Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Message to Critical Mass...

Just a note for the record...

If you happen to be riding a bicycle in the State of California, you are operating a vehicle. You are not a pedestrian. You are afforded the same privileges, and subject to the same restrictions as any motor vehicle.

Unless you hop off and WALK the bike, you do not enjoy the right of way of a pedestrian. You must yield to peds and other traffic just like you would were you in a car.

You may not ride on the sidewalk (unless you happen to be under the age of eighteen), you may not ride in crosswalks, you must stop for red lights and stop signs, and you may not ride the wrong way on a one way street. If you ride your bike drunk, you get a DUI just like in a car.

I know this is going to come as a surprise to some of you, just as it did to the guys I stubbed for running a red light on their bikes today, but it is what it is. I'm not sure why it is so difficult for some people to understand.

And for the record, I don't care that you're trying to do the "green", environmentally conscious thing by riding your bike instead of driving a car. You are not exempt from the law, and I will not stand by and watch while your environmentally conscious ass get run down by a bus because you failed to stop for a stop sign before darting out into traffic.

Welcome to California...


BootedCop said...

The dumbasses came to Burg a while back, about 50 of them, riding en masse, blocking traffic, causing problems, nothing more than urban terrorists. I pick one off on the outside with a big sign stuck in his back that says STOP GLOBAL WARMING, and cite him for impeding traffic, VC 22400. He says why did you single me out? I said "the lion always gets the weak ones on the perimeter of the pack. Next time ride in the middle. Sign at the X, welcome to Burg."


Texas Ghostrider said...

DUI on a Bike, Now that's cool!

Beat And Release said...

We enforce those bicycle laws, e.g. riding on the sidewalk, wrong side of the road, failure to observe traffic control devices, etc. In the neighborhoods where I work, a bicycle stop usually results in someone going to jail for a warrant or a narcotics arrest, since they use bicycles to transport drugs in those 'hoods.

Officer Krupke said...

I guess our non-licensed, warrant-having thugs are lazier. Here they all ride mopeds. A traffic stop on a moped is sure to yield a guy who had a license once but is suspended now.

Funny thing about our laws--a license isn't required to operate a moped under 50cc, but if you have a suspended or revoked license and you take ANY motorized vehicle onto our roads, you're now operating after suspension, which is arrestable.

Any those lock-ups are easy, since the moped just goes in the trunk. No waiting on an impound tow truck.

David Woycechowsky said...

Well, it is not "just like in a car." The stat section is different and the penalty is a LOT less.

One thing I am not clear on:

I know that you can force the police to give you a chemical test for DUI on a bike, but can you require that the chemical test NOT be a PBT?

David Woycechowsky said...

We had a bicycle fatality late last week. No charges against the driver who struck him that I know of. There were very touching pictures of the funeral in the local paper today.


Front Porch Society said...

We have nailed people for an OWI on a golf cart, ATV, horse, bicycle, tractor being driven thru town, and a lawn mower before. Seems people of all sorts love to drive drunk.

Ever since the whole "go green" movement started up around here, more and more bicyclists have been seen around the city. Unfortunately, we have had several incidents of those same bicyclists not abiding by traffic laws and getting into accidents. Well, no duh...if they don't follow the traffic rules they are bound to get hit. *shaking my head*

I do so wish those "green" cyclists would understand that they are not above the law just because they went anti-car all of a sudden. Maybe when enough of them get hit they will. But then again...probably not.

C Strong said...

I happen to live in the Bay Area and when ever I am going though an intersection with a person on a bicycle waiting to cross, I will stop if they are walking it, and keep going if they are mounted on it. Anytime I have a passenger I get grief about it, and I have to explain that they are a vehicle.

I often get them cutting out in to the crosswalk while riding under the bart tracks and then often flip me off or yell something when I have to slam on my breaks and honk at them (it is alerting them to an emergency which I think is how one can legally use the horn in CA).

Personally the part about bicyclists that tick me off the most is the lack of using proper, if any, hand signals. Can't put a hand out to show me that you are gonna go left, nahh, just turn left right across my jeep and hope I can read your mind.

Officer "Smith" said...


Officer "Smith" said...

C Strong,

Honk away! You are absolutely alerting them to the hazard created by their decision not to stop for the stop signs posted on the bike path before they cross the street.

Honk when they cross your path without using hand signals too. Because it'll work in your favor when you say you tried to alert the bicyclist before he smeared himself across the front of your vehicle.

Officer "Smith" said...

Why do I do this?

David Woycechowsky said...

"Well, it is not "just like in a car." The stat section is different and the penalty is a LOT less."

There you go again, David, reading way to much into my statements.

My point was that you can be charged with DUI on a bicycle, just as you can in a car.

My point was not to nitpick the code sections, blather over the difference in fines and penalties, or call into question whether or not you can force the police to give you tests (which, by the way, you can't... we don't have to give you anything).

I never once claimed, or even implied for that matter, that the charge was the same.

David Woycechowsky said...

Bike DUI statute:

. . . Any person arrested for a violation of this section may request to have a chemical test made of the person's blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining the alcoholic or drug content of that person's blood pursuant to Section 23612, and, if so requested, the arresting officer shall have the test performed. . . . (emphasis added)

Anonymous said...

"I will not stand by and watch while your environmentally conscious ass get run down by a bus because you failed to stop for a stop sign before darting out into traffic."

Hear, hear!!!

Also, in our neck of the woods, there has been a DUI on a horse.

Sabra said...

Was turning out of the church parking lot one fine Sunday and had a guy on a bicycle yell at me for talking on my cell phone and "nearly" running him over. (If you can "nearly" run over someone halfway down the block.) Mind you, here in SA it's perfectly legal to talk on your cell while driving. It is not, however, legal to ride your bicycle on the sidewalk the wrong way down a one-way street, without a helmet.

Beat And Release said...

Officer Krupke - where I work you can have a license suspension for DUI and the code specifies you can operate a moped with a suspended license. Go figure.

Carteach0 said...

ARRGGG! Sore spot with me.

I bend over backwards to make road room for bicyclists, and in return I'd sure like it if they would obey the basic traffic laws. But.... NO. It's predictable as sunshine on a clear day.... every single bicyclist I come across rides the traffic line, blows the lights, and takes center lane on hills.


Mrs. "Smith" said...

I wish critical mass had been outlawed after they terrorized the woman in S.F. and broke out the back window in her van. She could have punched the gas to get away from the mob that surrounded her, terrifying her small children and beating on her car, and been justified for doing so.

Critical mass does more to stir up the ire of people towards bicyclists then it does toward educating people. Unfortunately there is no official organization of the bicyclists, so any attempt at fining them for having an event without a permit is moot. Franky I wish they could be charged with unlawful assembly* and yanked off the street as fast as the put their wheels on it.

I look for bikes to dart out in front of cars unlawfully. If I am ever witness to it happening and the person on the bike is hit, I'm going to pull over, write down what I saw, call the police, and be a witness...for the driver of the car!!!

*UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLY - A disturbance of the public peace by three or more persons who meet together with an intent mutually to assist each other in the execution of some unlawful enterprise of a private nature, with force and violence; if they move forward towards its execution, it is then a rout and if they actually execute their design, it amounts to a riot.
Also: In California, an unlawful assembly is also "whenever two or more persons assemble together to do … a lawful act in a … boisterous … manner".

Officer "Smith" said...

Prime example of this that I saw today.

I watched as a bicyclist was riding along on the bicycle path, ran the stop sign where the path crosses the street, then proceeded to yell at a driver for not stopping for him on the THROUGH STREET.

You should have seen the look on the bicyclists face when I stopped HIM for failing to stop at the stop sign, and explained that he was in the wrong both for failing to stop, and for yelling at the driver.

Dumb asses.

CavyWolfe said...

Dammit, I hate riding on the street, especially if there isn't a bike lane, so I ride on the sidewalk; if there are peds walking,then I'll hop off and get in the street, but I didn't know you HAD to ride in the street. :(
Though, I've seen cops drive by when I'm on the sidewalk, and no one has ever pulled me over [Course I'm 18, so I do look young].

I do f*cking hate when bikers ride next to each other. I was on the bus once, and the bus had to slow to about 15-20 because there were two bikers in the f*cking way. The driver couldn't get around them, so we were stuck behind the idiots for a few miles, when the bikers eventually went somewhere else.

katirow said...

loving your blog, you make me laugh.

I was driving earlier today through a neighborhood that had a ton of 2 way stop signs. I was about to go through an intersection where I didn't have a stop sign, but i decided to stop anyway to be safe. Thank God I did because next thing i know a guy on his bike AND USING HIS CELL PHONE flew out right in front of me! he didn't even slow down and even had the balls to give me a shitty look.. I could have killed him!!! I was so mad i had to stop for a moment and gather myself.