Old 02-21-12, 12:30 PM
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Sangesf
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This is a letter I had to send to the Chief of Police in a town nearby me.

Dear Chief Of Police

This is the first time, I've ever had the desire or need to write correspondence to a police department over an interaction with an officer.*
**Let me start off by saying, that I waited a day before sending this correspondence as I was incredibly upset (yesterday) and did not want to taint this complaint with too much emotion..

My main form of transportation is an electric bicycle. *It is a Schwinn Stingray OCC Chopper Electric Bicycle. (Stock photo (1) and a photo of my specific bicycle (2) enclosed at the end of this email, for your reference). It has pedals to allow me to pedal/propel the bicycle, as well as, an electric helper motor, which is not capable of propelling my bicycle faster than 20 miles per hour.*

On Saturday evening approximately 6:15pm, I was traveling northbound on my electric bicycle (either in the bicycle lane or as far right as *practicable, on the road {when there sometimes isn't a bike lane**), when I was pulled over by Officer
.*
** At the very start of the "conversation", the officer was extremely confrontational. I put conversation in quotes, as it was not a conversation, per se, but the officer telling me that I was not allowed to explain myself and that I was wrong about everything I tried to explain to him*
*The first thing he told me was that I was riding a "motor vehicle". I had tried to explain to Ofc. that my vehicle was an electric bicycle, but he kept interrupting me and not allowing me to explain the legality of my electric bicycle.*

He kept (very rudely) asking if my bicycle had a motor on it. I kept answering, "Yes, it has an Electric motor, on it".*

I kept trying to explain to him that an electric bicycle, according to the Florida State statutes, is exempt from the "motor" vehicle laws as it is still considered an ordinary bicycle.*

He then continues (again) to tell me,
"If it has a motor on it, of any kind, it is considered a "motor" vehicle."*
I even tried to state to him the Florida State staute information.. I said, "It's covered under Statute 316.003 [2] and recited it for the officer. (paraphrased really, as I didn't know it Verbatim)..

I told Ofc., that I would like him to look up the statute that I just tried to explain to him, and he told me, "I don't have to look it up because, I KNOW if a bicycle has ANY kind of motor on it, it is considered a "motor" vehicle."

** During this whole "conversation", Ofc. kept saying, "'We' were not going to 'have this argument'".. I tried to explain to him that this was NOT an "argument", nor was I going to "argue" about it. I was just TRYING to explain the facts about "electric bicycle laws" here in Florida and how it pertains to my bicycle.*

**He then tells me to get off my bicycle (for what reason I don't know) and stand in front of his police car.*
**He then says to me, "IF I were to pat you down, would I find any weapons or drugs?" (for what reason would he need to pat me down? - He didn't, but it seemed odd to me, that he had to make that kind of statement, specifically with the emphasis on "IF")*
I stated, "No, I don't have any drugs or weapons". *He then (again) asked me if I had anything on me, that HE would consider a "weapon".*
I told him, "No". He then asks me if I have a pen on me and I answered, "yes". He then tells me that HE considers a pen, a "weapon"! (Huh?!?)

Ofc. takes my Florida ID and does his check, finds nothing wrong and then he tells me, he doesn't want me to ride my bicycle in towh, anymore, as it would require registration and a valid Driver's license.*

**As he hands me back my ID, he says, "I'm going to pull over that guy over there {he points somewhere** on his motorized wheelchair (Jokingly, I supposed) and I won't watch you pull away."*
I kind of figured he was joking with me, so I said, "You don't mind if I ride my bicycle home?".*
Ofc. (again, with complete rudeness and the unwarranted sternness as he continued with throughout this entire traffic stop) says, "I JUST told you, I wasn't going to watch you pull away" (Supposedly) meaning that he was "doing me a favor" and not writing me any tickets or summons and "letting me go"..

** It was an extremely uncomfortable situation, as there was absolutely no need for the completely unprofessional and confrontational manner that Ofc. displayed throughout this entire encounter with me. *(I even tried to "lighten up" his mood, by being extremely polite.)
**After the encounter, I realized, that I had not gotten the officer's name, at that time. *

**Later that evening, (while pedaling *(northbound again) back home on my bicycle, on the sidewalk, as to not exacerbate any situation while still traveling within town) I saw Ofc. on another stop (he had someone else pulled over on the same (east) side of the sidewalk as me).*
I stopped and very politely said, "I'm really sorry to bother you, but do you have a business card?" (as I wanted his information for this complaint..(Not that I told him that))
He pulled one out and very glibly said, "Here ya go! You have 'fun' with that!"
**In my opinion, Apparently Ofc. believes that being completely unprofessional and rude is acceptible behavior for a Police Officer.

I have enclosed a link and a copy of the State Statute 316.003[2] (for your reference) below.*

http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2011/316.003

*****(2) BICYCLE.—Every vehicle propelled solely by human power, and every motorized bicycle propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on level ground upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels....****

As well as, a copy of an official FLDMV/HSMV (3) document (sent to me) stating that an electric bicycle is exempt from registration and drivers licensing requirements. *(Reference PDF is at end of this correspondence)


I have also included a copy of the basic bicycle laws (from the Florida State Safety office, written by Lora Hollingsworth, P.E., Chief Safety Officer)

http://www.dot.state.fl.us/safety/pe...bikeLaws1.shtm

** I would like to formally request that you please inform all of the officers, under your command, of the current statute regarding electric bicycles and how electric bicycles are NOT considered "motor" vehicles, nor any of the requirements that go along with that.*

** At your earliest convenience, please return receipt of this correspondence with your recommendations and/or comments by either email and/or phone as I would like to be able to ride my bicycle through Town without the worry that I will be pulled over again and/or harassed.*

I look forward to your response.*

Sincerely,*
Sangesf


Reference Materials...

1.) Link to the Schwinn Bicycle website...

http://web.archive.org/web/200606141...-electric.html

B.) Stock photo of The Schwinn Stingray OCC electric bicycle...


(Note: the "engine" in the middle is actually a plastic battery compartment, which I do not have on my bicycle as shown in the actual photo of my bicycle..)

2.) Here is a picture of my bicycle (in it's current condition)



(Note: For my own safety at night and compliance with state statutes, not only do I have a bright White 55w Halogen front light and a rear 35w Red light, but I also have installed (front and rear) amber colored blinkers (for use when a hand signal might not be seen at night), a brake light (that comes on when I hit the brakes), a car horn, a 12v power receptacle and various other items. The box in the back of the bicycle holds, among other items, battery for the motor, 12v tire pump, 12v battery for my accessories, battery charger, and rear tail/brake light and rear directionals).*

3.) Official correspondence from the DMV sent to me / dated June, 2011.*

What do you guys think the response will be?
(And no, the officer wasn't having a "bad day" as I talked with a few people that work in that town and says he's a real jerk.)

Last edited by Sangesf; 02-27-12 at 07:07 PM.
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