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  1. #1
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    Illegal Bicycle Trailer?

    This story has me asking "WTF?".

    The Police pulled the man over for not having lights on his Bicycle Trailer.

    Inside the trailer, the Police find a Mobile Meth Lab.

    Quote:
    "SOUTH BEND, Ind – A South Bend man pulled over for not having the proper lights on his bicycle and the cart he was pulling turned into a mobile meth lab bust late Thursday night.
    Officers said 43-year-old Lewis Vandusen was riding his bike..."

    Link:
    http://www.abc57.com/news/local/Poli...138635679.html

    I never expected anyone to do something like this.

    Just passing the story along for your own edification.
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  2. #2
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    Article says he'd been arrested in the past on Meth. Chances are the Police recognized him and used the "no lights" reasoning to justify the stop. No different than getting pulled over for a headlight out on the car, only really because the driver was know, in a drug area, etc. Otherwise the police wouldn't have messed with it.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member pick's Avatar
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    Actually, if you are out riding around at night without lights on your bike and or trailer, they do have cause to roust you and will...even out here the county Sheriff's will use that as a reason to check someone who is out riding their bike - you are after all in violation of the vehicle code if you do not have lights on your moving vehicle one half hour prior to sundown and one half hour after sunrise be it bike or trike and towed trailer.
    Last edited by pick; 02-03-12 at 04:08 PM.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member PaPa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pick View Post
    Actually, if you are out riding around at night without lights on your bike and or trailer, they do have cause to roust you and will...even out here the county Sheriff's will use that as a reason to check someone who is out riding their bike - you are after all in violation of the vehicle code if you do not have lights on your moving vehicle one half hour prior to sundown and one half hour after sunrise be it bike or trike and towed trailer.
    Is this from Indiana statute, or are you assuming that all states are the same? Many state and city ordnances are different. Idaho Statutes, for example, do NOT require tail lights, only reflectors, The City of Twin Falls, Idaho, however, does require a taillight.

    But what it really boils down to, is 'probable cause' (PC) to make a lawful stop. Recognizing the individual as a previous offender doesn't cut it. There has to be a legitimate reason to suspect a violation HAS OCCURRED, IS OCCURRING, or is ABOUT TO OCCUR, before the officer can arrest.
    Last edited by PaPa; 02-03-12 at 10:06 PM.

  5. #5
    Beast Rider BeastRider's Avatar
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    I would imagine that this guy was VERY well know by the local authorities. I had a friend a number of years ago that liked to get drunk. He had been busted numerous times for drunk in public. Police happened to see him riding his bike home and stopped him. He was arrested and jailed for "Riding while intoxicated". Later dismissed in court. Point is, because he was well known he was stopped. Probably the same here......

  6. #6
    Senior Member PaPa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeastRider View Post
    I would imagine that this guy was VERY well know by the local authorities. I had a friend a number of years ago that liked to get drunk. He had been busted numerous times for drunk in public. Police happened to see him riding his bike home and stopped him.
    Quote Originally Posted by BeastRider View Post
    Point is, because he was well known he was stopped.
    Without Probable Cause (see my previous post), this would've been an unlawful stop. So why was it dismissed?
    Last edited by PaPa; 02-04-12 at 01:08 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Digital_Cowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotbike View Post
    This story has me asking "WTF?".

    The Police pulled the man over for not having lights on his Bicycle Trailer.

    Inside the trailer, the Police find a Mobile Meth Lab.

    Quote:
    "SOUTH BEND, Ind – A South Bend man pulled over for not having the proper lights on his bicycle and the cart he was pulling turned into a mobile meth lab bust late Thursday night.
    Officers said 43-year-old Lewis Vandusen was riding his bike..."

    Link:
    http://www.abc57.com/news/local/Poli...138635679.html

    I never expected anyone to do something like this.

    Just passing the story along for your own edification.
    Uh, other than trailers for cars, vans, SUVs, motorcycles, trucks. How many trailers for bicycles have electrical harnesses or even lights on them? I know that my Yakima Big Tow trailer doesn't have any lights. And how many states actually require bicycle trailers to have lights?
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  8. #8
    Beast Rider BeastRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaPa View Post
    Without Probably Cause (see my previous post), this would've been an unlawful stop. So why was it dismissed?

    I would imagine that he would have been weaving a bit. Enough to stop him. I think that the DUI was dismissed and he got stuck with a simple disorderly conduct. Not sure though.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Digital_Cowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaPa View Post
    Is this from Indiana statute, or are you assuming that all states are the same? Many state and city ordinances are different. Idaho Statutes, for example, do NOT require tail lights, only reflectors, The City of Twin Falls, Idaho, however, does require a taillight.

    But what it really boils down to, is 'probably cause' (PC) to make a lawful stop. Recognizing the individual as a previous offender doesn't cut it. There has to be a legitimate reason to suspect a violation HAS OCCURRED, IS OCCURRING, or is ABOUT TO OCCUR, before the officer can arrest.
    I think that you mean probable not probably cause. I also know that past bad acts aren't always admissible, but if I'm not mistaken they have been used to justify getting a search warrant. Also if a person is known to commit certain crimes then does it not make sense for law enforcement to pay extra attention to them?

    An example would be when law enforcement sets up it's DUI checkpoints within close proximity to bars and restaurants. And no one questions the police setting up DUI checkpoints. One of the ironies with those DUI checkpoints is that they're really only setup a small number of times during the year, i.e. 4th of July, Christmas/New Years Eve, etc.

    And other then the DUI checkpoint being setup within "close proximity" to bars/restaurants or during the holidays what probable cause do the police have for checking the drivers that they stop and check?

    Yes, I agree that we should do everything we can to get not only drunk drivers but incompetent drivers off of the road.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Digital_Cowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaPa View Post
    Without Probably Cause (see my previous post), this would've been an unlawful stop. So why was it dismissed?
    How is knowing that the man has a history of going out and getting drunk and either driving or riding a bicycle not probable cause? Do you want the police to wait until he actually hits and injures or kills someone before they act?
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  11. #11
    Senior Member PaPa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
    I think that you mean probable not probably cause.
    Yes, a spell check correction that 'I' didn't check. Thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
    I also know that past bad acts aren't always admissible, but if I'm not mistaken they have been used to justify getting a search warrant.
    Depends on state & local statutes. It's also IMO, beyond the scope of the original reason for this thread.
    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
    Also if a person is known to commit certain crimes then does it not make sense for law enforcement to pay extra attention to them?
    Pay attention, yes, but not unlawfully stop & detain without probable cause. Following someone around like a mother hen does her chicks, borders harassment. I certainly wouldn't tolerate it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
    An example would be when law enforcement sets up it's DUI checkpoints within close proximity to bars and restaurants. And no one questions the police setting up DUI checkpoints.
    Many citizens,... as do many state legislators question the legality of check points.

    From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Random_..._United_States

    Jurisdictions that allow sobriety checkpoints often carve out specific exceptions to their normal civil protections, in order to allow sobriety checkpoints. Although the U.S. Supreme Court has found sobriety checkpoints to be constitutionally permissible, ten states (Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) have found that sobriety roadblocks violate their own state constitutions or have outlawed them. Two other states (Alaska and Montana) do not use checkpoints even though they have not made them illegal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
    Yes, I agree that we should do everything we can to get not only drunk drivers but incompetent drivers off of the road.
    As a life-time non drinker/user, I would agree. But not when it infringes on constitutional rights of BOTH the innocent... and the guilty.
    Last edited by PaPa; 02-03-12 at 10:03 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Digital_Cowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaPa View Post
    Yes, a spell check correction that 'I' didn't check. Thank you.
    At least ya "blamed" the spell check instead of the "auto complete."

    Quote Originally Posted by PaPa View Post
    Depends on state & local statutes. It's also IMO, beyond the scope of the original reason for this thread. Pay attention, yes, but not unlawfully stop & detain without probable cause. Following someone around like a mother hen does her chicks, borders harassment. I certainly wouldn't tolerate it.
    True, for better or for worse a lot of things depend on state/local statutes. As was pointed out there is a better than good chance that the individual who was riding their bike after a night of drinking was probably weaving or was otherwise unsteady on their bike. How many crimes could have been prevented if law enforcement had paid just a little more attention to known criminals?

    Quote Originally Posted by PaPa View Post
    Many citizens,... as do many state legislators question the legality of check points.
    That is understandable, especially given how that they only seem to use them during certain times of the year. I think that they might be more effective if they were conducted more often then just during the "major holidays."

    Quote Originally Posted by PaPa View Post
    From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Random_..._United_States

    Jurisdictions that allow sobriety checkpoints often carve out specific exceptions to their normal civil protections, in order to allow sobriety checkpoints. Although the U.S. Supreme Court has found sobriety checkpoints to be constitutionally permissible, ten states (Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) have found that sobriety roadblocks violate their own state constitutions or have outlawed them. Two other states (Alaska and Montana) do not use checkpoints even though they have not made them illegal.

    As a life-time non drinker/user, I would agree. But not when it infringes on constitutional rights of BOTH the innocent... and the guilty.
    I agree that making sure that laws don't infringe on constitutional rights is a tricky road. But hasn't someone who has been convicted of certain crimes been stripped of many of their constitutional rights?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
    Uh, other than trailers for cars, vans, SUVs, motorcycles, trucks. How many trailers for bicycles have electrical harnesses or even lights on them? I know that my Yakima Big Tow trailer doesn't have any lights. And how many states actually require bicycle trailers to have lights?
    Anytime I ride I have my DiNotte 140R on the back. If I'm pulling a trailer - and I've done my fair share - I have my DiNotte 140R on the back of the trailer. Day or night.

    Truth is, most bicycle lights don't require a wiring harness, only a light and power source (battery, generator hub, etc). And, most bicycle lights are relatively easy to move from bike to bike to trailer and back.
    Last edited by hopperja; 02-04-12 at 12:23 AM.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member PaPa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
    As was pointed out there is a better than good chance that the individual who was riding their bike after a night of drinking was probably weaving or was otherwise unsteady on their bike.
    The unusual "weaving" is PC, and cause for the stop. However, it's extremely unwise for the officer to blindly 'assume' the suspect has been drinking prior to the stop, especially if the suspect is holding a straight line, and hasn't violated any laws in the officer's presents - that's clearly not probable cause. And if the accused knows the law, it can potentially lead to a dismissal - a dismissal which will render any additional offenses (such as possession of drugs, etc) inadmissible and thrown-out, simply because the lack of PC.
    Last edited by PaPa; 02-04-12 at 12:24 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rawhite1969 View Post
    Article says he'd been arrested in the past on Meth. Chances are the Police recognized him and used the "no lights" reasoning to justify the stop. No different than getting pulled over for a headlight out on the car, only really because the driver was know, in a drug area, etc. Otherwise the police wouldn't have messed with it.
    This is a catastrophic failure in logic.

    We don't know if the officer knew him, we don't know which agency/officer arrested him in the past (perhaps it was in a different state, we don't know), and if the officer knew him, we don't know if the officer knew he had previously been arrested for meth.

    You weren't there (were you?), so why second guess the police? If they need to be second guessed, that's up to the court to sort out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
    ...I agree that making sure that laws don't infringe on constitutional rights is a tricky road. But hasn't someone who has been convicted of certain crimes been stripped of many of their constitutional rights?
    'Many' is a stretch. Most convicted felons can't vote and can't own firearms. They don't forfeit their freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, right to due process, freedom from having to quarter soldiers, etc. or any of their other Constitutional rights.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Digital_Cowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hopperja View Post
    Anytime I ride I have my DiNotte 140R on the back. If I'm pulling a trailer - and I've done my fair share - I have my DiNotte 140R on the back of the trailer. Day or night.

    Truth is, most bicycle lights don't require a wiring harness, only a light and power source (battery, generator hub, etc). And, most bicycle lights are relatively easy to move from bike to bike to trailer and back.
    True, and I have to admit that I have been looking for a taillight to replace the reflector on my Big Tow. But never found one that I was happy with.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Digital_Cowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaPa View Post
    The unusual "weaving" is PC, and cause for the stop. However, it's extremely unwise for the officer to blindly 'assume' the suspect has been drinking prior to the stop, especially if the suspect is holding a straight line, and hasn't violated any laws in the officer's presents - that's clearly not probable cause. And if the accused knows the law, it can potentially lead to a dismissal - a dismissal which will render any additional offenses (such as possession of drugs, etc) inadmissible and thrown-out, simply because the lack of PC.
    I can agree with that to a point. Recently down here in the Tampa Bay area we've had the police "staking" out a local hydroponics shop setting up a "surveillance" camera to record license plates and using that as PC to obtain warrants to search their homes or to intimidate their way into the person's home using the old "if you don't have anything to hide you'll let us take a look." Or to obtain their electric statements. Sadly, yes in a very few cases they did find some people growing a small amount of pot. Given that there are a lot of legitimate uses for hydroponic equipment that is harassment.

    With the individual being discussed I don't think that it would be "harassment" for local law enforcement to note the time that those who are known to drive/operate vehicles while drunk enter a bar and what time that they leave said bar and/or how many bars that they visit in a given time period. And then stop them and conduct a field sobriety test on them. Particularly if they're driving a car or riding a bicycle. Or if they're walking to arrest them for public intoxication (or whatever the local ordinance(s) may be that covers just being in public while drunk and not operating any type of vehicle). Again particularly if they've been convicted of DUI/DWI in the past/recent past.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member Digital_Cowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hopperja View Post
    'Many' is a stretch. Most convicted felons can't vote and can't own firearms. They don't forfeit their freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, right to due process, freedom from having to quarter soldiers, etc. or any of their other Constitutional rights.
    Okay, yes "many" may have been a stretch. But if they're out on parole there are lots of things that those who haven't been arrested/tried and convicted can do that someone who is a convicted felon can't do. And if I'm not mistaken a person who is out on parole can have their car or their home or their person searched at the whim of their parole officer, they can also (again if I'm not mistaken) be compelled to submit to random drug testing, which in a non-convicted felon would be a violation of search and seizure. They can have (if I'm not mistaken) their first amendment right to assembly if not fully revoked restricted to who they can and cannot associate with. Such as if I am not mistaken known felons (unless living in a halfway home) are not suppose to associate with other known felons.

    So, again yes, "many" may have been a stretch, but there are lots, maybe even many things that those who are convicted felons cannot do that those who are not convicted felons can do.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies, wow, 18 replies overnight, thank you all.

    The guy should've had a Dinotte on his mobile meth lab, to make it "Legal". That's my conclusion.

    I was not aware that trailers (bike trailers) needed lights of their own. I would've figured the bikes tail light would be enough, so long as it's not blocked from view by the trailer.

    Anyway, I would have expected someone to get busted for having pot plants growing in a plexiglass enclosed velomobile, in their backyard, but not this. A velomobile can be used as a "cold frame", or a miniature greenhouse, to get plants started early in the season. I don't know anything about methamphetamine.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    Why discuss this at all? We all know that journalists write and say what they want to, and often they report on things they know nothing about. The chick with the bad hair said lights missing on the trailer. If you read under the window before looking at the wideo it said "A South Bend man pulled over for not having the proper lights on his bicycle and the cart he was pulling turned into a mobile meth lab bust late Thursday night."

    The sentence is not correct as far as I can tell and therefor not really telling us what the journalist is trying to say. I have more than once experienced that journalists often have zero knowledge about technical stuff and in trying to explain what happened they mess it up big time.

    I remember once after an accident where a man got his leg trapped in an Auger conveyor (transportscrew in my language) and the journalist was going to call it a "machine screw". He was frustrated becouse I wanted him to read out loud for me what he was going to write before I allowed him to quote what I told him about the accident. He would have completely messed up the story and then write I told him so.
    Last edited by badmother; 02-06-12 at 11:26 AM.
    °Empty drums make a lot of noice... (Old Hungarian proverb).

  22. #22
    Back in the Saddle
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    population of SB is about 100k. I've lived in multiple towns that size, and know police in towns that size - they know the repeat offenders.

    No second guessing the police here - he was on a public road doing wrong, thus I have no issue with him being stopped. I don't assume any privacy beyond being in my home, so my position is that if you are in public, doing wrong, you are subject to the repercussions of your actions.

    Indiana code requires a light on the front and a light or reflector on the rear, which would logically extend to the trailer (which had reflector), but reflector also has to be visible from a specified distance. Combine that with the overloaded trailer (could be pulled over for safety concerns) and looks like plenty of opportunity for probable cause..
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  23. #23
    Beast Rider BeastRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rawhite1969 View Post
    population of SB is about 100k. I've lived in multiple towns that size, and know police in towns that size - they know the repeat offenders.

    No second guessing the police here - he was on a public road doing wrong, thus I have no issue with him being stopped. I don't assume any privacy beyond being in my home, so my position is that if you are in public, doing wrong, you are subject to the repercussions of your actions.

    Indiana code requires a light on the front and a light or reflector on the rear, which would logically extend to the trailer (which had reflector), but reflector also has to be visible from a specified distance. Combine that with the overloaded trailer (could be pulled over for safety concerns) and looks like plenty of opportunity for probable cause..

    small and mid-size cities most definitely know the who's who in their communities. I certainly have no problem being stopped and I would expect that police would do their best to keep repeat offenders off the streets.

    If you aren't doing anything wrong then you have nothing to be concerned about. I am sure that, even in smaller communities, the police can find a reason to stop you. No one can drive a car or other vehicle without breaking some obscure law that they might not even be aware of.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BeastRider View Post
    small and mid-size cities most definitely know the who's who in their communities. I certainly have no problem being stopped and I would expect that police would do their best to keep repeat offenders off the streets.

    If you aren't doing anything wrong then you have nothing to be concerned about. I am sure that, even in smaller communities, the police can find a reason to stop you. No one can drive a car or other vehicle without breaking some obscure law that they might not even be aware of.
    I don't know Harry- with power comes the ability to abuse power. I find the idea that I could get pulled over for no apparent reason scary. I'm not referring to this situation in particular but as a whole.

  25. #25
    Beast Rider BeastRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Youaintgotjack View Post
    I don't know Harry- with power comes the ability to abuse power. I find the idea that I could get pulled over for no apparent reason scary. I'm not referring to this situation in particular but as a whole.
    That's certainly true. Although, even when you are out driving a car, if an officer follows you long enough you are bound to make some sort of minor mistake giving them the probable cause needed for a traffic stop. But, that usually doesn't happen unless they happen to recognize you as a regular "guest" of the court or jail system......

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