Why do the Police hate cyclists?

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by wheelist, Oct 28, 2005.

  1. wheelist

    wheelist New Member

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    Following on from NYPD's crackdown and continuing arrests at the monthly Critical Mass events, London's Metropolitan Police Force seem to be following suit and have issued a warning that the event will be deemed illegal unless organisers provide them with details of the route at least 6 days in advance.

    Well, today's the day, so arrests are on the cards.

    My question is this though. Why? Why do police hate cyclists so much?:confused:

    (I've attached the World Car Free Network's Call to Action in text format for the US citizens amongst us. Or check it out in Word here)
     
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  2. shannons dad

    shannons dad New Member

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    Well, they can't do us for speeding, they can't do us for drink driving or wreckless driving, they can't do us for not wearing seatbelts and we don't cause never-ending traffic-jams. I'm pretty sure there's more too. And that means they've got f-all to do. Good isn't it!!!:D
     
  3. blue1

    blue1 New Member

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    I don't think the police hate the cyclists
     
  4. scotty72

    scotty72 New Member

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    Well, governments sure do - and the cops are servants of the governments.

    We are a serious threat to billions of dollars of oil tax revenue.

    If I were costing you billions, you'd want me outlawed too.

    Scotty
     
  5. huhenio

    huhenio New Member

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    Be prepared to be harrassed on the way to work ..... and get an orange vest so I am not the only idiot in the planet
     
  6. jrstevens

    jrstevens New Member

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    did anyone else see how Exxon Mobil posted the largest quarterly sales and a profit of 9 billion dollars in this year's third quarter. I think they're doing okay...

    JS
     
  7. scotty72

    scotty72 New Member

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    I know!

    From memory, Bill Gates' earnings were down to about 3 billion or so.

    Poor guy, I hope he can make ends meet...

    Come on fellas, care packages at the ready...

    Scotty
     
  8. Balderick

    Balderick New Member

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    Why can't they do you for speeding - you are not trying hard enough!

    This may be an unpopular view, but Critical Mass is, IMHO, starting to be counter-productive. Seems upsetting motorists does not work to improving ongoing relationships between cyclists and motorists, and makes them less likely to give cycling a go. It is an idea that was good in its time but now there is a need to move on. I'll get off my soapbox.

    If everyone in a Critical Mass ride obeyed the law relating as it applies to bicycles what can you be arrested for, other than some kind of unlawful assembly offence? The problem is the few Critical Mass rides I have been near, and it is only because they were riding my route home and I had to get through the knuckleheads to get home, is the multiple breaches of the law and good manners. If the law says you can only ride two abreast and you have to have helmets and lights, as it does where I live, then do all those things. Don't delbrately blick off the entire width of a ride. Don't look like some drugged out hippie. Don't weave over the road - ride safely.

    How do the Police prove an unlawful assembly offence? It is going to depend on the law applying to a particular jursidiction, but it would seem a long bow to draw if your mere presence on a public orad at a particular time would be sufficent proof. Don;t wear anything that identifies you as being part of CM.

    Get a good lawyer!
     
  9. House

    House Banned

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    Two points:

    1) I have never had problems with the police in any place I have rode in.

    2) I agree with balderick aout critical mass. I think it is very counter productive.
     
  10. Muddy Fox

    Muddy Fox New Member

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    I think you'l find .... They Can
     
  11. shannons dad

    shannons dad New Member

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    Yeah, but it's almost practically impossible for them to do so, or, not worth their time to deal with. They can't send a fine through the post if you're caught on camera, since you don't have a licence plate, and since cycling doesn't require a licence, they can't put points on it, and they sure as hell can't ban anyone from riding a bike. The best they can hope for is if you're caught speeding or drink riding is a £50-£60 fine and/or an overnighter with Harry the burglar.
     
  12. Balderick

    Balderick New Member

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    In NSW Australia the same penalities for drink riding apply as for drink driving, and those panlties include imprisonment, disqualification and fines. I have noted, much to my dissappointment, that the Police will not pull a cyclist over for randon breath testing.

    I have, however, ridden past a cop who was using one of those laser speed guns on a 80 kph rural strech of road near my home - a long descent followed by a steep pitch. As I wheezed up the pitch I asked the cop how fast I was doing and he told me (nice to know my Polar was reading very close to the same speed I was doing at the very bottom of the hill) - so he was at least bothered enough to see if I was speeding, even though there was very little chance I would have been.
     
  13. wheelist

    wheelist New Member

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    Just some feedback on Friday's London CM.

    It passed off quite peacefully with about 1200 cyclists in attendance. No arrests, no violence. Sweet.

    There were some that weren't happy though:

    A few irate car and taxi drivers, but then a few cyclists did go out of their way to upset them.

    A few upset bus passengers, as the cyclists happened to block up the whole road for some time (including the bus lane).

    A few disgruntled cyclists. The speed of the procession was as close to zero mph as you're ever likely to get, and many were bored. I thought that perhaps the mass might be more effective if it had a start and a finish (but no designated route) and split into smaller masses, each causing some disruption to car traffic on different roads. This way the volume of cyclists wouldn't cause the delays that were experienced, and the event would be even more difficult to police. I guess though that it does kind of disintergrate the 'mass' itself, and might not therefore work: you can lead an anarchistic sheep to water, but you can't make it ride a bike really slowly without a lot of support.

    The police seemed to enjoy it though.

    Anyway, all's well that ends well. Till next month at least. :D
     
  14. El Loto

    El Loto New Member

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    I remember from a post in another thread about drinking and cycling that cyclists in the UK can refuse to take a breath test quite lawfully. I can't remember who the poster was.
     
  15. Muddy Fox

    Muddy Fox New Member

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    You are quite right ... we can refuse a breath test ~ a blood test & a urine test but if we refuse we get charged with Failing to supply a specimen and the courts will deal with you as if you gave a positive test

    Simon
     
  16. wheelist

    wheelist New Member

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    God damn those British lawyers. :mad:

    I was almost thinking I was on to a winner there. :D

    When it gets dark... ride slowly, use long forks, and lights would be nice....:)

    p.s. Simon, Courier Comp?
     
  17. Ryanotokyo

    Ryanotokyo New Member

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    Thanks for the report, Wheelist! Good to hear that the Brits have not lost their sense. NY style harrassment of cyclists would not have looked good at all with the Tour coming to London soon.

    Interesting idea having a start and destination and no defined route. If it is getting THAT big, why not have a CM destination only. Surely you would get reasonably sized smaller groups meeting in other places for the ride there and back. Bringing attention to cycling (and non-motorized transport generally) is one thing, but you don't want to cheeze everyone off completely, just for the sake of it.

    I must say that in Tokyo (- still one of the worlds great cycling mega-cities, despite the road builder's best efforts) police do not hate cyclists. Here, your average bobby rides a bike. They can be very friendly. I was in a minor bingle with a very aggressive taxi driver earlier this year. He was quite clearly in the wrong, and had acted dangerously, but we called police and he adamantly made his case to the traffic police while I stood back (they obviously thought I couldn't speak the language). Without even speaking to me, the traffic police absolutely tore the taxi driver apart. They then kindly asked me what I would like to do about the incident (report it, leave as is etc). I considered asking them to book him for dangerous driving, but held off. As I left, I could hear them still berating this taxi driver.

    Some things about Tokyo still leave a lot to be desired - no decent dedicated bike lanes at all; very little "legitimate" parking that is convenient. But when they get it right they really do get it right. For example, one popular shopping centre I know has valet bicycle parking during business hours (- but accessible 24hrs). It is quite a regal experience. Just lovely.






     
  18. baj32161

    baj32161 New Member

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    I have honestly never seen the point of Critical Mass rides. I don't like to annoy motorists as it is, not to mention, the police. They do, indeed seem counterproductive.
     
  19. Ryanotokyo

    Ryanotokyo New Member

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    What do you regard as "annoying"? Many motorists get "annoyed" with cyclists just because they are on the road, so whether you hold a mass ride or not, just changes the degree of driver annoyance.

    For example, do drivers get annoyed with runners when roads are blocked for the NY marathon? Generally people understand that the marathon is a good thing for the city, and put up with it. The same holds generally for CM rides.

    Using Japan as an example again, roads are generally not regarded as the exclusive turf of people in motor vehicles. Major roads are regularly blocked completely for festivals, processions, fireworks, markets, music concerts and a whole array of other local events. The 6 lane road around the palace (downtown Tokyo) is blocked off every Sunday for cyclists. Some selfish motorists may be annoyed by not being able to speed to their destination because of these events, but for the most part people understand these are community building events that are good for any city or town. And the more often they occur, the more people accept them as an integral part of life.
     
  20. exharrison

    exharrison New Member

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    I know that here critical ass is meant not to necessarily promote cycling, but piss off the motorists by doing things like blocking up traffic. I know they will ride around the traffic circles in mass so that motorists can not get through, causing a traffic problem. The police should hate them for that. But I have never had a cop bother me while I am on my bike. I am just one more person they don't have to stop for their license.
     
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