Cop pulls over bicycle instructor for taking the lane (video)
The police officer (#3) was polite, even if mistaken about the specifics of the law (despite his thirty years of experience); there is more than one type of “highway.” Considering that certain types of highway are in fact for motor vehicle traffic only, it’s not like he was going out of his way to be an ass. However, he did fail to acknowledge that he may be wrong regarding the law.
However, four lane or not, I believe that police officer was technically correct seeing as Eli wasn’t as far to the right as reasonably possible. It seems like a technicality, given that there were in fact two lanes in the given direction (and sufficient room for passing in the second lane). Take the second lane of the the picture, and Eli was clearly in violation of the law as suggested by officer “3.”
As I understand it, if a car is approaching Eli (on a bicycle) from behind, Eli is required to move as far to the right as he can (but not onto the shoulder). The fact that he remained “on the middle of the road” i.e. the middle of the lane with a car wishing to pass (even if it was a sort of entrapment), means that he was in fact obstructing traffic (technically). But who knows, the camera shows a lot but I still can’t see what was happening behind Eli; the road seemed busy.
For what it is worth, I’ve been pulled over while driving a car for “failure to adequately yield.” It was a four lane highway and there was plenty of room for the oncoming car to pull into the other lane and give me sufficient room. There were no other cars and although I was unaware that the approaching car was a cop, such knowledge wouldn’t have changed a thing; I felt that I had adequate room given the speed limit. I likely would have won that case, but when the approaching car decided to tail gate me, I sped up to create a safe distance and that is when he pulled me over. It was entrapment, no question. None the less, I was in violation of the law (if only a technicality). I only tell my story as a reminder that this isn’t really a bicycle specific issue.
If anything, I’d say that both parties were incorrect and both could have handled the situation better. My personal take is that it shows that police don’t know all of the specifics and need more training on laws regarding bicycles (especially the younger cop telling him to ride on the shoulder); but they handled themselves professionally.
Thanks quizbot, it’s amazing that the cops don’t know the law – not even a little.
Good video on lane position
@pierce, do you have the link to the video that shows both car & bike point of view that you posted once before? I can’t find it and I think it’s one of the best on this issue.
Interaction in the video was from West Springfield, guessing VA (probably not MA for this time of year).
Started wondering about the whole showing ID / coughing up personal info thing…
From PA’s ACLU info for protestors, some key takeaways that you may or may not ever need to assert:
Can I record or photograph police in public?
Yes. Pennsylvania law forbids audio recordings of what people say without their permission if they have a reasonable expectation of privacy, but that does not apply to police who are performing official duties in public. Police also can record or photograph demonstrators.
Do I have to show ID when police demand it?
Not in Pennsylvania. If you are detained or arrested, you may choose to show ID when police demand it. If you choose not to show ID, you could be detained for a longer time while police attempt to identify you. If you are an undocumented immigrant, showing your ID may result in your detention by immigration authorities.
It was MA, I was reading the guy’s blog trying to figure that out. LOL
The Florida safety video, produced by police, is excellent. Does Pennsylvania have anything similar?
Good video on lane position
That is a great video and I wish the entire US would be required to watch it.
gg wrote:Not sure why the cyclist took the whole lane in that situation?
It’s so the cars can see you. Drivers are programmed to look ahead of them while they drive. But they focus on the travel lanes since this is where their vehicle is going to soon be. They don’t constantly scan the sidewalk, nor do they constantly scan the berm of the road, so anything that appears in these zones tends to surprise the driver.
Buy riding in the middle of the travel lane the drivers will “see” you many more seconds before they will when you are on the side of the road. This gives the driver more time to merge into the left hand lane in order to pass, thus giving you a greater safety margin.
In the video that I asked Pierce about, they show video from the driver’s perspective. When the cyclist rides on the side of the road they end up with many more close calls since drivers tend to change lanes at the last minute, rather than doing it much earlier when the cyclist is using the full lane. Amazingly, taking the full lane also helps maintain the speed/flow of the car traffic too. I suspect it’s due to cars being able to maintain their speed to change lanes (since they see you and have time), rather than coming right up behind the cyclist and braking at the last minute when they realize there is not enough room to pass normally.
“Not sure why the cyclist took the whole lane in that situation?”
The shoulder, in the Florida Police video, is almost non-existent. I understand the whole concept of being seen but in heavy traffic, I do try to stay close to the white line whenever possible.
There’s just a brief shot of the road before he gets pulled over, but in that shot the road looks in good condition with a couple of foot shoulder and a white line separating it from the lane he took. I think that in that exact situation I wouldn’t have taken the lane. (Though of course there may have been other reasons, not shown, for taking the lane.) I can understand the cop’s annoyance at the guy for slowing down traffic.
The cop is obviously not right when he says the road is for motor vehicle traffic. But if he said, you were taking the lane when any reasonable person would have ridden further to the right, or on the shoulder, I think he’d have a point.
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