Law and Order and Cycling

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Of course there are lots of threads and opinions here about the behavior of cyclists, motorists, pedestrians, etc.
I had an interesting experience today which I honestly don't know what to think about.
I was riding northbound through Sausalito, in a bike lane, going approx 20. No assist, motor fully turned off. I had a red in front of me that had just turned red, but the road to the right was just the entry to a parking lot, essentially. Honestly I didn't want to unclip so I slowed, turn right, went about 100' up the parking lot entry road, looked over my shoulder, made a u-turn, and then a right back onto the main road.

About 15 seconds later, a motorcycle officer pulled in front of me and signaled me over.

He asked if I knew why I was there, I said I wasn't sure but maybe he didn't like the u-turn? He said no, the u-turn was fine - you went far enough up the road - but you ran two red lights. He then asked where I was from (San Francisco) at which point he gave me a very long lecture about law and order. The basic theme was: in this town, we care about law and order and safety unlike in the nasty big city where the cops have too much to do and don't enforce basic laws. His entire responsibility is pulling over cyclists, because "the people of this town don't feel safe on the roads they built with their taxpayer dollars because of cyclists that don't obey the law." I listened, discussed with him briefly, and about 15 minutes later (it was a long lecture!) went along my way. He didn't cite me for anything.

So, yes, in California a bike must come to a stop before a right turn on red. I don't believe we have any version of the idaho yield. But I can't imagine a more victimless crime here. It wasn't even a full intersection, and there were zero cars coming out of the parking lot entry... and there was a bike lane on the main road so it's not like I turned out into traffic.

What does everyone think? Horrible behavior on my part to turn on red at 10mph (if that!) into and out of a parking lot access road? I mean, laws are laws. I get it. Slippery slope. But I suppose I've always believed that things like jaywalking, speeding, and incomplete stops when there are literally no vehicles nearby to be impacted are acceptable compromises between the law and expediency.
 

VoltMan99

Well-Known Member
Region
Asia
City
Tokyo
Of course there are lots of threads and opinions here about the behavior of cyclists, motorists, pedestrians, etc.
I had an interesting experience today which I honestly don't know what to think about.
I was riding northbound through Sausalito, in a bike lane, going approx 20. No assist, motor fully turned off. I had a red in front of me that had just turned red, but the road to the right was just the entry to a parking lot, essentially. Honestly I didn't want to unclip so I slowed, turn right, went about 100' up the parking lot entry road, looked over my shoulder, made a u-turn, and then a right back onto the main road.

About 15 seconds later, a motorcycle officer pulled in front of me and signaled me over.

He asked if I knew why I was there, I said I wasn't sure but maybe he didn't like the u-turn? He said no, the u-turn was fine - you went far enough up the road - but you ran two red lights. He then asked where I was from (San Francisco) at which point he gave me a very long lecture about law and order. The basic theme was: in this town, we care about law and order and safety unlike in the nasty big city where the cops have too much to do and don't enforce basic laws. His entire responsibility is pulling over cyclists, because "the people of this town don't feel safe on the roads they built with their taxpayer dollars because of cyclists that don't obey the law." I listened, discussed with him briefly, and about 15 minutes later (it was a long lecture!) went along my way. He didn't cite me for anything.

So, yes, in California a bike must come to a stop before a right turn on red. I don't believe we have any version of the idaho yield. But I can't imagine a more victimless crime here. It wasn't even a full intersection, and there were zero cars coming out of the parking lot entry... and there was a bike lane on the main road so it's not like I turned out into traffic.

What does everyone think? Horrible behavior on my part to turn on red at 10mph (if that!) into and out of a parking lot access road? I mean, laws are laws. I get it. Slippery slope. But I suppose I've always believed that things like jaywalking, speeding, and incomplete stops when there are literally no vehicles nearby to be impacted are acceptable compromises between the law and expediency.
Amen bro, I know how you feel! when I got my last DWI there was nobody on the road either, except for the pesky cop who followed me from the tavern!
 

Lar

Well-Known Member
I have a lot of respect for the police especially these days but that guy sounds like a cross between these two.

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c13cae62b6130534e311105b5fc4098e.jpg
 

citats137

New Member
Region
Canada
Certainly sounds like a cop looking for a mission. But as you have stated laws are laws and I feel you were mostly OK while entertaining his stump speech for an opportunity at avoiding any penalties. I would rarely come to a complete stop in such an instance. Should I get stopped by office Barney Fife I'll enjoy my lecture if I'm so lucky.
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
Of course there are lots of threads and opinions here about the behavior of cyclists, motorists, pedestrians, etc.
I had an interesting experience today which I honestly don't know what to think about.
I was riding northbound through Sausalito, in a bike lane, going approx 20. No assist, motor fully turned off. I had a red in front of me that had just turned red, but the road to the right was just the entry to a parking lot, essentially. Honestly I didn't want to unclip so I slowed, turn right, went about 100' up the parking lot entry road, looked over my shoulder, made a u-turn, and then a right back onto the main road.

About 15 seconds later, a motorcycle officer pulled in front of me and signaled me over.

He asked if I knew why I was there, I said I wasn't sure but maybe he didn't like the u-turn? He said no, the u-turn was fine - you went far enough up the road - but you ran two red lights. He then asked where I was from (San Francisco) at which point he gave me a very long lecture about law and order. The basic theme was: in this town, we care about law and order and safety unlike in the nasty big city where the cops have too much to do and don't enforce basic laws. His entire responsibility is pulling over cyclists, because "the people of this town don't feel safe on the roads they built with their taxpayer dollars because of cyclists that don't obey the law." I listened, discussed with him briefly, and about 15 minutes later (it was a long lecture!) went along my way. He didn't cite me for anything.

So, yes, in California a bike must come to a stop before a right turn on red. I don't believe we have any version of the idaho yield. But I can't imagine a more victimless crime here. It wasn't even a full intersection, and there were zero cars coming out of the parking lot entry... and there was a bike lane on the main road so it's not like I turned out into traffic.

What does everyone think? Horrible behavior on my part to turn on red at 10mph (if that!) into and out of a parking lot access road? I mean, laws are laws. I get it. Slippery slope. But I suppose I've always believed that things like jaywalking, speeding, and incomplete stops when there are literally no vehicles nearby to be impacted are acceptable compromises between the law and expediency.
In Washington state bicycles can now legally consider a stop sign as a yield sign. Right turns at lights is the
same as for cars. Ebikes are subject to the same laws as bicycles. Kudos to the cop that handled a theft
of my property. The guy had amazing presence without being the least bit intimidating.
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
In Washington state bicycles can now legally consider a stop sign as a yield sign. Right turns at lights is the
same as for cars. Ebikes are subject to the same laws as bicycles. Kudos to the cop that handled a theft
of my property. The guy had amazing presence without being the least bit intimidating.

california has an idaho yield law going through the legislature at well. as you note, wouldn't do anything about a right on red, which is a bummer and a very similar situation.
 

retiredNH

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
You guys should come ride where I live. This is not a problem here because we have so few stop signs or traffic lights! My favorite lunch ride is about 13 miles (and 800 feet elevation) with a total of 4 stop signs. Two of those are where I cross a major road - major as in I might actually need to wait for a car.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
I think you did the right thing. Listen politely, and move on, using the advice given or not. That's YOUR call.
 

rajron

Active Member
I would consider myself lucky to get off with a warning.
Considering how many traffic and Hwy laws I have broken over the years it would have been payback to have received a citation; I would have listened and then make a concision effort to try and follow even more rules and laws, because I know I still break so many rules and laws, there is no end.
 

retiredNH

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Being a tough guy or smart ass with a cop works best if you're the kid of the governor or someone similar. For us commoners, and especially for riders of color, I'm afraid it's a good way to be hauled in cuffs. You'd be amazed at the grounds law enforcement officers have for detaining you.
 

PDoz

Well-Known Member
I'm confused, does " yield" mean a different thing in idahoe vs california ?

"produce or provide (a natural, agricultural, or industrial product)." - California produces wine, Idahoe Barley / hops? So this is a wine vs beer thing?

" give way to arguments, demands, or pressure." - Surely that's a universal rule when dealing with police?

Or is the reference to red lights a clue? Different enforcement of BDSM workers between states?
 

BarnBoy

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Pleasanton, CA
I'm confused, does " yield" mean a different thing in idahoe vs california ?

"produce or provide (a natural, agricultural, or industrial product)." - California produces wine, Idahoe Barley / hops? So this is a wine vs beer thing?

" give way to arguments, demands, or pressure." - Surely that's a universal rule when dealing with police?

Or is the reference to red lights a clue? Different enforcement of BDSM workers between states?
@PDoz - you forgot “Potato” and thus Vodka and fries!!!
-BB
 

Comfortably Numb

Active Member
We have this Idaho Yield Law thing, as you call it, but I never gave any thought to whether it doesn't apply at a red light. You don't have to stop completely at a stop sign if it's clear, so why not a red light too?
CN
 

Comfortably Numb

Active Member
Ah....so a red light is to be treated as a stop sign. Good to know, not that anyone here sticks to the rules.
I know it was brought in in Vancouver a few years ago but I'm not sure if it extends any further out than Vancouver proper. I had never given it any thought until now. CN