Judge Rules Cyclist Cannot Take the Lane Continuously
The eternal question: what the hell does "practicable" mean?
No discusion whatsoever in the article about shoulder conditions. From Streetview and sat images, it looks to me like some parts have kinda-sorta reasonable shoulder, some sections having zero.
Honestly, the article makes it sound like the rider was riding like an ass on a road that he probably shouldn't be riding on. Is that 4 lanes in both directions, or 4 lanes total? I would never ride my bike on a road that was 4 lanes wide, whether it's legal or not. A 4 lane road near Boston leads me to believe it's a major arterial. I can't help but think that this is actually detrimental to the cycling community.
It's detrimental to the trail riding weekend warrior cycling community that's for sure.
Originally Posted by Berkley
Route 9 through Hadley, MA is two lanes each way (according to Google Maps). Whether he was being an ass about it or not, I don`t know- the fact that the road has X lanes isn`t enough for me to go on and the story doesn`t say much more about the situation.
Hadley is in western MA, not near Boston. Far less populated. Rt. 9 isn't 4 lanes on each side anywhere in MA. I actually work about 1/4 from Rt. 9, but a little over an hour east of Hadley. Truthfully, I would probably have been honking at this guy if I was driving behind him. Rt. 9 is more of a highway than a local road. IMO, it's moronic to ride on it at all, let alone in the middle of a lane. Unless there was a good reason he took the lane, I think he made it dangerous/stupid decision.
Originally Posted by Berkley
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He put quite a bit of material up on Youtube. Overall I think the guy's an ass, he clearly has room to move over yet doesn't. I don't know if I'd necessarily ride in the shoulder of that road but I sure wouldn't feel safe riding way out in the lane like he does.
It's 2 lanes in each direction and it's (comparatively) rural out there. I've driven that stretch of road and the shoulder is sometimes non-existent. They state widened the road but didn't have enough room to make four lanes and a reasonable shoulder, or even a wide right lane. If Hadley weren't between Amherst and Northampton it would be 1 lane in each direction like most of rt-9 is West of Worcester.
As one who lived car-free around Boston for a few years and rode to work year round (sun, rain and a few really bad snowstorms), Most of the time I would say it is asinine to ride in the middle of the lane except when riding through a construction zone. He probably couldn't stay out of the lane so he took the whole lane to prevent a large vehicle from getting alongside him and then inching him off the road, which does happen. That being said, what he did is not in violation of Ma state laws.
I think most drivers are fu*ked in the head and that their time is much less important than they believe it is. Also If people left a few minutes earlier they would be less inclined to do retarded things to try to get ahead of traffic thus making things worse when they flip their cars at rush hour.
Several missing key points, IMHO.
One: does Massachusetts have a law about how many vehicles can be backed up before the lead one needs to pull over to let them by? Indiana does : 6. Though I have never heard of it being enforced, in this case, more than 6 cars backed up would indicate blocking traffic excessively.
Two: is the lane wide enough to allow a cyclist and a car to safely pass if the cyclist is to the right? If not, where's the beef?
Three: is the trash/pothole/drain grate situation such that it is not safe to be far enough right to let vehicles pass in the lane?
The last two certainly apply to practicable and would excuse a long stretch of middle lane riding.
The first is about common courtesy. There are likely others.
I have ridden in the center of a narrow right lane of a 4-lane street in a 30 mph zone (though some drivers were doing 40) at 20-25 mph. There is no good alternative to that route and I was not doing so in rush hour.
Apparently the core of this is a cyclist not being as considerate as he could be, and officers using their bully pulpit too aggressively.
It was a federal judge. So does this ruling on 'practicable' to “give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle” and prohibits bicyclists from “unnecessarily” obstructing “the normal movement of traffic,” constitute a national standard? If so, it just replaces 'practicable" with "unnecessarily". I am still using the lane when it is too narrow to pass safely as we have no 3 foot passing rule and it is the only way I found to keep them coming within a foot of me on some sections of road. I would say my safety trumps their right to pass. Wisconsin says that the cyclist is "to the right" if they are no more than 3 feet from the curb. They also have a 3' clearance when passing rule. While not the law here, they indicate a definition of acceptable and safe distances. I am 24" at the shoulder: that is eight feet. Not much of a nine foot lane left, is there?
It does call on us not to block traffic and be smart about our routes and timing. Sharing the road goes both ways.
If a backhoe were driving along that road, would it's lane position be any different? Would it's speed be any higher? Would it have any more license plates.
Around here, the answer to all three questions is no.
Yet I've never seen a backhoe operator pull half-onto a narrow shoulder and try to let cars go by, in the same lane, when there is already a passing lane open.
Yeah, that doesn't make sense. Why go five miles out of your way because of the number of lanes? Hell, some of the easiest roads I ride on are 6 lanes wide. Easy as in easy to deal with the traffic because there is comparably little. By comparison the worst road I've ridden on is only two lanes wide, one in each direction.
Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
In the shoulder? With the nails and glass and whatnot? Would you drive a car on that shoulder?
Originally Posted by Sanath
Moving in and out of a lane because of a shoulder that is sometimes there and sometimes not makes riding even more dangerous as it lessens predictability and makes merging with traffic a more common occurrence. Merging and un-merging with traffic and reducing predictability increases danger.
Originally Posted by Joe_Re
This is interesting:
Note: traffic is not so heavy as to make using the left lane a hazard other than if a big vehicle is followed by a tailgater with a heavy foot. Then the danger is to the cyclist. So who the heck is he holding up? Seems very questionable to me.
Note: crap on the shoulder. Has to ride the lane.
Note: he was within 3 ' of the fog line most of the officer's footage, though not all. But it doesn't say you have to stay in the right 1/3 all the time you possibly can either. Also it is not the center line of your bike my the rightmost part of you and your bike AFAIK that is the point of measurement for both passing distance and approach to curb or side of road.
Note: the lane looks like you can't pass in the lane unless he rides the fog line and then drivers would be too close (<3 feet).
Note: He appears to be going as fast as a backhoe, or a slow car in the video posted before mine. Seems like unequal treatment to me.
The judge did not say how far to the right he needs to be. Maybe he did int he full decision. I'd move over a foot closer to the right and let them cite me again if ti was not specified. If too far right for safety, an appeal would seem wise and likely to succeed. Also if I was approached too closely, I would bring the video evidence to the police department as a record for each occurrence. Then in case they did cite me again because I wasn't riding the fog line, I would have a record of why I ride in that fashion and that police are not providing equal treatment by nabbing the dangerous drivers. I suspect this is not the last we hear on this. We don't get to the camera confiscation and disorderly conduct charge, presumably because of the upcoming court case on that.
A request by the officer would be enough if this was his first pull over. I would have yes sired and no sired and moved over a one foot and no more. As hat would be the right 1/3 of the lane. The law does not state the extreme right of the lane. He was holding no one up. It is a crock. I expected the right lane backed up having trouble getting around. Also the untravelled foot or so near the fog line has lots of glass nails and stuff in it that you can't see in time and weaving all over is bad. I only do it leading up to gravel on pavement and trough it to warn drivers behind I will be weaving and a bit unpredictable.
Honestly, I doubt I'd ride much farther over on that road. That shoulder is clearly unpredictable and unsuitable as a travel lane. I am with BrianMc in wondering how many cars were backed up behind the guy. Folks were obviously passing just fine with the second lane available, but there was a decent amount of traffic. I also think that moving too far to the right would encourage folks to try to crowd him out of the lane entirely, forcing him into that sandy shoulder and increasing the likelihood of him going down IN traffic. If the right lane is the same width as the left, there is NOT room for a car and a bicycle in the same lane.
The vid is too short to really indicate how long he was riding this way and whether there were suitable places for him to safely open up the right lane and let more traffic by. In principle I agree with aBicycle that too much movement in and out of the lane makes you unpredictable and increases the chances of being hit, but that kind of thing is what hand signals are for, so to avoid being an ass, let people by when you can and signal your intentions.
Does anyone actually know if here really is a 'wiretapping' statute for conversations in the public like this?
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There is this: Your rights as a photographer
Originally Posted by rideit
edited to add:
Down at the bottom it has this:
And further to that: Electronic Surveillance Laws
Special considerations when videotaping:
With regards to videotaping, there is an important legal distinction between a visual photographic record (fully protected) and the audio portion of a videotape, which some states have tried to regulate under state wiretapping laws.
Such laws are generally intended to accomplish the important privacy-protecting goal of prohibiting audio "bugging" of private conversations. However, in nearly all cases audio recording the police is legal.
In states that allow recording with the consent of just one party to the conversation, you can tape your own interactions with officers without violating wiretap statutes (since you are one of the parties).
I would say wiretapping en plein air is complete bs, and the article does say that charge was thrown out.
It's too bad that they'll spend thousands of dollars to defend a lawsuit, but not enough to maintain the shoulder.
I hadn`t considered that, but yeah. Something is wrong with that picture for sure.
Originally Posted by mtbxplorer
I wonder if the cop was just pissed because he did not move to the right a bit more or onto the crappy shoulder as he approached?
At the risk of contempt of court, if the judge is saying you need to shunt over even with a perfectly usable left lane available to the overtaking motorist, I disagree strongly. If that lane was full enough that traffic in the left lane was backing up, and there is room for a bike and a car, fine, you should make room. Still there is no room for the cruiser and bike as far as the video seems to show in this case. So I think that if his judgement applies to this particular situation and that lane is as narrow as it appears, then he is wrong. Hope the ruling doesn't apply more broadly. Better that they appealed it.
Indiana is a one party consent law, so my camera's audio is legal. Good to know.
aB, where in that quote you put up of me did I say anything about weaving in and out of the lane?
Originally Posted by Joe_Re
It either had to do with the "the shoulder is nonexistent in some part" thing or something I saw in another post. If the shoulder is there part of the time and not there part of the time expecting him to ride the shoulder would be ridiculous as it would make him much less predictable as it would cause him to have to weave in and out of traffic.
Agreed, that's a little excessive. He's WAY out in the lane. And it looks like a fairly busy road.
Originally Posted by Sanath
He's asking for conflict riding that far into the lane. I think law here in New York state dictates that you're supposed to remain within 3ft of the white line. He's at least 5ft away, at some moments even further. 2ft might not sound like a lot but it's enough to irritate motorists.
Originally Posted by Sanath
Based on this video alone, seems like he's right where he's supposed to be. Any further to the right and he'll be inviting cars to make an attempt to pass him too close and end up sideswiping him. Personally I'd be pedaling much faster than his pace so the other car drivers can see I'm in a hurry too. Looks like he's spinning on mid gears.
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