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Old 03-12-05, 04:12 PM   #1
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Pulled over for cycling vehicularly

So I'm cruising south on La Brea with my messenger bag loaded with groceries just barely outside of the door zone of parked traffic. I'm not flying, maybe 16 mph and I overtake a recreational cyclist fully in the door zone. There are two lanes of traffic to my left and a middle turn lane. I signal and then move into the middle of the middle lane, safely go around the recreational cyclist, and then get right again just outside of the door zone.

Next thing I know some motorcycle cop is pulling alongside of me and starts lecturing me as were cruising about how unsafely I'm cycling and that I need to stay as far right as possible. This pisses me off because the most unsafe thing that's happening is this guy distracting me while I'm cruising down a big arterial and second I tell him that he's flat out wrong and needs to read the motor vehicle code again as I have the right to be as far right as is safely possible, which I read to mean out of the door zone.

At this point he directs me to the curb and changes his story that he just wants me to be more careful.
So I reply about what? It's either ride careful or more dangerously as far right as possible. And well we know how much cop's love having someone question their authority, so this guy looks like he's about ready to pull a Rodney King on me and I decide to just nod along to his lecture. But then he starts in about the proper way to ride a bike and he's just telling me this for my own safety that I need to get as far right so that cars can safely pass me. Which is just wrong, so I tell the cop to go back and brush up on his bicycle law and further that he knows he is wrong or he would write me a ticket. It reminded me of some of the conversations I've had on this forum.

It just makes me sad that it's not only the drivers that need an education down here, but even law enforecement. BTW there is no bike lane on this road and even if there had been I still would have been in the right, so don't even go there. It's just a good thing someone didn't decide at that moment to run me down as it's clear that this cop would have cited me and not the driver.
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Old 03-12-05, 04:25 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Treespeed
Next thing I know some motorcycle cop is pulling alongside of me and starts lecturing me as were cruising about how unsafely I'm cycling and that I need to stay as far right as possible. This pisses me off because the most unsafe thing that's happening is this guy distracting me while I'm cruising down a big arterial and second I tell him that he's flat out wrong and needs to read the motor vehicle code again as I have the right to be as far right as is safely possible, which I read to mean out of the door zone.
Did you get his badge number? (And would a complaint make any difference where you are?)
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Old 03-12-05, 05:01 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Treespeed
So I'm cruising south on La Brea with my messenger bag loaded with groceries just barely outside of the door zone of parked traffic. I'm not flying, maybe 16 mph and I overtake a recreational cyclist fully in the door zone. There are two lanes of traffic to my left and a middle turn lane. I signal and then move into the middle of the middle lane, safely go around the recreational cyclist, and then get right again just outside of the door zone.

Next thing I know some motorcycle cop is pulling alongside of me and starts lecturing me as were cruising about how unsafely I'm cycling and that I need to stay as far right as possible.
This is a perfect example of how important educating everyone about the rights and duties of cyclists is. When a police officer doesn't even know what any 10 year-old trained cyclist knows, we are in trouble.

I think it might be a good idea to report his error in a respectful manner. Police have been known to be ignorant of traffic laws pertaining to cyclists, and you never know but that you might be just the lesson this one needs. But if you say nothing at all, his superiors will never know about it and he will continue to think he was right.
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Old 03-12-05, 05:17 PM   #4
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This is, of course, the most common misunderstanding nonbicyclists have regarding proper bicycling technique and the reason so many find vehicular cycling threatening. I used to live near Pico and Robertson and know the Fairfax/La Brea area well. The best place to ride on some of those streets is the right tire tracks, or in some cases, the center of the right lane. I occasionally get honked on Coast Highway 101 in downtown Encinitas, where I routinely take the center of the right lane because of diagonal on-street parking, midblock curb bump-outs, and other hazards.
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Old 03-12-05, 05:46 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Treespeed
I tell him that he's flat out wrong.
May I ask, what did you expect to happen next? I'm not saying you deserved it, but, hell, tell someone with a badge that he's "flat out wrong," and it's almost assured you will end up the loser. Sad to say, maybe, but the laws of human nature are far more immutable than the laws of vehicular cycling.
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Old 03-12-05, 05:57 PM   #6
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I was pulled over while cycling today . A motorist saw me and thought I was having difficulty riding my bike and called the cops. I explained to the officer that i was riding a fixed wheel with( 16 inch wheels) a 60 inch gear and it was rather hard going up a grade that way. It was cool once he found out I was alright . I got my boots all muddy though.
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Old 03-12-05, 06:04 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Treespeed
It just makes me sad that it's not only the drivers that need an education down here, but even law enforecement.
Wouldn't it be nice if PDs made it mandatory that every officer had to do a few months on bike patrol? It'd give them valuable perspective, for sure!
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Old 03-12-05, 07:12 PM   #8
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Why did you move into the center of the middle lane in order to pass a cyclist who was at the far right ("in the door zone") of the right lane? I would think there was plenty of room to safely pass the cyclist within the confines of the right lane. Perhaps this is what got the officers attention.
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Old 03-12-05, 07:41 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by supcom
Why did you move into the center of the middle lane in order to pass a cyclist who was at the far right ("in the door zone") of the right lane? I would think there was plenty of room to safely pass the cyclist within the confines of the right lane. Perhaps this is what got the officers attention.
On some streets, the right/curb lane is used for travel during peak hours and for parking non-peak. I assumed from his post that the parked cars were in the right lane and Treespeed had to move over into the next lane to overtake the other cyclist. Please clarify, Treespeed.
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Old 03-12-05, 07:45 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by supcom
Why did you move into the center of the middle lane in order to pass a cyclist who was at the far right ("in the door zone") of the right lane? I would think there was plenty of room to safely pass the cyclist within the confines of the right lane. Perhaps this is what got the officers attention.
You don't pass another car in the same lane; so why a bike?
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Old 03-12-05, 08:19 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by patc
Did you get his badge number? (And would a complaint make any difference where you are?)
Please note my words very carefully. If you ever get pulled over for any reason, and the officer only warns you, but you think you're being harassed, DO NOT ASK FOR THEIR BADGE NUMBER. They'll have a name badge on, and there's a unit number on the car. If you ask for their badge number, I can almost guarantee they will find something to write you a ticket for.

If they get a complaint that they pulled someone over, and did not write a citation, it leaves the onus on them to prove they weren't harassing you. If they give you a citation, it's much easier to just write you off as a disgruntled offender.
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Old 03-12-05, 08:55 PM   #12
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May I ask, what did you expect to happen next? I'm not saying you deserved it, but, hell, tell someone with a badge that he's "flat out wrong," and it's almost assured you will end up the loser. Sad to say, maybe, but the laws of human nature are far more immutable than the laws of vehicular cycling.
Yeah, pigs are pigs, just give em the "Yes sir" "No sir" routine then be on your way. Waste of time to try and "educate" a cop.
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Old 03-12-05, 09:26 PM   #13
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You don't pass another car in the same lane; so why a bike?
Because lanes are 12-14 ft. wide and a bike is less than three. Because riding two abreast is legal in many (most?, all?) states.
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Old 03-12-05, 09:29 PM   #14
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Because lanes are 12-14 ft. wide
not the ones I ride on
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Old 03-12-05, 09:35 PM   #15
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I guess it freaks out everyone when a cyclist actually takes not only a lane, but a middle lane.

I can hear 'em saying, "This isn't China, you know!"



Riding as far to the right as practicable (who uses words like, "practicable..." ...oh, that's right, I do!) does not mean you can't pass. You can legally pass a car that's moving slower than you, which means changing lanes--but you can bet nobody will believe their eyes.
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Old 03-13-05, 10:49 PM   #16
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Riding as far to the right as practicable ... does not mean you can't pass. You can legally pass a car that's moving slower than you ...
Or a ready-mix truck (they can be really slow to accelerate when they're spinning a full load of cement!). Now I feel inspired to tell another story. Ready? Here goes!

Once upon a time, NCDOT published a really excellent pamphlet called "Streetwise Cycling, a Guide to Safe Bicycling in North Carolina". NCDOT paid a firm owned by a nationally recognized expert, John Williams, to write the 32-pages. The stated purpose of Streetwise was to "... explain the rights and duties of bicyclists, as vehicle operators on North Carolina's roads."

As an example of what's in the "You're the Driver of a Vehicle" chapter of Streetwise, here's the explanation of NCGS § 20-146(b) which is titled "Slow moving vehicles must keep to the right side":
Quote:
If you are going slower than the speed limit, you must ride
in the right through lane
or
as close to the curb as practicable.
However, you can move to the left to make a left turn or pass another vehicle going the same direction.

What does practicable mean? There is no hard and fast definition. In one situation, it might mean two feet; in another, eight feet. Just how close "practicable" is depends on the road, the surface, the traffic, the speed of the rider, and other factors. For example, you can ride far enough to the left to avoid a roadside hazard (like a drain grate, a parked car door, right turning cars or debris).
Note that there are two terms in this rule:
  1. in the right through lane
  2. as close to the curb as practicable
and that the operator which acts on those two terms is "or".

In other words, every operator traveling slower than the posted speed should be
in the right-hand through lane if it's marked and if it's usable
or
as close as practicable to the edge of the traveled way.
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Old 03-13-05, 11:23 PM   #17
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If you are going slower than the speed limit, you must ride
in the right through lane
or
as close to the curb as practicable.
However, you can move to the left to make a left turn or pass another vehicle going the same direction.
Is that really a quote from the pamphlet? Am I reading it right that he's saying I must exceed the speed limit to move off the curb? That can't be right? Aren't all vehicles supposed to be operated under the speed limit?
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Old 03-14-05, 12:07 AM   #18
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Is that really a quote from the pamphlet?
Yup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by djbrod
Am I reading it right that he's saying I must exceed the speed limit to move off the curb?
The following quote is from the N.C. General Statute § 20-146. Drive on right side of highway; exceptions
Quote:
(b) Upon all highways any vehicle proceeding at less than the legal maximum speed limit shall be driven
in the right-hand lane then available for thru traffic,
or
as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the highway,
except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn.
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Old 03-14-05, 12:36 AM   #19
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Yup.

The following quote is from the N.C. General Statute § 20-146. Drive on right side of highway; exceptions
Ah. Got it know. If I'm traveling at the speed limit I can move off the right side. Thanks for the clarification.
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Old 03-14-05, 03:26 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by james Haury
I was pulled over while cycling today . A motorist saw me and thought I was having difficulty riding my bike and called the cops.
LOL!

I hope the motorist pulled over before he used his phone
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Old 03-14-05, 04:40 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Blackberry
May I ask, what did you expect to happen next? I'm not saying you deserved it, but, hell, tell someone with a badge that he's "flat out wrong," and it's almost assured you will end up the loser. Sad to say, maybe, but the laws of human nature are far more immutable than the laws of vehicular cycling.
Wearing a badge doesn't make one infallible. Any cop that thinks that he is doesn't deserve to wear one.
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Old 03-14-05, 06:07 AM   #22
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A very funny thing. Laws are very much so subject to interpretation. For example. on my daily patrol I see people riding their bikes around. Both on the sidewalk and in the roadway. I have only had one person remove themselves from the roadway due to safety hazards. I don't harrass any of the riders on the sidewalk as there is only a few bike lanes that are more than sufficient for riders here in my town. That one person that I had remove himself from the roadway was riding on the right hand side of the road. Had only a rear reflector with no light and there was 8 inches fo snow on the ground and more still falling. It was extremely unsafe for him to be riding in the road along with the snow plows that were pushing the snow off to the sides (the right) and that visibility was very little.

A lot of what I'm hearing from most of you complaining about law enforcement is the demeanor of the officer. Not just your perception of your "rights being violated." The police officers demeanor. Is he talking to you like your parents did when you were in trouble, or is he calm and collective talking to you like you and him are adults.

Yes as a cyclist you have the same rights to the roadway. Along with the same duties. Rights and Duties are two different things. Yes you can use the lane, no you can't stay there unless. I say unless because there are things that come up that prevent you as a slower moving vehicle that keep you from being as close as practicable to the right hand side.

I hear everyone saying, "It's unsafe to ride near the curb because." I'm beginning to wonder if you are actually experienced enough to ride a bike. Some quick questions: There is a drainage grate ahead what should you do? Yes you can take the lane, but if you aren't confident enough to ride over the slats that run vertical to the road and take a bit of vibration? I don't understand. Ahead is another obstacle. A rock, a branch, a coke can. How do you proceed? Go around it quickly and get back to the right? Take the lane a half mile back to assure you position in the roadway? Slow down and wait for a good time to overtake it? Goodness knows you shouldn't have to slow down. Drivers never do. They just plow by me in my pertty little car with the flashy little red and blue lights saying "Caution, there's a problem ahead or right here."

Okay so driver's do have to slow down. But do they normally? From expience. Not a chance in hell. Pardon my French. If an officer pulls you over and asks you, tells you, or anything else he is looking out for your best interest. I do it all the time for the people that are driving their vehicles at 75, 80, or even 110 through areas that the speed limit is 35, 45, or 55. I'm looking out for everyone's safety. I've seen accidents that people have had to be cut out of vehicles. Could you imagine having soemone that just pulled away from the curb that was crushed between those two vehicles or vehicle vs. object. No you probably can't because your rights are your rights.

Driving is a priviledge. You as a cyclist has the right to utilize the roadway along with those that have had the priviledge of driving bestowed upon them, along with the one's that have had that priviledge taken away and are still disobeying the law, oh yeah and those that still have their priviledge but have chosen to impair their driving abilities with drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both. Don't let your "Right" impede your life. Most all officers are looking out for your safety whether you think so or not. You need to come to the realization that we see so much in a day that would lead us to believe that we are protecting you as the cyclist.

Now onto my speech that I give to every teenager that can't seem to get right and obey the rules, laws, and parents. We expect you to screw up here and there. Hell we screw up ourselves. "We are still human even though we wear that badge and gun." Yes there are a few that think that they are never wrong. But for the largest majority we try not to be right all the time.

The moral of the story. Don't just hate cops because they are harrassing you. They are looking out for you.
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Old 03-14-05, 07:28 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by lamajo25
I'm beginning to wonder if you are actually experienced enough to ride a bike. Some quick questions: There is a drainage grate ahead what should you do? Yes you can take the lane, but if you aren't confident enough to ride over the slats that run vertical to the road and take a bit of vibration? I don't understand. Ahead is another obstacle. A rock, a branch, a coke can. How do you proceed? Go around it quickly and get back to the right? Take the lane a half mile back to assure you position in the roadway? Slow down and wait for a good time to overtake it? Goodness knows you shouldn't have to slow down. Drivers never do. They just plow by me in my pertty little car with the flashy little red and blue lights saying "Caution, there's a problem ahead or right here."
It's really not a good idea to be weaving in and out of the lane to avoid obstacles. It's far safer to take a predictable consistent line, and if that means taking it further into the lane then so be it. Didn't you know that?
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Old 03-14-05, 07:36 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by lamajo25
That one person that I had remove himself from the roadway was riding on the right hand side of the road. Had only a rear reflector with no light and there was 8 inches fo snow on the ground and more still falling. It was extremely unsafe for him to be riding in the road along with the snow plows that were pushing the snow off to the sides (the right) and that visibility was very little.
I see what you are saying, but I still detect a paternalistic and 'motor vehicles first' mentality. If the cyclist riding in the snow was riding with lighting that was legal in your state would you still have 'had (him) remove himself from the roadway'?

What if he was returning home from work or going to work and had no other form of transportation? It would seem to me that any snowplows should be operated in such a manor in the stated weather conditions that they could safely see and pass a cyclist riding where he is supposed to be riding with the proper illumination. If the plow operators can't, they should not be operating plows.

How about removing unsafe plow operators or other motor vehilce operators from the road for everyone's safety?
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Old 03-14-05, 07:51 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luciano
Yeah, pigs are pigs, just give em the "Yes sir" "No sir" routine then be on your way. Waste of time to try and "educate" a cop.
That's a poor attitude. What happens when there is an altercation between a cyclist and a motor vehicle with the motor vehicle being at fault, however the police officer doesn't understand the law and cites the cyclist instead?

I always try to be friendly and courteous with the police I see on the streets. If I ever need their help, hopefully they'll remember me.
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