Harassed Cyclist Ticketed for Taking the Lane- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Harassed Cyclist Ticketed for Taking the Lane

    This happened near me, but not on my commute route....

    Cyclist says he was harassed, got in trouble instead | Vermont - WPTZ Home

    Video raises bike law questions

    ...it will be interesting to see how it turns out.

  2. #2
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    I might catch come flak for this, but if this was a flat, straight road with little traffic, I think he should move to the right a bit more. A cyclist going 15-20mph in the middle of a 50mph zone completely blocking cars from passing is obnoxious and dangerous IMO. I would never do that, I would at the very least pull over and stop to let cars pass then go back out into the center of the lane. I guess one of the questions here though is how dangerous it would have been to be riding on the right of the lane. I understand there was no shoulder, but would it have been dangerous of him to move over a few feet, still stay in the lane, but towards the right, so cars can safely pass him? That's what I almost always do. I only take the lane in situations where I'm turning or coming to an intersection. I can't remember one situation where I ever took the lane to prevent cars from passing just because I felt like it was an unsafe place to pass. In my experience, most drivers will try to pass anyway, then they'll have to move over further and not give you as much room. It will also piss off most drives and make them hate cyclists more.

    On the other hand, these drivers were harassing him and should be ticketed for intimidation or something. They certainly didn't handle the situation maturely or safely.

  3. #3
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    "...it will be interesting to see how it turns out."

    + 1

    I don't see the point about being as far right as practicable. There doesn't appear to be room for a bike and a car in the lane. That means the oncoming lane needs to be clear. So the cyclist has a legitimate basis to say that the centre of the lane is as far right as practicable. SOme state laws specify that it is the cyclist who determines 'practicable". Video shows other drivers passing him with no difficulty. The driver and passenger can't be vigilante traffic enforcers, even if the cyclist was in the wrong. And they can't in many states haranguing a cyclist is itself an offense. It might be disorderly conduct. The officer's comment about endangering can only apply to the cyclist himself, in which case the officer does not understand that holding to the right will increase the risk of the cyclist being hit. The cycling instructor will have a lot of research on his side in that meeting. Hoping for a favorable outcome, braced for the worst.

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    It didn't look like a flat straight road to me.
    Video was hard to see, but to be expected at night.
    at the beginning, was that bushes or rock wall right at the edge of pavement?
    when drivers pulled alongside there was definitely a shoulder.
    Other drivers had not problem passing.
    Why didn't the cyclist hand over the video to police? after all a death threat was made.

    Lots of issues that story and video don't answer.

  5. #5
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    Not sure that taking the center of the lane on that road is a good idea. If that was me, I think that I would have been a little more over to the right. It is a judgement call of the rider though, and since I wouldn't ride on a road like that, especially at night, I can only say what I would do, or wouldn't do. The driver/passenger are definitely not in the right here though.
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.

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    The rider should have been more to the right, period. To ride near the center of the lane was not wise at all. There were very few street lights, if any, which meant the visibility was poor for all involved, and it appeared to be one lane each way. Again, not a wise decision to ride like that. The rider does have a right to the rode like all other vehicles, but the safety factor, which is paramount, should have been considered.

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    I don't think the central question is where we would have ridden, or where he should have ridden, but whether it was a ticketable traffic offense and whether the people in the car should get off scott free. To me, both signal a dangerous "open season" on cyclists.

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    ^ + i million

    The terminology "as far right as practicable" is clearly about a subjective assessment. Whose? Should it not be the person without a cage and airbags and with skinny tires whose self preservation is of utmost concern. When the officer said it was for safety, of whom, if not the cyclist? When the law is written in a vague way the benefit of the doubt needs to always go to the potential ticketed person.

    It appears to be the case that two young idiots's words counted against a sober, respectful, and responsible person who fled the confrontation as police said he should, and sought shelter in a Fire Station. The fact the others followed him there is very scary and may cross over into stalking.

    Even though the video was not allowed to be viewed on the officers computer, it was evidence and clearly could have been taken to the station for testing and safe loading. The officer failed in his duty on so many levels. Part of that goes to training and his superiors.

    I think there is ample in this for civil cases, but hopefully the police will self correct, The statute of limitations is not met yet. Hope remains for sanity to prevail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer View Post
    I don't think the central question is where we would have ridden, or where he should have ridden, but whether it was a ticketable traffic offense and whether the people in the car should get off scott free. To me, both signal a dangerous "open season" on cyclists.
    Some officers do not understand all the bike laws. After reading the article, I would not say that it was "open Season" on cyclists. The rider will have to go to court and show the area of the road that caused him to ride in the center of the rode. FYI....he should have pictures and video of the area in daylight hours and during darkness to show how dangerous the area of road was to confirm his decision for riding in the center of the lane.

  11. #11
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    ^ Great. So he rides safely and he has to go to court to prove it, when all the officer needed to do was escort him back to the scene of the event (which he did not witness) to inspect the road? We will have to agree to disagree, it seems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc View Post
    ^ Great. So he rides safely and he has to go to court to prove it, when all the officer needed to do was escort him back to the scene of the event (which he did not witness) to inspect the road? We will have to agree to disagree, it seems.
    I do not disagree with anyone's opinion that the officer should have and could have went and looked at the stretch of road the cyclist stated was the reason he rode where he road his bike. it would have quickly cleared up a lot of discussion.

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    An update, with a ticket for the driver...
    Driver to be ticketed in biker-driver encounter

    The cyclist sure sounds a lot more genuine and thoughtful about the incident than the motorist. We'll see how they do in court, if the driver even fights his ticket.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer View Post
    An update, with a ticket for the driver...
    Driver to be ticketed in biker-driver encounter

    The cyclist sure sounds a lot more genuine and thoughtful about the incident than the motorist. We'll see how they do in court, if the driver even fights his ticket.
    I'd be very curious to see this stretch of road in daylight to see how dangerous it truly is. The main thing that interests me is whether the right side of the road is ridable or if there are too many potholes as well as how big the shoulder is. As much as I want to side with the cyclist, the idea of taking the lane at night on an unlit 50mph road seems like a terrible idea to me. Don't get me wrong, I don't think he did anything illegal based on the way the law is written. The driver is the one who is legally at fault here IMO, but that doesn't mean it was smart of the cyclist.

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    Google maps view of route from Goddard College to East Montpelier: go to street view and head west along U.S. 2.

    The shoulder width on this stretch of road is variable. Some sections look to be 4ft+ while other areas are less than 2ft. From the street view it looks like the wider shoulders are more or less in good shape as far as cracks and potholes. The narrower shoulders look covered in gravel and highly broken. Most of the narrower shoulders are bounded by guard rails.

    It's a road built only for motor traffic and the speed limit suggest this. In less than three miles the speed limit goes from 25mph in town to 50mph between town. Lowering the speed limit on this stretch to 40mph would go a long way in making this road safer for all users.

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