WTF - Cop tells me to get outta the street and onto the SIDEWALK!?!?!?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    WTF - Cop tells me to get outta the street and onto the SIDEWALK!?!?!?

    First time in seven years of daily commuting...

    Riding west-bound on Memorial Drive in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a policeman in a cruiser pulled up next to me and used his loudspeaker to tell me to get out of the road and onto the sidewalk!

    I grudgingly obliged. But I've never had that happen before. Usually it's the opposite - stern looks and shaking heads from officers for riding on the sidewalks!

  2. #2
    Natural Born Killer
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    So what do the actual LAWS in your state and community have to say on the matter?
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  3. #3
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    Cambridge ordinances: Bikes on streets are OK. Just looked it up to be sure.

    Bicycle regulations start on page 25 of the following linked pdf: link
    Last edited by connolm; 04-17-2014 at 05:51 AM. Reason: Aded link

  4. #4
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    And this from the Cambridge police department webpage:


    "Cambridge discourages the riding of bicycles on sidewalks throughout the city and has provided bicycle lanes on certain streets."


    Linky

  5. #5
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    Happened to me in Detroit. Better to oblige. You can call the station and send in a formal complaint. Not worth getting your a$$ beat by a numb skull cop that will make stuff up and say you resisted arrest. And that's how they will handle you if they are that ignorant to start with. Not all cops are aholes. Not what I'm getting at.
    However, was your bike outfitted with the proper lights, reflectors etc as required by local ordinances? You must do your part before you fight back.

  6. #6
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    Next to Mem Drive is the bikepath. It goes from both sides of the Charles river from the Museum of Science to Watertown. However, the street should be still legal. Cambridge prohibits bikes on sidewalks in business districts, but not in other areas. Contact the citys' bike dept, I have found them pretty helpful. Try Citysmart downloads. "bike" Or Cambridge Community Development.

  7. #7
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    Similar thing happened to me in Framingham last year. A fireman was directing traffic YELLED at me for taking the lane when I was going to turn left. I mean he was furious with me and screamed at me. I said I can legally take the lane, and he just lost it even more and continued screaming and actually told me I was putting people in danger. I went to the sidewalk then emailed the town complaining. Never got a response.

  8. #8
    jrm
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    Just b/c theyre cops you cant assume that they know what the **** they're talking about.

  9. #9
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    Sounds like a stereotypical power-tripping cop to me...

  10. #10
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    Placate the cops while they're there. Get their badge number/business card and file a report with their supervisor. Make sure you reference the appropriate laws that pertain to cycling and recommend the officer take a revision course on traffic laws. Of course you can't file a complaint without giving the police your personal information: be wary of blowback. When they leave resume your legal riding.

    The opposite happened to me a week or so ago:

    While waiting at a light to make a left turn, a cop pulls up in the right-turn lane. Sometimes this light changes quickly, other times the cycle takes about 7 minutes. The weather was cold, but not uncomfortable. The cop rolled down his window and said, "You know, I won't care if you run this light." I chuckled and told him I know this light (as I go that way nearly every day) and it takes a while, sometimes. Thanked him for the pass, but didn't take him up on the offer.

  11. #11
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    I'd be apt to engage in a little civil disobedience in the situation and if he wants to beat the piss outta me for doing what I know to be completely correct, then so be it. And I'll have his badge for it.

    Not saying I'll be an ass about it. I'd tell him that I am doing nothing wrong and continue about my business. If he wants to write me a ticket, I'll challenge it in court.

    I know a handful of cops involved with the cycling community here. If such an incident happened here, I wouldn't be the only one leaning on those guys to help educate their fellow officers.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    I'd be apt to engage in a little civil disobedience in the situation.
    I would take it as permission to ride the side walk if you like. In my neck-o-the-woods riding the sidewalk can be a really good (life preserving) option. At any rate, I wouldn't assume the cop had any interest but to avert another mowed down cyclist.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogbie View Post
    Placate the cops while they're there. Get their badge number/business card and file a report with their supervisor. Make sure you reference the appropriate laws that pertain to cycling and recommend the officer take a revision course on traffic laws. Of course you can't file a complaint without giving the police your personal information: be wary of blowback. When they leave resume your legal riding.
    This would be my approach. In this case the car number date and time would identify the officer adequately.

    As for the fireman? If he was a police officer directing traffic, he must be obeyed when directing traffic, even if wrong, as I understand traffic rules. A fireman?

    In Indiana:
    Sec. 41. (a) A person who drives a vehicle or street car may not disobey the instructions of an official traffic control device placed in accordance with this article unless otherwise directed by a police officer.

    Some states allow a person to be designated and assigned this duty in writing (liability issues).

    I guess I would have pretended I was deaf, shrugged, and pointed for my left turn. Let traffic back up in the left lane until he cleared me. A graying bushy mustache seems to help in some situations.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by connolm View Post
    ...

    Riding west-bound on Memorial Drive in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a policeman in a cruiser pulled up next to me and used his loudspeaker to tell me to get out of the road and onto the sidewalk!
    Glad to hear there is zero crime in Cambridge and they have time to make stuff up.

  15. #15
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    Coulda... woulda... shoulda....

    It all happened so quickly - and I was so utterly shocked by it, I was mostly concerned with getting up onto the sidewalk safely. There's a tall berm. I didn't think to grab the cruiser's plates. Not sure it would have mattered anyway. I suspect those types of complaints get filed "accordingly" at the police station. Here, I'm using "accordingly" as code for "tossed in the garbage can." I can even respect the notion that they have better things to worry about than chasing down my complaint. I know the cop was wrong. I didn't want to get hassled - so I obliged. I am a bit worried though if he sees me again tomorrow!

    leedoh - I do usually ride on the bike path along the river. It's actually a nicer ride. However, at the moment it's all torn up and inaccessible while under re-construction. I'm comfortable riding in the street so I did so. This happened at about 8:10AM this morning - so broad daylight.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc View Post
    As for the fireman? If he was a police officer directing traffic, he must be obeyed when directing traffic, even if wrong, as I understand traffic rules. A fireman?

    In Indiana:
    Sec. 41. (a) A person who drives a vehicle or street car may not disobey the instructions of an official traffic control device placed in accordance with this article unless otherwise directed by a police officer.

    Some states allow a person to be designated and assigned this duty in writing (liability issues).

    I guess I would have pretended I was deaf, shrugged, and pointed for my left turn. Let traffic back up in the left lane until he cleared me. A graying bushy mustache seems to help in some situations.
    What he told me to do actually was more dangerous for me, that was the worst part and why I didn't just listen to him and I said something. He clearly didn't know the rules. He yelled "Get on the sidewalk" as if I was a child and that's where I was supposed to be. The reason a fire fighter was directing traffic is because there was a lot of construction going on and there wasn't enough police officers.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by connolm View Post
    It all happened so quickly - and I was so utterly shocked by it, I was mostly concerned with getting up onto the sidewalk safely.
    Now we have learned of your case we can be less surprised if it happens to us and maybe remember to get the plate in case this becomes general harassment even if a complaint will not be filed the first time. A second instance warrants a complaint.

    Quote Originally Posted by connolm View Post
    I didn't want to get hassled - so I obliged. I am a bit worried though if he sees me again tomorrow!
    Good idea about not being hassled. I agree that a cop throwing his weight around is looking to book someone on trumped up charges. Tomorrow you will have obeyed him yesterday. You have to comply with the order at at the time. You did. No one expects a cop's directions to apply forever when they contradict the law. Directed to turn left for example, does not mean you must take every left turn that comes up. It applies to that intersection only. It is a one time order that supersedes the law. Hopefully he will have gotten it out of his system or have been straightened out on his mistake by another officer or supervisor by tomorrow.

    In case he is still incorrected, print off the state's and city's codes on sidewalk and legal bike use on the street and have two copies. One for him and one for you. If he simply orders you back on the sidewalk then walk the bike up to and on the sidewalk. Don't ride it until he is out of sight, then move back to the road. Again you obeyed and were legal. If your cell phone has a movie capability use it. It is legal as one party (you) are consenting to be recorded. You can comment on the situation, time place, license number, etc, then recount what happened and read the law from one of your copies as you stand on the sidewalk. It might be a post on You_Tube an and e-mail to the chief of police and maybe the local TV station. If he pulls you over record that. You can't have him force you onto the sidewalk every day.

    Good luck.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Straz85 View Post
    What he told me to do actually was more dangerous for me, that was the worst part and why I didn't just listen to him and I said something. He clearly didn't know the rules. He yelled "Get on the sidewalk" as if I was a child and that's where I was supposed to be. The reason a fire fighter was directing traffic is because there was a lot of construction going on and there wasn't enough police officers.
    I likely would have said "Waive me through" repeatedly, since he has no official status. Is he going to let traffic pile up behind me? I don't think so, so he has to waive me through. If they don't have enough cops to direct traffic, there are none to spare for a cyclist. If he had been a cop (who must be obeyed even if a moron), I might have crossed the intersection as a pedestrian then rode away in my lane as his directives no longer apply to me once I am out of the intersection he is controlling.

    A cop helped get me an ambulance very fast after a flat front tire in a fast corner sanded off a part of my face and knocked me out. Every group has a few bad apples. Most are doing a tough job as best they can. I support my local and state police.

  19. #19
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    follow the law and let the donut eaters yell all they want
    Save a tree & wipe your butt with an owl.
    Thank your local Sierra Club.

  20. #20
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    I really dislike when the police roll up on you real stealthy then blast their loudspeaker, or turn on their sirens. I nearly jump out of my skin when they do that juvenile ****. Though, it hasn't happened since the CO bicycle protection laws came into place (yelling at cyclist from a vehicle is a potential misdemeanor).

  21. #21
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    What about "indecent exposure", thats always an option imo.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

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