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  1. #1
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    My Crime? Riding a Bicycle on a Public Street.

    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  2. #2
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    If you live in a country where the NSA can read your every electronic missive (but not first class mail... need a warrant for that!), this is the kind of thing that happens.

  3. #3
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I thought this never happened where I lived, because I have ridden thousands of miles without trouble, all those miles ridden as far as practicable to the right, but not one inch farther. In other words, most often in the center of the right hand traffic lane.

    But not long ago, it became clear that cyclists here are not immune from police harrassment when riding safely and legally on public roadways. John Lindenmayer, the advocacy director of the League of Michigan Bicyclists, was ticketed for impeding traffic and fined $115 by a magistrate. With he assistance of a lawyer, he appealed to the judge and the fine was overturned. The article about this is quite interesting, especially the cop's attitude that John--a leading bike advocate--was an uppity cyclist "with long hair" who deserved punishment for blocking traffic on one of the busiest streets in the city (which also happens to be a major route for bicycle commuters).

    http://www.lmb.org/index.php?option=...=162&Itemid=94


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  4. #4
    Pedalin' Erry Day lasauge's Avatar
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    This reminds me of an observation on David Arditti's 'Vole O' Speed' blog (a British blog, but applicable to the US in this case) that cycling might as well be an illegal activity when fewer than 1% of people ride bicycles, but easily more than 1% of the population do things that are explicitly illegal such as abusing drugs, pirating copyrighted material, or commiting some kind of theft - and it shows, in 2009, a .7% share of the total US population was locked away in prisons, but only .55% of us used bicycles as our primary commuting vehicles. Is it any wonder that the police might stop someone acting 'suspiciously' in a public place?

  5. #5
    Wookie Fred chewybrian's Avatar
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    It was an interesting read, but I have to disagree with him on one point.

    A racing trike like that should have a flag to help visibility. Sure, most people see him most of the time. But, the whole rig is under 3 feet off the ground, and there will be situations where you can't see it seen unless something sticks up higher.
    Campione Del Mondo Immaginario

  6. #6
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chewybrian View Post
    It was an interesting read, but I have to disagree with him on one point.

    A racing trike like that should have a flag to help visibility. Sure, most people see him most of the time. But, the whole rig is under 3 feet off the ground, and there will be situations where you can't see it seen unless something sticks up higher.
    I think it can be argued that a flag is a good safety feature. But there is no legal requirement to have a flag, so the cop had no excuse to stop the cyclist for not having one. This cop seems to be the moronic type of person who sees something new and strange (to him), such as a recumbent trike, and figures he'd better do something about it.
    Last edited by Roody; 07-11-13 at 12:34 AM.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  7. #7
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    If you live in a country where the NSA can read your every electronic missive (but not first class mail... need a warrant for that!), this is the kind of thing that happens.
    If the NSA is reading this forum, at least they will know it's legal to ride a bike.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  8. #8
    Wookie Fred chewybrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    I think it can be argued that a flag is a good safety feature. But there is no legal requirement to have a flag, so the cop had no excuse to stop the cyclist for not having one. This cop seems to be the moronic type of person who sees something new and strange (to him), such as a recumbent trike, and figures he'd better do something about it.
    I'm not saying there needs to be a law, and it certainly is not up to the cop to enforce non-existing laws. I just think it would be smart to have one.
    Campione Del Mondo Immaginario

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    Gotta say, I'd have one; but, having said that, it's just one of the cool things about this country that we can do things that other people think aren't smart, but aren't regulated by law.

    There's a book-sized list of things I see people do daily that I think are dumb; but I'm not in charge, and I think the country would probably explode if I was.

    That blog episode is another vivid example of runaway police extremism.

  10. #10
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DX-MAN View Post
    That blog episode is another vivid example of runaway police extremism.
    I'd bet it's a rarity. I know in my neighborhood, the police always wave when they see me. (I keep my Critical Mass logo well hidden, however... oops I bet the NSA just found out though.)

  11. #11
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    No, it's not common; but there have been too many stories in recent years to call it rare.

    The local PD seems to have an unwritten rule for the officers: professionalism recommended (but optional), and public displays of human friendliness are against regulations.

  12. #12
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    It happens a lot more than people realize.

    Do a search for ChipSeal here on the boards. He was actually given jail time for riding his bicycle on a public roadway in Texas.

    I have gotten a variety of tickets over the years, most of which went away. Only one was bad enough that it was recommended by my attorney that I take a plea bargain to unsafe equipment (slick tires no tread ) just to get out of that court room. The judge that was presiding was less than impartial when it came to cyclists and pedestrians. Fortunately he is now dead.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  13. #13
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I was pulled over while riding late at night in a residential area. The cop said there had been a number of B&Es in the area, and TVs and computers were being stolen. I welcomed her to search my vehicle to see if I was concealing a wide screen. Luckily, she just laughed and let me pedal away.

    My son and our roommate were less lucky. They were pulled over while riding through an industrial area near our house. Again, the cops were profiling bicyclists, this time for stealing heavy tools. Through amazing detective work, it only took them about 20 minutes to deduce that there were no tools concealed on the two bicycles. But they did determine that our roommate had a bench warrant for unpaid fines, so they arrested him. They wouldn't let my son take both bikes home ("too dangerous" to ghost ride) so he rode the roommate's more valuable bike. He hid his own bike in some weeds. By the time we went back for it, it had been stolen. And of course the real criminals had all that time to get away while the cops were "investigating" two obviously innocent bicyclists.



    "Think Outside the Cage"

  14. #14
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    I was pulled over while riding late at night in a residential area. The cop said there had been a number of B&Es in the area, and TVs and computers were being stolen. I welcomed her to search my vehicle to see if I was concealing a wide screen. Luckily, she just laughed and let me pedal away.

    My son and our roommate were less lucky. They were pulled over while riding through an industrial area near our house. Again, the cops were profiling bicyclists, this time for stealing heavy tools. Through amazing detective work, it only took them about 20 minutes to deduce that there were no tools concealed on the two bicycles. But they did determine that our roommate had a bench warrant for unpaid fines, so they arrested him. They wouldn't let my son take both bikes home ("too dangerous" to ghost ride) so he rode the roommate's more valuable bike. He hid his own bike in some weeds. By the time we went back for it, it had been stolen. And of course the real criminals had all that time to get away while the cops were "investigating" two obviously innocent bicyclists.

    Wow! Why didn't they take his bike along with him?

  15. #15
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    Wow! Why didn't they take his bike along with him?
    My experience is that cops HATE to put bikes in their trunks.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  16. #16
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    I would expect they would have a legal duty to impound the bike.

    The police of all jurisdictions around here seem to be pretty bike friendly. Most of the city cops have "3" Please It's the Law" stickers.

  17. #17
    Wookie Fred chewybrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    ...it was recommended by my attorney that I take a plea bargain to unsafe equipment (slick tires no tread )
    Is there anything unsafe about slick tires on a bike (on the road)? It is almost impossible for a bike to hydroplane; you need to get up to a crazy speed first, like Merckx following a semi down a mountain with a 50mph tailwind. Tread is only useful in mud or gravel. It seems like you could have beat that one.
    Campione Del Mondo Immaginario

  18. #18
    Senior Member Clarabelle's Avatar
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    Having a cop who is ignorant of the law is not a big surprise. I once had a local officer come into my classroom (5th grade) to talk about bike safety a couple of days before we took our annual bike hike. When it came to giving hand signals, he told them that either hand held upright meant right turn, and either hand held horizontally meant left turn. We spent the next 30 minutes re-educating and practicing hand signals.

  19. #19
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chewybrian View Post
    Is there anything unsafe about slick tires on a bike (on the road)? It is almost impossible for a bike to hydroplane; you need to get up to a crazy speed first, like Merckx following a semi down a mountain with a 50mph tailwind. Tread is only useful in mud or gravel. It seems like you could have beat that one.
    At that point I had worked my way down from: "Obstructing Traffic" (on an empty 5 lane road early on a Saturday morning), "Resisting Arrest" (I moved to the far right of the lane, but did not stop immediately) and a couple of other charges.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
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    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  20. #20
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clarabelle View Post
    Having a cop who is ignorant of the law is not a big surprise....
    Nor, for that matter, is it rare to find a judge who is ignorant of traffic laws. In the article I linked to earlier, the magistrate did not know the law regarding bicycle placement in the roadway and was unwilling to listen to the defendant when he tried to explain the law. (In Michigan, a magistrate is a junior judge who mainly hears traffic cases.) The appeals judge also did not know the law, but at least was willing to look into it.

    Education of cops and judges should certainly be a high priority for bicycling advocates, whenever they're not too busy trying to force us to wear helmets.

    http://www.lmb.org/index.php?option=...=162&Itemid=94


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  21. #21
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    The judge that was presiding was less than impartial when it came to cyclists and pedestrians. Fortunately he is now dead.
    From natural causes I presume.

  22. #22
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    From natural causes I presume.
    I don't recall if it was him or the other *******, but one of them was poisoned by their wife. The other dropped dead of a heart attack coming out of a brothel.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    My son and our roommate were less lucky. They were pulled over while riding through an industrial area near our house. Again, the cops were profiling bicyclists, this time for stealing heavy tools. Through amazing detective work, it only took them about 20 minutes to deduce that there were no tools concealed on the two bicycles. But they did determine that our roommate had a bench warrant for unpaid fines, so they arrested him. They wouldn't let my son take both bikes home ("too dangerous" to ghost ride) so he rode the roommate's more valuable bike. He hid his own bike in some weeds. By the time we went back for it, it had been stolen. And of course the real criminals had all that time to get away while the cops were "investigating" two obviously innocent bicyclists.

    That really sucks that the bike was stolen. I don't see how they can force you to abandon it on the street.

    I've been pulled over in a car multiple times for driving in areas that the cops said have had multiple B&E's. Take names, addresses, search car and try to intimidate you by questioning your reasons for being there and then refusing to believe them.
    2 wheels are better than 4!

  24. #24
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyderTheRider View Post
    That really sucks that the bike was stolen. I don't see how they can force you to abandon it on the street.

    I've been pulled over in a car multiple times for driving in areas that the cops said have had multiple B&E's. Take names, addresses, search car and try to intimidate you by questioning your reasons for being there and then refusing to believe them.
    This happens all the time. Randomly stop people without cause and eventually they get lucky. Great police work! Meanwhile, they have detained 50 innocent people for each guilty one they catch. It's an injustice and a waste of taxpayer dollars, but approved by our right wing Supreme Court.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  25. #25
    Senior Member enigmaT120's Avatar
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    Back in the 80s they used to do that to me on my motorcycle. I was pulled over 12 times but never ticketed. I wasn't even speeding (when they pulled me over). Just BS excuses like Roody says. At least they've quit doing it since the early 90s. I don't know what changed. Maybe more cops bought motorcycles.
    Ed Miller
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