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Old 07-09-12, 05:21 PM   #1
Roadie607
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Took a spill...for America!

Well first real post and I'm already eating sh-t, we're off to a good start.

I was riding today when I got passed by a white pickup with one of those American flags you can attach to the windows of your car, probably leftover from July 4th. The dude accelerated and the flag popped off right in front of me. I had the option to A) run over the stars and stripes or B) attempt to swerve and avoid it. I chose plan B, but the road I was on had moderate traffic and lots of sand in what little shoulder there was. To veer out suddenly to the left directly into traffic probably meant I'd die so I cut right real quick and whadyaknow I wiped out on a patch of sand. I was fine and so was the bike except for some scratches on the pedals and brake levers. So I gathered my ego and went back to the little American flag lying there in shoulder of the road, unscathed. I picked it up, stuck it in a nearby house's chain link fence, and rode away while the flag fluttered in the breeze.

Probably more of a symbolic gesture than anything but I feel like I'd wouldn't be able to just run over the flag.
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Old 07-10-12, 05:21 AM   #2
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That's funny cause I'd probably have done the same thing.
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Old 07-10-12, 05:29 AM   #3
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I had a collection of those flags that I had picked up off the roadways around town, I gave them to the B.S.A. for proper disposal.
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Old 07-10-12, 06:32 AM   #4
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No offence, but that was pretty dumb, should have just ridden over it. I know Americans are really patriotic, but it is just a flag, and as you said, you could have been injured pretty badly / killed if you had landed in the wrong place.
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Old 07-10-12, 06:46 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Roadie607 View Post
I was riding today when I got passed by a white pickup with one of those American flags you can attach to the windows of your car, probably leftover from July 4th.
The disrespect to the flag was done by the pickup driver. After all it was his negligence that caused the flag to be on the roadbed. Those cheesy plastic flag poles are the wrong way to display the flag on a car. The Flag Code specifically states that "When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender." and obviously a plastic stick hooked onto the window is not firmly fixed to the chassis nor clamped to the right fender.

And then, in addition to improper display of the flag, the driver broke the Flag Code again by using such a cheap (probably Chinese) flagpole that was not designed to withstand the forces applied to it by a moving car. It was inevitable from the moment that he bought the flag that it was going to fall the ground. The Flag Code states that "The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise." He might as well have taken it out of the package and dropped it directly on the ground.

However, I do not see anything in the flag code about accidently running over the flag when it has been dropped onto the roadway. You're in the clear. While I might try to avoid the flag, I think that avoiding a wipe-out would have been my first priority. The flag was made for the man, not the man for the flag.

I'm glad you are okay.
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Last edited by Artkansas; 07-10-12 at 07:02 AM.
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Old 07-10-12, 07:17 AM   #6
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I'd have picked up the flag, taken it home, and burned it. It's bad mojo to let a national flag touch the ground and the proper way to dispose of flag is to burn it.
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Old 07-10-12, 09:08 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
The disrespect to the flag was done by the pickup driver. After all it was his negligence that caused the flag to be on the roadbed. Those cheesy plastic flag poles are the wrong way to display the flag on a car. The Flag Code specifically states that "When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender." and obviously a plastic stick hooked onto the window is not firmly fixed to the chassis nor clamped to the right fender.............

However, I do not see anything in the flag code about accidently running over the flag when it has been dropped onto the roadway.............

I'm glad you are okay.
One of my pet peeves is all the bumper-sticker patriots displaying the flag in a disrespectful manner. Saw a plumber's truck yesterday with a full-size faded and threadbare flag attached to the piperack. I have a collection of flags I've picked up off the road that have blown off cars, trucks, and Harleys.

Got to admit, I would have run over the flag, taken it home and ran it through the washer.

Last edited by Flying Merkel; 07-10-12 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 07-10-12, 09:13 AM   #8
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What Artkansas said and I'm glad you're OK.

Sorry about the bike. I hope it cleans up OK.
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Old 07-10-12, 10:24 AM   #9
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Old 07-10-12, 11:21 AM   #10
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One of my pet peeves is all the bumper-sticker patriots displaying the flag in a disrespectful manner. Saw a plumber's truck yesterday with a full-size faded and threadbare flag attached to the piperack.
I'm old enough to remember when Abbie Hoffman was arrested for wearing a shirt made from an American flag. Now you can see dozens of similar examples worn by "patriots" at any country music festival.
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Old 07-10-12, 11:29 AM   #11
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I'm old enough to remember when Abbie Hoffman was arrested for wearing a shirt made from an American flag.

Who's she?






j/k I'm familiar with him.
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Old 07-10-12, 11:32 AM   #12
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The Flag Code specifically states that "When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender." and obviously a plastic stick hooked onto the window is not firmly fixed to the chassis nor clamped to the right fender.
Just so it's clear, the US Flag Code is advisory only -- it is specified in the law, but it does not have the force of law behind it, and there's no legal penalties for violating it.

Show the flag respect, but I wouldn't suggest risking injury to yourself to do so.

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I'm old enough to remember when Abbie Hoffman was arrested for wearing a shirt made from an American flag.
He was arrested for conspiracy and inciting to riot, not for wearing a shirt made from a flag.

(At least that's the official reasons -- I wasn't there -- but maybe the shirt made somebody mad and sent them looking for something else, something that's actually illegal?)
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Old 07-10-12, 02:27 PM   #13
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Just so it's clear, the US Flag Code is advisory only -- it is specified in the law, but it does not have the force of law behind it, and there's no legal penalties for violating it.
You are right. There is no penalty for breaking that law, but it does detail what should or should not be done, and as such is THE guideline. While you can't arrest the pickup driver, he still has disrespected the flag by his poor choices, though I doubt that was his intention.

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Abbie Hoffman was arrested for conspiracy and inciting to riot, not for wearing a shirt made from a flag.

(At least that's the official reasons -- I wasn't there -- but maybe the shirt made somebody mad and sent them looking for something else, something that's actually illegal?)
Actually Abbie Hoffman was arrested for his flag shirt and found guilty. The Realist article details the trial. The inciting to riot trial was a separate incident, the infamous Chicago 7 trial after the riots at the 1968 Democratic Convention.

I was out circulating an ethics petition this 4th of July. There were lots of people wearing flag shirts. A surprising number of them told me that they don't vote.
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Last edited by Artkansas; 07-10-12 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 07-10-12, 02:38 PM   #14
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Actually Abbie Hoffman was arrested for the flag shirt and found guilty. The Realist article details the trial.
Fair enough, and interesting to boot. Note that the law mentioned here is not part of the US flag code.

Also it seems that that this law is no longer enforced, as it was found unconstitutional, changed somewhat, and found unconstitutional again by the Supreme Court. I didn't know about Abbie Hoffman's conviction under it, however. And if I'm reading this right the conviction was eventually overturned on appeal (as it should be.)

(It's also interesting that this isn't mentioned in his wikipedia page at all -- I'd expect this to be highly worthy of mention there.)

Last edited by dougmc; 07-10-12 at 02:45 PM.
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