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Ever have trouble with the law while touring

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Ever have trouble with the law while touring

Old 10-23-13, 04:09 AM
  #1  
bikeguyinvenice
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Ever have trouble with the law while touring

Just curious if anyone has ever had any issues with the law authorities while touring. Have you ever been ticketed, fined or in any other way punished for something you did while touring? Like maybe you were stealth camping in an area that was NOT posted as no trespassing.
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Old 10-23-13, 04:18 AM
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Originally Posted by bikeguyinvenice View Post
Just curious if anyone has ever had any issues with the law authorities while touring. Have you ever been ticketed, fined or in any other way punished for something you did while touring? Like maybe you were stealth camping in an area that was NOT posted as no trespassing.
In all the years I've been touring, I've never had any issues with law authorities. I've never been ticketed, fined, or in any other way punished for something I did while touring.

Why on earth would I have issues with the law authorities??
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Old 10-23-13, 05:59 AM
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No, but I have read trip accounts where people have camped illegally, such as in city parks, and been rousted by the law and told to move on. Probably the closest I came were some nasty stares from a couple Guardia Civil in Andalucia. They drove by me in the middle of nowhere in a machine gun-fitted vehicle and looked at me very suspiciously as I was taking a break by the side of the road. I expected them to pull over and question me.

On the flip side, I was taking a breather in a park in Streator, IL when a pleasant cop who was taking a local kid on patrol with him stopped to chat with me about the trip. It was all for the purpose of showing the kid something new. Also had the police in Harlem, MT and Oxford Jct., IA check in on our group to make sure all was well when we stayed in those towns.
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Old 10-23-13, 06:24 AM
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It's been my experience that the local LEOs will assist you in finding a safe place, if you ask! It is the dirtbags who insist on entitlements who have problems...................

Many, many, times, local deputies or officers have pointed us to safe, out of the way places to pitch a tent, and then checked on us during the night. Sometimes it has been a local park, a churchyard, behind a library, or a small patch of woods.

We even had one county Sheriff, in far western Kansas, unlock the local swimming pool, so we could use the showers

Just make sure you say thank you....................

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Old 10-23-13, 06:36 AM
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Best bet - don't tresspass or violate the law. That'll help you avoid 99% of all legal problems.

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Old 10-23-13, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
Best bet - don't tresspass or violate the law. That'll help you avoid 99% of all legal problems.
Yep!

Last edited by Machka; 10-23-13 at 08:25 AM.
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Old 10-23-13, 06:48 AM
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I've toured at home here in Ireland, in France, in Sicily, in Andalucía and in Cuba and the answer is no, not even a hard stare apart from the unsmiling Cuban immigration officials.
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Old 10-23-13, 07:00 AM
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About the closest encounter I ever had was while traveling from Boone NC to Cincinnati OH. I was on a highway doing about 80, with traffic on a motorcycle and I noticed a cop change several lanes to get behind me. He stayed behind me for about a mile before pulling along side and giving me a thumbs up. I guess is noticed my Florida tag and big duffle bag strapped to the back of my GSXR. Right as he passed I noticed that the speed limit had dropped from 75 to 55 at some point and I must have missed it.

I also was once biking in a group. We had about 35 bikes in this group ride and at an intersection, the traffic light turned yellow as the first riders in the group were entering the intersection. Of course as the group continued, the light turned red and a cop at the intersection shouted over his loud speaker "Red light, Red Light!!!". And at that moment another cop, from another town pulled into the intersection to block traffic so we could proceed. This was a police escorted ride with several hundred bikes in several groups at different speeds and distances.
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Old 10-23-13, 07:09 AM
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I've not had trouble at all, but lots of strange looks over the years. That's probably because I did much of my touring in the 1970's and it was unusual to see people on bikes in the middle of nowhere then.

As to other responses I'm not sure what reasoning was for making certain statements and I could just leave them hang out there hoping they would "die on the vine." Some statements are simply not needed or necessary - regardless of intent - as they could be considered quite offensive to many.

Thank you to the forum for granting us the "ignore" feature.

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Old 10-23-13, 07:12 AM
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In a small town in rural Colorado a man walking slowly down the street wearing a dark suit called out to me as I was riding by to ask where there was a good place to eat. His clothing seemed incongruous as most people walking by were in shorts and flip flops.

Well, it turned out he wasn't so hungry and instead preferred to hold me in conversation. We talked for quite a while and the discussion moved from cycle touring to (for some reason) the Constitution. He was articulate and more than held his own against (and with) me.

Then I started noticing the police. First a slowing moving patrol car. Then another. Then a pair of deputies strolling slowly by, loitering around, looking at the store windows. The gentleman and I continued our animated discussion raising our voices for emphasis, bringing in Supreme Court cases to press points, me in my cycling regalia, he in his suit, along a street in a town in rural Colorado.

It turned out that the man really was the man. He was a judge, who sacrificed his lunch while his court was in recess to chat with a cycle tourist.
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Old 10-23-13, 07:30 AM
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Nothing but positive...

Law enforcement has pulled me over several times to interrogate me as to whether I could carry any of their proffered water. They always wave back, they will direct you to where you can safely camp (once they logged my presence so the next shift could check on me), they will guard your stuff if you lock up outside their office. If there was some special reason to fear for my safety, I wouldn't hesitate (in rural areas) to call the "dispatcher" to give them the heads up that I was going to be traveling through their county. Then the man would be the first to wave!

I think the mere wearing of bike shorts and/or a bright cycling jersey are sufficient to distinguish oneself from being a criminal. How many miscreants does law enforcement run into who are wearing bicycle clothes?
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Old 10-23-13, 08:20 AM
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There have been times on tour when I was enjoying myself so much it should have been criminal
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Old 10-23-13, 08:38 AM
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Wow, this thread took a turn for the worse pretty quickly. I've deleted the posts that belong in P&R, so let's keep to the topic of OP's original intent, please. Any further derailing posts will result in people being asked to leave the thread. Thanks for your cooperation.

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Now get on your cheap bike and give me a double century. You walking can of Crisco!!

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Old 10-23-13, 09:59 AM
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A couple slaps on the wrist.
-Riding on sidewalk.
-Riding on highway.
-Once for just looking suspicious.

and another time a cop felt sorry for me and gave me $10.
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Old 10-23-13, 10:14 AM
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I lost my wallet once and waved a passing cop car and it didn't stop. My waving wasn't very convincing though. Months later, I got a package from the RCMP (Canada's police). It was my wallet with the money still in it.

I once asked a cop who was giving a speeding ticket if parking my car in a particular rest area overnight was a problem. He said: "no problem".

One cop drove up behind me in Labrador and stopped. He had a rain cover I had just dropped. He told me about a bear not far up the road.

So many problems with the police!
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Old 10-23-13, 10:25 AM
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I got a finger waved at me by a French policeman once after I rode through a red light in a very quiet one red light village somewhere in France, being from Montreal I'm a bit of a miscreant for this.
After apologizing to him in French, he let me go after telling me to stop at red lights in France. I felt sheepish.

that's it.
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Old 10-23-13, 10:33 AM
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I forgot, after being turned away from a full provincial park campground, an OPP cop (Ontario) gave me directions to a private campsite and called them to make sure they had room. He then drove there to make sure I was alright.
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Old 10-23-13, 10:39 AM
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No but I did see a cycling tourist riding the shoulder of the local freeway in a construction zone I really was wishing there was a cop around or that I had been in the slow lane so I could offer him a ride to the nearest exit (which also adjoins a very direct surface road in the direction he was heading).
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Old 10-23-13, 11:04 AM
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Got pulled over for going twice the speed limit while going downhill through a school zone during a rain storm along the highway entering Williams Lake in BC. I didn't notice the sign until I was passing it. There were no children or cars on the roadway at the time. He was very good about it, and after asking me about my trip etc. he let me go with a warning and suggestion to be more careful riding at those speeds with such bad riding conditions.
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Old 10-23-13, 11:31 AM
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I got pulled over once for breezing by a flagman at a construction zone while touring through the Adirondacks. He didn't say anything when I went by. There was a big shoulder and no oncoming traffic and no danger and I didn't feel like waiting so I just casually cruised through. He evidently didn't appreciate it and must've contacted the police somehow. They pulled me over a half mile down the road and huffed and puffed and ran my ID through the computer and generally looked disgusted at me then let me go my way.
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Old 10-23-13, 11:33 AM
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I have had a couple encounters with the police when on tour. In both cases they were nice and only doing their job.

Once we were woken during the night for camping in a spot that we had permission to camp in. The police had even been notified, but at shift change the word was not passed. They had had vandalism and break in issues there so the police checked it out on a routine basis. They called in and verified our story and then moved on.

The other time we were pulled over for riding on the interstate. We had just left Texas where it was OK and entered Louisiana where it was not. We explained what we were doing and asked if he could suggest a different route. He said keep going like you are but get of at the ramps and back on because the bridges have no shoulder. We checked our map and found nice surface roads that paralleled the interstate when we used.
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Old 10-23-13, 11:47 AM
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Like most of the previous posters, no problems at all with law enforcement while touring.

Thulsadoom, I also was guilty of enjoying a downhill run into a reduced speed zone as I was coming into a village in upstate New York. As I eased into the downtown square, I was approached by a local officer who simply asked, "Do you know how fast you were going?". I confessed I did indeed, and after a short admonishment he directed me to the best place to get an ice cream cone in town.

Favorite though, is during a tour my wife and I were doing down to the Mexican border with our 2 year-old daughter (in a Burley trailer). We were heading south out of Flagstaff, AZ on a busy, narrow state highway through steep canyons. We were stopped by an Arizona state patrolman who wanted to know who in their right mind would be on this road with a child in a trailer. We really didn't have any other route options. He told us to go to a gas station up ahead and wait there. An hour later, after his shift, he returned to the gas station in his truck, loaded us up, and drove us to his home where we spent the night with his family. He gave us an alternate, safer route for us to take the next morning.

Although, this was a police officer, this is the type of generosity you seem to find in people of all walks of life while on an extended tour, no?
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Old 10-23-13, 12:05 PM
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I was riding through Rutland, VT. No shoulders, so we had the lane (3 of us). Traffic speed was less than 5MPH, backed up. We're alongside a cop car since it's two lanes, and his windows are down. Traffic stops. We could have talked to him in whispers.

He activated his siren right next to our heads. Something like 119 decibels. I almost fell off the bike.

"Get on the sidewalk."

I did as I was told until he turned around the corner...
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Old 10-23-13, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Why on earth would I have issues with the law authorities??
John Rambo did though he was walking and not on a bike. Look how THAT turned out.
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Old 10-23-13, 01:31 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
Best bet - don't tresspass or violate the law. That'll help you avoid 99% of all legal problems.

BB
Well obviously if you knowingly violate a trespass sign you're asking for trouble, but maybe I should have worded it differently. Has anyone camped in an area that was not posted "No trespassing" and been ticket, fined or worse.
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