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  1. #1
    Fearless Isaiahc72's Avatar
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    Police officer telling me to do illegal thing.

    I was at school today and I asked the schools police officer what should I do about bad drivers. And he told me I could ride on the sidewalk. And when I asked him if riding on the sidewalk is illegal, he said it is illegal. WHAT!?!? A police officer asked me to do something illegal.
    IC

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    Look up your state and local laws covering bicycling. In many states cycling on the sidewalk is legal outside of town or city business districts. I don't know about Arkansas. Policemen aren't always up on the law either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Isaiahc72 View Post
    I asked the schools police officer what should I do
    Ask someone from your local police precinct, not an SRO.

  4. #4
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    ...And then another cop will see you doing it and give you a ticket.

    "But officer, another cop told me to do it!"

    "Yeah, right!"
    1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson) San Remo Plus, 1989 Trek 520, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter

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    Senior Member bluegoatwoods's Avatar
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    What the cop was really telling you was something like, "There's not a lot that you can do. Realistically".

    Here's how I'd interpret it if I were you; "Keep your head on straight and keep an eye and an ear open for trouble. Ride defensively."

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    Senior Member walrus1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluegoatwoods View Post
    What the cop was really telling you was something like, "There's not a lot that you can do. Realistically".

    Here's how I'd interpret it if I were you; "Keep your head on straight and keep an eye and an ear open for trouble. Ride defensively."
    Which is what the first officer should have told the OP.

  7. #7
    Member Steve Urquell's Avatar
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    Those roads around the Uof A are narrow with tons of blind corners and curbs blocking safe escape. Dickson is poorly lit at night. I would think a little more thought would have gone into safe roadway planning around a college.

    Be safe. Lots of kids get hit when school starts back up. I see the aftermath, I'm a hospital PT asst

  8. #8
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
    Look up your state and local laws covering bicycling. In many states cycling on the sidewalk is legal outside of town or city business districts. I don't know about Arkansas. Policemen aren't always up on the law either.
    Ditto!!

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    Senior Member Dave Cutter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isaiahc72 View Post
    I was at school today and I asked the schools police officer what should I do about bad drivers. And he told me I could ride on the sidewalk.....
    Yeah.... what he should have said was: There isn't a frigging thing YOU can do about bad drivers.... and neither can the school cop because he's stuck baby sitting a bunch of smart-mouthed snot nosed kids.

    But then he would have got in trouble.... and he likely knows that because he has your number.... and knows your a snitch.

  10. #10
    Senior Member JameB's Avatar
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    Cops almost never enforce the side walk riding bylaw (at least to me they haven't in Toronto).

    They will enforce it if you are doing stupid things like going 40 kmph on a sidewalk...

    The point is, if you're genuinely afraid of bad drivers, use the side walk. There are roads where I'd get off the road and go on the side walk because of high traffic and only a two lane road to work with. The sidewalk condition also plays a role in that decision.

  11. #11
    Senior Member irwin7638's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
    Look up your state and local laws covering bicycling. In many states cycling on the sidewalk is legal outside of town or city business districts. I don't know about Arkansas. Policemen aren't always up on the law either.
    Apparently he knows less about safety. According to the state police here in Michigan, a cyclist is 5 times more likely to be injured or killed while riding a sidewalk than on the street in the direction of traffic. I doubt things are much different in Arkansas.

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  12. #12
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
    Apparently he knows less about safety. According to the state police here in Michigan, a cyclist is 5 times more likely to be injured or killed while riding a sidewalk than on the street in the direction of traffic. I doubt things are much different in Arkansas.
    According to the this or that police man/dept such and such is "safer" or this/that stat is whatever. Then it must be so, eh?

  13. #13
    Senior Member irwin7638's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    According to the this or that police man/dept such and such is "safer" or this/that stat is whatever. Then it must be so, eh?
    No, apparently this cop doesn't even know the "cop's" information about bike safety.

    Marc
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  14. #14
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    According to the this or that police man/dept such and such is "safer" or this/that stat is whatever. Then it must be so, eh?
    In my state children 16 and under are allowed to ride on sidewalks, and it is generally prohibited otherwise. If as they're often taught they stop at intersections, look both ways and proceed only when clear I don't see how it's more dangerous that walking across. Although the danger at driveways remain.

    I don't expect all kids to understand traffic laws well enough to anticipate motorist behavior, and they typically don't bike as fast on sidewalks as do adults on roads, thus posing less danger to pedestrians - I suspect that this is the rationale behind putting kids on sidewalks even though it's held to be more dangerous in general.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
    Apparently he knows less about safety. According to the state police here in Michigan, a cyclist is 5 times more likely to be injured or killed while riding a sidewalk than on the street in the direction of traffic. I doubt things are much different in Arkansas.

    Marc
    Statistics like that are why I don't worry about statistics and use my judgment instead.
    I occasionally use the sidewalk when its clearly the safest option. The key to being safe on a sidewalk is the same as anywhere else, have good situational awareness, use good judgment, and don't over ride your line of sight or skill level.

    Sometimes I get the impression that the biggest reason some are so against ever using the sidewalk isn't really safety related, but that it makes them feel that they are giving in to the "get-on-the-sidewalk" crowd rather than riding where they have "the right" to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey. View Post
    Ask someone from your local police precinct, not an SRO.
    +1!!!

  17. #17
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    THe local police may or may have jurisdiction on a Campus as big as U of A. Some universities have their own police departments. I'd go down to the office of whoever has jurisdiction, explain your issue and see what they have to say. But in reality they are likely going to say there is nothing they or you can do about it. Also years ago I used to do a lot of touring throughout the southern midwest. The only state I had any issues with police was in Arkansas where our small group of tourists were ordered to ride on a broken glass strewn shoulder rather than on the edge of the lane, under the threat of jail time.

    EDIT: Just noticed the police officer in the OP told the poster he could ride on the sidewalk, he did not ask him to do so.
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  18. #18
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    In my first post I told the OP to look up the law. It is very easy as there are a number of advocacy group and Arkansas Highway Department sites and publications saying that cycling on sidewalks is legal in Arkansas except in certain cities where it is limited. It only takes a few minutes to do so. There is a long thread on this forum where the subject has been discussed over and over and over...

  19. #19
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    There's nothing you can do to change the behavior of the bad drivers. You can only change what you have control over. Hi-viz, strobes, petition for bike friendly signage & road changes, etc.

    Reminds me of the Serenity Prayer:
    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

    The courage to change the things I can,

    And the wisdom to know the difference.
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  20. #20
    Don from Austin Texas
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    Quote Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
    Apparently he knows less about safety. According to the state police here in Michigan, a cyclist is 5 times more likely to be injured or killed while riding a sidewalk than on the street in the direction of traffic. I doubt things are much different in Arkansas.

    Marc
    Totally meaningless alleged statistic. Sidewalk riders and road riders are not the same kind of riders. Some roads are relatively friendly, some are suicidal, some sidewalks are really more like nice empty bike trails with little or not traffic and very sparse driveways, some sidewalks are packed with pedestrians and a busy driveway every 60 feet. The one-size-fits-all "5 times more likely...." is silly without taking into account real world variables.

    Don in Austin

  21. #21
    Don from Austin Texas
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    Quote Originally Posted by kickstart View Post
    Statistics like that are why I don't worry about statistics and use my judgment instead.
    I occasionally use the sidewalk when its clearly the safest option. The key to being safe on a sidewalk is the same as anywhere else, have good situational awareness, use good judgment, and don't over ride your line of sight or skill level.

    Sometimes I get the impression that the biggest reason some are so against ever using the sidewalk isn't really safety related, but that it makes them feel that they are giving in to the "get-on-the-sidewalk" crowd rather than riding where they have "the right" to.
    Refreshing sensible!

    Don in Austin

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    In my state children 16 and under are allowed to ride on sidewalks, and it is generally prohibited otherwise. If as they're often taught they stop at intersections, look both ways and proceed only when clear I don't see how it's more dangerous that walking across. Although the danger at driveways remain.

    I don't expect all kids to understand traffic laws well enough to anticipate motorist behavior, and they typically don't bike as fast on sidewalks as do adults on roads, thus posing less danger to pedestrians - I suspect that this is the rationale behind putting kids on sidewalks even though it's held to be more dangerous in general.
    It can actually be more complex. In Cincinnati, it's legal for a minor 14 or under to ride on the sidewalk, but not where a building directly abuts the sidewalk. So the local business district is out, no riding to the local comic book store or ice cream shop. Though I don't know that a cop would actually fine a kid $100 and give him a minor misdemeanor in Juvenile Court for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Isaiahc72 View Post
    I was at school today and I asked the schools police officer what should I do about bad drivers. And he told me I could ride on the sidewalk. And when I asked him if riding on the sidewalk is illegal, he said it is illegal. WHAT!?!? A police officer asked me to do something illegal.
    From this post it looks like the first police officer was offering advice, not ordering you to do something. There is a big, very big, difference.
    Advice is something that you use in your own judgment and at your own risk. Often, especially from officials, this is the practical and sensible thing to do, in that person's estimation.
    Order, on the other hand, is something you are obligated to follow unless you fall into some constitutional situation. Your post doesn't say he ordered you.

    So, you got some advice. You post like you don't like that advice. So, don't follow it. In the end, in these kinds of situations unless you are following a lawful order from the police you are solely liable for your actions.
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Chicago Al's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
    Yeah.... what he should have said was: There isn't a frigging thing YOU can do about bad drivers.... and neither can the school cop because he's stuck baby sitting a bunch of smart-mouthed snot nosed kids.

    But then he would have got in trouble.... and he likely knows that because he has your number.... and knows your a snitch.
    I can't see any reason in the OP for this rude, nasty attack. What on earth suggests the OP is a 'snitch' or the (presumed) other students at his school a 'bunch of smart-mouthed snot nosed kids' ?

    It's pretty obvious that many posters in this forum are working out anger and frustration from other sources in their lives, but this is really surprising coming from the usually mild-mannered and philosophical Dave C.

    And, obviously, riding on the sidewalk IS something he could do about bad drivers, maybe not the best answer or the one he wanted to hear, but it is a solution of sorts.

    Some replies above seem to assume the OP is a college student, but I wonder if he's actually still in high school. If so maybe he can be forgiven for not being quite so worldly, not so say cynical, as the regulars here.
    Last edited by Chicago Al; 08-20-14 at 10:10 AM.
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  25. #25
    Senior Member Dave Cutter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicago Al View Post
    I can't see any reason in the OP for this rude, nasty attack. What on earth suggests the OP is a 'snitch'
    Read his post! It IS a snitch.

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