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Thread: Abuse of Power

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    www.chipsea.blogspot.com ChipSeal's Avatar
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    Abuse of Power

    On a recent ride, I choose a familiar loop that would dump me onto State Highway 34 for the west-bound leg back into Ennis and a headwind.

    SH 34 is signed 55 MPH with a single 12 foot lane each direction, with occasional improved shoulder. The traffic was moderate, and I was overtaken by four semi-tractor trucks during the three and a half miles.

    I was also overtaken by an off duty cop, unfortunately. He tried to bully me into obeying his view of how things ought to be.

    He drives up beside me (On my right, on the shoulder) in a small car with a young girl sitting next to him. He slows to pace my speed and when I look at him, he displays his badge and orders me to pull over throgh his open window.

    So he gets out of his car and a lecture ensues. He tells me I can't ride so far in the lane. (I was positioned in the left tire track.) I tell him I need to for my safety and the law permits it. He says I need to keep on the shoulder because I am "impeding traffic" and violating the far to the right rule. I ask him if he is going to cite me. He says no. I then ask him if I can be on my way then. He says he didn't order me to stop- he didn't flash any red lights... I cut him off with a raised voice; "You stopped me under the authority of law by flashing your badge at me!"

    I mark that as the point that the "traffic stop" became something different- more of a conversation than a confrontation. I'll try to describe it in broad strokes rather than specifics, but some of his assertions are real gems.

    So he tells me I can proceed on my way, and I turn to mount my bike. He then said; "But don't be riding out where you were or I will have to call one of my on duty friends to meet you." I am about to retort "You had better call him, then!", when he asks if we could talk for a minute. I calm myself down and face him, and agree to talk.

    He now asserts that he is just concerned for my safety. We discuss the relative merits of riding on the shoulder and in the travel lane. It is impossible for him to imagine that I would be at greater risk of inattentive drivers when riding on the shoulder. I tell him that there are no restrictions on where I can ride laterally in the lane if the lane is less than 14 feet wide. He asks how wide I think the lane is, did I measure it?

    I tell him it is easy to get an accurate estimate. (Most cars about six and a half feet wide; Can two of them travel side by side within the lane?) At this he laughed, and he said he knew quite well they were less than 14 feet from accident investigations.

    He says; "Maybe it's within your rights to ride there, but you'll end up dead right." (Yes, he actually said that!)

    We talked about the danger of distracted drivers drifting onto the shoulder, I quoted to him the law and we realized neither of us would persuade the other.

    So I was compelled by a law officer who took it on himself to enforce (through intimidation) laws that only existed in his car-centric prejudices.
    Vehicular cycling techniques have not been tried and found difficult. They have been presumed difficult and not tried.

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    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
    It is impossible for him to imagine that I would be at greater risk of inattentive drivers when riding on the shoulder.
    HH used to make that same baseless claim about "greater risk". You have any more evidence for this impossible to believe claim than he did? If not, why would/should any person, who is not deluded by VC ideology, believe it?

  3. #3
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    greater risk riding on the shoulder and getting drifted into by inattentive motorists?

    H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S!

    I'm all for the relative merits of taking the lane, do you really need to always do it? would you really find it necessary to take the lane here? or how about here?
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    Last edited by Bekologist; 06-28-09 at 08:53 PM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    HH used to make that same baseless claim about "greater risk". You have any more evidence for this impossible to believe claim than he did? If not, why would/should any person, who is not deluded by VC ideology, believe it?
    Even HH admitted to relinquishing his position after deciding that the driver had seen him. Sounds like this chipseal just keeps riding out there with no cooperation whatsoever.

    Oh, but it's all about safety.

  5. #5
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
    He now asserts that he is just concerned for my safety.
    Do you believe him?

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    Sounds like the cop wanted to show off for his gf and got pwn'd by a cyclist that actually knew what they were doing and talking about.

    I would have loved to see the cops face when you quoted the laws on riding.

  7. #7
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    I would and do ride well into the lane too, but if vehicle approaches from the rear and I get a sense they have noticed me (slowing, merging a bit left, signal on, honk,etc.) I'll move right, when and how far depends on the response of the rear approach driver, if there are following vehicles, the road/shoulder surface conditions current and up ahead, etc.
    Typically all these factors taken into account on a moderately used rural road including a typical near drivers response to my position means I usually end up moving right or not having to move at all since the driver overtakes on my left well before I need to.
    So I find it a bit odd that in this situation that if you noticed this vehicle rear approach and slowing (a signal they have noticed you) that moving over a bit would not have occurred before they had time to be on your tail.

  8. #8
    8speed DinoSORAs Ed Holland's Avatar
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    Interesting incident. It sounds like he might have had a genuine concern for safety. It's also hard for drivers to understand why a cyclist would not ride in the shoulder, as few of them have considered the situation from a bicycle seat. Flashing the badge, abuse of power?.... well one might argue that if this approach for a discussion had been made by a civilian, you'd have waved him on... few of us take kindly to "advice" from motorists.

    If I interpret your description of the road correctly, I would probably choose to ride just to the left of the white line, unless I could see that the shoulder is clean. Upon hearing/seeing approaching traffic, I consider it no trouble to take the shoulder for a second or two. Of course this is personal choice.

    Ed
    Get a bicycle. You will certainly not regret it, if you live.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
    So he gets out of his car and a lecture ensues. He tells me I can't ride so far in the lane. (I was positioned in the left tire track.)
    Your action could fail the keep-to-the right law. [NOTE: the roadway in question was less than 14 feet in width. In Texas, bicyclists are allowed to "take the lane" in this case. The law in Texas is not typical.]

    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
    I tell him I need to for my safety and the law permits it.
    The law may permit this. If you base your notion of "your safety" on (let's say) because there are evil ghosts in the right tire track, I doubt you'd be very convincing. That is, it is unlikely the law would allow any/all private/personal notions of "safety". The basis for "safety" would have to be one that (at-least) seems reasonable to other people (ie, the judge in the case).

    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
    He says I need to keep on the shoulder because I am "impeding traffic" and violating the far to the right rule.
    His understanding of the keep-to-the-right law is incorrect (except in MD) because the requirement imposed by the law excludes the shoulder.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
    It is impossible for him to imagine that I would be at greater risk of inattentive drivers when riding on the shoulder.
    A "proof" by assertion. Just because you say it's true doesn't mean it's true.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
    I tell him that there are no restrictions on where I can ride laterally in the lane if the lane is less than 14 feet wide.
    This is true in Texas.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 07-07-09 at 01:16 PM.

  10. #10
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Holland View Post
    Interesting incident. It sounds like he might have had a genuine concern for safety. It's also hard for drivers to understand why a cyclist would not ride in the shoulder, as few of them have considered the situation from a bicycle seat. Flashing the badge, abuse of power?.... well one might argue that if this approach for a discussion had been made by a civilian, you'd have waved him on... few of us take kindly to "advice" from motorists.

    If I interpret your description of the road correctly, I would probably choose to ride just to the left of the white line, unless I could see that the shoulder is clean. Upon hearing/seeing approaching traffic, I consider it no trouble to take the shoulder for a second or two. Of course this is personal choice.

    Ed
    One has to wonder who was exhibiting the "abuse of power..." the cop or the cyclist that insisted on riding in the left tire track... (thus NOT "destination postioned" unless a left turn was in mind... )


    I have to agree with Ed here... just to the left of the fog line, in the right tire track if you need to, and use the shoulder if it is clean, wide, and suitable.

    I've seen plenty of good clean wide shoulder in places like Texas and Oregon... on the other hand, I've also seen places where "shoulder" is a very loose definition (California) or albeit clean and wide, very rough (Arizona).

    But where the shoulder is smooth, clean and wide, and there are no up coming intersections... I have found that riding in the shoulder works quite well.

  11. #11
    www.chipsea.blogspot.com ChipSeal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post

    But where the shoulder is smooth, clean and wide, and there are no up coming intersections... I have found that riding in the shoulder works quite well.
    The shoulder on SH 34 east of I-45 is of variable width and dirty, and has a high frequency of junctions and intersections, as well as rolling hills.

    If a right is not exercised, does it exist? Yielding one's rights is capitulation.
    Vehicular cycling techniques have not been tried and found difficult. They have been presumed difficult and not tried.

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
    The shoulder on SH 34 east of I-45 is of variable width and dirty, and has a high frequency of junctions and intersections, as well as rolling hills.

    If a right is not exercised, does it exist? Yielding one's rights is capitulation.
    If the shoulder is poor, then it is not ridable. No argument.

    "Exercising one's rights" in the face of needlessness is often called "flouting."

    v. flout·ed, flout·ing, flouts
    v.tr.
    To show contempt for; scorn: flout a law; behavior that flouted convention. See Usage Note at flaunt.
    v.intr.
    To be scornful.
    n.
    A contemptuous action or remark; an insult.

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    Sounds like Chipcom did the right thing. But I have rarely had a need to ride in left tire track, always ride in leftmost part of the right tire track. I find that give me the most space from cars.

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    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by duke_of_hazard View Post
    Sounds like Chipcom did the right thing. But I have rarely had a need to ride in left tire track, always ride in leftmost part of the right tire track. I find that give me the most space from cars.
    Don't confuse Chip Seal for Good Buddy Chipcom. You will rue the day and vengence will be his!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
    If a right is not exercised, does it exist? Yielding one's rights is capitulation.
    "Right of way" is not a right. You must always yield the right of way if yielding is the safer choice.

    http://www.aarp.org/family/articles/...grown_ups.html

    Keep out of harm's way. Failing to yield right of way gets drivers in trouble more often than anything else, according to Hayes. So, when do you have right of way? Actually, never. "There are instances when you must yield the right of way—at a yield sign, for example—but no instances where you are given the right of way," said Hayes.

  16. #16
    www.chipsea.blogspot.com ChipSeal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    "Right of way" is not a right. You must always yield the right of way if yielding is the safer choice.

    Keep out of harm's way. Failing to yield right of way gets drivers in trouble more often than anything else, according to Hayes. So, when do you have right of way? Actually, never. "There are instances when you must yield the right of way—at a yield sign, for example—but no instances where you are given the right of way," said Hayes.

    Don't be silly.

    To whom is the responsibility for safe movement assigned in an overtaking maneuver- The one who is passing or the one who is being overtaken? The one who has the duty of exercising due care- Is he the one with the right-of way?

    If I am approaching an intersection in which I wish to proceed straight ahead, but someone coming the other direction is signaling that they wish to turn left, ought I come to a stop for him so he can turn in front of me? (Yielding right-of-way to him?)

    Do we expect folks who are traveling down a boulevard to stop for us when we emerge from an alley? (Yielding their right-of-way to us?)

    Can we expect all traffic to pull aside for us when we are traveling faster than them?

    The limited public space is distributed on a first come, first use basis. We have the use of the road space to the immediate front of us, unless occupied by a road user who has arrived ahead of us. This is a right of access, and our right of use. If we allow bullies to trample on these rights, and yield to them that which had once been our lawful place, do they in practice exist anymore? If our access to the public way can only be accomplished when there are no motor-cars around, then we really only have a conditional right to the PUBLIC roads, don't we?
    Vehicular cycling techniques have not been tried and found difficult. They have been presumed difficult and not tried.

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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    "Right of way" is not a right. You must always yield the right of way if yielding is the safer choice.
    By "safer", I mean "avoiding a collision".

    The "right of way" does not mean you don't have the obligation to try to avoid a collision.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
    [To whom is the responsibility for safe movement assigned in an overtaking maneuver- The one who is passing or the one who is being overtaken? The one who has the duty of exercising due care- Is he the one with the right-of way?
    You certainly have a responsibilty to act in a way that keeps you safe regardless of the obligations of the other driver.


    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
    If I am approaching an intersection in which I wish to proceed straight ahead, but someone coming the other direction is signaling that they wish to turn left, ought I come to a stop for him so he can turn in front of me? (Yielding right-of-way to him?)
    If you can avoid a collision by yielding, obviously you will yield.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
    Do we expect folks who are traveling down a boulevard to stop for us when we emerge from an alley? (Yielding their right-of-way to us?)
    If you can avoid a collision by yielding, obviously you will yield.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
    Can we expect all traffic to pull aside for us when we are traveling faster than them?
    I'm not saying that.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
    The limited public space is distributed on a first come, first use basis. We have the use of the road space to the immediate front of us, unless occupied by a road user who has arrived ahead of us. This is a right of access, and our right of use. If we allow bullies to trample on these rights, and yield to them that which had once been our lawful place, do they in practice exist anymore? If our access to the public way can only be accomplished when there are no motor-cars around, then we really only have a conditional right to the PUBLIC roads, don't we?
    You have no right to collide with somebody even if that person is in the wrong if you can take an action to try to avoid a collision.


    http://driversed.com/teen-drivers-ed...-Way-Laws.aspx

    Right-of-way rules help people drive safely. These rules go along with courtesy and common sense. Bicycle riders, moped riders, and pedestrians must follow these rules, too.
    Never insist on taking the right-of-way. Note that the law does not allow anyone the right-of-way. It only states who must yield. When a driver is legally required to yield the right-of-way but fails to do so, other drivers are required to stop or yield as necessary for safety. So, if another driver does not yield to you when he or she should, forget it. Let the other driver go first. You will help prevent accidents and make driving more pleasant.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 07-14-09 at 02:31 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
    If a right is not exercised, does it exist? Yielding one's rights is capitulation.
    A rational person would only "exercise" this "right" if the alternative was significantly less safe (to their understanding).

    If a rational person is riding in the shoulder, it's because he thinks doing so is significantly safer (to their understanding).

    Talking about "capitulation" stuff is not relevant because it doesn't do anything to convince people that "taking the lane" is safer.

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    OK, Chipseal... take a deep breath and count to 873.

    You, sir, are part of the problem -- that sector of society that says, "damn the rest, give me my rights!"

    Society functions through compromise; everyone gets SOME of what they want. And, it's never enough to some people... in your mirror, for example. I'm just sayin'........

    Remind me not to go to the movies with you, especially a Clint Eastwood flick; he'll level a *** at some baddie, you'll yell, "FIRE!", and the place will get stampeded because the crowd will run for the exits. Then, when you are arrested for inciting a riot, you'll say, "I have a RIGHT to free speech!"

    Uh,....yes; hyperbole.

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