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Posted by on Jan 26, 2010 in Essays | 50 comments

The Enforcement of Imaginary Laws

chance_gotojail

The Judge Mirandizes us as a group, then brings us forward one at a time to hear our plea, and the setting of a bond, etc. Those of us waiting are close enough to hear most of what is said.

When I approach his raised dais, he opens a folder, and then looks up in surprise. He says, “Are they serious? Operating a bicycle on the roadway?”

And, as absurd as it sounds, my friend ChipSeal went back to jail that same night — arrested again on his way home from jail, for operating on the roadway. What an incorrigible scofflaw! Read his story, beginning with While Minding My Own Business… I have great admiration for his gracious attitude toward those who have detained him unfairly.

The right to travel by human power

ChipSeal’s case is a clear violation of his civil rights, but it should be fairly easy to win (provided he gets a judge who rules on the actual law and not a prejudicial substitution, as has happened in several recent cases in California). The charge is unsupported by TX statute.

When Eli Damon encountered an officer who didn’t want him on the roadway, he found himself charged with disorderly conduct. Eli maintains that he was calm and courteous in the encounter, but the officer was angered by his assertion that he was riding legally. An attempt to dismiss the charge has been denied, a trial is scheduled for March 1, 2010 in Springfield, MA. You can read Eli’s story here.

Last year, Bob Mionske covered the story of Tony Patrick who was tasered and arrested for disorderly conduct in Chesapeake, OH for refusing an unlawful order to get off the road. His lawyer, Steve Magas, has more links to the story and the judge’s dismissal of charges here.

Being arrested for asserting your right to drive your bicycle on the road is an extreme violation of civil rights. But living under the specter of choosing between riding unsafely to avoid hassles and risking constant citations is also a violation of your right to travel by human power. Fred_dot_u experienced this in Port Orange, FL around this time last year. The harassment ended when his lawyer got pretrial dismissals of all of his citations. Fred provided documentation for other cyclists who might face a similar predicament.

Cultural bias can be blinding

Nowhere is the bias more glaring than when an officer pulls a cyclist over for using one lane on an empty six-lane road on a Sunday morning. Then, during the stop the officer repeatedly asserts that the cyclist is failing to share the road by not riding at the far right of that lane. This might beg the question, with whom, exactly, is he failing to share the road? See Red & Blue in the Rear View… Again?

A few months ago, Mighk was pulled over for riding in one of three lanes on South Street. This is a one-way street, downtown, with a 30mph speed limit and plenty of traffic lights to prohibit flow anywhere near that fast. Of course, when there are lots of motorists, traffic flows slower still. Agitated with Mighk’s knowledge of traffic law, the officer huffed that he was “one of those people who just doesn’t care about others.”

Bias refuses basic human equity to its target. Bias is impervious to logic and reason. Bias is blind to its absurdity no matter how brilliantly it is defined. As much headway as we’re making with law enforcement, stubborn anti-cycling bias can still be encountered among the ranks of the most enlightened department.

These stories are infuriating to transportation cyclists in particular, but they cut even deeper for those who are car free. When the cops are lying in wait for a cyclist who must pass through their jurisdiction, they are essentially violating that person’s right to use a public utility. By insisting, under threat of arrest, that a cyclist ride in a place not required by statute, these officers are abusing their authority.

Strategies for the chance encounter

Prompted by a recent Ask Geo email, I thought it might be a good idea to collect some wisdom on how to deal with uninformed police officers. I have not been pulled over or otherwise hassled by any of the many, many police officers who have passed me in my metro area travels. My interactions with them always consist of a friendly wave. But I know others who have been pulled over or ordered over the PA to ride far right. So I wondered, what’s the best way to conduct myself in a traffic stop? And how would/should I handle an officer giving me an unlawful order over his PA?

The unwarranted traffic stop

I think Richard Moeur’s story is exemplary in both his handling and its outcome. I got several good take-aways from it:

  • Ask the officer’s intentions. Find out what he is requesting (ride on the sidewalk, ride on the edge of the road, ride on a different road).
  • Resist the urge to discuss the law right away and ask for a name and badge number
  • If the opportunity presents, be armed with a copy of the statutes (you can get one free here)
  • If the officer asks why you were riding where you were, present the pertinent talking points (know your talking points, I suspect most of our readers do) :-)

In my opinion, it’s better to not get a citation than to have to deal with one in court (even if you win). In the event that the officer does not respond favorably to your roadside defense, the best course may be finding a way to comply without compromising your safety, then deal with educating the officer via contact with the department.

The drive-by command

In the case of the cyclist who was told over the PA to get on the sidewalk, there is little recourse for dealing with the individual officer unless the officer stops.  I’ve heard from several cyclists that deputies have told them over the PA to ride far right. This puts the cyclist in a predicament: comply and put her safety at risk (with no way to identify the officer); not comply and have an angry officer loop back around and pull her over; or flag the officer down and attempt to discuss it before he’s agitated by non-compliance.

There’s risk in that, too, depending on the officer’s attitude, as Brad Marcel in Tampa found out. When an officer indicated to him to ride farther right in a narrow lane, he tried to flag her down to talk to her. She thought he’d flipped her off. He ended up receiving a citation and the officer has claimed that he was antagonistic (which he denies). That case is still unresolved, AFAIK.

So, I think Richard’s advice serves well here, too. If I could, I’d flag the officer down, ask him/her for clarification of the request and get a name and badge number. Depending on the officer’s demeanor, I might leave it at that and deal with unlawful demands higher up the chain of command.

Departmental bias

As far as I know, there are no systemic bias problems within any of the metro area police departments. As long as the source of the problem is an errant officer, it seems easiest to get the name and badge number and make nice til he goes away. Then I could deal with him through his supervisors. I also have the luxury of finding alternative routes and/or using my car until the situation is resolved.

Unfortunately, what ChipSeal and Eli are dealing with appears to be departmental. This was also the problem Fred encountered in Port Orange. He tried to go up the chain of command after the first encounter to no avail. It took a swift pretrial dismissal of his citation to put a stop to his troubles. In the meantime, he faced harassment whenever he needed to travel through Port Orange to conduct business.

In December, Chipseal missed an appointment (after traveling a heck of a long way) because he was stopped three times for riding legally. We all thought that was over the top until he spent two nights in jail!

In his most recent post, ChipSeal says

As it stands now, I am in under threat of arrest any time I travel, for slow vehicles like bicycles will, by their nature and in the strictest sense of the word, impede all other more powerful vehicles. How can I get to work? The grocer? Make appointments? Make any plans considering I could be jailed simply for using the public road? For leaving my driveway on a bicycle? Am I being subjected to a de-facto house arrest?

Eli’s saga is equally distressing. He’s been detained, had his bicycle confiscated and been arrested. His range of travel has been severely limited. He told me:

I have been on near virtual house arrest for the past several months. I am on bail because of the pending criminal charge so if I have another encounter, even with a different cop in a different town, before the case is resolved I could be put in jail until it is.

Of course, he’s learned a lot through his experience. Here’s some advice from him that I’ll keep in mind:

  • Know the law (of course)
  • If the officer asks for an explanation of your riding style, keep your answer concise (never too much information at once)
  • Use formal, respectful language and don’t interrupt
  • “If the officer lets you go, do not ride away from the officer if you can help it. Let the officer leave first. You might have to walk to someplace that is a comfortable distance away but where you can still see the officer and wait awhile.”
  • A suggestion Eli plans to use with potentially volatile officers in the future: ask, “Are you going to write me a ticket?” It could potentially end the encounter quickly and prevent arrest. A citation is certainly less inconvenient than going to jail.
  • After the encounter, document everything that happened ASAP, contact appropriate authorities and assisting organizations. In Florida, contact George Martin.
  • Again, get the name and badge number. Get it first, before you get distracted!

George Martin offers similar advice in his Ask Geo post today.

Correcting the cultural problem

Ultimately, these incidents are a manifestation of the bigger problem — what Steve Goodridge describes in America’s Taboo against Bicycle Driving. The problem must be tackled from a number of directions. We are working very hard to build a mutually-beneficial relationship with law enforcement and to create a program that will give them knowledge of the laws and help them understand how we protect ourselves on the road. But law enforcement officers are a part of our general culture. They’re people. They’re just as influenced as anyone else by the biases of the society in which they live.

The fundamental rule of the road is First Come, First Served. The distorted rule of the culture of speed is All Life Yields to Faster Traffic. When the roads are governed by FCFS, pedestrians and bicycle drivers are people using public roads. When governed by the culture of speed, they are merely objects in the way.

As has been noted here before, the culture of speed causes some police to enforce traffic flow vs safety. Worse, they often don’t even realize that their concepts of protecting safety are stealthy manifestations of traffic flow management (i.e. the notion that speed differentials and lane changes cause safety problems resulting from the presence of a slow vehicle rather than the incompetent or aggressive behavior of faster drivers).

With this understanding, my friend ChipSeal’s graciousness is not only admirable, it is necessary to solve the problem. We have work to do. We need grace, understanding and cooperation. And we need those in law enforcement to be our allies.

50 Comments

  1. Definitely, we need the front line of law enforcement to be an ally and that requires real change. Getting more officers on bikes will help and the public needs to accept that our roads are a public utility that needs to be designed to serve a wider range of users. Great work Keri and I must spend more time reviewing these stories. My heart goes out to those cyclists who are being punished for admirable behavior, what an unnecessary hassle and such a waste of financial-emotional resources.

  2. Isn’t it illegal in most jurisdictions to ride on the sidewalk? Where do these officers propose people ride?

  3. I am conducting a hostiity monitoring project. Its objective is to track hostility of various kinds, including the sort mentioned here, over a number of years, in as wide a variety of locations as possible, and look for patterns.

    To participate, e-mail me at markortizauto@windstream.net, and I will send you a simple spreadsheet to use for logging and reporting incidents, and a cover message with instructions. This isn’t a lot of work, and you’ll be doing the cycling community a service.

  4. One can contact city councilmen to put the clamps on rogue police departments. That assumes they aren’t hostile to bicyclists. If that’s the case, go over their head to state legislators. It should be possible to identify some influential person(s) who can set things right.

    A Point of View column in the local paper can be useful. Get the local media on your side.

    Wayne

  5. A strange development in my world recently. As part of my commute, I travel on US92 in Daytona, aka International Speedway Blvd. My trip takes me from the four lane segment through the six lane segment onto the eight lane segment, at which point, I desire to make a left turn. As one would expect, some negotiation needs to be performed to get into the left lane. It’s easier to accomplish if I don’t move out of the right lane on the six lane segment into the farther-right lane of the eight lane segment and begin to negotiate to my left instead.

    Last Friday, I was doing just that. A DBPD patrol car, ostensibly driven by a DBPD officer passed me, and was then passed by me after I shifted to the leftmost lane in heavy, reasonably slow traffic. I was pleased to note that he continued on his way, which has been the case as of late.

    One of my clients is a deputy dawg with Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. He asked me Monday if I was stopped by DBPD and I said no. He then described a conversation overheard Friday on one of the radio channels available to the two agencies.

    Apparently the ossifer who passed me radioed in my action and was told to pull me over and cite me. The officer was then cautioned that “he’s got cameras all over that thing, and you’ll end up on YouTube”. Some additional idle chatter took place, at which point my client interrupted. He informed the DBPD officers that I had been cited by POPD and took them to court and had the charges dismissed. In reality, I had filed a motion to dismiss, but the end result was the same. The VCSO officer informed the DBPD officers that it is unlikely that I’m in violation, as I am fully aware of the laws and as he put it, fanatical in observing them. Little does he know of my regular transgressions, but that’s not important here.

    The DBPD officers then responded with, “I’m not stopping him, then” and apparently went on their ways.

    Silly me, I had been thinking that the officers were educated and informed, while they really were only afraid of being on the internet!

    • “he’s got cameras all over that thing, and you’ll end up on YouTube”

      ROFLMAO!

      Great story! Well, that officer wasn’t informed, but at least someone upstream was.

      I guess it pays to be highly recognizable.

    • Great story, Fred! Please post this on bicycledriving.
      Suggested title: The Power of the Internet

      LOL!

    • I think the proper way to handle situations like these is to drive your car instead, its safer, you don’t have to be harrassed about obstructing traffic, and other commuters will thank you for not unnecessarily delaying their arrival at their destination.

      • Get a grip on reality Patrick.

        In the history of the world a solo bicyclist has never delayed other commuters in reaching their destination. At most a bicyclist may cause a motorist to slow for 30 seconds, therefor waiting 30 seconds less at the next red light, which is much longer than that.

        However, car drivers do a fine job of delaying each other every day. I-4 in Orlando has hours of delay every single weekday. There are no bicyclists on I-4.

      • Patrick, who gives another road user the right to harass another road because that feel that delayed?

        “Other commuters will thank you for not unnecessarily delaying them” That really seems dreamy to me, where did you read this bull hockey.

        • As many are aware, a YouTube video opens one up for rude, ignorant, or abusive comments. I was taken to task by one commenter for managing my lane position. I was endangering other drivers and being selfish by operating in a safe manner.

          My response was that my safety was more important than a brief delay. The reply to that was question if my safety was more important than another driver’s safety.

          The original post-person seemed to have confused convenience and delay with safety.

          Patrick, you may be misinterpreting other road users feelings and reactions. My experiences have been ninety-nine percent positive, as I am predictable and consistent. The number of negative interactions have been reduced by about ninety percent as well. Even in the heaviest morning traffic, drivers have no problem with consistent and predictable cyclists.

          • When I drive (which I hate doing as it is), I would prefer to have a cyclist on the road in front of me, highly visible, signalling and behaving like a car, than a cyclist that suddenly appears out from between parked cars, or is hugging the side of the road. This behavior puts more upon me as the driver of a large, heavy vehicle to be looking out for the irresponsible cyclists, because no matter how wrong they are, I do NOT want to hit them. Chaos is very hard to track, among all the other things a driver has to look out for.
            As a cyclist, drivers seem to be on guard when they see me, because they expect unpredictable behavior from me. when I learned about vehicular cycling and started to practice it, the motorists seemed more at ease with me and I with them. That is, those who are being reasonable…

          • Hi Wendy, I had the same experience with drivers when I learned to ride predictably and assertively… I like to say they all got smarter and nicer all of a sudden :-)

  6. Excellent essay, Keri. And very sad. What is the League doing about this? Sounds like we need to partner with the ACLU.

  7. I’ve read everything what happened to some cyclists and my thoughts and prayers go out to cyclists who have been wrongly punished by law enforcement officers.

    I just got a copy of Florida Bicycle Street Smarts and Florida Bicycle Law Enforcement Guide from Florida Bicycle Association.

    I will join Florida Bicycle Association as soon as I get my financial aid and purchase a bike.

    • “… as I get my financial aid and purchase a bike.”

      If your using financial aid to purchase a bike you shouldn’t be receiving financial aid.

      • Why yes, everyone that needs financial aid should be walking. Reminds me of the first time I filed a Schedule S.

        When I claimed my $30 bicycle as 5-year straight-lined depreciated equipment, my accountant protested. “You can’t claim a bicycle that way!”

        I explained that I didn’t own a car and I since I charged by the hour it made sense to charge my customers less money than if I walked, by using a bicycle.

        He said, “Perfect.” and applied the six dollar a year depreciation to my income. I was on financial aid and I was “working my way” through college. I needed every damn break I could get.

        • sorry Schedule SE before some idiot corrects me.

  8. Good grief. Reading what happened to Eli and Chipseal makes me want to break out my copy of Alice’s Restaurant.

    After I got into a disagreement on FTR law with one of our rookie officers, I considered making a little laminated information sheet on relevant laws. A talk with the Chief instead led to a lot of useful dialog within the Police Department. We have done a couple of call in radio shows where the police chief and I (wearing my LCI hat) shared the mike on one occasion, and I shared the mike with one of our bike cops on a second. Our basic desire here is to have safe roads and protect everyone’s rights.

    Fortunately, one can more easily make that sort of direct connection in a small city. One has to pay one’s dues and be willing to meet others halfway, though, to make those useful political connections and keep them working. But it is always better to groom allies than fight adversaries. Lobby your local government go establish a bike cop patrol, as John says in the first comment.

    Some of these stories, though, sound like things are far more grim than I have ever experienced on Long Island, Upstate NY, Hawai’i, or New Mexico. Frankly, I don’t know what to recommend as it sounds like communication channels are dysfunctional. If all else fails, one might want to contact good legal counsel or convince the ACLU affiliate that this is a civil rights situation (basically, people are being harassed, arrested, and denied due process for the legal activity of riding a bike), and either file a lawsuit or get an injunction from a judge that would prohibit a local department from making up the rules. Anti-vehicular cycling laws are often bad enough without having local jurisdictions embellish them.

    Good luck out there.

    • “one might want to contact good legal counsel or convince the ACLU affiliate that this is a civil rights situation (basically, people are being harassed, arrested, and denied due process for the legal activity of riding a bike), and either file a lawsuit or get an injunction from a judge that would prohibit a local department from making up the rules. ”

      Absolutely. Everyone, not just bicyclists, should be outraged when police arrest lawfully behaving citizens simply to harass them.

  9. I have also had encounters with the Police.
    BUT I want to remind people of something.
    The laws the police need to inforce are numerous and I do not know an officer who has remembered even 1/10 of them, much less the bicycle rules. So we need to know them by heart.
    In Massachusetts, the last I knew, on an unrestricted roadway I have from the middle of the right hand side of the road to the edge of that right hand side of the road to ride in. And I might remind the officer that in most cases it is illegal to ride your bicycle on the sidwalk or the “breakdown” lane.
    That being said, I add to what others have said.
    Get the officers name and badge number and before you do that write down his police transportation number, usually on the side of the car or his license plate number.
    When the officer knows you are serious about your rights and you WILL be remembering his name and maybe speaking to “internal affairs” about his actions, then he is less likely, in my opinion, to act on what his hunches are and not on what the law really is.

    I was stopped by a policeman and demanded to get off of a two lane road because he said it was restricted. That migh be, however I now want to mount a campaign to require that if a roadway prohibits bicyclists from rideing on it, the state has to provide a seperate lane or bikepath for the bicyclist to use.

    I think, in todays age, the insistance on people using the automobile for moderate travel borderns on treason. There is no need to polute our air and spend all that money for ribbons of comfort for fossile fuel guzzlers that hurtle many tons of metal down a roadway with little braking power.

    So maybe it is time to CLOSE OFF many roads to cars, trucks and busses, and leave these connecting roads for bicycles only. It would be less money to maintain them and they would have almost 0 polution, both noise and otherwise on them.

    The League of American Wheelmen fought for better roads to ride on, and now the bicycle is being prohibited from the very roads they fought to have improved.

    Nope, it is now time to ostracize anyone, that is ANYONE, who uses a motorized means of transport for his/her own body and less than 3 others when they could have ridden a bicycle.

    And bicycle paths that go nowhere only show the stupidity of the engineers. Bicycles are not mainly used for a sunday ride to for children to exercise on. They are a primary means of travel for many sane people.

  10. DWB has a new meaning… Driving While Bicycling

  11. “I was stopped by a policeman and demanded to get off of a two lane road because he said it was restricted. That migh be …”

    I seriously doubt it. Sounds like another case of enforcing imaginary law.

    “I now want to mount a campaign to require that if a roadway prohibits bicyclists from rideing on it, the state has to provide a seperate lane or bikepath for the bicyclist to use.”

    No, no, it’s much better to retain our rights to all roads (except freeways where even pedestrians and all drivers of slow moving vehicles are prohibited) rather than to open Pandora’s box and allow (much less campaign for) the banning of bicyclists where (often terrible for many reasons) bike-specific alternatives are provided. That kind of segregation simply reinforces the notion that bikes don’t belong on the roads.

  12. Concur with Serge that we should resist any attempts to provide “separate but equal” facilities. These are always separate, never equal, and reinforce the whole philosophy behind these “imaginary laws”.

  13. It is not illegal, in Texas, to ride IN THE LANE, on freeways in Texas unless it is posted that such behavior is prohibited via sign postings. I’ve NEVER seen such a prohibitition posted, except on a toll road.

    In theory, I could ride down I-35W in the RH lane since that lane is less than 14 feet wide. It would be otherwise if there were a designated “bike lane” along that freeway. Laws are often odd and the police aren’t informed on all those oddities. Unfortunately for cyclists, cyclists using the road are unusual enough that police rarely get fully informed on the rules of engagement.

  14. Rule #1: Do not talk to the police.
    Rule #2: Do not talk to the police.
    Rule #3: Do not talk to the police.

    This is the best 48 minutes you will ever spend on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc

  15. I always carry a small digital hand-held tape recorder when I ride. I carry it in order to leave myself reminders of things I have to do, notes about a road I’m on, or ideas I want to pursue and which I will forget before I get home. That way I don’t have to stop to write ‘em down, which I used to do. I don’t expect to be stopped by cops on bogus charges, but if I am, I’m prepared to record the conversation. Otherwise, if it goes to court, it’s your word against his/hers, and that’s not usually good for you. Taping the conversation lets the cop know that you don’t intend to be bullied by his/her lack of knowledge of the law, while not escalating the situation by directly saying so.

    • Bill,

      One problem with taping (audio) an officer is that a number have prosecuted the recording “offender” under wire tapping statues. There is a current case of a motorcyclist who was riding with a helmet cam, was pulled over, and is now facing a possible 16 year felony sentence for recording the event.

      • I can’t speak for other states, but after being told by an uninformed uniformed officer to turn off my cameras, I did my own research. There is at least one case in FL in which a court has ruled that recording a police sop does not violate wiretapping laws. I had a later police stop in which my camera gear was referenced, and the officer acknowledged that the department (we) was aware of the cameras. He did not require me to turn the equipment off. I had been carrying a copy of that court ruling, but since local law enforcement has ceased to harass me, I no longer have it on board. Perhaps I should return my library to my bike, just to be better prepared.

        A great web site for information of this sort is Carlos Miller’s “Photography is not a crime”
        http://carlosmiller.com/

        He covers the world, but has experience in Florida as well.

  16. “ChipSeal”

    As always, there is more than one side to a story so I wrote directly to ChipSeal and learned this:

    He says he takes the lane and rides to the middle of the center of the lane and doesn’t yield to traffic behind him as he has a right to ride on the roadway (My paraphrasing of what he wrote)

    From various articles, he was warned numerous times and it appears to be in a non-threatening way based on the writings in his blog.

    Nowhere have I (we) heard the police side of the story, yet so many are quick to condemn them.

    Honeslty, I don’t know because I haven’t heard both sides. Was it over reaction by the police or were they just tired of issuing warnings and found the proverbial last straw? Either way he was arrested and charged. I’ve written asking exactly: “What was the charge?” Still don’t know.

    I do know he ended up convicted by a jury.

    The Texas law is like other states requiring a cyclist to ride as far right as is “safely” practical etc. Obviously, safely is subjective. ChipSeal interprets it one way. The police interpret it differently.

    I do know this: He has his “right” to the road.

    I respect that.

    I don’t respect or agree with how he “shares the road”.

    • 1) TX law does not require shoulder use. The lanes in question end at the fog line.

      2) TX law requires as far right as practicable ONLY when the lane is 14ft or more. The lanes in question are not.

      3) Chipseal “shares the road” by choosing multilane roads to reduce his impact on passing traffic. All of the roads in question are multilane roads.

      4) The police were warning and requesting him to ride in a place the LAW does not require him to ride. Whether or not you would choose to ride there does not make the police any more right. Their job is to enforce the law, not their belief system (or yours), not superstition or the convenience of motorists. What if they were warning and requesting him to ride on the sidewalk? They would be just as much infringing on his right to the road if they did that.

      I’m not sure if I’d have the metal to stand up for my equal right of first come, first served against such odds. I respect Chipseal MORE because he does.

  17. Slo Joe Recumbo,

    I don’t think I can add to what Keri says, as she states the truth. I keep hearing the “two sides” line, but the other side never supports its argument with anything other than,

    1) Hearsay,

    2) A view of the law that has been overturned repeatedly in multiple states,

    3) Cyclist Inferiority Complex inspired fear-based ramblings from recreational cyclists not understanding the needs and rights of utilitarian/vehicular cyclists.

    Having visited Ennis, and having looked at the roads Reed Bates was arrested on, I can assure you that Reed’s choices make the most sense from a safety perspective. Too often left out of this discussion is the very real danger of being struck by a motor vehicle when riding on the shoulder, and that riding in the lane reduces that risk dramatically. Motorists don’t “see” a cyclist on the shoulder as being on the road. They will make turns across the path of the cyclist (either right hooks or left crosses) while “registering” the cyclist as an essentially stationary object (much like motorists do with a pedestrian on the sidewalk). The vast majority of serious cyclist injuries and fatalities are due to these crossing movements, while the least likely collision is a cyclist being struck from behind by an overtaking vehicle.

    Reed Bates’ only form of transportation for the necessities (not the recreational aspects) of life is his bicycle. He cannot find work, buy groceries, or obey a jury summons without using the available roads on his bicycle. He legally and correctly has chosen the safest roads and safest position to get to his destinations, whether motorists understand that or not.

    He has been jailed for that (including responding to a jury summons).

    • P.M.

      Why does one always hear labeling of other cyclists who might differ in judgement on when “Taking the Lane” not appropriate and dangerous as having “Cycling Inferiority Complex”. Further going on that their own judgements are nothing more than fear inspired ramblings and not being able to undertand the situation of bike commuters. Yes of course times when it most appropriate and best choice. Yes no doubt you can get right hooked by vehicles if not paying attention.

      My daugter who lives in Mnps/St.Paul commutes to work every day. As a Cat 2 rider and 3 time Rider of the year in Minnesota, maybe her skills are such that only she knows how to share the roadways safely and respectively where others unable, I doubt it.

      Not saying any of the arrests and conviction were right technically right under the law either but I feel chipseal pushed this issue especially if the police were confronted with a legitimat safety concern. I would like to see the issue of no one getting killed or injured to be the primary goal with this situation.

      Don’t uderstand the aversion of not being able to ride on the ride of a white fog line because than it would be a shoulder. Speciifically talking about instances on the portion of US Hwy 287 that is 4 lane and posted at 65mph

      Fine for chipseal riding in right lane on US 287 a 65mph 4 lane highway if traffic not too busy. However as main highway leading into Fort Worth can imagine it getting especially busy around rush hour time.

      In high voume traffic say around 5 oclock might be situation of all lanes with traffic. If a truck or van was directly behing chipseal then his view from traffic further behind might have been cut off. Perhaps other vehicles not realizing slow moving vehicle being up ahead in 65mph traffic flow, might create more hazard for him and everyone else than if just rode on the shoulder.

      Would not agree with chipseal being safest being left-centered in the right hand lane (even if 4 lane) if there was an option of driving on the paved shoulder. Maybe should just erase the fog line and make the lane wider with no shoulder if so demeaning to ride on shoulder. What could very well happen if all lanes full of busy traffic manuvering aroud rush, is that he could be hidden from view(truck or van directly behind) and someone coming up not attentive on vehicle behind him would have to swerve off to the right on to the shouder to get around him (left lane being occupied) in order to prevent rear end crash. Of course this is just a possible scenario but could happen correct?

      Some of the things maybe to take a second look at:

      In Chipseals own words:

      “As it is past five o’clock, traffic is considerably heavier now on Hwy 287. Typically, many geese sound their annoyance as they overtake me in the open lane to my left, and occasionally on the shoulder to my right.”

      -Why would they be passing him on the shouder to the right? Possibly someone passing in left lane at same time and driver not able to slow so passes on paved shoulder to the right?

      Also Chipseal admits that one of the officers stated:
      “He said many 911 callers said there were many close calls and near wrecks.”

      -Don’t know if situations of 911 calls were true or not but would somone having to go over on the right shoulder to pass constitute a near miss? Why would they be passing this way unless as to avoid collision?

      Another one of Chipseals own statements:
      “While traveling homeward along Business 287, within a mile or so of Hwy 287, a state trooper pulls up beside me on the shoulder, and paces me. We have a conversation that way, traveling abreast.
      He suggests a different route for me, and at first I misunderstand his meaning. After a bit, I see that he is suggesting that the next time I ride this way, I go north on Hwy 77, follow the service road to where it ends, and then enter Hwy 287 about three miles before I would on my present route! He thought it would be better for me because the road surface would be a lot smoother. Finally, advice I can use! It would be out of my way some, but the upside would be I would get to annoy many more motorists!”

      - Of course he thought it silly because it would be out of his way and the 287 30mph business section would have less motorists. It does show that he realizes his riding actions are having an effect in regards to annoyance.

      Plain and simply could Chipseal be doing anything differently to increase the safety of everyone involved? Are the police kind of at a loss in regards to do something when they feel safety of the public may actually be a factor?

      Know that you have been to the area. Also a comment from another rider who actually lives and actively rides there:

      “I avoid that road, and always take smaller roads in the area, but like I said, if I was riding that stretch of highway, I’d do the rough shoulder before I’d ride in the 65 mph traffic.”

      • “Why would they be passing this way unless as to avoid collision?”

        Wow, where do you live where motorists never violate the road rules except in emergency? I recall the first time in a car with one of my teenage friends involved a rather scary mile or so on a shoulder passing 40MPH traffic.

        There is also this phenomenon called “must pass cyclist”. I think it is really just “must pass” but anyway, here is an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7b-Yk9IAN4 . If that driver was trying to avoid a collision she needs to try and improve her reaction times a bit.

        • Have to admit I never experienced what was shown in the video. Very unsafe the way cycists were using the principles of Forester’s Vehicular cycling. Really felt they coud have been doing a better job. Car driver should have been thrown in jail.

        • Jayeson,

          Didn’t mean to give out any impression I have never experienced drivers not breaking traffic rules. I can not recall ever having riders going off around me shoulder of road to ever pass me on the right.

          Have experienced near head-ons, runned stops signs, and even some pretty close brushups people not passing adequatedly what I would consider far enough away.

          Have done lots of long distance riding more so than city driving. Understand the principles of Forester’s vehicular driving and see its necessity in a lot of situations. That being said sometimes options, and again I don’t know all, using different techniques might be better. When riding in unfamiliar cities doing tours I usually try to get bike maps which will show me the safest and least volume traffic routes. Of course I understand if a road is necessary on a work commute you may not have a choice. Probalby something needs to be done with US 287 to make it safer.

          The words of Chipseal seems like it is common for cars doing the shoulder passing on his right on the shoulder. I of course know this may happen. The frequency just seems a little strange. Whatever the reason, a car of unaware of slower moving vehicle and being blocked off from the left or a purposeful action taken by a disgruntled driver. The situation can not be good or safe. I have read one comment was how could a bicyle be a danger to another motor vehicle. Implying its size and weight insignifficant. Of course it is what might be avoidance actions of inattentive drivers. Perhaps colliding with someone totally innocent and driving safely.

          Evidently traffic safety engineers don’t feel the traffic that bad on this highway so as to lower speed limit or perhaps put in a minimum speed limit such as found on some roadways to keep slow moving traffic off.

          It appears it is total harrassment by the police and my questions about safety concerns being a factor not warranted.

        • Not much to add at this point, but holy cow! That video shows some awful cyclist behavior. No wonder drivers were angry, I would be pissed off too. Completely blocking all lanes for no discernible reason and meandering all over the road. Boo!

      • @ KJ

        P.M.

        Why does one always hear labeling of other cyclists who might differ in judgement on when “Taking the Lane” not appropriate and dangerous as having “Cycling Inferiority Complex”. Further going on that their own judgements are nothing more than fear inspired ramblings and not being able to undertand the situation of bike commuters. Yes of course times when it most appropriate and best choice. Yes no doubt you can get right hooked by vehicles if not paying attention.

        The term “Cyclist Inferiority Complex” is a term used to describe the belief that a bicycle is an “inferior” vehicle, handicapped in some, or many, ways. It’s a non-pejorative term that some people take offense to. It’s basic premise is that bicycle are inherently unsuitable for road use around any other traffic that is larger, faster, air-conditioned (kidding). It describes a mindset shared by both bicycle advocates and bicycle antagonists. I looked for a better term (I’ve tried “fear-based” and “segregationist”, but those appear to more pejorative than I intend), but I haven’t found one that isn’t sugar-coating an observable phenomenon.

        My daugter who lives in Mnps/St.Paul commutes to work every day. As a Cat 2 rider and 3 time Rider of the year in Minnesota, maybe her skills are such that only she knows how to share the roadways safely and respectively where others unable, I doubt it.

        Not sure of your point here, but every driver of a vehicle knows when they are uncomfortable. Your daughter may be comfortable in situations where I wouldn’t, or vice versa. One size does not fit all. If that discomfort is mine from driving on freeways at night because my night vision isn’t a good as it used to be, that’s one thing. If my discomfort is because it’s dark and I don’t use my lights (or they’re inadequate), that’s another.

        Not saying any of the arrests and conviction were right technically right under the law either but I feel chipseal pushed this issue especially if the police were confronted with a legitimat safety concern. I would like to see the issue of no one getting killed or injured to be the primary goal with this situation.

        A cyclist (me, for example) needs to get from Point A to Point B (15 mile trip, one way).

        He doesn’t own a car.

        Alternate Route 1 is a 20 mile trip on gravel roads, with cars and trucks going 25 to 40 mph.

        Alternate Route 2 is a 16 mile trip on winding 2-lane roads across a rolling terrain. The sight-lines are often nonexistent, and there are no shoulders, but there are borrow ditches next to the road. The posted speed is 60 mph, with traffic traveling 55-70 mph.

        Alternate Route 3 is a broad, flat, straight 4-lane divided highway with frequent intersections and driveways. There is an 8 – 10′ shoulder with 12″ wide rumble strip next to the fog line. At drainage crossings, the shoulder tapers down to 3′. In places, the shoulder disappears.

        Routes 1 and 2 are the least desirable for obvious reasons. The Route 3 shoulder is non-continuous, and really requires the bicyclist to ride between the fog-line and the rumble strip (or to zig-zagging frequently).

        Given the choice between having cars safely pass me with 8′ of clearance going 65 mph, or passing me with 2′ of clearance going 70 mph because I’m riding on the continuously usable portion of the shoulder (studies have shown that motorists who don’t deflect or change lanes pass cyclists closer and faster), I’ll exercise my right to the lane, and travel in the safest way possible.

        Don’t uderstand the aversion of not being able to ride on the ride of a white fog line because than it would be a shoulder. Speciifically talking about instances on the portion of US Hwy 287 that is 4 lane and posted at 65mph

        Because the lane is safer.

        Fine for chipseal riding in right lane on US 287 a 65mph 4 lane highway if traffic not too busy. However as main highway leading into Fort Worth can imagine it getting especially busy around rush hour time.

        It’s over 60 miles away from Fort Worth. That highway operates a a Service level of A+… even during “rush hour” (a term that causes looks of confusion to Ennis residents). It’s quiet town with a population of 16,000 people (and many vacant buildings).

        In high voume traffic say around 5 oclock might be situation of all lanes with traffic.

        See above.

        If a truck or van was directly behing chipseal then his view from traffic further behind might have been cut off. Perhaps other vehicles not realizing slow moving vehicle being up ahead in 65mph traffic flow, might create more hazard for him and everyone else than if just rode on the shoulder.

        But that wasn’t the case, and is a hypothetical that has no bearing on the issue. It would be rather like saying (in defense), “What if the road was empty?” Best to deal with facts and law.

        Would not agree with chipseal being safest being left-centered in the right hand lane (even if 4 lane) if there was an option of driving on the paved shoulder. Maybe should just erase the fog line and make the lane wider with no shoulder if so demeaning to ride on shoulder. What could very well happen if all lanes full of busy traffic manuvering aroud rush, is that he could be hidden from view(truck or van directly behind) and someone coming up not attentive on vehicle behind him would have to swerve off to the right on to the shouder to get around him (left lane being occupied) in order to prevent rear end crash. Of course this is just a possible scenario but could happen correct?

        A 747 on the way to DFW airport might need to make an emergency landing on Highway 287. Or a crop-duster, or a military jet. Or even an asteroid. What’s possible but unlikely is not the issue, but what is “normal and reasonable”, according to the law.

        Some of the things maybe to take a second look at:

        In Chipseals own words:

        “As it is past five o’clock, traffic is considerably heavier now on Hwy 287. Typically, many geese sound their annoyance as they overtake me in the open lane to my left, and occasionally on the shoulder to my right.”

        -Why would they be passing him on the shouder to the right? Possibly someone passing in left lane at same time and driver not able to slow so passes on paved shoulder to the right?

        Having lived in rural America much of my life, passing on the shoulder is not uncommon. Another good reason to not plan on it as a travel lane (which it isn’t).

        Also Chipseal admits that one of the officers stated:
        “He said many 911 callers said there were many close calls and near wrecks.”

        -Don’t know if situations of 911 calls were true or not…

        Interestingly, months went by with ChipSeal using that before the “911″ calls began to flood in.

        …but would somone having to go over on the right shoulder to pass constitute a near miss? Why would they be passing this way unless as to avoid collision?

        Because they’re a jerk? I’ve met a few on the roads, both while driving my car and driving my bicycle. Not going above the posted speed limit has gotten me honked at before, in either vehicle.

        Another one of Chipseals own statements:
        “While traveling homeward along Business 287, within a mile or so of Hwy 287, a state trooper pulls up beside me on the shoulder, and paces me. We have a conversation that way, traveling abreast.
        He suggests a different route for me, and at first I misunderstand his meaning. After a bit, I see that he is suggesting that the next time I ride this way, I go north on Hwy 77, follow the service road to where it ends, and then enter Hwy 287 about three miles before I would on my present route! He thought it would be better for me because the road surface would be a lot smoother. Finally, advice I can use! It would be out of my way some, but the upside would be I would get to annoy many more motorists!”

        Remember, ChipSeal’s comments are often laced with sardonic humor. They come from a blog meant to be entertaining, not court testimony.

        - Of course he thought it silly because it would be out of his way and the 287 30mph business section would have less motorists. It does show that he realizes his riding actions are having an effect in regards to annoyance.

        Plain and simply could Chipseal be doing anything differently to increase the safety of everyone involved?

        What he is doing is the safest way, although many don’t believe that. They do not believe that a bicycle is a legal vehicle deserving all rights afforded to the driver of a vehicle, but an inferior one. That’s the Cyclist Inferiority Complex on display.

        Are the police kind of at a loss in regards to do something when they feel safety of the public may actually be a factor?

        I have a friend who was a Freedom Rider in Mississippi in the 1960s. he was a seminary student in Philadelphia at the time. He was arrested and put in jail “for his own safety”.

        In the United States, the police have a wide range of authority to make arrests. They don’t have to be right. What makes us different some some other forms of government is that the police aren’t also the judicial.

        Know that you have been to the area. Also a comment from another rider who actually lives and actively rides there:

        “I avoid that road, and always take smaller roads in the area, but like I said, if I was riding that stretch of highway, I’d do the rough shoulder before I’d ride in the 65 mph traffic.”

        That rider is a recreational rider out for a training ride. He isn’t particularly concerned with where he has to get, and how long it will take. ChipSeal is a transportation cyclist. Time and distance have meaning.

        If you do the work, you’ll find no research that supports the idea that cyclists in a travel lane (even on a state highway) are struck nearly as often as cyclists on shoulder are. The vast majority of “cyclist being overtaken” fatalities are from side-swipes.

        Sadly, even though many want to make this an “extreme” case, every argument I have heard against him I have heard before regarding local streets. Same chapter, second verse. Bicycles don’t/can’t belong on the roads as part of traffic. That’s the Cycling Inferiority Complex.

        • P.M., I’m sure glad you answered that post in the manner you did. I could not have managed to do as well, not even close.

          I’ve heard just about every item you pointed out and had about the same response.

          A couple points (in general) that often get overlooked. During one of my traffic stops, I was asked about traffic approaching from the rear. It was described as follows:

          The car behind me, having had to slow for my “impeding traffic” suddenly changes lanes and the vehicle right behind it crashes into me.

          I asked the cop to confirm that the car behind was tailgating since he was close enough to crash into me. He said, “yes, I mean, no” to which I replied that the following vehicle would then have enough reaction time to slow or pass safely.

          I’ve lost track of the number of uninformed uniformed police officers who use the word “swerve” when in reality, it’s a simple lane change. Sheesh.

          I think you were being diplomatic by not suggesting that the poster’s daughter may not have any training in traffic-cycling skills. It has been my experience that allegedly skilled riders, specifically in our local clubs are totally out of it when it comes to safe traffic cycling. One can have plenty of experience on a bicycle, thousands of miles, yet be unskilled and untrained. This also often applies to club cyclists.

          I expect that you’ll agree with my suggestion that any police stops of a cyclist riding in traffic in the manner that many of us do has little to do with “public safety” and more with motor vehicle operator convenience and speed. I bristle at the idea that I’m endangering any motor vehicle operators. I challenge any motor vehicle operator to provide a situation where a cyclist striking a motor vehicle injured the operator of that motor vehicle. The reverse is indisputable, and far too common.

          Finally, I often suggest that any motor vehicle operator who feels I am in his way is likely to be insufficiently skilled to operate safely on the roadway. They often do not look far enough ahead to operate safely when presented with normal traffic conditions, including a cyclist operating on the roadway. Tailgating, operating above the speed limit (there is no justification at all for this), passing by going onto the shoulder or right-turn only lanes, point to unsafe motor vehicle operators, not unsafe cycling practice.

          I’ve been seeing posts regarding cyclist inferiority complex being made as cyclist infeariority and my proof-reading background makes me want to correct the poster, but I realize it’s also tongue-in-cheek.

          After nineteen police stops, I no longer tell my wife that I’m going out to troll for police when I go for a ride. It was all in jest, but became too much of a drag.

          • I’m sorry to do this, but there were typos and compositional errors in my response to T.J., and I want to be clearly understood, being the question was put to me.

            @ KJ

            P.M.

            Why does one always hear labeling of other cyclists who might differ in judgement on when “Taking the Lane” not appropriate and dangerous as having “Cycling Inferiority Complex”. Further going on that their own judgements are nothing more than fear inspired ramblings and not being able to undertand the situation of bike commuters. Yes of course times when it most appropriate and best choice. Yes no doubt you can get right hooked by vehicles if not paying attention.

            The term “Cyclist Inferiority Complex” is a term used to describe the belief that a bicycle is an “inferior” vehicle, handicapped in some, or many, ways. It’s a non-pejorative term that some people take offense to. It’s basic premise is that bicycles are inherently unsuitable for road use around any other traffic that is larger, faster, air-conditioned (kidding). It describes a mindset shared by both bicycle advocates and bicycle antagonists. I looked for a better term (I’ve tried “fear-based” and “segregationist”, but those appear to more pejorative than I intend), but I haven’t found one that isn’t sugar-coating an observable phenomenon.

            My daugter who lives in Mnps/St.Paul commutes to work every day. As a Cat 2 rider and 3 time Rider of the year in Minnesota, maybe her skills are such that only she knows how to share the roadways safely and respectively where others unable, I doubt it.

            I’m not really sure of your point here, but every driver of a vehicle knows when they are uncomfortable. Your daughter may be comfortable in situations where I wouldn’t, or vice versa. One size does not fit all. If that discomfort is mine from driving on freeways at night because my night vision isn’t a good as it used to be, that’s one thing. If my discomfort is because it’s dark and I don’t use my lights (or they’re inadequate), that’s another.

            Not saying any of the arrests and conviction were right technically right under the law either but I feel chipseal pushed this issue especially if the police were confronted with a legitimat safety concern. I would like to see the issue of no one getting killed or injured to be the primary goal with this situation.

            A cyclist (me, for example) needs to get from Point A to Point B (15 mile trip, one way).

            He doesn’t own a car.

            Alternate Route 1 is a 20 mile trip on gravel roads, with cars and trucks going 25 to 40 mph.

            Alternate Route 2 is a 16 mile trip on winding 2-lane roads across a rolling terrain. The sight-lines are often nonexistent, and there are no shoulders, but there are borrow ditches next to the road. The posted speed is 60 mph, with traffic traveling 55-70 mph.

            Alternate Route 3 is a broad, flat, straight 4-lane divided highway with frequent intersections and driveways. There is an 8 – 10′ shoulder with 12″ wide rumble strip next to the fog line. At drainage crossings, the shoulder tapers down to 3′. In places, the shoulder disappears.

            Routes 1 and 2 are the least desirable for obvious reasons. The Route 3 shoulder is non-continuous, and really requires the bicyclist to ride between the fog-line and the rumble strip (or to zig-zag on and off the roadway frequently).

            Given the choice between having cars safely pass me with 8′ of clearance going 65 mph, or passing me with 2′ of clearance going 70 mph because I’m riding on the continuously usable portion of the shoulder (studies have shown that motorists who don’t deflect or change lanes pass cyclists closer and faster), I’ll exercise my right to the lane, and travel in the safest way possible.

            Don’t uderstand the aversion of not being able to ride on the ride of a white fog line because than it would be a shoulder. Speciifically talking about instances on the portion of US Hwy 287 that is 4 lane and posted at 65mph

            Because the lane is safer.

            Fine for chipseal riding in right lane on US 287 a 65mph 4 lane highway if traffic not too busy. However as main highway leading into Fort Worth can imagine it getting especially busy around rush hour time.

            It’s over 60 miles away from Fort Worth. That highway operates a a Service level of A+… even during “rush hour” (a term that causes looks of confusion to Ennis residents). It’s quiet town with a population of 16,000 people (and many vacant buildings).

            In high voume traffic say around 5 oclock might be situation of all lanes with traffic.

            See above.

            If a truck or van was directly behing chipseal then his view from traffic further behind might have been cut off. Perhaps other vehicles not realizing slow moving vehicle being up ahead in 65mph traffic flow, might create more hazard for him and everyone else than if just rode on the shoulder.

            But that wasn’t the case, and it is a hypothetical proposition that has no bearing on the issue. It would be rather like saying (in defense), “What if the road was empty?” Best to deal with facts of the matter and law.

            Would not agree with chipseal being safest being left-centered in the right hand lane (even if 4 lane) if there was an option of driving on the paved shoulder. Maybe should just erase the fog line and make the lane wider with no shoulder if so demeaning to ride on shoulder. What could very well happen if all lanes full of busy traffic manuvering aroud rush, is that he could be hidden from view(truck or van directly behind) and someone coming up not attentive on vehicle behind him would have to swerve off to the right on to the shouder to get around him (left lane being occupied) in order to prevent rear end crash. Of course this is just a possible scenario but could happen correct?

            A 747 on the way to DFW airport might need to make an emergency landing on Highway 287. Or a crop-duster, or a military jet. Or even an asteroid. What’s possible but unlikely is not the issue, but what is “normal and reasonable”, according to the law.

            Some of the things maybe to take a second look at:

            In Chipseals own words:

            “As it is past five o’clock, traffic is considerably heavier now on Hwy 287. Typically, many geese sound their annoyance as they overtake me in the open lane to my left, and occasionally on the shoulder to my right.”

            -Why would they be passing him on the shouder to the right? Possibly someone passing in left lane at same time and driver not able to slow so passes on paved shoulder to the right?

            Having lived in rural America much of my life, passing on the shoulder is not uncommon. Another good reason to not plan on it as a travel lane (which it isn’t).

            Also Chipseal admits that one of the officers stated:
            “He said many 911 callers said there were many close calls and near wrecks.”

            -Don’t know if situations of 911 calls were true or not…

            Interestingly, months went by with ChipSeal using that before the 9-1-1 calls began to “flood” in.

            …but would somone having to go over on the right shoulder to pass constitute a near miss? Why would they be passing this way unless as to avoid collision?

            Because they’re a jerk? I’ve met a few jerks on the roads, both while driving my car and driving my bicycle. Not going above the posted speed limit has gotten me honked at before, in either vehicle.

            Another one of Chipseals own statements:
            “While traveling homeward along Business 287, within a mile or so of Hwy 287, a state trooper pulls up beside me on the shoulder, and paces me. We have a conversation that way, traveling abreast.
            He suggests a different route for me, and at first I misunderstand his meaning. After a bit, I see that he is suggesting that the next time I ride this way, I go north on Hwy 77, follow the service road to where it ends, and then enter Hwy 287 about three miles before I would on my present route! He thought it would be better for me because the road surface would be a lot smoother. Finally, advice I can use! It would be out of my way some, but the upside would be I would get to annoy many more motorists!”

            Remember, ChipSeal’s comments are often laced with sardonic humor. They come from a blog meant to be entertaining, not court testimony.

            - Of course he thought it silly because it would be out of his way and the 287 30mph business section would have less motorists. It does show that he realizes his riding actions are having an effect in regards to annoyance.

            Plain and simply could Chipseal be doing anything differently to increase the safety of everyone involved?

            What he is doing is the safest way, although many don’t believe that. They do not believe that a bicycle is a legal vehicle deserving all rights afforded to the driver of a vehicle, but an inferior one. That’s the “Cyclist Inferiority Complex” on display.

            Are the police kind of at a loss in regards to do something when they feel safety of the public may actually be a factor?

            I have a friend who was a Freedom Rider in Mississippi in the 1960s. He was a seminary student in Philadelphia at the time. He was arrested and put in jail “for his own safety”.

            In the United States, the police have a wide range of authority to make arrests. They don’t have to be right. What makes us different from some other forms of government is that the police aren’t also the judicial.

            Know that you have been to the area. Also a comment from another rider who actually lives and actively rides there:

            “I avoid that road, and always take smaller roads in the area, but like I said, if I was riding that stretch of highway, I’d do the rough shoulder before I’d ride in the 65 mph traffic.”

            That rider is a recreational rider out for a training ride. He/she isn’t particularly concerned with where he/she has to get, and how long it will take. ChipSeal is a transportation cyclist. Time and distance have meaning.

            If you do the work, you’ll find no research that supports the idea that cyclists in a travel lane (even on a state highway) are struck nearly as often as cyclists on shoulder are. The vast majority of “cyclist being overtaken” fatalities are from side-swipes.

            Sadly, even though many want to make this an “extreme” case, every argument I have heard against ChipSeal I have heard before regarding cyclists on local streets (remember, his first ticket was on a 30 mph roadway). Same chapter, second verse. Bicycles don’t/can’t/shouldn’t belong on the roads as a lawful part of the traffic mix. That’s the “Cycling Inferiority Complex”.

          • Fred,

            My daughter has lived in the Metropolitan Minneapolis/St. Paul area for about 10 years. Recently got a car last year. Biccycle is her primary means of transportaion. Work, shopping etc.

            Where would you suggest she go for the training you talk about? Just curious?

            She has all the skills necessary to compete in some pretty hair raising criteriums. She doesn’t flaunt her self as being someone arrogant and superior just because she has these skills. I would judger her to be a very self-assured, courteous, and safe cyclist.

            Congrats on you 19 police stops.

        • P.M.

          Thanks for your thorough responses to some of the questions and possibilites I proposed.

          Obviously my point was to bring out possibilites that perhaps, there was some credance to what law enforcement thought might be safety concerns. “…………. endangering himself and others.”
          I myself didn’t agree with the arrest and convinction. The safety factor is what I was really concerned about. As you felt no legitimate basis whatever to possibility of 911 calls about near collisions and that he was operating as safely as possible, then you are correct, Chipseal should have been ignored.

          One thing puzzles me is that in Texas it is such a common practice to be passing on the right shouder when a left lane option available. With all these jerk drivers doing this commonly in Texas, I guess it would make me even more hesitant and nervous trying to safely ride in the flow of 65mph traffic. Of course traffic being light it would maybe not be so bad. Just can’t understand why Chip has so many passing on the right shoulder. Are these people doing this just because they are mad. Cultural thing I guess.

          Never yet experienced this in all my years of riding since 1951. Grew up along a 65 mph highway myself that I had to learn to navigate safely. First extended long tour on a bike as an adult was in 1971 from South Carolina to Michigan when getting out of the Marines and last extended ride was a 830 mile race on US 212 this past August. I am gratefull in all my miles of riding no one has done this to me. Aactually closest calls have been when someone passing from opposite and going headon towards me.

          Binging up my daughter was an example to hopefully throw a little water on this Cyclist Inferiority Complex. Not all drivers who ride on and use the shoulder are necesarrily rec drivers and one shoudn’t be too proud to use a shoulder if it could provide some safety. Sounds like his route with the rumble strips and come and go shoulders offers no opportunity. The local rider who made the comment about alternate methods I didn’t realize was a rec rider only.

          With of course most bicycle laws saying we should travel to the right as prctialbe and safe, that is where most opportunites of fatalites woud be. If laws said cyclists shoud always be centered in the lane, I would think then we can get the 12 olds on huffy’s and seniors on cruisers out there so we can have a little better balance on where mishaps occur.

          In your summation “Sadly, even though many want to make this an “extreme” case, every argument I have heard against him I have heard before regarding local streets. Same chapter, second verse. Bicycles don’t/can’t belong on the roads as part of traffic. That’s the Cycling Inferiority Complex”

          Is that necessarily the case or do some feel that perhaps sometimes safer options might exist. I of couse don’t want my bicyle to be considered inferior but I do realize I am outweighed and underpowered compared to what is mostly out there on the road. This becomes more siginificant as far as safey when traffic volume and speed increases along with worsening light and bad weather. Hope Chipseal makes the right choices in keeping himself and others safe. That would be the bottom line. Hope we all can agree on that.

          • KT wrote:
            “Where would you suggest she go for the training you talk about? Just curious?”

            For your daughter

            “She has all the skills necessary to compete in some pretty hair raising criteriums. She doesn’t flaunt her self as being someone arrogant and superior just because she has these skills. I would judger her to be a very self-assured, courteous, and safe cyclist.”


            Riding with traffic is not about competition or narrow racing skills but cooperation, basic handling skill, following rules, lane positioning, hazard avoidance and understanding the limits of protective clothing. How about a traffic cycling class for you? http://www.bikeleague.org/cogs/resources/findit [Check classes and LCI Instructors] 


            “Congrats on your 19 police stops”.

            Hmm, rather snarky comment? Fred does not look for trouble but rather law enforcement just seem to keep wanting to warn him. Sounds like harassment? So KJ imagine you are some young Black or Hispanic male who get stopped all the time, are you starting to get the idea?

            By the way isn’t frivolous police stops a waste of police time, trying to be helpful prevent Fred from “endangering himself or others”?

            Fred Oswald describes the three fallacies about bicycle operation:
            1. There is great danger in riding on the road because of traffic passing from behind.
            2. Roads are for cars. Cyclists’ greatest duty is “staying out of the way”.
            3. The normal rules of the road do not apply. Cyclists do not need (or cannot learn) to follow the rules of the road.

            Law enforcement officers must understand that these fallacies lead to mistakes that cause crashes. The fallacies inspire motorist resentment and harassment to cyclists on the road, especially near marked bike lanes or paths. They lead to cyclists thinking they are better than other road users and immune to traffic law. And some laws and local ordinances, based on the fallacies, encourage unsafe operation. For information see: http://tinyurl.com/yhw7k95

            I’m confident Chipseal is making legal decisions to use “due care” and that you and I must also exercise the same level of “due care.” That is all the “courtesy” any road user needs.

          • Aargh, one more time, KT wrote:
            “Where would you suggest she go for the training you talk about? Just curious?”

            For your daughter http://tinyurl.com/yfauvfl

  18. Danc,

    Thanks for your comments. Was kind of snarky in the 19 stop comment to Fred. Sorry, hopefully most police have more important thing to do than stop people to harrass. Again possibilty exists they perhaps percieve something as unsafe and are trying to help. Guess they could always use more training too. Police are such dummies when it comes to recognizing hazardous situations.

    Interesting to note that your link of instructors brought me to fellow cyclists in Minnesota who my daughter has been to events with. She has just joined a new team and one of the istructors is on that same racing team. Hopefully they will perhaps do some rides together and he can observe if she is a “fear-based recreational cyclist”.

    No, she does not do commuter cyciing as if racing a criterium. Her focus is moving in the safest way possible through traffic has done so in the Metro area for 10 years without ever being stopped by police.

  19. P.M. wrote:

    “The term “Cyclist Inferiority Complex” is a term used to describe the belief that a bicycle is an “inferior” vehicle…”

    Kevin’s comment:
    Here in Ontario, bicycles are legally defined as “superior” vehicles. Driving a car is a privilege; cycling is a right.

    Because driving is a privilege, suspending the driver’s license is not a punishment and does not require a trial. Police officers are empowered to hand out on-the-spot driver’s license suspensions for a variety of reasons. One reason is driving 50 km/hr (~30 MPH) over the speed limit. This results in the police immediately and on-the-spot suspending the driver’s license and towing away and impounding the car.

    Needless to say, charges will also be laid, and the judge gets to hand out punishments upon conviction.

    The law has a “Cyclist Superiority Complex,” and so do I.

  20. Need to give a source for my last post; here it is.

    http://www.50over.ca/

    Upon conviction, the minimum fine is $2,000; the maximum is $10,000.

    Amazingly enough, there were 36 repeat offenders last year!

  21. The kid was not arrested, however.
    That’s terrible headline writing.

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