Friday, December 18, 2009

It Is Hard To Plan For Traffic Stops

So when I was done with the things I had to do in downtown Ennis, I headed out to Waxahachie for an appointment I had there. With a 18 mile trip before me, I figured that an hour and a half would be plenty of time.

I figured wrong.

This happened on Tuesday December 16.

I took Hwy 287; a four lane road with a center median and all the look of a limited access freeway except for all the driveways and cross streets. No signal lights for ten miles. Sixty five mile per hour posted speed limit. A shoulder of varying width from six inches to ten feet. A rumble strip straddling the transition from a resurface job, which in practice meant that the inside of the rumble strip was a couple inches higher than the outside edge. An occasional right and left turn only lane. Twelve foot wide travel lanes. Real smooth pavement on the roadway. [1]

My appointment was at three in the afternoon, and I rolled out of downtown Ennis just after one thirty.

As is usual when I take the lane on a road with a shoulder, I was frequently honked at. Isn’t the freedom of expression great? It makes it so much easier to spot the idiots!

What was unusual is that about half of the commercial trucks chose to identify their IQ! That is way high in my experience. As a percentage, maybe five to ten percent of private vehicles honked. The usual number chose to pass me on the right on the shoulder which is a crime in Texas. [2]

The First Stop

After a few miles. A State trooper’s vehicle passed me. He slowed and used a crossover to wait for me. As I passed his location, he got on his PA system and said; “For safety’s sake, will you please ride on the shoulder?”

I emphatically shook my head no and continued on my way.

When traffic permitted, he pulled onto the roadway and displayed his lights. I stopped and waited for him. [3] I regret that I am unable to remember his name.

“It’s dangerous to ride out there” he said.

“It’s even more dangerous on the shoulder.” I said. “Do you think drivers are so incompetent that they will run over objects in their path?”

“That’s what the rumble strips are for- to protect the idiots from themselves!”

He then painted a preposterous scenario. He said that if someone panicked and traffic backed up then I would be guilty of impeding traffic.

I pointed out one of Texas’s laws in the Texas Transpiration Code (TTC) and we discussed it for a while. I am reluctant to share it here until after my ticket is resolved with the city of Ennis. I see no point in helping the DA in convicting me by pointing out statutes I will defend myself with.

He then asked me for my ID. Good for him! He didn’t ask me for a driver’s license! I promptly began digging into my backpack to get it.

He asked me where I was going. “That away”’ I said, indicating down the road. He didn’t pursue the issue, as it was really immaterial to the traffic stop. [4]

Handing him my ID, he said that he would be writing me a warning.

“What is the charge?” I asked.

“Impeding traffic.”

“Will you be citing the section of the transportation code?”

“I’ll have to look it up for you”

As he returns to his vehicle, I pull out my camera. His dashcam is taking pictures of me, I am taking pictures of him.



About then another police unit pulls up. Officer XXX of the Ennis police department gets out and walks up to me.

What’s he saying to you?” he asks, indicating the trooper.

“He thinks I should be riding on the shoulder.”

Sergeant Joe Sifuentes informs me that Ennis police are getting a lot of calls complaining about me. Then, deciding the state trooper has things under control, wishes me a Merry Christmas and leaves.

The Texas Trooper returns and says that he can’t find the statute he was looking for, and he tells me I am free to go. He urges me to ride on the shoulder where he believes I will be safer. I thank him for his concern and wish him a Merry Christmas, and at the next gap in traffic, I merge onto the roadway again.



I found the State Trooper’s demeanor to be exemplary. He was polite, friendly and professional. Nonetheless, I think he felt it was his greater duty to enhance traffic flow rather than to expect road users to follow the rules.

The Second Stop

Soon enough, business 287 peels off of Hwy 287. It becomes a narrow two lane 55 MPH shoulderless chipsealed road for about two miles, and then it changes into a 30 mph narrow two lane residential road. It was on this residential part when a Waxahachie police officer pulls me over.

This young officer seemed to be in his mid twenties. He asked me to step off the roadway so he could talk to me safely rather than standing in front of his cruiser in view of the dashcam.

“Are Waxahachie drivers so incompetent that they can’t avoid a pedestrian on the street?”

I think this question derailed his agenda. He took a moment to get started again.

“Are you coming from Ennis?” I nod in affirmation. “We have been getting a lot of calls about you, they say you are wandering all over the road.”

“I wasn’t wandering at all, I was riding in the center of the lane, just like they were.”

“Your supposed to ride on the right half of the lane.”

I deny that his understanding is correct. “You should refresh your memory. The part you want is section 551.103.”

This rattles him as well, and he is now clearly uncomfortable with the conversation. He quickly ends the traffic stop, and I again resume my trip. Alas, I am too late for the meeting and my trip was for naught.

I strike up a conversation with someone while I rest, and perhaps get too involved in it, as it is dusk when I begin my return leg. I re-trace my path onto business 287. Only a couple of idiots identify themselves.

I turn on my rear blinky just before I merge into traffic on Hwy 287.

Another ten miles of serial rudeness ensues.

The Third Stop

As I exit Hwy 287 onto the business 287 near Ennis, I am again pulled over for a traffic stop. It is Sergeant Joe Sifuentes again! He doesn’t even bother to get out of his cruiser. He is polite and professional, but he is responding to the urging of dispatchers. I doubt he would've pulled me over on his own initiative.

He too proposes a preposterous analysis. He asked me why all those cars were taking evasive action, changing lanes, slamming on their breaks and swerving onto the shoulder? I said it was because the drivers were incompetent and impatient.

No, he said, it was because of you! I denied that it was my fault that they were passing me illegally; On the right and on the shoulder. Who’s fault was it then, he asked, incredulous at my reply.

I said that I had no power to steer an automobile. Those motorists have a legal duty to observe my right-of-way.

He then asked me for my name and such, as he needed to write a report of the stop so they have a record of my behavior in case something were to happen to me.

I laughed out loud at this. “So that I can be blamed if someone runs into me?”

Just at this point, our communication broke down due to an unfortunate collection of events. I spoke something to him and laughed again. He said something to me at the same time (cross-talked) and so I did not hear what he said, and some traffic passed by further muddying the sound for each of us. But he got angry that I laughed, thinking I was reacting to what he said.

I was realizing at that moment that his “windshield view” common sense was going to prevent him from ever believing that being legally in the way was safer than being out of the way on the shoulder. I was laughing at the absurdity of my attempting to convince him. Sadly, it caused him to harden his attitude toward me.

“Will you be laughing when someone runs you down?” He asked sharply.

“Do you ride a bicycle?” I asked him. He said he never does. I said; “I have ten thousand miles on that very bicycle right there, ridden in just this same way, and I am still here to talk about it. In this conversation, one of us is an expert at cycling and the other one is not.”

After a few more sage words of advice for me along the lines of the futility of being right but dead, he returned my ID and I continued on my way.

Reflections About These Events

Ignorance about most traffic laws is widespread in my community, and when it comes to bicycle specific traffic law the ignorance is even more acute.

It is first made apparent by the honking. For example, on the two lane near Waxahachie, a motorist a fair distance back honks at me. Short and polite: Honk-honk. After a moment, again: Honk-honk. And then, when I don’t disappear into thin air (It is hard to know what this motorist expected, as we were traveling on a ten foot wide lane- he would have had to encroach onto oncoming lanes no matter where I was laterally in the lane!): HONK hooonk hoooonk!

Many honk at me while sailing past me, unhindered, in the left lane. Perhaps they are expressing joy at finally coming across someone who is driving on the public road in a lawful manner!

In my presence, many many traffic laws were broken. But it was me, one of the few legal drivers, who was pulled over.

The State Trooper pulled me over on his own initiative, perhaps with genuine concern for me. I am sure that when he initiated his stop he was certain I was breaking some law, and he may have even had one or two in mind that failed to pan out.

The traffic stop by the Waxahachie police and the stop (Two stops?) by Ennis police were in response from phone calls dialed in to 911 lines. But once my behavior was observed, neither attempted to cite me for any offence. They just tried to convince me to ride where I believe it to be a compromise of my personal safety, for the purpose of enhancing the convenience of automobile drivers.

Mind you, I had no choice to opt out of the lectures. I had to stop under penalty of law. Bicyclists are just out for a lark anyway, right? It is folks in automobiles that are going somewhere important.

None of the illegal driving by licensed motorists were cited. Sergeant Joe Sifuentes even notes that he saw such behavior himself. He ignored all that, and pulled me over instead, even though he had not observed any unlawful behavior on my part.

Two officers commented that their departments had received many calls from motorist complaining that I was driving my bicycle in a legal manner. Why did that require a response by a patrol officer? Once the officer observed my driving, why did they continue with the stop?

Why couldn’t dispatchers tell motorists that bicycles are allowed to drive on the roadway?

The reason is that the whole of them are ignorant to what Texas law says. Because bicycle driving is uncommon, it is assumed that it is uncommon because it is illegal.

The result is that law abiding citizens are delayed, harassed and abused by law enforcement and by mistakenly outraged motorists. Meanwhile, the Texas Bicycle Coalition spends it’s legislative activities trying to pass new laws that are a simply a re-statement of current law.

Perhaps our bicycle advocates could work to change the real discrimination we Texas cyclists face. You know, something that would actually make Texas better for their constituents. (I know, I’m making crazy-talk again.)

Conquering the Frontiers of Ignorance

Perhaps our local police could become familiar with bicycle specific law if they are going to do something about scofflaw cyclists, and if they intend to respond to the uninformed opinion of angry Texans on the other end of a phone line.

I’ll even help them with a heads up for where to look:
Sec. 551 with a special emphasis on Sec. 551.103 (a)(4)(A) – I would suggest you read that part two or three times.

You should also become familiar with these sections which are important to understand when you are dealing with slow vehicles on the public road: Sec. 541.301, Sec. 545.002, Sec. 545.051, Sec. 545.058, Sec. 545.060, and Sec. 545.363

Ignorance can be defined as not knowing what you don’t know. One is not doomed to remain in ignorance forever. Those statutes there can start you on your path to enlightenment, if you want it.





[1] I am using the legal definition of the word “roadway”. From the TTC:
Sec. 541.302. (11) "Roadway" means the portion of a highway, other than the berm or shoulder, that is improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel.

[2] Sec. 545.058

[3] Note to SteveA. I watched to see if he was pulling onto the shoulder before I crossed the edge line. As I did later as well.

[4] In Texas, one is required to tell a law enforcement officer his real name and his current address. We are not required to produce ID of any kind, but the officer is allowed to detain you until your identity can be confirmed. When you are operating a motor vehicle, you must be able to produce a driver’s license on demand.

25 comments:

  1. Next time you ride these roads. I would appreciate you surveying the officers that pull you over. Tell them you have an acquaintance in Tarrant County, whose name you can't recall off the top of your head, also rides as taught in bicycle school, and wants to know if a "T Pass" and a local library card, both of which have his picture, and one of which also has his signature, would suffice as satisfactory ID in his opinion? You might also inquire if it would help or hurt if said unnamed acquaintance carried a copy of the applicable Texas Statutes for reference.

    FWIW, I'm now reading a very interesting book that I plan to post on under the topic of bicycle education. The title - "Proficient Motorcycling."

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  2. How frustrating!

    I don't even know what to say.

    The motorist rudeness would be enough to discourage me. The ignorant cops are over the top. Watching blatantly illegal behavior and then blaming the lawful driver for it. If it was a tractor or an partially-disabled auto creeping along in the right lane they would not blame that driver.

    By choosing to drive a non-motorized vehicle, you are subject to a reduced quality of life via abuse and wrongful detainment.

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  3. Wow man. I looked up some sections of your route on Google Maps street view and I don't know how you dare ride in the lane on a 55-65 mph road!

    I believe that you're correct in that a motorist would have to see you, and therefore not run you down, but man, today I could not do something like that. I'm still working up the guts to ride on a two lane no shoulder not-very-busy road.

    Aren't you actually afraid, or don't you cringe a little bit when you see them coming up in your mirror, or were you nervous about riding in the lane in the past? How did you get over that?

    I wish I could see what you're doing on the ride you described and what the car behavior is behind you. Is there any chance you could post some video of something like that for education purposes?

    Anyway, thank you for your blog. It is very educational, also funny sometimes, and just really good. Thanks man.

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  4. Keri made a good point about the disabled car. I encountere such a case recently and traffic waited patiently. The speed was slower than a typical Dutch bike. On the other hand motorists are also usually patient with me. The shoulder on those roads did not help the attitude toward Chip, as he notes. I feel the same on some FM roads around my neck of the woods. It's more pleasant with no shoulder at all.

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  5. "...The whole of them are ignorant to what [the] law says. Because bicycle driving is uncommon, it is assumed that it is uncommon because it is illegal.

    The result is that law abiding citizens are delayed, harassed and abused by law enforcement and by mistakenly outraged motorists."


    This is the observation I've made over and over again ever since I started cycling on the roads in July 2009. Many cycling blogs complain that motorists are stupid, irresponsible, cruel, malicious, etc. They may or may not be those things, but I think the dominant reason they honk at, shout at and behave erratically around cyclists, is that they are simply ignorant of the laws. The fact that the law enforcement itself is ignorant of these laws as well complicates matters further.

    This is the main issue that must be addressed, in my view. Cycling is becoming increasingly more common, and the motoring public must be informed of the laws to avoid large-scale disaster.

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  6. Ignorance of the law seems to me like an excuse for self-righteousness. Believing the law supports their territorial selfishness makes them feel better.

    Another factor behind harassment was discovered in an FDOT survey of motorist attitudes:

    Most of the motorists surveyed DID know that bicycles were allowed on the road, but they believed that bicycling on the road is dangerous (to both cyclists and motorists!). Those who believed roadway cycling is dangerous admitted they would honk or yell at cyclists in the roadway.

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  7. Keri - Those survey results are interesting, I will try to look up the study out of curiosity.

    To throw some anecdotal data at you - I myself did not know it was legal to cycle on the roads with cars until I began cycling myself. No one ever taught me differently (that's right, it was never mentioned in my driver's ed classes), and there were very few cyclists out on the roads until recently - so how could I have known otherwise? I assumed that the lack of cyclists on the roads and their presence on the sidewalk meant that cycling on the road was illegal. My parents and friends did not know until I told them either; I had to actually show them the state law for them to believe me.

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  8. Filigree,

    AFAIK, the FDOT study was never made public. I was told that the researchers exposed anti-cycling bias in their conclusions, but that the methodology was acceptable.

    I have a copy of the study and will email it to you at the email address published on your blog. I'd be intersted in your thoughts on it.

    Your experience is probably typical. I did know it was legal to ride on the road. I rode on all the rural roads around my home in PA growing up.

    Florida has a lot of "share the road" signs. Those have been around as long as I can remember (I've lived here and ridden on the roads here since 1986). Florida was also the first state to implement a "share the road" license plate. I haven't encountered the belief that cyclists aren't allowed on the road in many years, though most people (including cyclists) don't know a cyclist is entitled to the entire lane on most roads. And many (including cyclists) think it's dangerous to ride on many of the roads I use with ease and safety.

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  9. Well Chipper, the sad news is being stopped by the helpful police is a pain, especially when there is no legitimate reason or probable cause. Be sure to follow up with a letter to supervisors on the incidents so no one is caught unaware (i.e. poor training).

    Good news is your documentation is building what a decent civil rights case. The continual stopping by Law enforcement does not make any sense, if you not doing anything wrong, they are not your nanny, cumulatively it's verging on harassment. I don't any judge would care for that misbehavior (well intentioned or not).

    Hang in there and thanks for keeping it civil!

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  10. Great writeup Chip. I don't know Texas law, so looked it up I assume you are relying on

    "§ 551.103. OPERATION ON ROADWAY.
    SUBTITLE C. RULES OF THE ROAD

    SUBCHAPTER B. REGULATION OF OPERATION

    (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a person operating a bicycle on a roadway who is moving slower than the other traffic on the roadway shall ride as near as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway, unless:

    ....
    (4) the person is operating a bicycle in an outside lane that is:

    (A) less than 14 feet in width and does not have a designated bicycle lane adjacent to that lane; ...."

    Interesting statute. Looks like a cyclist has carte blanche on your 12' lane. Very interesting exception to FRAP. I wonder why the TX legislature passed it?

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  11. carte blanche?

    whatever happened to roadway courtesy?

    I'm for bicyclists road rights and also for effective vehicular roadway cycling.

    pulled over 3 times on a road that looks like it has a 10 foot shoulder? sounds more like rank political activism than effective cycling.

    where would the founder of effective cycling ride that road as pictured in the blog above? FIRMLY ON THE SHOULDER, looking signaling and yielding before moving, when needed, into the traffic lane.

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  12. @ Beck "carte blanche? whatever happend to roadway courtesy?

    Excuse me, TX DOES NOT have a mandatory shoulder. If a cyclist wishes to ride on the shoulder that is their choice. If a cyclist wishes to ride on road that is their RIGHT. The road has two freakin lanes in the same direction and people can pass with little or no delay.

    "I'm for bicyclist road rights" Really?

    "Where would John Forester (Effecive Cycling) ride?" Wherever he is allowed legally and wishes to ride given the road condition. I have no idea how dirty the shoulders and rarely use shoulder, they are optional.

    Where is the "roadway courtesy"? I'll ride legally and expect the same due care, courtesy from you and no more.

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  13. given the road condition and traffic condition, a smart vehicular cyclist would be riding that shoulder absent an obvious roadway hazard that would predicate a merge into the normal travel lane.

    I've ridden tens of thousands of miles as a bicycle tourist and take the lane on highways as par for the course. As well as daily commuting.

    There's smart vehicular cycling, and there's obstinate 'roads rights' bicycling. this is not an example of smart vehicular cycling, but a 'road rights' protest style of bicycling.

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  14. drummergeek, the reason Hwy 287 is a busy hwy is because the alternative routes are much poorer roads. Windy, and narrow, and of more importance to me, of extreemly poor surface quality.

    Even having traversed this hwy in this way many many times, even I think it looks foolheardy when I am in the seat of a car. But that is an illiusion.

    Look for "dual chase" videos for film on how the traffic responds. It is not as dangerous as you think, and, in my opinion, safer than the shoulder.

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  15. @ Beck "There's smart vehicular cycling, and there's obstinate 'roads rights' bicycling. this is not an example of smart vehicular cycling, but a 'road rights' protest style of bicycling."

    We'll have to agree to disagree. I don't see exercising a "right" as protest, rude or obstinate but you are welcome to your opinion.

    The main problem seem to with law enforcement understanding cyclist rights instead of being "helpful"?

    My first priority in sharing a road is not about delaying anyone (courtesy?) but riding straight on good road and get in position for intersections. Here is intereseting view on
    Damaging Mythology of Delay
    .

    Is this what you mean by "road right" protest?

    Peace Out!

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  16. yes, needlessly blocking motorists so that you get pulled over three times on a highway speed roadway with a 10 foot shoulder -that, as pictured, appears wholly rideable - can be rightfully called judged a lame "VC road rights protest style" of bicycling.

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  17. How does one block motorists on a 4-lane road?

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  18. If you are gonna' be stupid, you better be tough.

    kona

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  19. "There's smart vehicular cycling, and there's obstinate 'roads rights' bicycling. this is not an example of smart vehicular cycling, but a 'road rights' protest style of bicycling."

    Beck, you make that sound like it’s a bad thing!

    If I wanted to be sure I had the right to vote, one way I would be able to know would be to actually vote. Any other assertion that my right to do so existed would be somewhat speculative and theoretical. A statement that a certain person can vote is best proved by their doing it.

    In Texas, a cyclist has the right to travel on the roadway on any state highway unless expressly prohibited.

    Texas’s slow moving vehicle laws and maximum speed laws are becoming ever more obscure as their application becomes ever more infrequently used. Our maximum and minimum speed laws in their current iteration are only 15 years old, and our statutory right to the whole of a fourteen foot or less travel lane is only eight years old.

    Would you prefer these laws have no substantive application in real life? Keep them on the shelf gathering dust, lest we annoy a motorist?

    No Gene, when you put that way, "rank political activisim" is a good enough reason all by itself to stay off the shoulder! Thanks for the encouragement!

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  20. What are you hoping to accomplish with this "rank political activism"? Is pissing off the drivers your goal? I don't know about you but making mad the people operating things that could easily kill me seems pretty foolish. What is worse is they will be more likely to be courteous to OTHER bikers they see. Thanks a lot!!

    How about adjusting your attitude and approach. I find that being courteous to drivers (and cops for that matter) gets the drivers more courteous to me on a bike. I wave, smile, and try to not impede them as much as I want them to not impede me. THAT makes the world a better place for bicyclists, not your childish antics.

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  21. "What is worse is they will be more likely to be courteous to OTHER bikers they see. Thanks a lot!!"

    That should read "...more likely NOT to be courteous.."

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  22. If anonymous is asking what Chipseal hopes to accomplish, he is not reading and comprehending these blogs, for the answer should be clear.

    All Chipseal is trying to accomplish is use his bicycle for transportation on the roadways that take him where he needs to go.

    Chipseal believes - for a myriad of reasons I hope he blogs about - that he is safer on the roadway than in the shoulder. You have a right to your opinion, but he also has a right to his opinion, and, more importantly, he has a right to drive his bicycle in the roadway. He has driven his bicycle thousands of miles safely in this manner, with no issues except harassment by police and motorists who are obviously ignorant about his rights. The courteousness with which he has treated everyone is obvious from how he writes.

    Does driving a bicycle in the road unreasonably endanger him? Maybe, maybe not, but, again, that should be up to him.

    Does driving an Amish buggy in the road endanger or inconvenience others? Perhaps to some small degree (and arguably not at all), but that possibility does not trump the right of the Amish to drive their buggies in the road.

    Does driving a bicycle in the road unreasonably endanger or inconvenience others? Perhaps to a some small degree (and arguably not at all), but that possibility does not trump the right of bicyclists to drive their bicycles in the road.

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  23. Anonymous,

    Have you gone around the roads around Ennis? I have, and I would not want to go on some of them on my bike if I HAD A CHOICE. Go look on my blog and you'll see the ONLY route out from his abode. You may not have noticed, but Chip has no car and that is very relevant.

    I do much as you do, and it works very well, but I have choices in my routes that are not available around Ennis. Because I have choices, in routes, I don't have a lot of problems. On the other hand, I also saw the videos of all the traffic stops and the testimony, which no other cyclist (other than Chip) can say. If you can, make a public records request. The stop in the rain, in particular, would rip your heart out if you have ever had to make such a ride in similar conditions, presuming you know that most cyclists that get hit from behind are sideswiped and the motorists are not even aware the event happened. If you DON'T really ride, you'll wonder about the crazy guy with a suicide urge. It looks to most motorists as if he will surely die within a mile or two. That's a reasonable hypothesis if he hadn't been doing it for over 7000 miles without a seriously close call. It'd be a reasonable hypothesis if John Forester hadn't been doing it for a quarter million miles. I just wish JF wasn't such an irritating cuss. It seems pretty obvious to me that if you're going along a road, you ought to follow road rules.

    Ride a mile in Chip's pedals, like from Ennis to Waxahatchie. Actually, that'd be more like 15 miles. Now imagine you've got no way to do that OTHER than on a bike or on foot. Of course, you have to come back home again afterwards. Now imagine the law has told you you have to do that in the ditch, or even on a shoulder where the cops have learned that they get hit by inattentive motorists drifting off the main road. Why else would we have a "move left another lane if there's a LEO stop in progress?"

    Yeah, I'm a little more than mildly pissed, if there was any question. Luckily, I've got choices not available to someone living NEAR Ennis. I see that stuff and I say to myself, "There, but for the grace of God go I."

    If such behavior was dangerous, John Forester and John Allen would not be old men. Instead, they'd be old memories, or completely forgotten.

    I have not ridden my bike SINCE the trial. As a matter of fact, I've not been able to look at it, but after two close calls in the Land Rover, the bike is suddenly looking better. Perhaps we need more cops on bikes. But in reality, this isn't about bikes, or cyclists, at all. Cycling is really fun and safe, though I'm not very convincing about the fun part right at the moment.

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  24. Principaled,

    You said, "Chipseal believes - for a myriad of reasons I hope he blogs about - that he is safer on the roadway than in the shoulder.". I don't believe he actually believes that. After reading his account, it sounds like he doesn't want to ride on the shoulder because it's his RIGHT to ride in the road. While that may be true, asserting this "right" is activism, not prudence. You have the "right" to do a lot of things that you probably shouldn't. Being an ass asserting your right doesn't make you any less of an ass.

    BTW, I keep seeing the severely flawed logical assumption from activists that since you have to move over left for a LEO stop, it's not safe on the shoulder. By that logic it would be safer for the stop to occur in the lane, which obviously it's not.

    I understand that people love to have "causes". But being a pissed off self-righteousness cyclist is no better than being a pissed off self-righteousness motorist that Chip so loves to mock.

    Once again, asserting your "right" is only pissing off a bunch of people. If that is your goal, then kudos to you. Seems you are accomplishing it in spades. If the goal really is safe travel on your bike, then I think you need to rethink your approach.

    And sorry for posting anonymous, I don't seem to have an ID this site likes..

    -Larry

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  25. "I don't believe he actually believes that. "
    Tell me if you still believe that after you read this:

    http://tinyurl.com/chipseal-shoulders

    "By that logic it would be safer for the stop to occur in the lane, which obviously it's not. "

    I don't think it's obvious that it's less safe to stop in the traffic lane (on a freeway, maybe, but not on these roads). I do think it's obvious that it's less convenient to others to stop in the traffic lane. Should convenience trump safety?

    We all too often transfer "freeway mentality" to normal surface roads. On any high speed surface streets with onstreet parking it's not only considered normal and safe to travel slowly in the slow lane, but even to come to a complete stop and REVERSE (sometimes repeating the process)... which anyone who is parking parallel at the curb between other cars must do.

    These roads are not freeways. They don't have curb parking either, but that's not my point. I'm saying there are roads with similar traffic speeds and volume which do have curb parking, and yet stopping (much less 15 mph travel) is considered normal and safe. There is nothing unreasonable or unsafe about traveling 15 mph in the SLOW lane in these kind of traffic conditions, with or without curbside parking. What we have here is purely a problem of perception, reseting on a bias that does not recognize the right of bicyclists to travel on the roadway, nor understands the safety aspects of doing so.

    When ignorance of the law and traffic cycling safety is the only roadblock (pun intended) preventing one from using the road to safely travel to various destinations, then what alternative is there to challenging that ignorance?

    Fighting for women's suffrage, civil rights for blacks, and for the rights of gays to marry comes off as being "pissed-off self-righteousness" to those who don't get it too. Doesn't mean it is, or, even if it is, that it's wrong or inappropriate. In situations like this, it's simply unavoidable. There is no alternative.

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