never run through a light... dangerous...
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Old 11-24-04, 06:34 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
... They are "medium" in attitude toward people such as myself, riding bikes that are usually rather old, but ridden by an anglo male, as are 90% of the police officers. They are not real friendly, but leave me alone as long as I am riding is something like a reasonable manner.

Their attitude toward Black males and Hispanic males riding through the neighborhood is one of suspicion, involving many stops for "this, that, and the other", with questions about why they are in the neighborhood, where they are coming from, where they are going, is it really their bike ...
Oh, great, now we have "cycling while black." Where do you live?
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Old 11-24-04, 07:02 PM   #17
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I agree that cyclists generally don't obey traffic laws. It's as if stop signs don't exist.

There were numbers here saying that in 80% or 90% of accidents involving cyclists, the cyclist were at fault.

But I'd say cops are 2nd worst drivers, just behind taxis.
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Old 11-24-04, 09:18 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erick L

But I'd say cops are 2nd worst drivers, just behind taxis.
Cocksure little buggers, eh!
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Old 11-24-04, 10:56 PM   #19
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[QUOTE=my58vw

My opinion...

Some officers only see one side of the story. Cyclists generally obey they law and do not cause accidents. It is generally the motorists that cause the accidents and not the cyclists and when it is the cyclists fault it is because they did not obey the law. Let me say something about the law that 90 percent of cyclists do not obey, stop signs.
[/QUOTE]

I'm not sure which one is true ... Cyclist generally obey the law or the 90 percent do not obey stop signs (hence breaking the law).
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Old 11-25-04, 01:57 AM   #20
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Ok they obey the law except the ones regarding stop signs. Most cyclists signal, use the bike lane, stop at red lights etc. Stop signs are another issue altogether...
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Old 11-25-04, 09:05 AM   #21
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Ok, I'm a retired cop and spent most of my time in Traffic so I can shed some light. Retired from San Diego P.D. and what I saw may surprise you. MOST of the bicycle accidents did not involve serious cyclists. Most were kids or inexperienced riders. Yes, kids we like to see on the sidewalks because of the increased speeds of the cars and the kids not realizing the hazards of riding with cars and bottom line nobody likes seeing a kid hit by a car. Serious riders usually got doored or had their head down and hit a stationary object. The only tickets most cops write are equipment violations like riding at night without lights, kinda obvious reason why. I am a serious rider now, put over 3000 on the bike this year, but I still remember the basic rule of physics, car vs bike, bike looses. My thinking is that all the other drivers are two years old and I have to take care of them, they don't know better. Keeps my attitude in check and keeps me focused on the big picture, having fun in life while God grants me another day on this Earth. Keep the rubber side down, Jim


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By the way. I am not a cop. I know there are some cops on this forum and would be glad to see them sound off here.
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Old 11-25-04, 10:43 AM   #22
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It's simple to categorize all cops as cyclist-haters. However, this is obviously not the case always. You need to give them the benefit of the doubt. I still feel this way after being nearly struck by a cop this year. I won't get into the detials, but he buzzed me on purpose - coming within 6 inches of my bars @ speed. That cop is a cyclist-hater, and a jerk to boot. The rest of the lot ... well I'm still going to give them a chance.
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Old 11-25-04, 10:48 AM   #23
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, car vs bike, bike looses
You mean lose?
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Old 11-25-04, 11:06 AM   #24
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Yea that's right. God I hate it when spell check doesn't read my mind.

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You mean lose?
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Old 11-25-04, 12:16 PM   #25
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What bothers me is that fact that many officers (not all) think every bicyclist is the same which is not true. I can see how many of the "non experienced" 100 dollar bike cyclists can cause accidents. The way the original posts were read was that it was the "serious law breaking cyclists that think they are in the TDF wearing the USPS uniforms..." cause all the accidents. Thank you for sheding some light on the topic. Like I said in the disclaimer I am not a police officer yet (if everything goes well will be soon). I can not say that "every" person feels the same way but it only takes 1 or 2 officers to shade opinions.

I was actually stoped on a bike once because the officer did not think I signaled long enough. If I had a different attitude about police officers I could think that they are all like that. Of course I know quite a few officers that are avid bicyclists too... everyone is different, no stereotyping here...

Oh yes and bicyclists are one of the most stereotyped groups I have seen in a while...

Oh yes car vs bike... 99 percent the car wins but sometimes that is not the case... I heard of a collision where a car clipped a cyclists some time ago and the cyclists fell, minor injurues but the driver spun out and hit a wall and recieved major injuries... (now to remember where I read that... oh well)
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