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Sheriff's Deputy pitches a fit: Was I all wrong?

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Sheriff's Deputy pitches a fit: Was I all wrong?

Old 07-12-03, 05:53 PM
  #26  
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Good on ya, KevinG! Labels suck!
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Old 07-12-03, 07:29 PM
  #27  
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Maybe this officer has responded to one too many fatal accidents in his career and has seen the aftermath of what happens when stupid people do stupid things. Perhaps he jumped to this conclusion with what little he saw when he encountered Stinger.

I'm not saying his over-reaction was justified but cops do get to see all the gruesome ways people kill themselves, intentionally or not, and then get the pleasure of notifying the deceased's family, in person, of their untimely passing.

The Sheriff's Dept. should have an area dedicated to taking citizen complaints. If you pass on your concern with this officer's reaction, you should be given the opportunity to explain your side of the situation and they should be able to provide you with an explanation. Sometimes, when both parties have a full understanding of where the other is coming from, these issues can be easily resolved.

Good luck.
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Old 07-12-03, 08:17 PM
  #28  
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It must be different up there.Cops dont have to listen to anybody.They also see what they want to see.They also dont have to understand anything.I work in the bad part of long beach in so cal and we cant get them over there.I work at a school and they dont want to be bothered with drivers running stop signs,thru crosswalks,double parking going the wrong way,broken down cars parked in the same place place forever.They dont respond belive me,20 years of this and they dont respond.Why?They can do what they want and for who they want.Belive it.They can arrest you for no reason,ticket you for no reason,beat you for no reason,hassle you for no reason,ect,ect,ect.Oh yea,they scare the hell out of me and i pay for it.
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Old 07-12-03, 08:22 PM
  #29  
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Kev,

I gotta call you on this one. You are labelling people in the same way you decry. Calling it "just using those as examples" doesn't excuse it. You clearly imply that certain groups drive dangerously, in your experience. What do you think a "gangster type" is, anyhow? (apart from someone whose driving concerns you, obviously) You aren't just judging these people by their actions, as you suggest, but also attaching pejorative labels and grouping them, based on other visual clues. The clues are not sufficient in themselves to make informed judgements, hence, without yourself being racist or sexist or anti-yuppie, you are making the mistake you accuse others of.

What constitutes a 'yuppie type'? Do they wear ties, vote republican, drive certain brands of car, work in advertising?

Do you see what I'm getting at? We all use stereotypes as a descriptive starting point, until we have enough knowledge to make more accurate and detailed judgements. You and I do it. In this case, you were offended by use of the negatively connoted (in your mind, on this occasion) expression "redneck".

Yesterday you labelled me, after replying to a thread I started. You didn't choose to share your opinions on the variety of issues I raised (however clumsily)- merely attaching an amusing stereotype to the little bits of thoughts I had posted.

-but I might have been as offended by the term 'Hippie' as you are by the term 'Redneck'...........

eric
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Old 07-12-03, 08:40 PM
  #30  
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Originally posted by Rich Clark
Stinger, one question if you can clarify:

At the point when you moved left into the center of the lane, was the deputy already right behind you? Could he have already been beginning to pass you?

RichC
Good question, Rich. I originally was going to talk about that in my original post, but I was getting long-winded.

I checked behind me before starting the move left. I didn't see any cars, but he could have been obscured by the big curve in the road. But that would have put me about 100 years ahead of him. He could have come around the bend or come out of the side road and saw what I was doing from a safe distance.

He never said that I swerved in front of him. He said that he was observing how I was riding and didn't like it. He was saying that bike riders should never take the lane.

BTW, my biggest worry about that maneuver is oncoming traffic in the opposite direction. There is a despicable habit of many mountain drivers of riding partially or sometimes even totally on the wrong side of the road to make the curves easier on their driving incompetence. That's a big worry with taking the lane on mountain roads. I doubt if the idiots who do that ever get stopped by the authorities.

To answer your question concisely: I did not swerve in front of the black and white.

Rich
 
Old 07-12-03, 08:41 PM
  #31  
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Originally posted by shokhead
It must be different up there.Cops dont have to listen to anybody.They also see what they want to see.They also dont have to understand anything.I work in the bad part of long beach in so cal and we cant get them over there.I work at a school and they dont want to be bothered with drivers running stop signs,thru crosswalks,double parking going the wrong way,broken down cars parked in the same place place forever.They dont respond belive me,20 years of this and they dont respond.Why?They can do what they want and for who they want.Belive it.They can arrest you for no reason,ticket you for no reason,beat you for no reason,hassle you for no reason,ect,ect,ect.Oh yea,they scare the hell out of me and i pay for it.
Maybe this link will help. Give it a try, you've got nothing to lose.

http://www.longbeachpd.org/Internal_...plaint_eng.htm
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Old 07-12-03, 08:52 PM
  #32  
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Stinger, as a follow up to my earlier post, try contacting the Professional Standards Section at 454-2332 (Santa Cruz Country Sheriff's Office). This section deals strictly with complaints against officers.

Good luck.
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Old 07-12-03, 09:14 PM
  #33  
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I really feel supported by the information and concern that has been expressed here. I agree with Rockymtn_girl that his overreacting might have something to do with accidents he might have seen. Also, in the next county, Monterey, there is a sheriff's scandal which is getting worse every day. Maybe that is stressing out our deputies, too.

After having spent 42 of my 58 years under the hegemony of first the NYPD and later the LAPD, I developed a fear of the police. Avoid them at all costs, I learned. When I moved to northern California, I have found that I have had some really good interaction with peace officers. Most often easygoing and helpful. That's why this incident really surprised me.

Rich
 
Old 07-12-03, 09:46 PM
  #34  
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Originally posted by Stinger9oh
To answer your question concisely: I did not swerve in front of the black and white.
Yeah, it didn't sound like you did, but I do like to give law enforcement the benefit of the doubt, if there is one. Sounds like there isn't, and the man was just over the line.

In your shoes I'd probably compose a letter to the sherriff, objectively and very briefly describing what happened (time, date, location), what the deputy said, and how he misinterpreted the law. I'd quote the correct law exactly, and suggest that perhaps his officers could benefit from having their memories refreshed. Not asking for an apology or any remedial action, just being a good citizen and bringing a problem to his attention.

But just venting here and then letting it go also works.

RichC
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Old 07-12-03, 10:09 PM
  #35  
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Flaneur
The stereotypes I used were trying to find one that would hit close to home with shokhead. I was thinking he could relate to one on a personal level so maybe he could see where I was coming from.

As far as calling you a hippie it was good natured ribbing. If I offended you I am sorry. There is a differance between the referances.
Kevin
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Old 07-12-03, 11:01 PM
  #36  
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Does anyone do outreach to police, and get their outreach in return, in order to help police do a better job of patrolling to enhance cyclist safety, and in turn to help cyclists see opportunities to enhance their own safety, and to operate in a manner that has the least adverse impact on other highway users?
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Old 07-13-03, 06:12 AM
  #37  
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I work with Police Officers on a weekly basis and find them to be very normal people doing a job that they love and hate. They rarely see people at their best and usually see them at their worst. The officer may have just been to a really bad situation and you were just at the wrong place at the wrong time for him.

When you confront an officer they become very defensive since they are constantly under attack by the system for which they work. Try to keep this in mind when you try to work out this situation.

You might want to immediately get in touch with the Department where the officer works and see if there is a video tape of the event. Try to view the tape with the officers superior. Viewing it from the video tape will either reinforce or change you perception as to what really happened. If it is as you say, then the Department may be able to help reconcile a resolution to this matter.

Good luck and let us know how this gets resolved.
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Old 07-13-03, 09:53 AM
  #38  
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I'm proud to be a pick-up drivin,beer drinkin,shotgun totin,tobacco chewin,cousin marrying,butt scratchin REDNECK...And my biggest joy is runnin over you leg shavin,lycra wearin,little debbie eatin,middle of the road riding,skinny ass little cyclists. Go ahead and send out one of those donut eatin,coffee drinkin,lard ass,arrogant,pants pulled to their neck,gun totin,sheriffs and I'll kick his or her butt...Hows that for some generalities
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Old 07-13-03, 10:30 AM
  #39  
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LOL I like it.
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Old 07-13-03, 10:32 AM
  #40  
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The reason I favor complaining of the officiers actions is not to get back at some jerk, but because if an officier does not realize;1- he does not know the law, 2-makes us ride in potholes, we just might be thrown in front of his vehicle anyway, 3- finally, lo and behold, does not interpretating the law say the motorist on rare ocassions might have to yield to our right of way, requiring this person to take their foot off of the gas pedal and wow! slow down. I know action three is a real rarity.
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Old 07-13-03, 04:34 PM
  #41  
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Originally posted by cyclezealot
lo and behold, does not interpretating the law say the motorist on rare ocassions might have to yield to our right of way, requiring this person to take their foot off of the gas pedal and wow! slow down. I know action three is a real rarity.
The funny part is that I never have had any trouble with a motorist around here for taking the lane. Most people know the road conditions and understand that the cyclist is moving out into the lane to avoid a hazard. The deputy I encountered did not seem to understand that.

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Old 07-13-03, 05:01 PM
  #42  
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Or did'nt car.
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Old 07-13-03, 06:31 PM
  #43  
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Stinger. Yes, on twisty mountain roads motorists seem to understand and treat us with consideration. My comment about never slowing down to yield is based on motorists behavior in urban areas- there the jerk in all of us seems to be more intensified. They seem then to be in a full race mode. City streets have potholes also.
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Old 07-14-03, 04:05 PM
  #44  
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Here in Ohio, you must ride as far to the right as safety permits. Since you knew about the rut, you moved the the left because it was more safe to do so. Next time, take a ticket,fight it and let us know what happens.
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Old 07-14-03, 05:32 PM
  #45  
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Originally posted by Stinger9oh
I checked behind me before starting the move left. I didn't see any cars, but he could have been obscured by the big curve in the road. But that would have put me about 100 years ahead of him.
Are you sure about the grade of the hill? The relativistic effects might have been enough to piss off the officer.
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Old 07-14-03, 06:03 PM
  #46  
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Stinger,

I am guessing that you were probably traveling pretty close to the safe speed for that road. (Eureka Canyon Rd., perhaps) If you were traveling as fast as the automobile traffic then you're entitled to the entire lane. You only have to stay to the right if you are moving more slowly than the normal speed of traffic.

This happens to me quite a lot when descending the mountain roads. I take the lane because 1.) I am traveling at the normal traffic speed 2.) it prevents cars from unsafely passing me. Frequently I have to slow down and sit behind the cars as they descend.

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Old 07-14-03, 06:20 PM
  #47  
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I really believe that it was ignorance on the part of the officer. Having said that, I'm not sure how your educate him.
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Old 07-14-03, 06:57 PM
  #48  
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Funny thing- I was coming off the bike path on the lakefront and I was riding on the sidewalk, and this officer puts his hand up like he's waving, so I smile and say good morning! And he says "I'm not saying good morning! I'm telling you to stop!", and he proceeds to tell me that if you're over the age of 12, you can't ride on the sidewalks (I read in the bike laws that in the City of Chicago, there is an exception, and you can ride your bikes on the sidewalk, btw, but didn't mention that fact to him). I told him that I'd tried to exit the bike path and go into the street and proceed with a left hand turn, but when I did, cars would honk at me, so I wondered if it was legal to do- and that's why I was ridiing on the sidewalk. I emphasized to him that I do not make it a habit of riding on sidewalks, and I mentioned the century I recently did on Saturday to emphasize that point (cause you can't ride sidewalks for 100 miles now! ), and he smiled at me, and just said he was concerned for my safety, and if I exited the path, it would not be a good idea to get onto the street and make that left hand turn because cars may be likely to hit me- traffic is dangerous, he said. I told him that I frequently make left handed turns anyway, and that I know what the risks are. He said he thought I did, but he was just concerned for my safety- he mentioned a motorcycle accident where some guy was trying to turn left at the light on his motorcycle, and a car came up behind the guy on the motorcycle and struck him. So he was concerned that the same may happen to me. So I asked him what he thought I should do when exiting the bike lane, and he told me that I should jump into the street, then go an extra block west, then go two blocks south to get back onto my street. I thanked him for his consideration- I told him "I feel ya" when he told me of his concerns and he laughed, then we both laughed at another cyclist that saw me talking with him who immediately jumped off his bike on the sidewalk and rapidly walked it down the street. I told the officer that I just lived at the end of the block so I would walk my bike, and do you know what? He told me to go ahead and ride it, but just be sure to ride it slow, and if there's a lot of pedestrians, I would know what to do- I said "yeah, I'll aim for them!". He laughed again, and he let me go, and I rode my bike on the sidewalk to my building and parked. I guess he just thought I was riding on the sidewalks too fast and that's what prompted him to

I really think officers do not know all the rules- or they know the rules of the state but not the city, or they know the rules of the city and not the state. I think my talk with the officer could have turned ugly if either of us had been in worse moods, but he was amusing, and I was smiling and having a good day. I also thought he was cute- he was talking with Chicago dialect (ie- "udder" for "other"). I think I amused him. So I probably got off pretty good today.

Haven't had a problem with police overreacting yet, but I'm thinking of downloading the rules of the road for cyclists and keeping it on me, and the next time a cop stops me, I can pull out the book and show him the laws, since no two officers can ever seem to agree on what the correct law is!
 
Old 07-15-03, 08:49 AM
  #49  
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Originally posted by Rich Clark
Stinger, one question if you can clarify:

At the point when you moved left into the center of the lane, was the deputy already right behind you? Could he have already been beginning to pass you?

While his loss of cool and ignorance of the law aren't excusable, having a bike "swerve" in front of you, causing you to have to hit the brakes, can scare a driver, cop or not. And people often react to fear with aggression.

As far as the "keep right at all times" bit, I keep a small laminated printout of the bike-specific part of the PA traffic code in my bike bag. It's come in useful more than once to actually be able to quote the letter of the law. There's a big difference between "possible" and "practicable," and most (all?) states' codes provide for exceptions to the keep-right rule "when it is unsafe to do so."

RichC
Once again, Rich C shows the intelligent answer. VERY Good response Rich.
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Old 07-15-03, 11:41 AM
  #50  
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I am always mad when I hear about some cop doing this. If the law says that a bike is a motor vehicle you have every right they do. On the other hand you have to obey every law they do. This sounds no different than does a car swerving to miss a pot hole. I would have made a complaint. A car wouldn't signal to swerve.
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