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-   -   Police (http://www.bikeforums.net/general-cycling-discussion/11614-police.html)

lin_kieu 07-13-02 01:41 PM

Police
 
I asked this question on another thread but decided to start a new one. How many of you have had a run in with the law while on your bike. My only one (so far;) ) was getting pulled over on a lonely country road when I sailed thru a stop sign. I was pulled over and given a warning. Whatever. Am I alone as a law breaking criminal on 2 wheels, or are there others out there?

MichaelW 07-13-02 02:28 PM

I was pulled over and fined 20 for passing a red light. I had stopped, but decided to get a jump on the large bus behind me so crossed just as the other lights changed to red and before mine turned green.
I was also ticked off by a policewoman for cycling across (not along) a wide pavement in central London buisness district early on a Sunday morning (imagine the crowds).

UK cyclists should avoid showing their driving license as ID. You dont have to show it, but if you do, it can be endorsed (penalty points added) for cycling offenses.

John E 07-13-02 05:20 PM

Irrespective of where you live, if you have to show your driver's license as identification, tactfully ask/beg the officer not to write your license number on the ticket.

I have had very little trouble with either the San Diego County Sheriff's deputies or nearby cities' traffic enforcement officers, but I always ride within the spirit, if not the precise letter, of the law. Perhaps because of their bicycle patrols, our local law enforcement personnel generally realize that bicyclists can legally make vehicular left turns, take the lane where appropriate, etc. Most also tolerate trackstanding at stop signs, instead of insisting that one unclip and plant a foot on the ground.

Nobby 07-13-02 06:17 PM

I don't mean to throw stones and I may not be reading the spirit of this thread as meant, but it seems to me that by hiding or (if you like) avoiding the fact that one has a drivers licence when busted for breaking the law, one is perhaps avoiding taking responsibility for ones actions.

Sure you will pay the price levied by the police whether you have a drivers licence or not. But what's the difference? You might collect demerits? Is there any reason that you shouldn't?

I stand ready to be corrected if I've made an incorrect assumption here.

MediaCreations 07-13-02 06:33 PM

I'm always happy to see the cops when I'm on my bike. If a cop car is in the area the motorists behave a lot better for a while.

Chris L 07-13-02 06:37 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by MediaCreations
I'm always happy to see the cops when I'm on my bike. If a cop car is in the area the motorists behave a lot better for a while.
Ditto for that. I've never had a problem with the police when I've been on my rides. Mind you, I generally don't break the law either. In fact, when I've had reason to report other incidents to the police, they've actually been very helpful.

LittleBigMan 07-13-02 07:42 PM

I would love to tell my story about how Dekalb County police strip-searched me, threw me in jail and sprayed me with a fire hose, but my only tale is how an Atlanta policeman politely asked me to keep to the right (except there were too many potholes on the right.)

Yep, my complaint is I want to see more of them on the freeways and neighborhoods yanking drunks and speeders. To be fair, they probably spend too much time answering domestic disputes.

Don't get me wrong. Police corruption is quite real. Sheriff Sidney Dorsey is an example, recently convicted for conspiring to murder his political opponent who beat him in the election.

His ass is goin to jail.

1oldRoadie 07-13-02 08:15 PM

I was almost hit by a Tulsa Police car this morning. He rolled down his window and said he wasn't paying attention like he should and was sorry. Tulsa have better than average respect for cyclist, and boy am I glad.

SteveE 07-13-02 10:38 PM

There is an infamous intersection out here in No. Cal. (Alpine Rd. & Portola Rd. in Portola Valley) where the police regularly wait to hand out tickets to unobservant cyclists. The police were out again today. We had been warned by cyclists going the other way that the cops were there, so we all came to a near stop (they don't require you to actually take your foot out the pedals) and avoided a ticket. There is a water fountain just after this intersection and as we were filling up, two guys sailed around the corner and were nailed by the police.

I received a ticket there a couple of years ago myself and now am very careful to make sure there are no police around. The annoying thing is that it is a 'T' intersection. There is a long grade leading up to the intersection and a well-used bike lane. At the stop sign I generally make a right-hand turn, remaining in the bike lane. So they are handing out tickets to cyclists in a bike lane who are turning left into a bike lane. There is very little pedestrian traffic at this intersection. Now on the day I was ticketed, there was a strong headwind so you HAD to pedal around the corner!

Tarantula 07-13-02 11:06 PM

Around here the city police and county sheriff are okay. The CHP have some sort of personal issue with all cyclist outside the city limits. They have wronged myself and many cyclist in the area on many occassions (see Rants: Local Gendarmes). Because of this incident, many riders dread the presence of Cycle Hating Patrol and have zero respect for them. After calling the local DA and telling him several tales of "injustice". The DA commented that their office doesn't consider the CHP law enforcement, "just ticket writers".
California law is a little fuzzy when it comes to carrying ID or a driver's license. Cyclist are not required to carry legal ID. However, if there is a citable offense, then a cyclist is required to produce legal ID. In most cases this means a driver's license which also means points against your license and possible car insurance rate increases.
I guess this turned into another rant. Sorry. I also understand that this is one sided.

2wheelsrule 07-14-02 02:34 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by John E
Irrespective of where you live, if you have to show your driver's license as identification, tactfully ask/beg the officer not to write your license number on the ticket.

I have had very little trouble with either the San Diego County Sheriff's deputies or nearby cities' traffic enforcement officers, but I always ride within the spirit, if not the precise letter, of the law. Perhaps because of their bicycle patrols, our local law enforcement personnel generally realize that bicyclists can legally make vehicular left turns, take the lane where appropriate, etc. Most also tolerate trackstanding at stop signs, instead of insisting that one unclip and plant a foot on the ground.

Wow, is that true? I just got a ticket in CA for not completely coming to stop and the cop didn't write my license number on the ticket... does this mean NO points??? BTW, I did stop but I didn't put my foot down.

grego262 07-14-02 12:16 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by lin_kieu
I asked this question on another thread but decided to start a new one. How many of you have had a run in with the law while on your bike. My only one (so far;) ) was getting pulled over on a lonely country road when I sailed thru a stop sign. I was pulled over and given a warning. Whatever. Am I alone as a law breaking criminal on 2 wheels, or are there others out there?
Maybe next time you sail through an intersection on this open country road, you will think twice about it. The next time it could be a semi who decided to sail through and you won't be as lucky. How about thanking the officer for doing his job and looking out for your safety.

lin_kieu 07-14-02 03:28 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by grego262


Maybe next time you sail through an intersection on this open country road, you will think twice about it. The next time it could be a semi who decided to sail through and you won't be as lucky. How about thanking the officer for doing his job and looking out for your safety.

Believe me, if I was on a regular road I would have. However, I was on a country lane, completely devoid, except for the hidden state trooper, of traffic, which makes the fact I got stopped even more irritating. There was no one else on that road except me. Even after I left him, I didn't see another car for 45 min. On roads with traffic, I obey all Stop/yield signs, lights and various other traffic laws. The reason I had picked this road is because of the known seclusion so that I could do some flat out time trial training. I don't need a bored cop to look out for my safety on a deserted road. I'm quite capable of doing that myself.

velocipedio 07-14-02 03:57 PM

It occurs to me that, if I stopped for every stop light and stop sign on any of my routes, I would average something near 6 km/h. Might as well walk.

grego262 07-14-02 04:04 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by lin_kieu


Believe me, if I was on a regular road I would have. However, I was on a country lane, completely devoid, except for the hidden state trooper, of traffic, which makes the fact I got stopped even more irritating. There was no one else on that road except me. Even after I left him, I didn't see another car for 45 min. On roads with traffic, I obey all Stop/yield signs, lights and various other traffic laws. The reason I had picked this road is because of the known seclusion so that I could do some flat out time trial training. I don't need a bored cop to look out for my safety on a deserted road. I'm quite capable of doing that myself.

Sorry you feel that way...The officer was doing his job, to protect and to serve. He may very well prevent a DUI or speeder from hitting you someday, on that road.

Nobby 07-14-02 04:47 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by velocipedio
It occurs to me that, if I stopped for every stop light and stop sign on any of my routes, I would average something near 6 km/h. Might as well walk.
Are you implying that you don't and that your average is much higher?

LittleBigMan 07-14-02 05:01 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by velocipedio
It occurs to me that, if I stopped for every stop light and stop sign on any of my routes, I would average something near 6 km/h. Might as well walk.
:eek:

I average just under 14 mph with all the stops and hills, etc.

Sounds like you're talking about a path! :(

Bikes-N-Drums 07-14-02 05:15 PM

I was stopped riding through a neighborhood which had experienced some burglaries. I had taken a week off work in October and was riding in the middle of a weekday. They checked their porto-rogue gallery and let me go.

lin_kieu 07-14-02 05:25 PM

I agree that he was doing his job. But, common sense, which is sometimes lacking in the law, should have told him that I am/was hardly what could be described as a threat to public safety. If he pulls over a speeder or DUI, great. They are a threat to safety. Heck, if I was in a car speeding down that road that day instead of on a bike, I'd accept the responsibility for my negligence. If am speeding down a coutry road, chances are that I do it in the city as well. However, as a cyclist, I feel that I/we are generally more concious and attentive to our surroundings, both on our bikes, and in our cars, when we drive them ;) .
Now this is a purely subjective point of view, but if I were a cop, sitting in my patrol car on a lonely stretch of road and saw someone speeding by in their car over 30 MPH over the speed limit, yeah I'd pull him over. He broke the law first and foremost, but also figure that a ticket may teach him a lesson so that he won't do this when in a crowded city street and put innocent people at risk.
Now if I were the same cop and saw me go by on bike going at most 25 MPH on a 45 MPH road and blow the STOP sign, I wouldn't bother, unless I was a fellow cyclist and wanted to politely warn him make some friendly bike banter. Obviously, I'm not encased in a ton of metal that potentially could kill someone, and obviously I'm not going to be blowing STOP signs in regular traffic unless I had a death wish. And the cop was not being polite. He looked like some muscle headed ex-marine who had a bug up his butt. The simple fact that he tried a scare tactic (lie) on me about carrying my drivers license on me at all times shows his mindset. BTW, I checked with a lawyer, and there is no such law in Michigan.

Bigtime 07-14-02 05:49 PM

I agree lin_kieu, I would have been pissed too. Obviously this cop had nothing better to do and you happened to catch his wrath. This is probably the same guy who gives out tickets for going one or two miles over the limit. You can't argue that you didn't break the law, but sometimes circumstances need to be considered IMO. I see cops speeding in their cruisers all the time, but who is going to give a cop a ticket? At least it was just a warning, no money of yours going into the city coffers.

I have been pulled over twice. First time was for not coming to a complete stop near the University. He made me go back to the stop sign and try it again. That one was at a congested area and I thought it was stupid at the time but he was right. Second time I was pulled over because I was riding a BMX bike and the cops thought I might have stolen it since the bike was too small for me. One of the cops recognized me from the motor pool and they let me go. Sometimes I wish a bike cop would chase me for fun, just to see if I could outrun him. It's hard to outrun a Motorola though :D
-BT

grego262 07-14-02 05:54 PM

I don't get it. Cyclist are not pedistrians, and are not cars. You are on your bike you blow a stop sign and you get a warning. From what I learned growing up while riding your bike you are supposed to obey all traffic laws. You blow a stop sign, (breaking a law) and get a warning and are pissed off about it. How is the situation different that you were on your bike and not in your car. I'd feel safer knowing that the cop stopped me and warned than sitting there and do nothing.

Carrying your license may not be a law, but I would hope you carry some sort of identification on you, I do every time I am on the street be it running or cycling.

sscyco 07-14-02 05:58 PM

I would have to agree with lin_kieu. I ride my bike to work about every day before 6am. I pass several lights and each one I usually run the red. IF I was in a car I would not have to worry about it because there is some trigger mechanism and the light changes before I would come to a complete stop. On my bike, to legally make it all the way to work, I would have to push the pedestrian crosswalk button at each intersection - one of the lights doesn't even have one of those, I would have to wait until the next car came along to cross. My point is - I use good judgment when I run the 2-3 red lights on my way to work each morning - the law is good, but cycling defiantly has it's gray areas. (BTW- When I ride the same route home I stop at every red light, because there is traffic, and I would DIE if I tried to cross)
Joe

Bigtime 07-14-02 06:30 PM

Grego, I understand your view and as far as breaking the law goes that isn't in dispute. I guess my issue is with the enforcement. If we are going to say that all infractions and laws need to be inforced no matter what then I see no need for cops, just set up cameras and robots at all intersections and stop signs. Lin ran a stop sign on a deserted country road on a bike. Ranks pretty low on the crime scale if you ask me. I bet most riders on this board would have done the same thing, under those circumstances.

Chris L 07-14-02 09:02 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by velocipedio
It occurs to me that, if I stopped for every stop light and stop sign on any of my routes, I would average something near 6 km/h. Might as well walk.
I find this surprising. I stop for all of the red lights on my commute, and can still cover the 24km distance in well under an hour.

Chris L 07-14-02 09:07 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by sscyco
IF I was in a car I would not have to worry about it because there is some trigger mechanism and the light changes before I would come to a complete stop. On my bike, to legally make it all the way to work, I would have to push the pedestrian crosswalk button at each intersection -
That's not true. If a cyclist (or any other vehicle) has stopped and ascertained that they have a non-responsive sensor, they are legally allowed to then proceed through the red light. I do this myself quite often. However, I will not blow through a red light without first stopping and making sure.


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