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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 02-22-01, 07:00 AM   #1
Cambronne
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A few months ago, I procured a Georgia Driver's Handbook, in order to see just how road legal bikes... in general, and mine in particular... are in this state.

To my great relief, I found the answers I was looking for, and they were all in my favor:

Chapter XII, Bicycle Safety.

We're allowed to ride on all of Georgia's secondary roads, and primary arteries unless specifically posted otherwise. We are NOT allowed on limited access highways.

We are "requested" to ride as far to the right side of the pavement as possible, and to ride no deeper than two abreast. We are "required" to observe all traffic signs and signals, as if we were motor traffic.

In exchange, and I've highlighted this part, we are to be given the same right of way as any other vehicle, yielding, of course, to pedestrians and fat drunken jerks driving overloaded log trucks. Okay, I made up that last part.

Our bikes are "required" to have: One front light, and one rear reflector. It is "recommended" that we run a taillight of some kind. Bikes manufactured after 1996 are "required" to have a front reflector, pedal reflectors, and wheel-spoke reflectors. (So, how does one tell whether a bike is pre- or post- 1996? How many cops can spot a 9 speed cassette?)

Riders under 16 years of age are "required" to wear Snell approved helmets. Adults' brains are apparently not as precious. No specifics on eyewear, spandex, or Time/Look-compatible footwear.

I keep a copy of the handbook in my rack trunk... and wouldn't you know, not long ago on a pre-dawn commute, I was pulled over by a county deputy, who demanded to know why I was riding illegally on "his" road, obstructing traffic. I showed him the book. He got angry, but he let me go, saying "I'll be watching you."

Great. Super. Now I have to keep an eye out for cops as well. And, as you know, you can't bonk them on the snout with a frame pump and send them whimpering bact to their yards...

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Old 02-22-01, 09:57 AM   #2
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Drivers Handbook

Great Idea!

I just may have to get myself a copy of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act to carry with me.

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Old 02-22-01, 11:18 AM   #3
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RTFM!

ECELLENT!!
Very good Cambronne! I am glad to hear that you stod up for your rights. So many are afraid to do what you did.
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Old 02-22-01, 11:47 AM   #4
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Are you sure you didnt mis-hear the cop saying "Ill be watching over you". He may be a kind-hearted guy whose mission is to protect and serve.
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Old 02-23-01, 11:21 AM   #5
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And, as you know, you can't bonk
them on the snout with a frame pump and send them whimpering bact to their yards...
Well you COULD, but....
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Old 02-23-01, 09:17 PM   #6
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If you ride a bike!

I beleive in canada, well at least here in ontario, if you ride a bike you are treated as an equal user of the road, and you are expected to follow the law!
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Old 02-25-01, 10:45 AM   #7
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Slmilar laws and dorks in Washington State

Do you know what a hair lipped dog says?, "Mark, Mark"

Do you know what a hair lipped pig says?, "May I have your driver's license, proof of insurance and registration please?".
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Old 03-01-01, 05:05 AM   #8
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I guess nobody is surprised that most drivers don't know the laws regarding bicycles on roads. It's disturbing when policemen don't.

I wonder how often this policeman has pulled and cited people on other offenses that were not against the law. I think you should be watching him!
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Old 03-03-01, 07:46 PM   #9
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I'm really glad you stood up, sorry it happened at all. Here in Atlanta, where I cycle-commute, I've not had that problem (thank goodness). I want people to wake up and realize that, if they would just get on a bike, they would forever be "one of us". We don't want their demise! Just that they would love cycling as much as we. Happy cycling!
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Old 03-04-01, 06:04 PM   #10
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I notice that a lot of people are calling police officer pigs, if they stop you and you are rude to them they will make life hard for you, but if you answer them in a straight forward manner, they will not act like a pig, but act like a civilized public official, and you will be back on your bike again with-out having to pay any traffic ticket
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Old 03-05-01, 01:38 PM   #11
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I have no quarrel with the police. I know many of them, as my girlfriend works for the county government. I have cycled with several members of the recently-formed bike patrol, and when I pass a police car whose driver recognizes me, I sometimes get a brief blip of siren as a greeting. Once, a sheffiff's deputy stopped me on a drizzly pre-dawn commute, but he wanted to take my picture... Seems he was impressed with my tenue... Festooned as I was with enough reflective clothing and flashing lights to make me look like a (very small) construction site.

Nevertheless, I have also crossed paths with less-than-friendly gendarmes, who typify the small-southern-town-deputy stereotype. I have been detained and had my backpack & rack trunk searched, I've been lectured about "staying off the road... and on the sidewalk" (Odd, as bicycling on the sidewalk is spelt out as improper in that very same driver's manual.) Once, I was ticketed for bicycling in the golf-cart lane near a local country club. I took that one to traffic court, and the judge dismissed it with a "don't waste my time, go away" sort of response.

I have tried several tactics in attempts to avoid citation and go about my merry way, and to date the one that works best is for me to respond cooperatively... but in very broken english, and to hand over my passport when asked for an ID.

Now, should I be stopped by an ill-tempered AND francophone deputy, I suppose I'll end up in a cell somewhere...
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Old 03-05-01, 07:38 PM   #12
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It is a truly wonderful experience to meet up with authority figures who consider you to be at least as important a person as they. After all, their job (as I understand it) is to protect and serve me. I cannot understand any such officeholder abusing that authority to demean or harass me; it makes no sense when it happens. A gentleman (or woman) will realize that most people are nervous and embarassed enough for having been publicly detained that a proper approach is one of courtesy, and would I expect too much to add, respect?

I think all police officers, judges, and the like should be held accountable for proper etiquette, at least until they are given clear reason to respond otherwise. Wise crackers and abusers only demean themselves, and undermine their moral authority (even if they retain their delegated powers).
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Old 12-01-05, 05:49 PM   #13
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Nice, all of the posts. I am a newbie and know to read all the posts in a string before commenting. In 1983 I was rolling down a looong grade on I-15 east of Baker, CA in a fully faired recumbent trike and was pulled over for "operating a motor vehicle on the road shoulder". I pointed out the bike chain and derailluer just visible by the rear wheel. "Oh, it's a bicycle. OK, have fun." Two weeks later I was entering HWY 101 in northern CA (technically open road but basically like any freeway when I was stopped by a CHP sergeant and another officer. "You should not be on this road." I showed him my CALTRANS map showing that I could enter here. "Well there is a hole thru the fence a ways down the frontage road that you cyclists can use." I did not comment on the absurdity of dragging a big faired machine thru a hole in a chain-link fence on the WRONG side of a freeway. I just sat on my rights and he let me go.

22 years later I rode the same section of the 101 for a week to get to work and home. Every officer I saw responded to my wave and one even pulled a traffic stop hundreds of yards down the road to a wider spot so I could pass safely. Times change and bicycle advocacy around here is pretty effective.
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Old 12-01-05, 06:28 PM   #14
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That's too funny about the mistaken identity near Baker. You must have been going fast!
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Old 12-01-05, 07:46 PM   #15
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I think there's two kinds of cop: the ones who want to protect and serve and the ones who used to bully people in HS and now get paid to bully people w/ a gun. Most are probably the former while you probably ran into the latter.
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Old 12-01-05, 07:53 PM   #16
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The only Snell approved helmets are made by Specialized. Wonder how they lobbied to get that into the code.
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Old 12-01-05, 07:58 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelW
Are you sure you didnt mis-hear the cop saying "Ill be watching over you". He may be a kind-hearted guy whose mission is to protect and serve.
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Old 12-02-05, 07:14 AM   #18
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I mind my own business .... they better mind theirs. I thank them for not pulling me over everytime I am speeding and splitting lanes while cruising through downton.
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Old 12-02-05, 07:28 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cambronne
I keep a copy of the handbook in my rack trunk... and wouldn't you know, not long ago on a pre-dawn commute, I was pulled over by a county deputy, who demanded to know why I was riding illegally on "his" road, obstructing traffic. I showed him the book. He got angry, but he let me go, saying "I'll be watching you."
Lucky it wasn't me, I wouldn't have been able to refuse a "No son, I'll be watching you."
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Old 12-02-05, 08:04 AM   #20
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Cambronne, what part of the state are you in?
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Old 12-02-05, 10:18 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cambronne
Our bikes are "required" to have: <snip> pedal reflectors <snip>
Asking a rhetorical question...what about clipless pedals? Especially the smallest ones? Don't think I've ever seen reflectors on them.
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Old 12-02-05, 10:59 AM   #22
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Cambronne, what part of the state are you in?
Cambronne is from Augusta. He hasn't posted here in years. Funny guy.
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Old 12-02-05, 01:25 PM   #23
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Asking a rhetorical question...what about clipless pedals? Especially the smallest ones? Don't think I've ever seen reflectors on them.
It is a violation of federal law to sell a new bike without pedal reflectors in the US, including ones with clipless pedals. I was in a Performance Bike shop recently, and I noticed that all of the bikes with clipless pedals were fitted with platform attachments with reflectors on them. I guess it's up to the purchaser to remove the adapter at their own peril.

I know that the state of Rhode Island prohibits the sale of pedals without reflectors, although I guess the adapters would qualify.

It's too bad there isn't a more elegant solution, under some circumstances the pedal reflectors work quite well. The other night I saw the pedal reflectors of a cyclist quite a while before I saw the rest of him
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Old 12-02-05, 02:09 PM   #24
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Also illegal to sell bikes without required reflectors here (Quebec).
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