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Old 05-16-14, 06:45 PM   #1
ChrisM2097
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Got yelled at by an ignorant cop

I was commuting home today through a construction zone - about a 1/2 mile of 2 narrow traffic lanes in each direction, no shoulder (concrete barriers literally right on the solid white line), no bike lane, no sidewalk, just traffic lanes. My co-worker and I did the only thing we could safely do - we took the right lane.

No one was honking or yelling at us. Drivers saw us from plenty far enough back to merge over and go around us. The only person that was vocal about us riding there was a police officer that pulled up next to us (now slowing BOTH lanes) and announced over his loudspeaker, "YOU CAN NOT OCCUPY A LANE. YOU'RE IMPEDING THE FLOW OF TRAFFIC."

I attempted to get his attention to try to have a chat with him, but apparently it was too warm out, so he had his windows rolled up and A/C on, so he didn't see my gesturing, or hear my questions.

For any locals that might know this area - It's in San Jose, CA - on Berryessa @ the flea market.

https://www.google.com/maps/@37.372214,-121.875455,3a,75y,230.73h,78.7t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sr752iCRk4Lg2xllk1HWm7w!2e0

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Old 05-16-14, 11:03 PM   #2
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You were following the rules, IMO that is why you were not ticketed , it was more like harassment , likely he didn't like bicycles.
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Old 05-17-14, 01:39 AM   #3
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Bikes on a road are considered a VEHICLE! You should have took his plate number and report him to his superior. If I decide to ride on a busy road with 55+ mph speed limits, I'm legally allowed to. I won't, for the sake of my safety but still.
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Old 05-17-14, 09:41 PM   #4
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Bikes on a road are considered a VEHICLE!
If you want to get really picky, California law seems to call bicycles "devices" rather than "vehicles" --

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Bicycle Defined
39000. "Bicycle," for the purposes of this division, means any device upon which a person may ride, which is propelled by human power through a system of belts, chains, or gears having either two or three wheels (one of which is at least 20 inches in diameter) or having a frame size of at least 14 inches, or having four or more wheels.
(Reading this carefully ... I guess a penny farthing is not a bicycle in California?)

And then this law --

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Laws Applicable to Bicycle Use
21200. (a) Every person riding a bicycle upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this division... except those provisions which by their very nature can have no application.
... is what makes it so that these "devices" have to obey the laws that specifically say "vehicle". It's an odd distinction, I know ...

(And yes, I realize that this doesn't make your statement wrong as you said "considered a vehicle" which is accurate enough ... just thought I'd point it out.)

Texas has similar wording. Here, a bicycle fits the definition of a vehicle, but since the definition for a bicycle is more specific, it takes precedence -- and it calls a bicycle a device rather than a vehicle.

That said, this doesn't affect the rest of your argument.
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Old 05-18-14, 12:49 AM   #5
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bikes on a road are considered a vehicle! You should have took his plate number and report him to his superior. If i decide to ride on a busy road with 55+ mph speed limits, i'm legally allowed to. I won't, for the sake of my safety but still.
Ditto!!!!
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Old 05-18-14, 01:21 AM   #6
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I'm finding lots of people just make up fake regulations these days. I don't know if has always been happening or now I'm just in situations where I notice more. Anyway I'm getting sick of it. Every time quotes rules to me I generally ask "Just which law is that mate? Can you give me the exact number?" So many people just talk crepe. Probably got used to Mom and Dad just accepting their dribble and not calling them out on it, so they grow up thinking that's the way the world is!
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Old 05-19-14, 04:49 PM   #7
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1) Not the best way for that cop to handle the situation. 2) You did nothing illegal or dangerous, and that cop doesn't have a leg to stand on.
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Old 05-19-14, 05:36 PM   #8
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Once and only once an officer did something similar to me. However he pulled over and waited for me at the end of the stretch, and started reading me the riot act. Fortunately a supervisor pulled up and asked what was up. The officer explained the "problem" whereupon the supervisor looked at me, the road, and back to the cop and asked (in classic NY police language) "Where the **** is he supposed to ride?" and sent me on my way with his best wishes and a reminder to ride safe.
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Old 10-15-14, 10:09 PM   #9
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Northwestrider cops are not your friends. cops superiors are not your friends. your attorney is your friend.
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Old 10-23-14, 02:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Once and only once an officer did something similar to me. However he pulled over and waited for me at the end of the stretch, and started reading me the riot act. Fortunately a supervisor pulled up and asked what was up. The officer explained the “problem” whereupon the supervisor looked at me, the road, and back to the cop and asked (in classic NY police language) “Where the **** is he supposed to ride?” and sent me on my way with his best wishes and a reminder to ride safe.
FB,

I love it, I absolutely love it, a couple of years ago while going over to my girlfriends I had a similar encounter with a LEO. We were on a two lane each direction road, I’m in the outside lane and he’s in the left lane. He gets on his PA system and orders me to either drive further to the right or to get on the sidewalk.

When I tried to use my hand to signal him to follow me into the grocery store parking lot he just kept going up the road.

Last edited by Digital_Cowboy; 10-23-14 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 10-23-14, 02:55 PM   #11
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you would like the cops up here they are much nicer to bikers and would totally understand the practice of taking a lane especially through a construction zone
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Old 04-23-15, 12:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoviceJohn View Post
Bikes on a road are considered a VEHICLE! You should have took his plate number and report him to his superior. If I decide to ride on a busy road with 55+ mph speed limits, I'm legally allowed to. I won't, for the sake of my safety but still.
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Ditto!!!!
And if the 55MPH road is the ONLY road to get there... what then?
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Old 06-22-15, 06:42 AM   #13
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And if the 55MPH road is the ONLY road to get there... what then?
On a 35mph or 40mph road maybe, but the difference in speed between a 15~20mph bicyclist and 55mph road traffic is dramatically different. The difference in speed is what causes accidents. Get off the road if there's no shoulder or go ride in the grass or walk the bike. At that point it's not bicycle advocacy, it's suicide.
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Old 06-22-15, 07:31 AM   #14
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On a 35mph or 40mph road maybe, but the difference in speed between a 15~20mph bicyclist and 55mph road traffic is dramatically different. The difference in speed is what causes accidents. Get off the road if there's no shoulder or go ride in the grass or walk the bike. At that point it's not bicycle advocacy, it's suicide.
I bike toured all over the western US riding on such roads... Highway 1 and 101 were often signed at 55MPH and were often the only road available to a cyclist. In places like northern AZ, often the only road is a highway... which may or may not have a usable shoulder, and nothing that resembles grass at the side of the road... think rough rock and cactus.
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Old 06-22-15, 07:46 AM   #15
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I bike toured all over the western US riding on such roads... Highway 1 and 101 were often signed at 55MPH and were often the only road available to a cyclist. In places like northern AZ, often the only road is a highway... which may or may not have a usable shoulder, and nothing that resembles grass at the side of the road... think rough rock and cactus.
Hope you have a mirror to see rear-coming vehicles. To my knowledge 55mph posted means 70mph. If you're traveling 20mph that 50mph difference is scary. I'd be ready to jump into the rocks and cacti if someone didn't see me. As always, use your discretion to determine what is safe.
I'd never make anyone new to bicycling take a road I know has little to no shoulder with a speed limit that high though.
Route 1 is on my planned listed of roads to cycle through.
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Old 06-22-15, 07:56 AM   #16
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Hope you have a mirror to see rear-coming vehicles. To my knowledge 55mph posted means 70mph. If you're traveling 20mph that 50mph difference is scary. I'd be ready to jump into the rocks and cacti if someone didn't see me. As always, use your discretion to determine what is safe.
I'd never make anyone new to bicycling take a road I know has little to no shoulder with a speed limit that high though.
Route 1 is on my planned listed of roads to cycle through.
On highway 1 (Pacific Coast Hiway) if one were to "jump" in some areas, you'd find nothing but a long fall down to rocks and cold ocean water...

Best to take the lane and give yourself some room... even on the 50MPH road while you tour along at 15MPH.
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Old 06-22-15, 08:11 AM   #17
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On highway 1 (Pacific Coast Hiway) if one were to "jump" in some areas, you'd find nothing but a long fall down to rocks and cold ocean water...

Best to take the lane and give yourself some room... even on the 50MPH road while you tour along at 15MPH.
Not saying you should go kill yourself if you have no options left besides sharing the lane. I'm saying danger increases as difference in speed between cyclist and motorist increases. Understand the risk of sharing the road with fast traffic. Explore other options first, use your judgement, and be prepared for that plunge in worst case scenario.
Agreed opinion is, the cop was a ****** to OP.
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Old 06-22-15, 08:54 AM   #18
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Not saying you should go kill yourself if you have no options left besides taking the lane.
FIFY... sometimes that IS all you can do.
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Old 06-22-15, 09:47 AM   #19
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FIFY... sometimes that IS all you can do.
I'm okay with this edit.
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