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  1. #1
    cyclepath daredevil's Avatar
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    pulled over by Highway Patrol

    I was riding a lonely country road with a small shoulder and I was left of the fog line. There is virtually no traffic on this stretch and anybody that does come by gives me all the room a rider could ever want until....

    A highway patrolman pulls up behind me and suspiciously follows close behind for a while. Me wondering wth he was doing, waves him to go the heck by. He does, and pull over ahead of me and stops me.

    He nicely told me state law says to ride as far to the right as practicable which I already knew of course. I said, "right, that's left of the fog line". He says yes....er....I mean no....you need to be on the shoulder. I said, "I'm sorry sir, that is not practicable and rode away. As he passed me, to appease him, I briefly rode on the fog line.

    A bit later, I saw him down the road and talked with him for a while. First off I apologized for appearing disrespectful and then explained to him the finer points of riding the road and explained the difficulty and danger of riding on the narrow shoulder. I also explained that from my experience, most drivers appreciate it when a rider takes control of the situation by riding assertively.

    I think I gave him a bit of an education actually.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "Without music, life would be a mistake."
    -- Friedrich Nietzsche

  2. #2
    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil View Post
    I think I gave him a bit of an education actually.


    If you play it right, you can actually have some reasonable interactions. I had a similar situation with local PD telling me not to ride in the road. I politely told him that's where I'm supposed to be and offered (again, as nicely as possible) to point out the law. He took me up on it, so I did. He answered with a simple "Thanks, you probably saved me from looking like an idiot" or something like that. Had a nice chat, actually.

    Sounds like it went well. Good handling of the situation all around.
    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. I love the bicycle. I always have. I can think of no sincere, decent human being, male or female, young or old, saint or sinner, who can resist the bicycle."

    - William Saroyan

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil View Post
    He nicely told me state law says to ride as far to the right as practicable which I already knew of course. I said, "right, that's left of the fog line". He says yes....er....I mean no....you need to be on the shoulder. I said, "I'm sorry sir, that is not practicable" and rode away. As he passed me, to appease him, I briefly rode on the fog line.
    This isn't quite accurate.

    The "far to the right as practical" laws refers to the right side of the "roadway" (all of them, as far as I know). The "roadway" does't include the "shoulder" (generally).

    It could be quite "practical" to ride in the shoulder (people do it all the time) but that isn't what the law (generally) "requires". (That is, you are allowed to ride in the shoulder but generally the law does not require you to do so.)

    (Note that some states, in some situations, require the use of the should, but that is rare.)

    Quote Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post
    I politely told him that's where I'm supposed to be and offered (again, as nicely as possible) to point out the law.
    This isn't quite accurate, either. It's not so much that you are legally "supposed" to be in the "roadway". It's just that the law never limits your use of the roadway (that is, you never "supposed" (required) to be anywhere else).

    It's completely fine to use the shoulder (assuming it's safe). Bicyclists do so all the time. The law (generally) doesn't ever require you to ride there.

    =============

    Basically, you are allowed to use the shoulder but are not required to use them.

    (Keep in mind that some states have "mandatory bikeway use" laws, which do require you to not be in the roadway in certain circumstances.)
    Last edited by njkayaker; 08-30-10 at 11:35 AM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mustachiod's Avatar
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    was hoping this would be a story about getting a speeding ticket
    Quote Originally Posted by powers2b View Post
    BF does not have the answer to what you will be happy with.

  5. #5
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Do Not Drive (ride) on The Shoulder.





    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  6. #6
    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    This isn't quite accurate, either. It's not so much that you are legally "supposed" to be in the "roadway". It's just that the law never limits your use of the roadway (that is, you never "supposed" (required) to be anywhere else).

    It's completely fine to use the shoulder (assuming it's safe). Bicyclists do so all the time. The law (generally) doesn't ever require you to ride there.

    In my case, there was no shoulder. It was a city street with narrow lanes. His implication was that I should be on the sidewalk, which is illegal where I was riding at the time.

    I actually quite like riding on shoulders as long as they're anywhere near presentable.
    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. I love the bicycle. I always have. I can think of no sincere, decent human being, male or female, young or old, saint or sinner, who can resist the bicycle."

    - William Saroyan

  7. #7
    Senior Member mustachiod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post
    His implication was that I should be on the sidewalk, which is illegal where I was riding at the time.
    when i was a kid, cops would issue tickets and sometimes take bikes away in order to teach us to NOT ride on the sidewalk. your parents would have to pick the bike up at the station where you would get a lecture about bicycle rules and safety.
    Quote Originally Posted by powers2b View Post
    BF does not have the answer to what you will be happy with.

  8. #8
    cyclepath daredevil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mustachiod View Post
    was hoping this would be a story about getting a speeding ticket
    Actually, I wanted to say, "what's the matter officer, am I going too fast?"
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "Without music, life would be a mistake."
    -- Friedrich Nietzsche

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post
    In my case, there was no shoulder. It was a city street with narrow lanes. His implication was that I should be on the sidewalk, which is illegal where I was riding at the time.
    If there is no shoulder, riding in the shoulder isn't even possible.

    It's the "supposed to be in the roadway" that isn't correct. The correct way to say it is that are never supposed to be anywhere else (that is, being in the roadway is always allowed).

    Noting that you were directed to use the sidewalk is a crucial piece of information to be able to understand what you were getting at!

    Quote Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post
    I actually quite like riding on shoulders as long as they're anywhere near presentable.
    If you were "supposed to be in the roadway", they you wouldn't be able to use those nice shoulders!
    Last edited by njkayaker; 08-30-10 at 12:39 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    Do Not Drive (ride) on The Shoulder.
    The TX laws allow bicycles to ride in the shoulder as an exception.

    No state allows cars to drive (travel) on the shoulder. Those signs are redundant. No doubt, they are there to keep cars from travelling on the shoulder to pass stopped traffic. They don't apply to bicyclists.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 08-30-10 at 12:40 PM.

  11. #11
    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    If there is no shoulder, riding in the shoulder isn't even possible.

    It's the "supposed to be in the roadway" that isn't correct. The correct way to say it is that are never supposed to be anywhere else (that is, being in the roadway is always allowed).
    That's not really what I said. IIRC he said something like, "You shouldn't be riding in the road" and I said "Actually, that's where I'm supposed to be". At the time it was applicable.

    Noting that you were directed to use the sidewalk is a crucial piece of information to be able to understand what you were getting at!
    I mentioned it in passing as a similar event, I never intended to go into detail.

    If you were "supposed to be in the roadway", they you wouldn't be able to use those nice shoulders!
    Again, it was applicable at the time and place, not as a blanket statement.
    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. I love the bicycle. I always have. I can think of no sincere, decent human being, male or female, young or old, saint or sinner, who can resist the bicycle."

    - William Saroyan

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post
    That's not really what I said.
    If you mean how I'm interpreting it, there wasn't enough to go on except expecting it was closely related to the first post.

    Quote Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post
    I mentioned it in passing as a similar event, I never intended to go into detail.

    Again, it was applicable at the time and place, not as a blanket statement.
    It makes sense with the important detail you didn't provide at first.

    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil View Post
    I think I gave him a bit of an education actually.
    The idea is to give the correct education!

    Note the interesting wrong path "10 Wheels" is going down!
    Last edited by njkayaker; 08-30-10 at 02:40 PM.

  13. #13
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
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    Next time, tell the cop, "GO BACK TO JOISEY!"
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    Next time, tell the cop, "GO BACK TO JOISEY!"
    Please no! We don't seem to have many cops like that here!

  15. #15
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    No state allows cars to drive (travel) on the shoulder.
    Texas does, under some conditions.

    545.058. DRIVING ON IMPROVED SHOULDER.
    (a) An operator may drive on an improved shoulder to the right of the main traveled portion of a roadway if that operation is necessary and may be done safely, but only:
    (1) to stop, stand, or park;
    (2) to accelerate before entering the main traveled lane of traffic;
    (3) to decelerate before making a right turn;
    (4) to pass another vehicle that is slowing or stopped on the main traveled portion of the highway, disabled, or preparing to make a left turn;
    (5) to allow another vehicle traveling faster to pass;
    (6) as permitted or required by an official traffic-control device; or
    (7) to avoid a collision.
    (b) An operator may drive on an improved shoulder to the left of the main traveled portion of a divided or limited-access or
    controlled-access highway if that operation may be done safely, but only:
    (1) to slow or stop when the vehicle is disabled and traffic or other circumstances prohibit the safe movement of the
    vehicle to the shoulder to the right of the main traveled portion of the roadway;
    (2) as permitted or required by an official traffic-control device; or
    (3) to avoid a collision.
    (c) A limitation in this section on driving on an improved shoulder does not apply to:
    (1) an authorized emergency vehicle responding to a call;
    (2) a police patrol; or
    (3) a bicycle.
    Those signs are redundant.
    Ultimately, lots of signs are "redundant" -- but if people aren't aware of the law, it's helpful to have a sign to remind them, so I wouldn't really use the term "redundant" when I really meant "more than is absolutely necessary".

  16. #16
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    The TX laws allow bicycles to ride in the shoulder as an exception.

    They don't apply to bicyclists.
    So if the point of "same road same rules" isn't to help people understand the law, then what is that bumper-sticker phrase for? ( Appeasement? )
    Don't believe everything you think.

  17. #17
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    Do Not Drive (ride) on The Shoulder.
    Oh, come on.... you know that Texas law exempts bicycles from that, don't you?
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    Texas does, under some conditions.

    545.058. DRIVING ON IMPROVED SHOULDER.
    (a) An operator may drive on an improved shoulder to the right of the main traveled portion of a roadway if that operation is necessary and may be done safely, but only:
    (1) to stop, stand, or park;
    (2) to accelerate before entering the main traveled lane of traffic;
    (3) to decelerate before making a right turn;
    (4) to pass another vehicle that is slowing or stopped on the main traveled portion of the highway, disabled, or preparing to make a left turn;
    (5) to allow another vehicle traveling faster to pass;
    (6) as permitted or required by an official traffic-control device; or
    (7) to avoid a collision.
    (b) An operator may drive on an improved shoulder to the left of the main traveled portion of a divided or limited-access or
    controlled-access highway if that operation may be done safely, but only:
    (1) to slow or stop when the vehicle is disabled and traffic or other circumstances prohibit the safe movement of the
    vehicle to the shoulder to the right of the main traveled portion of the roadway;
    (2) as permitted or required by an official traffic-control device; or
    (3) to avoid a collision.
    (c) A limitation in this section on driving on an improved shoulder does not apply to:
    (1) an authorized emergency vehicle responding to a call;
    (2) a police patrol; or
    (3) a bicycle.
    I'm aware of that law. States allow it for some very temporary purposes. TX is somewhat more liberal in this regard than other states.

    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker
    No state allows cars to drive (travel) on the shoulder.
    "Travel" is intentional and important (the shoulder isn't a "travelling lane").

    Note the use of the word in the law you quoted!

    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker
    Those signs are redundant.
    Ultimately, lots of signs are "redundant" -- but if people aren't aware of the law, it's helpful to have a sign to remind them, so I wouldn't really use the term "redundant" when I really meant "more than is absolutely necessary".
    I'm not saying the extra signs are not useful (they certainly don't hurt anything).

    The issue I was commenting on is that "10 Wheels" is reading something special in them that is not there! In pointing that out, "redundant" is quite appropriate (and intentional).
    Last edited by njkayaker; 08-30-10 at 05:14 PM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    Are you being serious?
    Yes. And I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering why so many people go around saying "same road same rules" when the rules are patently not the same. Don't you think it's kind of funny that a cyclist will hear "same road same rules" about a million times over the course of his or her life - once for every difference in the law?
    Don't believe everything you think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    Yes. And I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering why so many people go around saying "same road same rules" when the rules are patently not the same. Don't you think it's kind of funny that a cyclist will hear "same road same rules" about a million times over the course of his or her life - once for every difference in the law?
    The stickers should say "Same roads, (almost the) same rules"!!

    Then, maybe, people should not use bumper stickers as a source of education!

    Anyway, there are really only two basic differences in the law: FRAP and the allowance to ride on the shoulders. (I think it's only two: it's not many.)

    And the FRAP law is similar to the common "slower traffic stay to the right" law (NC doesn't have a FRAP law).
    Last edited by njkayaker; 08-30-10 at 05:12 PM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member jr59's Avatar
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    Bad Cop!!!

    No donut!

  22. #22
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    I'm aware of that law. States allow it for some very temporary purposes. TX is somewhat more liberal in this regard than other states.
    Temporary conditions that may come up again and again and again.

    A truck with a big load or somebody who just doesn't want to or can't drive fast for whatever reason may end up spending more time driving on the shoulder letting people pass than actually driving on the road -- and the law fully supports this. With the right vehicles or drivers, it's absolutely not a very temporary thing -- it's business as usual.

    I've seen some people just spend all their time on the shoulder going 40 mph as everybody passes at 55+ mph, for as long as they were in my sight. And this is considered courteous driving, and is legal as well!

    No idea about other states, but Texas seems to be an exception to your claim that "No state allows cars to drive (travel) on the shoulder" -- because Texas does, as long as they're being passed, and if they're going slow and traffic is heavy -- they're always being passed.
    Last edited by dougmc; 08-30-10 at 05:35 PM.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    Temporary conditions that may come up again and again and again.
    But none of them is "travelling".

    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    A truck with a big load or somebody who just doesn't want to or can't drive fast for whatever reason may end up spending more time driving on the shoulder letting people pass than actually driving on the road -- and the law fully supports this. With the right vehicles or drivers, it's absolutely not a very temporary thing -- it's business as usual.
    While it kind of depends on what TX means by "improved" in the "DRIVING ON IMPROVED SHOULDER" law, shoulders are typically not engineered to be regularly used by heavy trucks.

    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    I've seen some people just spend all their time on the shoulder going 40 mph as everybody passes at 55+ mph, for as long as they were in my sight. And this is considered courteous driving, and is legal as well!
    No, it's technically illegal if it was considered using the shoulder for "travelling". People speed too without getting tickets. That doesn't mean that speeding is legal.

    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    No idea about other states, but Texas seems to be an exception to your claim that "No state allows cars to drive (travel) on the shoulder" -- because Texas does, as long as they're being passed, and if they're going slow and traffic is heavy -- they're always being passed.
    You seem to be suggesting that using the shoulder as a normal traffic lane for normal driving is legal. That is false in TX and false in every other state. Only bicycles can use the shoulder as a "normal" place for travel.

    Keep this law in mind too:

    http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.u...45.htm#545.051

    Sec. 545.051. DRIVING ON RIGHT SIDE OF ROADWAY. (a) An operator on a roadway of sufficient width shall drive on the right half of the roadway, unless:
    (1) the operator is passing another vehicle;
    (2) an obstruction necessitates moving the vehicle left of the center of the roadway and the operator yields the right-of-way to a vehicle that:
    (A) is moving in the proper direction on the unobstructed portion of the roadway; and
    (B) is an immediate hazard;
    (3) the operator is on a roadway divided into three marked lanes for traffic; or
    (4) the operator is on a roadway restricted to one-way traffic.
    (b) An operator of a vehicle on a roadway moving more slowly than the normal speed of other vehicles at the time and place under the existing conditions shall drive in the right-hand lane available for vehicles, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, unless the operator is:
    (1) passing another vehicle; or
    (2) preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
    (c) An operator on a roadway having four or more lanes for moving vehicles and providing for two-way movement of vehicles may not drive left of the center line of the roadway except:
    (1) as authorized by an official traffic-control device designating a specified lane to the left side of the center of the roadway for use by a vehicle not otherwise permitted to use the lane;
    (2) under the conditions described by Subsection (a)(2); or
    (3) in crossing the center line to make a left turn into or out of an alley, private road, or driveway.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 08-30-10 at 06:01 PM.

  24. #24
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    Shoulder isn't considered part of the roadway. All 50 grant equal rights (& require equal duties) to the road for cars and bikes. (FRAP applies where codified, no quibbling, ok?) IMO, cops need to know the laws they're paid to enforce, not guess at it.

    I guess I'm out of my mind... be back later.

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    [quote] "No state allows cars to drive (travel) on the shoulder" [\quote] Another exception not yet mentioned, bicycle travel on Interstates in some parts of the American West. Yes Virginia, bicycles are allowed on Interstates in parts of California, Nevada, Arizona, Washington & Oregon - possibly more - where the Interstate is the only road. I wouldn't even want to consider riding someplace other than on the shoulder.

    Now we return you to your program already in progress.

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